Thursday, December 16, 2010
Richard Russo is another writer I should be reading. He’s so smooth and effortless.
In the meantime, I’m plowing through all the YA series books I have piled up at home.
Dexter Issues: It’s season 5 of Dexter, which means the writers have to think way outside the box to come up with new material for their characters. All-in-all, season five is pretty good, but a few things feel familiar, like Dexter using someone else to help him kill. We saw that in season 3 with (Jimmie Smits). Also, (Angel’s wife) feels unbelievable now and inconsistent. She used to stand for something, but throws Deb under the bus. I’m not sure I believe that. And poor Angel caught in the middle. Their relationship may need to come to an end. I’m bored with it.
Peter Weller is great as a lowlife ex-cop who investigates Dexter. Deb and (guy)’s relationship can any anytime now. I’m on episode 10, three more to go. I have lots to catch up on!
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
I hope things happen with my book in 2011. It’s the year of the rabbit and that’s good news for me. I was born in the year of the rabbit, so the roof might come off for me in ’11.
I can’t believe it’ll be ten years since 9/11. What a difference a decade makes. Wow. Google and Facebook are taking over the world. I think this is okay, considering neither company manufacturers bombs or advanced weapons systems (that we know of).
Sunday, December 12, 2010
Yesterday, I attended a party Alice put together for her biking club. They don't bike much anymore, but still get together for dinner. They're a delightful group with two natural comedians, Sam and Kalvin. Very pleasant people.
Friday, December 3, 2010
Next weekend I'll be playing in the Toys for Tots tournament in San Ramon. Gerry Price, Angela Grisar, and Cliff Swain will be playing. Such be a great time. I'm playing with Ron Souza, a great player from the South Bay. We're playing with a bunch of other great players, so it should be lots of fun.
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
On the writing front, since I have several agents reading fulls and partials, I haven’t sent out a query in over two weeks. I’ll send a few in December though, just to keep things moving along. The waiting is nerve wracking and I’m only going to have to do it again when the novel is with publishers. I’m surprised it’s taken the entire year to find an agent.
Friday, November 19, 2010
I’m playing in my first singles tournament of the season next week in Stockton and Alice will be joining me. She’s curious about racquetball and wants to see me play. That’s pretty cool. We’ll stay in Stockton Friday night. I’m looking forward to it. My body was really fatigued this week. I ended up losing my first club league singles match to a guy who I usually beat. He played very well and is very fast. I like him. I hate losing, but perhaps it’s good for me to swallow a few loses. It keeps me humble, and this is always a good thing.
I can’t believe the holiday season is already here.
Monday, November 15, 2010
I have an 83,000-word YA novel set in Oakland, California called JULIA MILAN AND THE CHAPEL OF THE CHIMES, about an overshadowed 14-year-old named Julia who agrees to help her dying grandmother solve the mystery of young Max Carter – her grandmother’s first love – who vanished without a trace 75 years ago. With help from an old diary, a peculiar new classmate from Perth, Australia, and an unusual mausoleum designed by the architect of Hearst Castle, Julia digs up a haunting piece of her grandmother’s past, exposing a dangerous secret that startles local historians. Finally, Julia feels as special as her precocious younger sister, but when Max’s story threatens the safety of Julia’s family, Julia wonders if being exceptional is worth all the trouble.
I like this paragraph a lot. I took out all the fantasy elements, dropped the urban fantasy label, and gave the book more of a "mystery" feel. We'll see if that does the trick. I've sent out 120 queries and plan to send another 80 more if I have to. I'm not stopping until I get an agent, damn it!
The cast and crew were fantastic, and the storyline was fun. I played Dr. Phineas Meganbottom, worldclass crazy and designer of the latest invention that will keep the empire from sinking into oblivion. The weather was fantastic, warm like a summer night, and the crowds were large. It was a another amazing Halloween. I'm hoping Lisa's sister gathers together all the footage we have from Halloween's past. I'd love to see the collection and perhaps create a DVD for friends and family to share.
Sunday, October 24, 2010
Went out several times this week and it was so good for me. After last week’s debacle, I’ve learned not to say anything about myself until I actually meet someone face-to-face. Less is more and I keep forgetting that. Anyway, I still feel badly about my ridiculous lack of boundaries, but at least I’m learning from my mistakes and staying positive. I met someone today in San Francisco who was very charming and sweet. I really enjoyed our conversation. I hope to see her again.
Off to read a few more pages of “Freedom.” I’m really enjoying this book.
It’s a new week and I’m excited about the possibilities.
Oh, the Halloween effect this year is going to be killer! Richard has outdone himself again!
Friday, October 22, 2010
Tomorrow I’m attending an all-day SCBWI conference at Mills College from 7:45 to 5, then in the evening I’ll help Richard with Halloween tasks. It’s been non-stop since returning from Arizona. I need a day to just chill, relax, reflect and unwind.
It rained this morning so I took the bus to work. Annette, Richard & Lisa’s neighbor, was at the bus stop, so we had a wonderful 20-minute conversation about books. She insisted I read “The Book Thief,” saying it was one of the most original, amazing books she’s ever read. It’s on my list, along with “The Help” and about 20 other titles. There aren’t enough hours in the day.
I must devote at least two hours this weekend for some poker study. I miss not playing that game and feel my poker skills are eroding. This is not good. I love that game but don’t have much time to play. In a strange sort of way that game helps center me.
I can’t wait for next week’s yoga session. I’m doing yoga once a week for a month, and if I keep liking it I’ll bump it up to twice a week. My body is in super shape right now and if I can keep from getting any injuries through March, I’ll be very happy.
Okay, I’m off to send out more queries. I’m at 87 right now, and I shouldn’t rest until I have 150 sent out.
Thursday, October 21, 2010
I’m plowing through Jonathan Franzen’s “Freedom,” and enjoying every sentence, every paragraph. He’s a dense, doughy writer with a “more-is-more” writing style. I’m always aware of his brilliance, which in the end works against the story, but for writers at his level it’s an easy indulgence to forgive. His attention to detail and observational skills are superb. I’m one-fifth of the way through the book and enjoying the journey immensely.
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
I joined Match for a month and have dates tomorrow and Sunday. It's time for me to go out more. I was thinking about Linda the other day. I still miss her sometimes.
The Giants won in a nailbiter. I'm so excited! I'd love to see them in the World Series.
The season finale of "Mad Men" was fantastic. The entire season was masterful and thoroughly original. It just may win another emmy for best drama. Jon Hamm deserves one, too. He was fabulous. The entire cast was fabulous. I so love this show. Good news! In Treatment is coming back for a third season. I'm SO HAPPY! Thank you, HBO, for answering my prayers!
Thursday, October 14, 2010
This is how the query game is played. This was queryhater’s second novel. With his first novel, he sent out 187 queries and received 3 full requests and 4 partial requests. His request success rate was 3.7% and his first novel went in a drawer. He considered giving up, but instead wrote another novel. His request success rate with the second book was 45% (that’s amazing to me!). He never gave up. He queried widely. He now has an agent!
My current numbers are 78 total queries submitted with 6 full requests and 6 partial requests, for a request success rate of 15.4%. What queryhater’s numbers suggest to me is that I need to send at least 80 more queries out. I’m starting that process today.
I find queryhater’s story extremely inspiring. This is what it will take to gain representation.
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
We arrived 30 minutes before the doors opened, then at 10 we entered the facility like kiddies on Christmas morning. 400 pinball machines for us to play! All my old favorites were there, Paragon, Pinbot, Pinball Pool, Twilight Zone, plus a few new games I really enjoyed, especially the basketball pinball machine that gives you a free game when you reach 50 points.
Paragon was just as unruly as I'd remembered. I love this machine, but boy does it love to drain balls. So painful. I came close to clearing the Paragon letters but no luck.
We ate lunch at Barney's, the perfect feast between pinball sessions, then returned for two more sessions (caught a lecture on the geometry of pinball at 3) before attending the raffle for the Gorgar machine. We didn't win, but had fun hoping. We left at 6:30 with lots of great memories. I can't wait for next year!
Sunday, September 26, 2010
Monday, September 20, 2010
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
We saw "Machete," went out to Spettro's, visited the Farmer's market, saw Rodney's art show, went bicycling, ate at Lynn & Lou's, went to Napa for the afternoon and had sushi.
He's going through a difficult time right now, so the visit was necessary to help Ross stay centered and consider his options. He'll do fine. He's such a positive and upbeat person.
Thursday, September 2, 2010
I was putting together my top 10 Beach Boys songs of all time when I listened to Heros and Villains from Smile. I'd remembered the album had been completed a few years ago but never listened to it. I've been listening all week.
I watched the two-disc DVD last night. Very moving. I love everything about this piece, and totally understand Brian Wilson's inner demons. I have a few of those myself. I can see why everyone considers him a genius. This song in particular is so rich and layered. I haven't gotten tired of it at all, and I've listened to it probably 20 times or more. I love it. Good Vibrations will forever be my no. 1 Beach Boys song, but Heros and Villains is climbing the ranks. It may actually be no. 3, just behind Wouldn't it be Nice.
Saturday, August 28, 2010
I knew it would be a battle and I wasn’t disappointed. My and Tyrone’s racquetball match Thursday night for the Club One championship (and bragging rights for the next several months!) was everything I thought it would be and then some. I started off strong with a 4-0 lead, putting everything away while T seemed tight and left the ball up. My lead increased to 11-6 until T stepped it up and starting making great shots and serving well. Before I knew it I was down 11-12. That’s when the crazy BS crept into the game. T made a low kill shot that skipped the floor. T walked to the back of the court as if conceding the point, but Robbie (our club pro and ref for the match) thought the shot was good and so did Sydney (the line judge). They didn’t hear the skip. Tyrone then insisted it was side out and wanted to serve because Robbie thought the ball was good. I was furious, but played on. Tyrone scored another point and shouted one of his victory yells. He then lost his serve and I scored a point, then Tyrone scored again and I was down 12-14. I told T he didn’t deserve the game if he was taking cheap points like the one he took when the ball skipped. The trash talking escalated (I won't repeat them here because I don't want my blog getting an R rating). T made a huge mistake by serving short twice and I quickly scored another point. At 13-14, I killed T’s serve in the front court and took serve again. I scored a point and tied the match at 14. I served a drive serve which T hit high. I hit the ball down the lefthand side and T left his shot high again. He gave me a perfect setup, which I drilled a down righthand side, a perfect passing shot that he wasn't able to retrieve, giving me the first game 15-14. I then gave the loudest victory yell I’ve ever screamed in racquetball. It was so satisfying winning that game.
I dove so many times my right elbow was swollen.
I started the next game strong as well, scoring 3 quick points, but then T got hot again and I was down 3-6. Then I was down 4-11. I rallied back and it was 7-11. Then 9-12 before T tore a muscle in his leg and couldn’t move. He was unable to finish and I won be default. It was an anticlimactic finish to one of the best and tightest finals matches I’ve played at Club One. I kept my perfect season intact (10-0!) and own bragging rights until our next singles league in 2011.
My right side is also as sore as my elbow, but it’s a good kind of sore. I sure love this game!
Tyrone had to be carried out of Club One. He's the greatest guy off the court, but inside the court he turns into a crazy monster. That's all right because I turn into one, too!
Richard watched the match and helped cheer me on. Afterward, we went to La Cheval and I ate everything in sight. We then drove to Walnut Creek to pick up his kids at Ann’s. I ate a large smore and half a chocolate bar. The ride back to Oakland was hilarious. The kids were telling crazy stories that were so funny.
I played racquetball again this morning with Dorian and felt surprisingly good. I’m really bummed though that Tyrone will be out of commission for the next several months. Meanwhile, I’ll be playing in as many singles events as I can in preparation for the California State Singles Tournament in the spring. I’d love to do well in the A division
Sunday, August 22, 2010
I wanna win! Thursday night at 6, Tyrone and I play our Championship match for bragging rights at Club One. If I win, I'll have gone undefeated for the season. If T wins, he'll be the top racquetball player for the next few months. I want this title and will dig deep to get it. I must do this!
Finally saw this Julie Taymor gem. Loved it. Absolutely loved it. Apparently, there were critics who didn't care for it. It gave me at idea. Officer Mike of Critic's Patrol. Critic's Patrol is an organization designed to expose incompetent criticism for what it is: incompetent. "You have been charged with critical incompetence; put your hands in the air and relinquish your critic's license." More on this later...
The hours zoom by. Zoom by!
Thursday, August 19, 2010
I posted Julia Milan on InkPop for the month to see what sort of feedback I might get. I read a few pages of someone's story and I thought there was a lot of good writing in it. Some spots made me laugh. I remember what my stories were like when I was 18. Wow.
My latest query has generated results...2 fulls and 2 partials from 14 queries submitted last week. I'll take those results any day.
Work is killing me. And I haven't played any poker in I don't know how long...
Sunday, August 8, 2010
I finished this book a few minutes ago. I loved the beginning, but the quirkiness started to annoy me. By the end, I was just ho-hum. I didn't love it the way I thought I would. But I can see why critics love this sort of book. It's certainly unique. I love how Rebecca Stead uses the $20,000 Pyramid in this story. So what if kids don't get the references, they aren't voting for the Newbery winner.
Kathryn Kim came to visit this weekend. We went to Zachery's for dinner tonight before I dropped her off at the Oakland Airport. It was fun talking about 6th grade with her. So many great stories.
This week I'll hit the queries hard again. It's back to the drawing board, with nos all around. Talk about annoying.
Speaking of, I'm watching the latest Woody Allen film, Whatever Works, on DVD. This film doesn't. Wow, when Woody Allen is off, he is way off. His obsessions are so ugly and tedious, and this from a devoted fan. The 20-something waif hooking up with Larry David? Are you kidding me? Doesn't Woody Allen get that it's beyond ridiculous that he's still writing about this? Doesn't he get how much of a parody he has become of himself? If this ever happens to me in old age, for the love of God, please pull my plug!
The sad thing is I'm only 45 minutes into the movie. And because I'm such a Woody fan, I'll have to watch the second half. Oy vey!
Thursday, August 5, 2010
I went 8-0 this season and am only two games away from reclaiming the Club Championship. I MUST DO THIS! I'm going for it next week with some major league workout routines and practicing my pinch shots every day at lunch. I'll most likely play Glenn in the semis, then meet the winner of Steve or Tyrone in the finals. I don't care who I meet. That trophy's mine this time!
Wow, that was a great, informative conference. Plus, I read a fantastic YA novel by Valerie Patterson, "The Other Side of Blue," a novel I couldn't put down. The keynote speakers were exceptional. My favorites were Jon Scieszka, Loren Long, E.B. Lewis and Rubin Pfeffer. My favorite presenter was Claudia Gabel. She is such a star. So funny and cool. I like her. My big takeaway? Only that I can do this. I want to be a keynoter one day. I've gotta get this book set up. I looked over chapter one today and made some really nice insignificant but technically satisfying edits that only I and a real nerdy editor would notice. But I guess that's the key to good writing, not noticing anything.
Saw "The Kids Are All Right" Monday afternoon. Really liked it. Great family drama.
Saturday, July 31, 2010
I met a few delightful writers. In the morning I sat next to Alison from Tennessee and Stephanie from Sacramento who now lives in L.A. I then had lunch with Jeanine from So. Cal. and Carla from Virginia. During the wine and cheese event, I met several writers at my table from Virginia and California. I've collected a few business cards and hope to keep up with them. I book 3 books at the book signing last night and would love to read them all before the conference ends, though I probably won't have the time.
Monday, July 26, 2010
I posted my top 10 Beatles songs on Facebook. Since then, Beatles songs have infected my mind. I can't stop the playlist in my head. Luckily, there are about 120 songs going on, so at least I'm not bored. I was shocked that my fifth favorite Beatle Song, Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite, would be the song that a few folks considered unworthy of top 10 status. No one blinked at Lovely Rita at No. 3. Still, my list speaks for itself. The upside is the Beatles have inspired me to be a better writer. And you know that can't be bad...
Monday, July 19, 2010
On Sunday, Neil, Rossana and I took Arianne out to lunch for her graduation. We went to 4th Street in Berkeley, ate at Spenger's, then walked around the street in search of a nice necklace. We didn't find one, so Ari will be on the lookout for one before she leaves for UCLA.
In the afternoon, Richard, Lisa and I headed into SF to see Heather's latest short, a film called Omakase, about a young sushi apprentice who falls for the boss's niece. It was well done and beautifully shot. Heather's very talented. There's a sweet poignancy to her work.
By the time I arrived home last night, I was wiped out. I slept from 10-7. I feel good today. I didn't play racquetball this morning, but I'll be ready on Wednesday. I hope work isnt' too busy this week so I can catch up on all the reading I need to complete. I'd also like to send out another batch of queries.
Friday, July 16, 2010
Thursday, July 15, 2010
I have an 83,000-word YA urban fantasy set in Oakland, California called JULIA MILAN AND THE CHAPEL OF THE CHIMES, about a precocious 14-year-old who helps her grandmother learn the truth about a special boy who went missing when her grandmother was 14. With help from an old diary, an irksome ghost, and an unusual mausoleum designed by California’s first female architect, Julia Milan digs up a haunting piece of Oakland's past while uncovering a series of bizarre coincidences that suggests history may be repeating itself. Suddenly, the astonishing connection Julia and her grandmother share is even more powerful than Julia had imagined. The comps are Rick Riordan (clear writing) and Suzanne Collins (suspenseful storytelling).
I'm using the Noah Lukeman model of query writing. Three sentences in paragraph two, plus an additional comp line as suggested by Michael Neff. Let's see if that works. I received form rejections from a couple of front-runner agents and it's hard not to wonder why nothing is working. I've read a few queries that landed agents on querytracker.net, and all I can do is scratch my head. Oh well. My disappointment will pass. I have a very clear vision about this project and my journey with Chris toward a meeting in LA over at least one of our scripts. That is really the larger picture here and I'm too far along to let anything derail me.
I've been very disciplined this week, knocking off to-do list items and making great use of my time. Work hasn't been all that busy this week, so yesterday I was able to devote several hours to researching agents. I'm compiling a new list of agents to query and not spending so much time reading their blogs. It's frustrating finding an agent who seems like a good fit, only to get a form rejection a few weeks later. Really frustrating, but part of the game, I know.
Sunday, July 11, 2010
I love Paul the Oracle Octopus, though I sure was rooting for the Dutch today.
I had a little neighborhood World Cup party and the crowd was split between orange and red. Though Spain won, it was still a lot of fun, considering only one goal was scored. What the pros can do with a soccer ball is simply amazing.
I should throw more parties because it motivates me to clean my apt. I was up at 6 dusting.
It's 11 p.m., how did that happen? I play a league match with Glenn tomorrow morning at 6. More later...
Saturday, July 10, 2010
Starting this summer, I'll be a sponsored racquetball player for E-Froce. I'm really excited about it. I plan to play several tournaments this year, including the California State Singles Tournament and the CPRT stop in Las Vegas. Rod and I will also conduct some seminars and clinics at the Y and Club One as a way of promoting the sport and the best racquets on the market, the E-Force Command, which is without a doubt the best racquet available.
Yesterday morning I played my league match against Tyrone. The first game was close. I was leaving my shots up and couldn't put many of my balls away. He broke out to an early 0-3 lead, but I tied it up at 6. He then rattled off three winners, but I took a timeout and came back to within a point at 10-11. At 11-13, I took the serve and T took a timeout. I scored an ace and never looked back, winning the first game 15-13. In the second game I jumped to an early 4-0 lead, then 7-0, 10-0, until finally T scored. I had him at 14-2. The final score was 15-4. It was a sweet victory. I paced myself well and didn't get tired at all. My serves were clicking, but I still need to let that ball come down a little more. I was leaving shots up for T to kill.
Next week I play Glenn on Monday and Steve on Friday. If I beat Steve, I'll cruise to the number 1 spot in the playoffs, where I'll most likely play the winner of Byron and Glenn. T and Steve will be 2 and 3. I'm hoping T and I battle for the club championship. It's only fitting, seeing as we're the two most dedicated players at the club.
Wednesday, July 7, 2010
I was in Kimberley, B.C. over the Independence Day weekend, visiting relatives. Heather & Rick hosted a family get together that included Karen & Ed, Kathy & Jack, Kari & Ross, Leif, Mandy, Kevin, Crystal and their families, Gwen & Greg, Tristan and Nicole, Jackie and Connie. I had a great time checking up with everyone, playing Therapy, hearts, Dutch Blitz and badminton, and of course eating lots of food. The weather wasn't as sunny as I was anticipating, but it only rained a few minutes on Friday. Now that I'm back home, I'm preparing for the SCBWI conference in August.
Thursday, July 1, 2010
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
The best agent blog entry I've read is by Elizabeth Evans. Her 6/19/09 entry on the Kimberley Cameron website is a blogging masterpiece imo. The Plunge. It's got it all, form, substance, funny lines, the whole package. I wonder how long it took her to write? She couldn't have come up with that off the top of her head, no way. "Resistance is futile," I can't wait to meet her at a conference one day and use that on her.
Finally, I've found an equally gifted agent blogger, Elana Roth. Talk about smart and interesting. Elana has good instincts and has no problem sharing her thoughts. I like what she says about storytelling. She's certainly one to watch.
Sunday, June 27, 2010
Yesterday, I went to my first SCBWI event. Cynthia Omololu and Heidi Kling talked about their debut books DIRTY LITTLE SECRETS and SEA. It was worthwhile. I'm halfway through SECRETS and find the writing and story impressive. Great details so far. I asked the writers what marketing strategies have worked well for them. They said Twitter has become an essential marketing tool, their blogs have generated lots of attention, and bookmarks are simple and essential to the promotion of any book. I was one of only two men in attendence. The 24 other attendees were women. Wow. That's quite a ratio. I think I'm going to like SCBWI events. Cynthia used a PowerPoint slideshow to illustrate the points she was making during her opening remarks. That's a good idea. Both mentioned the supportive, encouraging nature of the YA community. I'm heard that several times now. I like it. I'm really looking forward to LA in August. I suspect that event will be more fun than I can imagine. I do like talking shop. After the reading, I went to Rossana's for her birthday and met a writer named Nathan. We talked about writing, films and teaching for at least an hour.
Yesterday, I played outdoor racquetball for the first time at Pleasanton with a few E-Force players and Angela Grisar. Kenny, Mark, Melissa, Elaine and I played from 10-1. Lots of fun. The ball does some crazy things coming off 12 inches of cement, and with no ceiling shots and no back wall, keeping a ball at chest level actually makes for a difficult return. A fun game. The red ball is tough for me to see, but by the end of the day I was getting used to it. Thanks, Kenny, for the invite. I'm really going to enjoy my E-Force sponsorship this year. I'm motivated to participate more in tournaments and conduct some clinics with Rod. Perhaps I can shoot for State Championships next spring in the A division.
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
I emailed seven queries today using my newly revised query letter. Let's see if I get any takers. I can see why this query is so much stronger than the last one I used. I was 0-14 on the last one, so I certainly can't do any worse. At least I'm improving (hopefully).
Talked to Chris tonight for 90 minutes. The longterm goal is getting a script sold and made into a movie. Deja Bride, Grandudes, Botticelli Girl or RetroTherapy, one of these scripts must be sold soon. I want that to happen more than anything.
Annabelle, an Algonkian writer, was the first to finish Julia Milan. She really liked it a lot and her comments made me smile. The ending totally worked for her...yippie!
I'm going to be an E-Force Sponsored Racquetball player. How awesome is that! I love E-Force racquets and look forward to a longlasting relationship with them.
Thursday, June 17, 2010
I have a lot to read. I'd like to finish Sara's two manuscripts, post a few agent sites for the Algonkian guys, collect a few more agent names to query, and take care of the rest of my to-do list. I'd also like to finish the Nick Hornby and Richard Russo books. No time though. Ugh!
Tuesday, June 8, 2010
Sunday, June 6, 2010
I'm going to the SCBWI conferense in Los Angeles in late July/early August. The $190 rooms at the Hyatt were sold out, so I opted to go budget, staying at a very reasonable $80 room with great reviews on Trip Advisor 7 miles away. I'll have a car for the weekend. The writer I met last night had attended the conference last year and said it was a blast. I'll do my best to be social and meet lots of people. I'm looking forward to it.
I feel I have little time to do what I'd like, but in a way it does make me very productive. Still, I miss the time I had at home. I can't wait to recreate the stay-at-home lifestyle I so miss.
Thursday, June 3, 2010
Don't even get me started on 80s videos on You Tube. I wanted to include a line in chapter 8 or 9 about Audrey's 80s music video collection, and three hours later, I put the line in (after watching all the Toto, Human Leauge, Cyndi Lauper, Bangles, Eurythmics, and Men at Work I could stomach...three hours worth, apparently). What a sad situation I sometimes seem to be.
Finishing up a couple of good YA reads, 39 Clues and 20 Boy Summer...oh, yeah, I have a dog to walk and feed, poor Sandy...thank God she likes alone time.
Okay, today, here's what the goals are: 1) get those damn edits into ch. 14 now! 2) finish 39 clues and 20 Boy summer please! 3) Read and comment on Annabelle's opening 2 chapters 4) Send a query out, just to remind yourself how the process works (find appropriate agent, insert pitch, add detail that creates brief bond, review, make sincere prayer, press send).
Back to work...
Monday, May 31, 2010
A few weeks ago, I attened the Algonkian Writers Conference here in the Bay Area. Michael Neff was very helpful with my pitch, trimming it down and making it tighter. I enjoyed pitching my book in front of a couple of agents. I learned a few things that should be helpful when I go down to LA to pitch my book. One agent will look at my entire manuscript, so that's encouraging. I particularly enjoyed getting to know the other 15 participatants at the workshop. We still keep in touch online. I'm reading some of their stuff now. It's good.
I started work a few weeks ago at a law firm in Oakland. I'm really glad I found a job so close. I was running out of money pretty fast the last month or so. This new job is enjoyable. The people I work with are nice.
I'm now able to download some PokerXFactor videos onto my iPhone. I bought Quicktime this weekend in order to do it.
I work from 10-7, so getting things done is difficult. I don't socialize much anymore. My weekends are filled with doing my own thing. I wish I had a couple hundred thousand dollars.
Monday, April 19, 2010
I'm about a third into Cuckoo's Nest right now. I've never read it. McMurphy's dialogue is so electrifying. I'm really enjoying it. I hadn't read Gatsby in many years, but it sure holds up nicely. I can see why it's considered one of the best novels every written. I've always loved it and still do. Miss Lonelyhearts is certainly fun to read and funny in parts, but it doesn't hold my interest as well. It's just too much, too cynical and emotionally distanced.
I'm hoping to accomplish a lot this week. Lots of reading and prepping for my writing class in May. Preparation is the key to everything. The weather is finally consistently nice, though I heard there's another rain storm coming. I'm so done with the rain.
Friday, April 9, 2010
Who knew there was a limit to the number of Oreos an adult can eat within a 48-hour period. I reached my Oreo threshold Wednesday night when the thought of eating another one made my head spin.
Our Bay Area adventure began Sunday afternoon when the Arends traveled through blizzard conditions to reach Oakland.
It was a long drive and the natives were getting restless.
It was raining and Zachery's Pizza was closed, so we camped out at Erie St., ordered Yang Chow and played an afternoon and evening of games: Set, Ten Days in Asia, Guesstures, and Wits & Wagers. Emily is the Ten Days in Asia master, and my mission was very simple: beat Emily.
Easier said than done, considering how badly she destroyed me last August when she first introduced me to the game. I think I won one game out of ten, so to adequately prepare, I bought my own Ten Days board game and studied it like a college geography course. I dug deep and used all of my game-playing abilities.
We played two games on Sunday while watching Iron Chef, and that's when I discovered that Emily plays the game using a very imaginative set of rules. So we played two versions of Ten Days, the actual rules and Emily's rules. I beat her twice using the actual rules, but didn't win a game using Emily's rules. On the Guesstures front, the boys demonstrated their dominance of the game with a five-point victory over the girls. Thomas was our anchor, and he rocked. Amanda handily won the second game of Wits & Wagers, after which we called it a night. All of us practiced Set. Emily is a natural at the game.
Monday began with smoothies,
followed quickly by a trip to Arizmendi.
We then visited the Chapel of the Chimes where my book takes place.
Thomas found the place amazing.
And it is!
We had lunch in Piedmont,
then drove to Berkeley and walked around the UC Campus.
It turned out to be a very nice day. We were worried our baseball game would rain out, but the skies stayed clear and we watched the Mariners beat the As in the season opener, 5-3.
Tuesday was bridge day. We took the Bay Bridge into San Francisco, played arcade games at the Musee Mechanique,
ate In-n-Out burgers for lunch,
walked the Golden Gate Bridge,
drove back to Oakland via the Richmond Bridge, hung out at Starbuck's where I had my first double chocolate chip frapuccino (which was delicious),
then had dinner and played games at the Youngs.
Wednesday was our busy tourist day. We started our day at 7, took BART into San Francisco,
caught the F line to Pier 33 and boarded a boat for Alcatraz.
We toured the prison for three hours, then had lunch at Pier 39.
After lunch, we took a cable car to Powell Street,
walked to Grant St. and Chinatown,
then had dinner at House of Nanking.
I hadn't been to Nanking in years, but the food was just as fantastic as I'd remembered. We took BART back home
and crashed on the couch (at least I crashed),
sleeping through Fantastic Mr. Fox and playing a few more games of Kahuna with Emily.
The next day we headed back to Arizmendi before the Arends left the Bay Area for home. What a fantastic Spring Break!