Gearing Up … Already!

OH, MY. IT CAN’T BE—REALLY? I CANNOT believe that on Monday, it will be May already—where on earth did all the time go?? Yikes.

But, this is an exciting time, too! A dear and fantastically artistic friend, Katie Crawford, has returned to our little corner Katie Crawfordof the world and will be talking about getting back in the saddle artisticly- and creatively-speaking tonight (Friday, 28th of May). The next thing on her agenda will be to teach all that attend her Saturday workshop how to make needle-felted creatures. Oh, you can bet I’ll be there! Then, she’s off—heading back to the East Coast to her husband and studio to paint and create her felted critters (they are so adorable).

But that’s not all … my mystery writer friend and cohort, Joyce Oroz has been working in the background trying to “level the playing field” so our book signings aren’t so lopsided—all of our book signing packed into the last quarter of the year can be exhausting (and frustrating). She’s working on peppering them throughout the year. I really should be helping scout out potential venues (oopsie) …

… and the first two are consecutive weekends in May. A new-to-us event is literally just around the corner on Joyce Oroz and dj jameson smithSaturday, the 6th of May at the Guglielmo Winery Vendor Faire in Morgan Hill from 11am-4pm. There will be arts, crafts, jewelry and more (teehee—I think we’re the “more” …) at this outdoors event. I’m excited to get into a new area and see how well it’s attended. Hopefully we’ll see some of you there!

The next one, held on Saturday, 13th of May, is a well established event—the Aromas Country Garden Tour, showcasing beautiful gardens in the Aromas area with various Aromas Hills Artisan members and their creations stationed within each garden. Joyce and I will have our signed books available for purchase. You start out at the Aromas Grange to get the list of homes on the tours (small fee to help support the event), then make your way to each garden. All I can say is, I believe we’re IN town near the Grange. Each artist is mentioned in the list/map, along with the garden they’re “hosting” on the map, so you’ll know where we are once you have the map in hand.

There is a third (new) event lined up, but not until July, at the La Selva Library. The out- and indoor event (our booth will be indoors), Books and Brew’s La Selva Beach Festival will be held on Saturday, 29th of July from 10am-4pm. There will be Arts, Crafts, Books, Plants, Produce & Flowers Sale … in addition to music, food, microbrews, prize drawing & kids’ activities. Again, this will be a new venue for the two of us, so it will be fun to see how well-attended it is.

After that, things quiet down for a couple months—at least for now, then start to heat up again (for me) in late September … on into mid-December. I’ll keep you in the loop if and when any new events pop up … and when the planned ones are happening. Promise.

May this weekend and the upcoming week be blessed—we’ll finally have some warmer weather (yay) to look forward to. Enjoy your week.

 

A Little Shout-Out

WELL … I’M BUSTIN’ MY BUTTONS—Jackson Horvat did an excellent job of the interview with me. Thank you so much, Jackson! This young man is in high school—the interviews he’s been doing are part of a school project—but more importantly, he’s a published author with Inknbeans Press. A darned good one, too. His genre is science fiction and you can find his books here and at Inknbeans Press … and information about him here.

My interview—the first one in quite a while—can be found here. And along with that lovely interview, I’m finally getting the energy and my creative “mojo” back—sweet! I’m seriously diving back into working on editing book one in the Secrets Beyond Scymaria series so Inknbeans Publishing can publish it. If you recall, I withdrew the first two books from Xlibris last August and assumed I’d have the first book published with Inknbeans Press by January, 2017. Oopsie. I’m also still working on book four, editing it so it too can finally be published. And … my characters have started to breath down my neck, waiting for me to open the file up for book five. It’s time to get their newest story finished.

To celebrate all of this—especially for those of you that have yet to purchase any of the books (or wish to make gifts of the series to friends and family)—beginning Wednesday, April 5, 2017 I am having my first ever, honest-to-goodness book sale at my SquareMarket store! I’m still dotting all the i’s and crossing the t’s … but by the 5th, I should be rarin’ to go.

So my friends, Spring is here. It’s going to be a wonderful season in my life. I certainly hope it is the same with you! Have a wonderful day! May your day and weeks ahead be blessed … may you find serendipity around the corner. Oh … next week will be a photo-blog … I can feel it in my bones (insert mischievous grin here).

 

Gally One and What IS This Crazy Weather …?

[Dear Readers: My apologies for the length of this blog—no good spot to cut it. Sigh.]

WELL, IT’S BEEN A VERY INTERESTING TWO weeks. Between threats of major storms, I managed to make it down to The LAX Travelodge—reasonable traffic (considering it’s LA), not bad accommodations and service for what we needed. And not too bad a walk (0.5mile—three long blocks) to the event hotel—Marriott at LAX. That is … if my knee wasn’t throwing fits and the wind was trying to turn my umbrella inside out. Still, all in all, it was not bad.

I left home on Wednesday and made my ritual over-night stop at Lebec, hoping I would be in good enough shape to trudge around taking pictures—beautiful mountainous countryside. Mmm … not if I wanted to keep my camera dry and me upright. Fits of rain intermingled with bigger fits of wind (gusts) … and exhaustion kept me from playing with my good camera. I was going to take a few Blustery Skies ...shots from the window (a south-easterly view), but really not much of a view—18-wheelers were parked between the hotel and my view. Drats. Well, this one is from my return trip.

Since I ended up with loads of “chill-time” on my hands in Lebec, I caught up on what wasForcasting Rain happening at home via my iPhone and Facebook. The beginnings of a monster storm front started to dump rain … by the time I arrived in LA (actually, Inglewood) the next day, the front had hit the entire coast line—including LA. It only took a little over 1.5 hrs to get to the Travelodge from Lebec and thankfully they were able to accommodate my early arrival (yay). So I settled in and leisurely Dr. Who Paraphinalia unpacked before trudging up to the Marriott. Registration officially opened at 3pm … so I wandered around up in the Lobby for a bit before heading downstairs—plenty to do. By the time I got down there, they were already allowing people through (around 2:15-ish). Score! No queuing, no waiting! Lovely.

Whilst waiting in the faux-line, I met two gentlemen from Canada. After I was asked a few questions—I won’t say what, as John will probably use the same ones next year … we exchanged con ribbons—not my first since I was activelyRibbon Collecting Begins seeking people out up in the Lobby to share my ribbons (and hope to get some in exchange). John and Jake turned out to be hilarious—quick, dry wit that had me in stitches. We ran into each other over and over all weekend—and they had new costumes for each day. Jake did purchase all three of my books on Saturday—I was ecstatic! If he likes them, he promised to do a review and spread the word up in Canada! Yay! Saturday was the “dress your best” day—costumes were absolutely magnificent on everyone!

I nearly forgot the two Thursday events: trip to the local InNOut Burger place (unofficial)—poor locals never know what hit ’em—and Ice Cream Social Ice Cream Socialthe ice cream social (official) … both were tons of fun (but I cheated—took a taxi A Sneak Peek at Dealer's Roomto and from the InNOut Burger spot … I vividly remember the walk last year—LOL).

Captain Jack

Captain Jack

The costuming all weekend was amazing—especially on Awesome Weeping AngelSaturday as I mentioned. Weeping Angles (very few this year, but that made the ones I saw more special), tons of different Osgood or Zygon ...? Third DoctorDoctors, oodles of Amys, Daleks, TARDIS costumes in various shapes and sizes, a delightful K-9 Lovely Cardboard K-9(full size, but of cardboard and pulled about on a leash), Osgood … oooh, the list goes on. This year, I chose to not cosplay, but rather wear a hodge-podge of Dr. Who things: 4th Doctor’s hat and scarf, question mark pin (I didn’t realise so many doctors used that—three of them to be precise … do you A Bevy of Doctors Sutek and Mummiesknow which ones without googling it?), bow tie of the 9th My "Cosplay" AttireDoctor, vest of Sarah Jane … etc. I left the Osgood lab coat in my bag—no glasses (they broke the week before I left) to make it official. I also left Sarah Jane’s raincoat behind. I didn’t want to be lugging it around—no cloak room. Next year … I plan on making my cosplay outfits (only two) much more special. Next year—that is, if I’m able to manage scoring a pass …

I did have an umbrella—a Doctor Who “special” umbrella (insert huge grin) Dr. Who Umbrella-Inside Dr. Who Umbrella-Outsidethat I found a rubber tip for (I used it as a cane on Thursday—oh, yeah … I’ll explain that later) I finally got to use it asUmbrella ... and Crutch an umbrella on Friday and Saturday. It’s gorgeous—and huge! I didn’t need any other protection and stayed relatively dry—once I worked out how to keep it from becoming a “rain collector” (sniggle) and still keep the rain off.

I scoped out the Dealers Room as early on as I couldDr. Who Pins and found my two missing pins for myA Sneak Peek at Dealers Room hat—the War Doctor and 12th Doctor (Capaldi). Yay! That made me happy!

My buddies that came down late had awesome costumes! Renée was a very posh Dalek and Pam had a dress with the exploding TARDIS. Friends' Cosplay OutfitsMichelle chose to be neutral—she’s not into cosplay, which is perfectly fine! She and I did a number of the talks together … we only occasionally saw Pam or Renée (at Gally) since they had their own agendas for the talks.

Ood

Gallifrey One was amazing, running smoothly throughout the weekend. The all-volunteer staff did a marvelous job. Kudos—to all of them—for their tireless work that made the event such a fun time. I didn’t do Best Doctor Cosplay Ever What Can You Do With Ribbons??Queen Elisabeth or Zygon ?? Dalek Ood and Nurseany of the autograph or photo sessions like I did last year as I was feeling a bit “poor”—unwilling to spend the money for the opportunities. I did attend quite a few talks, both in the main room and auxiliary rooms.  And … unfortunately, I did not go on Sunday. My injured knee (remember the “caned” umbrella? That was not a Ooooh!prop—I trashed my knee … and ankles at the end of January), using a cane instead of the crutch for two days and all the walking took its toll on yours truly. So instead, I packed up my bags, put them in the car and headed home—I was going to try to do it in one day, but knew I needed the down-time in Lebec, so I made reservations at “my” Motel 6.

My trip home was relatively uneventful … Leaving LebecStop For BreakfastOminous Cloudsuntil I was about fifteen minutes away from my house. Flooding, downed trees/power lines and road closures from slides Accumulation of Rain (Wed-Mon)Flooded CulvertDowned Trees—Across Power LinesMore Downed Trees On My StreetUmbrella Damage Umbrella Damage Umbrella Damagebrought the highway to a standstill. I attempted to take alternate routes, but the country roads couldn’t handle the amount of rain and were completely flooded, so back to the highway to wait it out with everyone else. It took over an hour to drive a normally 15-minute drive. I came home to no power and a boil water notice. A tree came down and took out the water pipe for our little community. They had it fixed by the time I got home, but contaminants were in the system (my neighbor had told me to just stay where I was, but I really just wanted to come home, so I had steeled myself for the worst). It wasn’t too bad—that’s what blankets, coats and bottled water are for … and power was back on 24 hours after I got home (still on a Boil Water order … hope that ends soon because hand-washing dishes with boiled water is a nuisance). A glass-topped table with an opened umbrella toppled over. Only damage was to the umbrella (yay) and an aluminum ladder that mysteriously moved in the winds. There’s lots of very soggy ground so I’m treading lightly. I consider myself extremely lucky. No, let me amend that comment—I am blessed. There’s no luck involved.

Many people have standing water—or even literally running water—rushing through their homes. The roads are not just flooded, but in many cases the foundation of the road has given way and whole sections of road are gone. In the case of Big Sur, slides and flooding are the least of the problem—one bridge near Pfeiffer has been deemed unsafe and will need to come down and rebuilt. Our area is not the only area that has been inundated by the storms. Dams and roads in Oroville, San Jose and Yosemite (to name o few) have been compromised with flooding and erosion. Getting out from under all of this damage is going to take time  … and money—lots of it—and I’m not sure California has planned for a catastrophe of this magnitude.

I still have to clean up around my property plus empty out my refrigerator and freezer—”better to be safe than sorry” is the adage I’m holding on to—then make a trip to the dump to toss the spoiled food. We have a few days respite before the next round comes.

My biggest concern is that I live on a hill … I’m praying that my hillside stays put.

Dear readers, please enjoy your Friday and the coming week. If you’re a praying sort, please pray for California and all of the effected residents—for their safety, for dams to hold back their burgeoning water supply and for this rain to slow to a trickle for the remainder of the rainy season.

The drought is over for the majority of the state—a blessing. Have a serendipitous week, my friends.

 

 

 

2016 … The End Is Nigh

IT’S THAT TIME AGAIN … THE SAND FOR 2016 has almost run out. I’ve only a few more blogs to do before the closing of the year. I’m surprised I’ve managed to produce one weekly (well, almost). These last few months have been crazy. I knew they would be. I almost burned out—but not quite—from five-plus weekends of book signings and a lovely OGS Artist Showcase party (and a few personal and holiday fun things I squeezed in—I just cannot say no to fun with friends and family!) … leaving me with only one more event coming up tomorrow (that’s Dec 10th at Aptos Grange, Aptos CA folks)—and a mere three blogs to conjure after today before 2016 expires.

I’m ready for it—for all of it! I still have my initial edit for book four to finish (then begin the re-writes) and my publisher will be sending me a first “re-edit” (actually, first truly professional edit) of book one for my perusal—gotta get that back asap so we can get it back into publication! And for my event tomorrow, I worked my fingers to the bone all week trying to get the Christmas cards done—I was so excited that I was able to use images taken two nights in a row at the Christmas at the Inns in Pacific Grove. The Bed and Breakfasts and Inns were splendiferously dressed for the occasion. Beautiful. And yummy goodies to nibble on, too. My favourite was the Jaberwock Inn … for obvious reasons. And I had so much fun turning a slew of photos into lovely faux watercolour images. They all turned out very nice (insert huge grin).

I did not reach the 50,000 word goal for NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). I was about 20,000 words short, but that’s okay. I’m super excited about where the story is headed. I was going to the NaNo TGIO (thank God it’s over) Party last Sunday, but was too exhausted from a combo of some personal fun and work-related stuff on Friday and Saturday. Sunday turned into a day of rest. I had printed up an excerpt to read—re-reading it was fun … oh, yeah! So sad I didn’t get to share it. Maybe I will later … maybe. Book five is going to be suspenseful. Definitely.

Tomorrow, Joyce Oroz and I will be in Aptos at the Grange—along with quite a few other vendors—hawking our wares: Josephine Stuart Mysteries series (I think she has eight) for Joyce and my Secrets Beyond Scymaria series (books one-three). I think we’re the only ones with books, but I will also have my art. I was told “no photos—we’ve already got three photographers”. I was given permission to sell art and my photopolymer prints (plus … well, I haven’t talked to the contact about my Christmas cards … but I’m sure they’ll be fine because they are “watercolour” vs straight-up photos).

Don’t freak out but … do you realise there’s only sixteen days till Christmas (eeeek!) and fifteen days till the beginning of Hanukkah? Sniggle … on that note—before I close, I want to wish you a blessed Friday and week ahead. Try to stay focused on the reason for the season rather than the craziness all around you.

What’s Right In the World-Part One

SO OFTEN, YOU HEAR ALL THE naysayers and doomsday “promoters” spouting off about what’s wrong in our world today or that the end will surely happen soon. I’m not sure about you but I, for one, am so tired of hearing negatives—especially in the political arena. Whether it’s about the candidates … or about our president-elect, our environment or simply about the people around us. I am tired of it. All of it.

Shutting out all that noise is difficult when it is at everywhere—on the radio, television, plastered across all of the different social media … even as you walk down the street and in coffee shops as you try to sip your beverage of choice in peace. Conversations bleed over into your personal space, into your mind. It seems there is no escaping it.

But, I find that I do have a choice—even with the negatives constantly bombarding me at every turn. I choose to close my mind to it. I do not let it take up residence in my thoughts. I find ways to replace those thought and images with something—anything—more positive.

I’ve got some amazing friends that put me to shame in the “making right choices” department. One young man—a local—I “friended” on Facebook is a perfect example that few of us could mange to emulate. But, that said, he makes sure that there are opportunities for those with less energy to help out. Todd has an non-profit—Change A Heart Foundation—that he created for various projects he has going—mini-homes for the homeless in the states, trips to Tijuana to build homes for the destitute, digging wells for those with non-potable water in Africa … and he is always looking for funds or willing souls to help out—people wanting to take some time away from their busy schedules or money to help those less fortunate.

I have friends that donate their time to deliver Meals-On-Wheels meals, library books, or simply to check on those that are home-bound. Our church has a really cool and easy way to help others—it’s our benevolence fund … singles (one-dollar bills) collected each week in the offering tray go towards helping others in need—to pay bills, buy groceries, pay for much needed repairs. It adds up fast and we’ve been able to help so many in such a simple way. For me, it’s so easy to tuck away those dollar bills I get back as change from breaking a larger bill. It may be just one … or four at a time, but in time, it adds up and honestly, I don’t notice them. Perhaps a dollar is too much for you (or your kids). Pennies—or change of any sort—can be handled in the same way. Put a jar where it’s easily seen … and at the end of the day, empty your pockets or purse of any and all change into the jar. You will be pleasantly surprised at how much has accumulated at the end of a month (but don’t hoard it, share it—take it to your nearby church and ask it be used for a benevolence fund, or to a homeless shelter, or to a battered women’s shelter—the choices (unfortunately) are endless … which one you decide to contribute to is your choice.

The above are only suggestions. Hopefully they will trigger some ideas for you. If not, next week I’ll finish off with some specific ways you can use your time and/or money to help others.

Until then, look around you. What do you see? Shut out the negatives and look for the positives—little things you can do to make a difference. May your day and the weeks ahead be filled with joy … and insight.

{Sorry … as my month ramps up, I must do a little promo for my books and art/photography—if you’re in town, please stop by and say hi!}

Thursday-Friday 10-11 November 10am-4pm
Watsonville Hospital Craft Fair, Conference Rms, 75 Neilson St, Watsonville (Joyce will be there with our books on Friday, but I’ll be leaving early to go set up at the Elks Craft Fair—see below—with my art and our books)

Friday-Sunday 11-13 November 1pm-7pm
Watsonville Elks Craft Fair, 121 Martinelli St, Watsonville

Saturday-Sunday 19-20 November 10am-5pm
Aromas Hills Artisans Holiday Faire, Aromas Grange, Aromas

Friday-Sunday 25-27 November 9am-5pm
Gilroy Elks Holiday Craft Fair, 2765 Hecker Pass Hwy, Gilroy

That’s all, folks … hopefully I’ll be able to get enough words written between all this craziness to reach my 50,000 word goal in my NaNoWriMo endeavor. Cheers. Have a blessed week.


 

Traveling Light-Part Four

FINALLY … WE GET TO THE REASON I started this whole

Welcome to Memphis

Welcoming sign at Steve’s home

series. My trip revolved around lugging my books all the way to Memphis, to the Mid-South Book Festival.

It was quite an affair. But, as usual, I’m getting ahead of myself. Though my main purpose was to attend the Festival and meet all my fellow “Beans”, I had grand visions (or was it delusions …) of traipsing all over the countryside, snapping impressive photos of the area. Except, the stifling temperatures on top of the oppressive humidity turned me into a sweaty puddle of I-don’-wanna-do-it … meaning I had extra days (aka extra and unnecessary room charges—sigh …) with no real benefit.

You know what they say about best laid plans … yup.

So … I chilled (literally) in my air-conditioned room and drove in my air-conditioned car, but never stepped foot into the world of Memphis prior to our events, except to go into grocery stores, purchasing simple, microwavable food to sustain me. I was pretty disappointed in myself for not being adventurous enough to deal with the weather. Not having the right clothes—and fearing mosquito bites (I understand they rival the Minnesota variety in their ability to haul off their prey … and I have a tendency to swell up badly when they attack)—all of that did have a bearing on me not wanting to be out in nature.

My driving around came in handy, though. I checked out the AirBnb place we were all going to stay on Friday and knew several routes to and from my hotel to that location … and knew where grocery stores were in close proximity to the AirBnb, so I was helpful to others once they did arrive.

Our AirBnb DigsOur digs and our neighbourhood were wonderful—actually, over the top. I’m not sure everyone had an opportunity to poke around the neighbourhood, but … oh, my. Gorgeous homes. In my area, they would have gone for a cool million at the low end. There was plenty of room for everyone at our AirBnb—there were seven or eight of us staying

Jackson & Gregg

chilling at our AirBnb digs.

there (can’t remember), with a large living room for us to gather and talk, a door to close off the sleeping area so not to disturb the early-to-bed folks (as long as we remembered to shut the door, that is … teehee!) and two eating areas. We were only 20-or so minutes from our venue, which was perfect. And only a stones throw (mmm … ten to fifteen minutes) from our “host” Bean, Steve Gibbs. Our “Boss Bean” stayed with the Gibbs and we had a lovely dinner there after the crazy Saturday event, finally meeting his beautiful (in all ways, inside and out), vivacious wife as these two gracious people opened their home to us.

Having settled into our new digs, we got fancified for the Friday night meet ‘n greet (I can’t believe I have no photos of that night).  Delicious food (I especially loved the alligator—considering I couldn’t have the two shellfish items … serious pout here), great entertainment and of course, time to get to know my fellow “Beans” from Inknbeans Press much better.

The next day started early—trying to get all of us showered and ready for the day was a challenge, but we were up to the task. Books, extraneous promo material, authors and publisher piled into a three cars to keep the nightmare of finding parking to a minimum. After arriving, we unloaded our paraphernalia into our

More Inknbeans Press Authors

L-R: Candy Ann, Robin and Kitty

designated spot and set up under a massive tent, set up in the middle of a side street, just off the main drag through town. Who-knows how many authors and publisher … and a few sales venues gathered underneath. There was a group of high school musicians wandering around, playing jazzy-bluesy music the whole time—

Jazz Band

Our entertainment whilst we sold our wares …

quite good, but they settled down in front of us for a bit and made it impossible for us to hear or converse with passers-by. Situated at the back corner, we garnering the brunt wind—which was perfectly okay by me.  It was what kept me from literally melting into one large puddle. Seriously.

Inknbeans Press Authors

L-R:Candy Ann, Kitty, Steve, Jackson (and his dad, Gregg)

And, it allowed me to wander around (with my camera, of course) to stretch my legs during the event without turning into a big puddle. You will find those (and a couple more) photos at the end of this blog. My apologies—I culled quite a few, leaving very few to share.

Our youngest author, Jackson (age 17) did great guns selling his two books. He made the rest of us look pathetic, but I’m all for how well he did. I think I tied with another author in sales, but I’m not really counting. This whole experience, though expensive, put us into a new “reader pool”, getting the word out on our titles, no matter how many we sold. An expensive promotion for me, but I had a blast, was able to meet some of the authors at Inknbeans Press and enjoyed meeting our “Boss” again. I could not be happier with my decision. I’m so glad I’m part of the Hill of Beans.

I was the only one to stay on, with my flight not scheduled till Monday afternoon, so I came back to the hotel where I planted myself for one more night. I spent the afternoon and evening packing and repacking in preparation for my (thankfully uneventful) flights home.

As much fun as I had, I was definitely glad to be home … it’s always good to come home after traveling for any length of time.

Have a blessed Friday and weekend. I’ll be gearing up for some deadlines that are looming: NaNoWrimo is upon us with planned meet-ups, preparation for the annual member exhibition at Open Ground Studios and quite a few book signings in tandem with my art.

Textures-Pampas Grass Memphis ReflectionsJazz/Blues Band


 

 

 

An Update

OCTOBER IS WINDING DOWN to its last week, with Halloween and All Saints Day literally on the heels of each other and Thanksgiving Day not all that far away. The year is winding down—sometimes I feel it happens way too fast. There’s no time to enjoy all the special things that happen just before winter sets in.

We don’t have much “colour-changing” going on here, with all the oak trees, manzanita and pines. My “old-growth” manzanita, with its gnarly, flaky red trunks usually stand out more during this time of the year, but most of them have died in this drought-ravaged area. Now they stand bent and grey; leafless skeletons. I’m not sure if it’s age or disease that’s taken them, but I’m sad to see so many dead. I do have many young manzanita scattered around the yard, but they don’t have the character the older ones possessed. There are a few California laurel that give an occasional spray of red berries … but

Persimmonsit’s my persimmon tree and its fruit that is my one true indicator of the changing season. And this year, the fruit is ripening–plentiful and early. I will be fighting with the squirrels and birds to harvest some for my traditional persimmon puddings, but it will be worth the battle (I may go out today and pull some beforePersimmons-2013 they are fully ripe to ensure at least one or two batches).

I’ve been able to enjoy myself these last few weeks, doing personal, fun things. I’ve been to an outdoor theatre to watch a Shakespeare play (teehe–in the rain), have had several lovely dinners with friends and family … and simply Pumpkin Patchrelaxed at home, puttering around—and spent the time at a few pumpkin patches. I’ve even been free of medical appointments! It’s been lovely.  Our church puts on a trunk or treat event for the kids in the neighbourhood and I’m hopin’ to go. Hope it doesn’t rain. I’ve even planned on attending a Halloween party at a friend’s house this weekend. Haven’t had time to do one of those in years.

But this idyllic time is about to come to an end. November brings National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), a time for “writers’ abandon” … though I’m not source about that—I’m thinking more like “writers’ frenzy” since trying to juggle serious writing with book

National Novel Writing Month

Pencils sharpened, computer charged…ready to go, with only eleven days to go!

signings is going to be interesting … to say the least! Yup. November also brings all of the craft fairs out of the woodworks. Joyce and I signed up for quite a few … we’ve added a few new venues, in hopes of spreading the word about our books.

My friends … it may not look like much, but these four events are going to keep Joyce and I very busy this month. If you’ve got time, please stop by and take a gander at plethora of goodies for sale. There is greater detail of each event on my business Facebook page, so feel free to check that out.

Thursday-Friday, Nov 10-11
Holiday Craft Faire
10am-6pm at Watsonville Hospital
75 Neilson Street, Watsonville CA
Friday-Sunday, Nov 11-13
Holiday Crafts

9am-5pm at Watsonville Elks Lodge
121 Martinelli St, Watsonville, CA
Saturday-Sunday, Nov 19-20
Aromas Hills Artisans’ Holiday Faire

10am-5pm at the Aromas Grange
400 Rose Ave, Aromas, CA

Friday-Sunday, Nov 25-27
Gilroy Elks Holiday Craft Faire
9am-5pm at the Gilroy Elks Lodge
2765 Hecker Pass Hwy, Gilroy, CA

So … there’s the craziness for the month of November—with me trying to find time to work on my NaNoWriMo project in between all of these events.

Have a fun and safe Halloween celebration. And a blessed Thanksgiving, hopefully a joyful time with family and/or friends. I will try my best to get blogs out on time each Friday over the next four weeks.


 

Traveling Light-Part Two

TRAVELING CAN BE FUN … EVEN exciting. But, there are certain things that can freak me out.

American Airlines has been great so far. Courteous staff at every point. Once on the plane, technical difficulties with the safety video required a flight attendant to do a “manual” run through—done cheerfully, in a very animated fashion with occasional “I’m watching you” hand signals to someone behind me, which made me giggle—and then he asked if there were questions. Very upbeat … but the electrical issues were reminiscent of one flight I don’t really want to repeat, leaving me a wee bit on edge. One of these days, I’ll tell that story, but not now. Apparently only about four of the monitors worked in sync on my flight, with the whole right

Monitors on the Blink

Note the monitors … not in sync

bank freezing and the rest alternating between being blank or frozen. Glad it wasn’t an international flight … and I do pity those who are digital or entertainment dependent. Yes, I had my iPhone (I used it to work on my blog), but I also had an old-school notebook. I could just as easily use that (if needed). As it turned out … I did get hooked on a tv show special with four celebs (William Shatner, Henry Winkler, George Foreman and Terry Bradshaw—strange combo, eh?) and their “handler” as they toured a few Asian countries. It was actually rather hilarious. Once it was over I pulled off my headphones and turned to other things.

The upbeat and delightfully cheery attendants took my mind off that flight from long ago and I forgot all about my past experience. I was actually able to get some thoughts on paper (a quiet little yay-yay … hip-hip-hurray from this corner—turns out it was over 2300 words!). Between written

Dry with Snow Caps

Tiniest bit of snow on the otherwise brown mountain-scape

thoughts, I watched the change of scenery—it is amazing to see the drastic transformation of the

Dry, Dry ...

Dry & brown …

landscape as one crosses from the west coast to Tennessee (with a stop in Dallas/Ft. Worth). Dry and brown (mostly) into mountainous, to green valleys, with plenty of cloud formations … and the closer we approached my destination,

Green Patches

LOL … I see a Pacman amongst these circles …

water in the form of lakes, streams and ponds abound. Ooh, do I ever covet that water … California is so Beautiful Mountainsdry—tinder dry and there is so much of it that has burned … or is burning even as I write this. Still.  I pray for rain, every day. Weather fronts have taunted California Clouds ... image imagewith the possibilities, only to peter out to nothing …

But—oh, boy— I digress. Back to traveling.

Trying to remember all the necessities —and the few comforts—necessary to make the trip is important. Things (at least for me) like a cervical neck pillow are pretty handy, especially since this was my first long trip after my neck surgery—and I forgot mine (pout). A list is an excellent idea (especially for me … which I did not do—note to self: make a list … check it twice …), listing essentials like medications, a full list of the electronic devices AND their chargers you want to take, itineraries, airline approved snacks (sealed, prepackaged usually works) …

Everybody’s list will be different. For me, I need to remember my camera and computer … plus all the accessories that entails. It’s no fun getting to your destination and realising you’ve left an important item back home. Some items can, of course, be purchased at your destination … if you don’t mind wasting time making the purchase and the redundancies once you get back home—or the added cost. Others may be unobtainable (especially medications if you are flying out of state or out of country) unless you visit a doctor at your destination, or too expensive, so make that list … and check it twice—if you’re a list maker, that is. I certainly find it useful—when I remember to make one …

A great flight (actually both ways) and great flight attendants made this flying journey doable, even though there was turbulence and electronic glitches for them to solve and quite a few things I forgot. Next time, I’ll talk about my adventures in Tennessee. T’was a wonderful time.

Tomorrow I’ll be camped out at Compass Church in Salinas selling my books and art. Until next week, I wish blessings of the day—and week—on you. Have a serendipitous day and week.

8 October 2016 • 9 am – 4 pm
Harvest Jubilee at Compass Church
Books, Art, Crafts, Food and Fun
1044 S. Main St • Salinas CA

 

 

 

Traveling Light-Part One

THE INFO IN THIS PARTICULAR series of blogs is probably more for the “infrequent flyer”, rather than for those that fly regularly. But there are some fun tongue-in-cheek comments and stories peppered throughout, so give it a read, no matter what your flying status/prowess may be.

It’s been so long (well over a year for this traveler) since I’ve flown. It’s not my favourite way to travel—give me a car … or a chance to ride a train and I’ll jump at the opportunity every single time. But when time and/or funds necessitate flying, it’s a good thing the flying-option is available. Personally, I hate all the queues (standing still is hard on me). And the impatient waiting and grumpiness (not me … I just chill and smile—sniggle … I’m probably one of the reasons people grumble—too much cheeriness). One can get so much further in life by smiling and complimenting—puts people you’re dealing with more at ease and for some reason, they are more helpful—go figure.

Flying comes with certain rules. For me, it’s trying to remember all the rules and etiquette … it’s so much fun with my lousy memory. And of course, there are changes happening all the time due to changing safety issues and such … and, each airline has their own set of rules that may be different from other airlines. That’s where checking into the airline website has its payoffs. Knowing the different

On Your Mark

Traveling light—not this time …

things like allowable bag size for carry-ons (it’s changed—or will be changing soon) or how many bags are allowed and what you can and cannot have in your carry-on are important. Some rules are TSA motivated, others are specific to the airline. Make sure to know the facts. I sniggled at the announcement made whilst waiting for one leg of my flight—”your Samsung 7 must remain in the off position while in-flight due to newly discovered hazards” (exploding cellphone batteries are not such a good thing) … you just never know what their new rules will be. Glad my cell phone is an older model iPhone …

The kiosks at individual airlines for pre-registeration are still something that confound me—at least for a wee bit, every single time. I always get there early so I’m not rushed through the process—or worried about making it through the queue in time. One must use them before turning in luggage—yes, there’s queues for everything. One to do the ticket, one to weigh and turn your luggage in … then you wander off to your gate—wherever that might be. Still haven’t figured out what the “main” counter is actually for these days … it’s manned, and there are people up there—what they are doing, I’m not sure.

I usually fly United (at least for my last couple of trips). This time around, I’m on American Airlines. I booked it through AAA because I didn’t want to take the time to figure out all the options by myself. This was the best rate with reasonable layover times. American has different rules … and they charge for each bag you check. I usually travel very light and would simply carry on my bag, so that would have been free—and means I don’t have to wait for my luggage at the other end (if it shows up—more on that later). In the past, United didn’t charge for their first bag—haven’t checked their rules, since I’m flying AA this time. But, this

Some layovers are great—look! Outlets at each seat!

Some layovers are great! Look! Outlets at each seat!

time around, I’m not so lightly packed. Purse, one carry-on (backpack with computer, camera and electronic charging paraphernalia) plus two checked bags … oooh, it adds up, but it’s still cheaper for me to check my rolly with sixty books and other promotional material than to ship them to the destination. Plus a bag for all my personal stuff. Worth it. Yup. And by doing two bags, I kept each well under the fifty pound limit, allowing for purchases in and around Memphis. I will be buying books—that is a given … after all, I’m going to be at a book festival all day … right?

Next week I’ll delve more into travel—we’ll get to the actual reason for my travel in the third installment … I hope (sniggle). For now … I’ll be spending the rest of this week and all of next week getting ready for the Harvest Jubilee, with my art and books on sale at the Main Street campus of Compass Church. Maybe I’ll see you there! Have a blessed Friday and weekend.

Authors’ Book Signing and Art
Compass Church’s Harvest Jubilee
Saturday October 8 • 9am-3pm
1044 S. Main St Salinas CA 93901

 

 

Reflections of a different sort

I’M A SUCKER FOR ANYTHING in nature reflecting back in a body of water, or in any reflective surface for that matter! Makes me melt for some reason. The momentary capture of such magnificence … a camera can capture the technical aspect, but there’s more … and it’s hard to explain.

There are other kinds of reflections … the obvious one is of mental images and thoughts. That’s another kettle of fish, isn’t it? So much can be gained from this kind of reflection. Looking back. Evaluating. I’ve had an opportunity to do a little of this in the past few months. No, actually, lots! (Insert severe eye roll here … teehee).

So much has happened to me—and to the world around me in the last four-ish months. I grumble at how slow the healing process seems to be (it isn’t really … just feels that way). Then I look at the absolutely insane craziness of politics, the injustices occurring with our military personnel, in our Native American and  the African-American communities throughout the United States, … I’m sure you are aware of it all. It makes me take a closer look at the depth—and insignificance—of my own problems. Yes, I’m having issues … but compared with what’s happening with friends and their friends, and in the world—it’s nothing. And I am slowly improving. I need to keep reminding myself of this. This is my reflection. Healing, focus is returning … I’m nearly back to normal and I thank God for what I do have.

As I begin to write this … early in the week, I look ahead at my own crazy week. By the time I post this, I’ll be half-way across the country preparing for what will hopefully be a very fruitful trip; meeting new people, perhaps purchasing new books and scoping out potential new venues (aka: bookstores) for my books.

Much has been invested into this trip. Time, money … energy. I’ve probably put far more into this than I will see back. At least in the immediately future. I keep reminding myself I am doing this because I love writing—not for money. I’ve spent a lot of brain cells, sleepless nights, worry … and energy to get my series where it is. And I am hoping that this will be another step forward in presenting my story to the world at large. It’s all very exciting.

I’ve definitely stepped out of my comfort zone—all my book signings to date have been no more than an hour from my home base. This is a huge leap for me. I’m in the heartland of our country. A whole new world for me. Reflecting back on when I started this little endeavor—so many years ago, I never imagined it would get this far. It was just a nice little story that wouldn’t leave me alone. It needed to be written down … and the story still begs to be written, just not as urgently at the moment (that’s the focus issue … but as I’ve said, that’s improving). I look forward to the day when I start complaining of lack of sleep because my characters won’t leave me alone.

I’m thrilled that people enjoy my story. Most writers wonder whether their book (and all the angst that goes into writing it) is worth the effort. I know I speak for many writers when I say that it’s delightful to be validated with sales and positive feedback from readers (a heartfelt thank you! to those who have purchased one or more of my books).

Writers—as well as artists—have this critic sitting inside their head … your work is lamewhy bothernobody’s going to get what you’re trying to say … it can be very frustrating. Reviews are great—not only to inform other readers (an excellent tool!) of how good the book you just read is, but also to validate your favourite writer and keep them writing. Believe me—they do read every single review. Some they lament over, but most help bolster their will to keep writing—to go on to publish for the public.

For me, I look back at where I started … and where I’ve landed and am happy with what I see. The learning curve was steep (sometimes I think it still is—insert severe eye roll here) but it’s been a fun ride and I know it will continue to be so.

What this all boils down to is … my past love of writing has brought me to this:  a weekend where I get to rub elbows with a bunch of cool authors—both Inknbean Press authors and others—and meet other book press representatives … and who knows what else. It will be a new experience—and if you’ve been following my blog, you know I love new experiences.

Until next week, have a blessed week … no matter what happens.

If you’re in the area: Mid-South Book Festival
Playhouse on the Square, Memphis Tennessee.
Saturday, 11 September … rain or shine! Come on down!

Life’s Stages

SOMETIMES I FIND MYSELF STUMBLING through life, taking falls, picking myself up, dusting myself off and plodding forward, hoping to make it to the end of the day in one piece. Other times, it’s as if the seas part—there’s not one obstacle in my path and I’m almost flying … with exuberant joy through the day.

As a young adult, I must confess, I was pretty myopic. Very unaware of anything that didn’t directly impact me. Completely naive of the terrors in the world, seeing only the good in everyone. A flower child if there ever was one, wearing rose-coloured glasses.

I’d like to say that I’ve held on to that glass-half-full optimism about most people and the rose-coloured glasses aren’t too far out of reach, but some skepticism has crept in, bit by bit as I’ve gotten older. Thankfully, still not bad, though.

Even as I aged (gracefully, I hope), I still found most people could be trusted and I’d willingly give my all to support them, whether friends, strangers or employers. I’m glad that helping others seems to come naturally. Doing what needs to be done. And I love doin’ it—even now. I’m not driven like some (who I admire for the fire in their hearts), but I will not waiver from the standards set by my parents. No compromising. No cutting corners. And if I promise to do something, my word is my bond. It will happen—unless I’m on my deathbed … it will happen (as long as I remember that I’ve made the commitment—I’ve taken to writing them into my calendar so I won’t forget!). There have been times that I wonder what on earth I was thinking, but since I said I’d do it, well … I did it—no backing out.

I don’t think that will ever change, no matter how old I get—at least, I certainly hope not. Things happen slower these days—that makes me laugh.  Yup … I’ve slowed down. A lot. Still getting things done … just a whole lot slower. Maybe a little too slow for some people, but that’s okay.

To steal a saying my daughter “coined” when she was just five (when we were pushing her to finish her food—she was such a slow eater … sniggle) … “I’m savouring it”, she’d say (where on earth does a five year old come up with a response like that?? LOL). I’m savouring it. Yes, indeed. I am savouring life with all its intricacies, ups and downs … and surprises. Serendipity at its best.

So I’m slower. That’s okay. It allows me to take more in. To savour everything I see. To stop and “smell the roses” …

Have you ever zoomed down the road, completely unaware of the things happening along the road side? Well, perhaps it’s time to slow down, take a look now and then to see just what is happening around you. Yup. To quote one of my favourite songs … “slow down, you’re movin’ to fast—gotta make the mornin’ last. Just kicking down the cobble stone …” (insert dreamy-eyed smile … yeah, love this song!) …

 

Hmmm. This is sounds vaguely familiar. Well, I’m not even going to check to see if I’ve already done a blog on this. Just enjoy my thoughts … and find the time to slow down. It will be worth your while. Believe me …

And, as I write this, I’m thinking ahead to the end of this month and into next month—life is going to get really busy, so I need to take my own advice and figure out how to keep chilled as I zip through my activities! WestEnd Celebration in Sand City CA 26-28 August (I’ve only committed to the 27th and will have my art and books there), then gear up for The trip to Memphis Tennessee for the Mid-South BookFest 9-11 September (I’ll be there with other authors from Inknbeans Press—it will be lovely to meet them all!), a women’s retreat (much needed personal time), Alzheimer’s Walk in Aptos CA on 24 September—something I try to do every year in memory of my dad … then October begins super craziness. Won’t even go into that. Yes. I need to make sure I slow down and smell the roses along the way through the remainder of August and all of September!

May your weekend and the upcoming week find you taking time to enjoy life, finding serendipity in your life. Peace to all of you.

 

 

may the Fourth be with you …

ONLY THREE MORE DAYS … and the celebration begins. It’s a big deal in my little may the Fourth be with youcorner of the world. I believe we’ll be celebrating the 240th birthday of our United States. (sorry … I love the Star Wars take on the saying … please forgive me.)

Salinas will have a fireworks display, safely confined to the Salinas Sports Complex (aka Salinas Rodeo Grounds) — one of the few towns to do so, since many counties have pretty much outlawed any type of fireworks. California remains a tinderbox and people can’t seem to play safely, which has caused unnecessary and devastating fires. Information for the celebration:
When: July Fourth. Gates open at 6 p.m. and the fireworks show will start at 9 p.m.
Where: Salinas Sports Complex
Cost: Free
Parking: $5

July 4th Flag

Click on image for full view

Monterey and Pacific Grove will have celebrations, too — along with probably a few others I’m not aware of. Pacific Grove will have a BBQ. My writers group, Central Coast Writers, will be participating in the annual Fourth of July Parade (and their famous BBQ/party following) in Monterey. I joined CCW in the Monterey parade last year … and plan on it again this year, though … though I’ll not sure how physically fit I’ll be, I’m determined to make it the whole length (less than a mile)! It will be fun. Many organizations walk in this parade … I can’t begin to list them all, but I do know (a little birdie told me) that the Pacific Repertory Theatre will be there — with the cast from Mary Poppins!

God Bless America

Please click on image for full view

Then there’s the lovely BBQ afterwards, with music, entertainment and lots of food to choose from (or bring your own picnic lunch). Grab a spot on the lawn at Colton Hall and join in on the celebration. This link has all the info about a pancake breakfast, the parade, the BBQ —and an evening concert— all wrapped up into one page.

I’ll try to take photos at the staging point (the only time I’ll see all —well, most, I guess— the different groups walking in the parade), along the parade route and at Colton Hall to share in the coming weeks.

So, until next time … may the Fourth be with you. Have a blessed Friday and extended holiday weekend. Stay safe.

Back in the Saddle

OH, IT DOES FEEL GOOD TO BE writing—and editing again. Moving forward in life—finally. I’ve finished the first edit of Mischiefmaker—I resorted to printing out the manuscript for my edits (I know—paper waster!!—but this is the best way for me to get things done). I did it when I first started this writing-a-book thing and found it to be so much easier for me than sitting in front of a computer, tethered to (or reliant upon) an electrical/electronic source.

I’ll take the written page over a digital screen any day—whether for editing or reading for pleasure. And, yes … I must eventually come back to the computer, but it’s to input changes and for a quick read-through before I print it out once again for the next round. Occasionally, I find myself forgetting about the written page and discover I’ve read ahead four or five pages without editing/correcting my work. I’m obviously still enjoying reading this story of mine. That’s a good thing, don’t you think?

As I was saying before I sidetracked myself (sniggle) … I am working on inputting the corrections for round one. I will read the whole story again with corrections in place, making notes of where I need additional changes as I go. Then, on to round two. Depending on how awful I feel round one was, I’ll do one of two things. Print it out, and dive into it once again … or, if it’s reasonably sound (not too sure it is at this point), I’ll print out copies for my beta readers to get input from them as I am working on taking the rough edges off in round two—it’s usually round three that goes to the beta readers, but maybe I’m improving enough to speed up the process (finally catching the newbie mistakes in the initial writing or round one) … so, we’ll see.

Maybe it’s the upcoming book signing that has me so jazzed about my editing (which I usually dread), or the upcoming surgery that has me up against a deadline … (yeah, probably the latter—teehee), but I’m thoroughly enjoying the time with my manuscript.

The book signing is a joint venture with my author friend, Joyce Oroz—a mystery writer. The Aromas Country Garden (and Art) Tour is on Saturday, May 14th from 10am-4pm (pick up maps for a small fee at the Aromas Grange)–date was recently changed due to rain. We will be joined by other Aromas Hills Artisans (AHA), peppered along the streets of Aromas in various gardens, waiting for people to venture in to admire the area flora—and our various art forms. Most of the AHA members are oil-acrylic-watercolour painters, ceramic & metal sculptors, jewelers, stained glass specialists, etc … whilst Joyce and I use our talents honing words. If you happen to be in the area—northern most portion of Monterey County, come visit Aromas and admire the flower/veggie and xeriscape gardens. Please take the time to see what the artists will have on display. I’m sure they will appreciate your visits to their booths. Joyce and I will be chatting with those that come through our chosen garden (pretty close to the center of town) and of course, we will have books to sell/sign.

From another page in my life, I’ve just given an okay to my publisher on a revamp of the cover of The Scymarian (and made a few corrections to the interior—errors that none of us caught the first time around) and that will head to production soon. Once I get this manuscript polished and wrapped in a bow for my publisher—and finish up with book four, I’ll begin to reclaim book one (and maybe book two) from my first publisher so Inknbeans Press can proceed with publishing it/them under their name. But that won’t happen until I’ve had a real professional edit done on book one (I do not consider the edit done by that publisher as professional by any means—I ended up going back through and correcting all their mistakes and found many more they’d missed). It’s all coming together … slowly, but surely.

After that, I’ll be able to get back to working on book five. It’s exciting, time consuming, stressful and challenging—all at once. Life keeps me busy—and motivated … … that’s for sure.

Folks, I want to thank each and every one of you that have hung in there and kept faithful in reading my blog and following my business pages (my Writerly and Painterly pages) on Facebook. I’m always open to any feedback you might have to make the pages more interesting, so please feel free to comment—either here or on the Facebook pages. I want them to be interesting for you and can only guess if I do not have your feedback.

Have a blessed day—and weekend.

Mine was going to be busy, as you know … and possibly a little wet—but we need the rain, so I’m not complaining. Though it has been rescheduled, if you’re local, no matter the weather next week, don’t let a little rain stop you from getting out to enjoy the beauty of the gardens … and the art. Hopefully we will see you there!

 

The After Glow

GROAN … I COULD TAKE THIS BLOG in so many different directions, it’s not even funny. Trying to fine tune it to a singular direction might be tricky, so if I stray … please forgive me. There’s so much to talk about that this will probably be a multi-part blog. Hope you don’t mind.

Gallifrey One is an awesome event. That’s an understatement. The event is completely volunteer-run and despite a few glitches, it runs smoothly and the staff maintains a wonderfully easy-going demeanor (they may be freaking inside, but few—if any—show it). I did not run into any grumps or curmudgeons during the entire weekend and the attendees (for the most part) were equally great. It’s like one big family. A very big family. Lots of opportunities to make new friends and reacquaint with Gally friends from previous years; plenty of stuff to see—the Vendor’s Room is packed to the gills with cool stuff … and not just Whovian things. There were even Girl Scout cookies. Who can resist GS cookies?? I limited myself to two boxes … and purchased at the very last minute to keep me from gorging on them the entire weekend. And the troop made a cardboard Dalek out of cookie shipping containers. Very cool.

One of the new things they’ve added this year (I have a funny feeling I’ve blogged about this before) is the Sched—and electronic, up-to-date schedule of events for the entire weekend. Each individual could simply peruse the general schedule or sign in and create their very own personalized schedule. It was awesome. I’ve linked you to the last updated schedule that was posted.

Because the organizers want to stay at their LAX Marriott venue, getting a pass can be tricky. But, ooh so worth it! I think I already did a blog on my triumph of attaining one of those precious passes, so I won’t go into any details here. But, please note, they will begin the registration process anew in mid-April. In their words (links are my addition): “join us for GALLIFREY ONE: 28 YEARS LATER, 17-19 February 2017 at the Marriott Los Angeles Airport Hotel… the twenty-eighth incarnation of the world’s greatest annual Doctor Who family reunion. Tickets go on sale in mid-April (time and date to be announced soon, so watch our website and social media—Facebook and Twitter: #gallifreyone or #gally1—for details), with hotel reservations open in early May. The countdown resets, and begins once again…

I’ve managed to take a boat-load of photos (I’ll post at the end) and found a few links, via the Gally One FB social page that I think you will enjoy:
2016-24-pictures-that-will-make-you-want-to-be-a-doctor-who-fan-in-la-right-now
There’s this cosplay video … and one about Con Ribbons (she even interviewed David Peterson!) from the Gallifrey One conference to enjoy!

Do make sure you peruse the Gallifrey One FB page … there are so many awesome posts to look through—wonderful comments and photos galore.

One thing I cannot forget—there was a preview (actually two episodes) of Prisoner Zero—a great animated sci-fi serial that will begin airing this fall … in Australia. Here’s their promo:
“Prisoner Zero’ is a science-fiction adventure series for kids. It tells the story of Gem Coll and Tag Anaton, two teenagers from different worlds, living aboard a spaceship called Rogue. They travel to alien worlds to fight monsters from ancient times, free the oppressed from the evil Imperium’s tyranny and find out just who Prisoner Zero is and why the Imperium took away his memories. Leading the fight is Zero himself, aided by Gem’s adoptive parents Del and Bowi Rev, the mysterious alien known only as Librarian and Tag’s personal protection android, Guardian. The Imperium is masterminded by the sly, manipulative General Vykar along with his handpicked team: Prime Tactician Barqel and Prime Assassin Lady Kai.
I’m not an animated serial fan, but this was pretty darn good. It’s target is 10-15 year olds and I don’t think they’ll have a problem drawing them in. They are trying to get someone to carry it in the US and other locations, so if you are interested, start pressuring the networks in your area. They said we could check it out by using #PrisonerZero … but I’m having no luck finding a link to share.

And of course … then, there are my photos [it’s taken forever to off-load photos from my phone—there were over 17,000 photos (no wonder my phone’s been so slow—lol) … told you I take lots of pictures—plus I am very bad at getting them off the phone this last year. This has been long overdue—sorry for the delay] You may click on individual photos to enlarge—and see commentary. There are comments on ALL photos, even though the comments didn’t post here. They did not load in the order I wanted, but at this point, I just want them in the blog (sorry):

Gallifrey One Interview: Colin Baker

One of the many interviews in the main hall. My apologies (gave program away) … I do not recall the names of the two gentlemen to either side of Colin Baker.

GallyOne Interview: StarTrek-The White Iris

Yes, StarTrek. They actually created a rather cool production that picked up after Star Trek went off air. Christopher Doohan played his father’s part (Scotty) and was spot on—as were the other actors. The mannerisms and voice idiosyncrasy of the characters they portrayed were (nearly) perfect!
As one of the original Trekkies, I loved it!

Dalek

One of many roaming the halls of Gally One.

Cosplay: Dalek & Spaceman

These costumes are completely fabulous. Some hand-made, some store-bought. But who cares. They were all great. Here we have a Dalek, plus the “handler” as I call them for one of the costumes that make visibility a wee bit difficult (hence, the handler for safety’s sake). The costumed character is from a team of investigators sent to the Library to find out what happened. One of my favorite series of episodes (and one of my favorite lines come from it).

Nerder Mysteries

I saw this gentleman last year. Great cosplay outfit.
This group was in charge of this year’s convention-wide treasure hunt: “Let Zygon be Zygon”. I played last year—so much fun … but sadly, with all the stuff I was doing, didn’t have time this year.

Osgood "Twins"

Whilst waiting in line to snag a photo with Olivia Oliver (Osgood)—we actually started the line before they planned it should happen (oopsie)—we got to talking and had a great time comparing our likes. Turns out we had a fair amount in common. Unfortunately, I managed to forget her name (sigh … me and my memory), but I do have her email address, so I’ll call her AZDragonFly! Neat young lady!

The Osgood "Triplets"

Waiting in line can be a drag … but never a Dr. Who convention! AZDragonFly and I met up with another Osgood and with the help of a passerby, snapped this shot. We all have our inhalers. I know … you ask, Zygon or Osgood? Does it make a difference?
Our new Osgood is John O’Connor. This shot is from his phone. Thank you John!

Ex-Ter-Mi-Nate the Cookies!

One very, very tired Girl Scout Dalek in the Dealers Room, selling their cookies! Yum!
You can see the Dalek is made completely (well, almost entirely) from the cardboard packaging of Girl Scout cookies. I LOVE IT! Creativity at it’s best!

Me an' Olivia Oliver

My photo op with Olivia was awesome. I’d already chatted with her the day before and earlier in the same day whilst she signed autographs.
She really is a lovely lady! I was thrilled to meet with her.

Olivia Oliver/Osgood

My autographed copy of one of her many poses. Such a sweet lady! My TARDIS bag is the background … teehee.

IMG_9066 IMG_9067 IMG_9070 IMG_9073 IMG_9074 IMG_9076 IMG_9079 IMG_9087 IMG_9115 IMG_9118 IMG_9123 IMG_9124 IMG_9126 IMG_9128 IMG_9132 IMG_9133 IMG_9134 IMG_9135

Another Interview ...

Sigh. My apologies—it’s all starting to blur now. I am at a loss as to what group they are (most if not all have been part of Dr. Who as actors or in other capacities) … I do know that the second from the left is the one that played Churchill in one of the Who episodes, but this was about something different. Audio stuff (which I have only just discovered). I’ll amend this when I get the right info.

 

 

 

 

It’s A Con …


DEFINITELY A CON … DEFINITELY! But only in the context of a Conference. Once a year, the Los Angeles based Whovians put together a huge meet up of actors, writers, special effects people … and more for those of us that love science fiction and specifically all things Dr. Who.

Ages ago, I participated as an attendee on multiple occasions at the one put on by San Jose based Whovians. Back then, I only attended one day. I don’t recall if it was an all-weekend event, or just a single day, but it was crazy fun. Back when I was young–much younger, and full of energy. When Dr. Who left the airways for so long, my love for the guy never faltered, but things like conventions were way down on the list of things to do, so scowering the Internet for old epis idea kept me going for a while. I finally stopped trying when it became nearly impossible to find and my old sources dried up.

Last year, I was given the opportunity to attend the one in LA when a friend was unable to attend and offered up her pass to me. I took it … unsure if an “old fogy” like me had any business at a convention like this, but decided it might just be fun.

Oh, it certainly was. Enough so that this crazy ol’ lady is doing it again! I get to meet with my first Doctor, Tom Baker. Yeah, a few others will be there, like Peter Davidson (Doctor #5) … and the Master–I mean Mistress “Missy”, played by Michele Gomez and quite a few others, but “My Doctor” is special.

(Author’s note: 😩 I made an error … it’s Colin Baker, not my favourite–Tom Baker, that will make an appearance. I am so sad.)

At least, to me he is. Tom Baker has the title of being the longest playing Doctor ☺️ from 1974-1981 Maybe that’s why I like him so much … back when the props were held together with a song and a prayer. The sets really were sad compared to the techno stuff available today, but that was part of the magic.

As viewers, we didn’t need everything to be perfect and realistic like today … just the hint of futuristic and other-worldly was all we needed. The wonderful acting, directing and our active imaginations did the rest.

But I digress. Thursday I pick up my pass and start the weekend off with an unofficial In-n-Out Burger Run with a bunch of other Whovians. I promise to take as many photos as possible–hopefully some of them will be worth sharing. A little later, there’s an ice cream social … though I’m not sure I’ll be making that (I’m gonna be playing the “we’ll-have-to-wait-and-see” card since I’m working presently on this at 12:30 in the morning (insert eye roll here, along with a moan …) and am not done. I may be sitting in front of my computer fine-tuning this on Thursday eve. Only time will tell.

Yeah, it’s a time-thing.

Ih my gosh … it’s afternoon on Friday. I completely forgot to add photos and post. So I will post this and add photos tonight.

Bye folks!

Addendum:
And … here it is Monday morning—the first opportunity to have decent wi-fi … and enough energy to post the photos. My heartfelt apologies, but to be blunt … I was having entirely too much fun (teehee). So finally—here are some of them (this Friday’s post I will tell more about the event, with even more photos and some info about Gallifrey One 2017) FYI: If you click on the photo you can enlarge it.:

Cosplay

Aaah. If you are a Whovian, you understand the uniqueness of the jelly belly … I will NOT eat it. The glasses are part of my cosplay pros for Osgood

Con Attire

Some of my ribbons from Thursday night, my hat (ready for the official beginning on Friday) and one of the bags I made for carrying all things Con …

Ice Cream Social

A panorama shot of Whovians at the Ice Cream Social on Thursday night

StarWars vs DrWho

My apologies. Cannot right the photo.
In the lobby, lots of fun going on. Costumes galore.

Thursday Registration

Registration was open earlier than planned—they truly had things in hand and all ran smooth as silk!

TARDIS Goodie Bags

Two bags I made—labours of love—for the con.

Two Doctors

Two of my cosplay items:
Tom Baker wore a hat similar to this (except his is brown) and Smith wore a bow tie …

Flash-Fiction: An Art Form

I’M AN OLD-FASHIONED STORYTELLER … definitely not a flash-fiction kinda gal, where the story is boiled down to its raw elements. I absolutely love many of the flash-fiction bits I read, but think I could never coalesce my thoughts so succinctly (well, I probably could, but it would take far too long). I prefer the drama of drawing things out … peeking around corners to see what’s next, rather than cutting to the chase.

I applaud those that are able to work this magic. Each and every Friday, a group of writers (and even some that don’t consider themselves writers) post their work onto Dan Mader’s Unemployed Imagination blog to join in the flash fiction frenzy at his weekly Two Minutes. Go! (#2minutesgo on Facebook for more) Whenever I have time, I read a few—they are amazing. Some are a wee bit too dark for my taste (and sometimes the language can be a little rough), but still … they grab me through the way the words tumble onto the page. Some leave chills running up my spine. Others fill me with joy … and yet others leave me completely surprised. It is amazing.

Writer-folk or not, it is fun to give it a try—so please do. If nothing else, take some time to read what others have written. Take the time to comment. Thoughtful comments are always appreciated. Perhaps it will inspire you to draw upon your dormant writing muse—that muse, dancing in your mind … waiting for you to ask, is eager to show you what you are capable of …

Be brave … you have two minutes. Go!

Maybe … just maybe, someday—when I’m “between” an edit or story, or my blog—I’ll even give it a go. Until then, I wish you all a blessed week, whether dealing with rain, sleet or snow … may there be serendipitous gems awaiting you.

Art and Socializing …

AAAH. WE ALL ENJOY A WEE BIT OF socializing, right? Well, most of us. I do know quite a few introverted people (including my daughter), but even they like to socialize … just on a smaller scale. Much smaller … and, many of us even enjoy including food and drink (doesn’t need to be an alcoholic beverage).

Now. Add to that mix a little art appreciation. Perhaps not as many think they would enjoy it, but you’d be surprised at how much fun it can be. Honest. Especially when you get to play with paint. Get dirty (oh … maybe there are some neat-nicks out there, but honestly … even they would have fun), tinker with colour and create something. Even if you’re not thrilled with the end product, I’m sure you’ll have fun at some point during the evening and glad you found the time to let your inner muse free.

I’ve enjoyed two such events at Open Ground Studios in the recent past: “Merlo and Miro” in October 2015 and “Red (wine) and Rothko” in January 2016. OGS director, Denese Sanders, has seen how popular the Art Socials are and has put her own little twist to it. Where most Paint Socials advertised have participants merely copying one art piece of the presented artist, Denese has taken it a step beyond that—you choose your creation (sounds intimidating at first, but honest … it isn’t). Open Ground Studios is all about finding the creative muse in all of us. Even the most analytical types (they think they’re not terribly artistic) find their muse and are quite pleased at their serendipitous discovery. I for one am glad to see this becoming a staple on the OGS calendar!

After the social opening (chatting amongst ourselves with food and drink to get comfy), Denese presents the artist’s style and history, shows us the progression of works in a slide show, then lets us loose to create. She and a helper are there to answer questions, give helpful hints on how to proceed and, in general, to encourage us in our endeavors.

I’ve seen artist and non-artist working together, shoulder to shoulder, coming up with some amazing pieces of art. Sometimes absolutely spot-on to what the highlighted artist creates, sometimes not (raising my hand, grinning … I dance to a different drummer)—but that is not the point of this.

The point is—let go and create. Whatever that is, let it happen. And embrace the experience. Enjoy it.

So, if you are local to 831 area code … you should really check this out. Open Ground Studios is doing this monthly now, barring any complications. O'Keefe and AperitifThe next one will be “O’Keefe and Aperitif” on Friday, February 19th from 6:30-9:30pm. I think the next one will involve whisky … maybe, but I cannot recall the artist’s name (insert mischievous grin).

If you don’t live locally, then check your area for similar events and have fun. It’s good fun for the soul.

Take time to be creative and have a blessed week!

Anticipation …

TODAY, I AM FEELING LIKE A CHILD, WAITING … that delightful feeling of anticipation whilst waiting for Christmas or Easter, birthdays … or even summer vacations of long ago. Counting the days down to The Day. Well, yes … I think I will always be childlike anytime anticipation is involved. I love the thrill, the excitement … the surprise—of what will happen. What will happen?

I am gearing up for the annual (my second) Gallifrey One convention at the LA Airport Marriott. I have my con ribbons … and just submitted my pre-order for a photo-op with Colin Baker—the fourth Doctor in the series (… “my” introduction to the Doctor), a meet-and-greet of Classic Dr. Who people (including “my” Doctor) and a photo-op with Ingrid Oliver (she plays Osgood in the newer series). I’m organizing my attire—I’ll be making an attempt to cosplay Sarah Jane Smith (companion to Baker), who happened to be a reporter (so we have something … sort of … in common)—she was such a petite, young thing compared to this frumpy, “mature” author … but I will have my small remote controlled K-9 with me for good measure) and Osgood—this one should be fairly easy … hair pulled back into a ponytail, black glasses, red bow tie, 4th Doctor’s lovely scarf and perhaps a lab coat.

Last year, the whole experience was fun—newbie attendee with deer-in-headlights look all weekend, but this year … getting to meet with my favourite Doctor (possibly even Peter Davidson—5th Doctor) and Osgood, in addition to handing out my very own con ribbons—I’m expecting it to be absolutely outstanding. Last time I met any actors, I was a kid … a Nervous Nellie and certainly didn’t know what to say other than to shove a piece of paper in their faces for autographs, followed by a thank you. Here’s hoping I’m a wee bit more sophisticated and can carry on an intelligent conversation.

Even the trip south should be interesting … February. An enigma unto itself, really. No clue what kind of weather to expect—could be snowing on the way down when I get into the mountains around Lebec … or rain in Lebec and in LA with chances of land slides. Or, it could be drop-dead gorgeous … and hot in LA. One never knows—our weather has been so bizarre of late. So, yes. The El Niño has begun (in theory), but how long it will last is questionable. There’s no planning ahead. I’ll need to have multiple wardrobes at the ready to choose from for packing. Plus an umbrella. Very British, really. Teehee. Maybe next year (if I’m lucky enough to get my tickets—there’s a two minute window … honestly!) just maybe I’ll take the train into LA and hire a car for the trip to my hotel. We’ll see.

Friends are coming along, so that will make it even more fun. We will be sharing a room (or two—can’t remember) and everyone has their favourites activities and characters they want to have their photo-op with, plus there are panels to attend. Don’t know which panels I’ll sign up for because I enjoy keeping it a pretty flexible schedule. I’ll only have a couple specific times—most of the night on Friday to meet Colin Baker and the Classic crew, then the two photo-ops on Saturday and Sunday. That way I can meander through the lobby, the vendor rooms and … well, just general roaming around, passing out con ribbons and my wristbands (gotta sneak a little promotion in whilst there—teehee).

Our hotel room is about three (long) blocks away—15-20 minutes of walking several times a day … depending on where we go for meals—so we’ll get our exercise in at least twice daily, rain or shine. It’s too close to justify grabbing a taxi or hassling with finding parking for my own car (& paying for either) at the Marriott—and I have no problem with walking. Walking is fun—rain or shine. There’s lots to see when walking. And the nights … beautiful lighting. I’m not oblivious to the dangers of walking at night in the big city. I try to be smart: keep a watchful eye (very aware of my surroundings … listening and looking around as I walk—even when I’m focused on taking a photo), walk in groups whenever possible … and carry a heavy purse or umbrella.

I’m looking forward to this adventure and will keep you posted on how it turns out (with photos!) …

Forever Grateful

AS I STRUGGLE THROUGH THIS CRAZY WEEK, I find myself thankful for being able to wake up each morning. To be present. Present for my critters, to see the wild creatures browsing in my yard or jumping from branch to branch. Present for my friends. Thankful that I am healthy enough (though, dealing with a sinus infection), for a wonderful daughter and son-in-law … all the basic stuff. We should be thankful for all this every single day. I think I do a pretty good (not perfect, but …) job of remembering to give thanks where thanks is due—and to whom it is due.

Over the last couple weeks (hmmm … maybe even longer), I’ve been frantically getting things ready for the multiple events that have just happened—and are still to happen over the next few weeks. I’ve had the constraints of keeping track of a dog 24/7 due to some health issues (Kaeli’s been with me at Open Ground Studios, in the house, doctor appointments, evening meetings, errands—weather permitting—etc). The vet has just given her a clean bill of health, but now I wonder if she’s doing well because she’s not “free-ranging” on anything she finds in the yard. TMI—anyway, I’ve decided I’m liking my new 24/7 companion, so I’m changing my lifestyle to fit her into things I do until I can get a large enclosure that deer cannot get into. I know she is liking the arrangement. She curls up at my feet in the house and prances out to the car, eager for the next adventure. I’m thankful for her love and companionship.

My cat has mixed feelings about this new “closeness”. Sebastian gets the house to himself. Good … and bad. He gets to roam every nook and cranny without me on his case about getting into places or things that should be left alone … but he’s a snuggle-bunny and my time away is time he cannot snuggle. Kaeli and I go for walks. He gets stuck inside. He’s all over me the moment I walk in the door—after he sniffs Kaeli to see where she’s been. I cannot sit down without him in my face. I love it, but just try to work on the computer or use my iPhone instead—ha! In my dreams. Well, I do manage in the end, but he shows his disdain … frequently. He purposely sits with his back to me, very erect. Then when he does curl up, he makes sure his back is to me. Sometimes he will, out of the blue, come over twitching his tail (I know to be alert for this) … then he bites my typing hand—or the hand holding the smart phone. No warning at all. If I get too busy with my writing, I’m completely unaware of my surroundings and am caught off-guard. Zap! But, even with his vacillating temperament, I love him dearly and am thankful for this purring ball of contradictions. All his kisses, cuddles, purrs … and for knowing,  when I have an ache or pain, where to curl up with his “furnace” on high to relieve it—whether my shoulder, arm, hand or neck … somehow he knows. Definitely a blessing.

I find myself polishing this piece on Friday (teehee—I am running later than usual—sorry, so I’m hoping you’ll forgive me) … the day after Thanksgiving Day.

It was a very different day for me. Though I had several invites to feast with friends and extended family, I chose to be more reclusive. My 24/7 companion, my lack of appetite (I see that as a blessing during these crazy holidays) and easily fatigued body due to the sinus infection—not to mention the disruptive cough—made it easy to justify keeping to myself. It was a delightful, laid-back, stress-free day with my fur-babies, which included a sensory-rich walk on the beach with Kaeli. Feeling sorry for Sebastian, stuck at home, I envisioned what he’d be doing: making all sorts of noises at the sight of the sand pipers, snowy plovers and seagulls—scheming how he could capture them whilst on-leash; investigating the monster piles of washed-ashore kelp and seaweed … and curious about the foamy stuff that kept rolling in just ahead of the wet stuff that made noises each time it receded. That made me smile. If only I could bring him. But, there were too many dogs. Most on-leash, but a few were leash-free and that would put Sebastian’s safety at risk.

So, now I’m recovering from my version of a busy—yet laid-back—Thanksgiving Day. It will not involve anything with the word “Black”. Nope. The only shopping I’ll be doing is restocking a few items needed for daily survival: yogurt, milk—and spending time with a friend (after she spends some quality? time shopping—foolish girl!) to dine at a favourite restaurant and then a play. With Kaeli in tow. I’m glad she’s good at waiting in the car. And that the weather is conducive to allowing her to stay in a car unattended. And just so you know, she will get a walk before and after each part of my evening activities.

I am so thankful for a blessed life, with all of its ups and downs. Hope yours is just as blessed.

 

Two final events for the year:

Friday 4 December 5:30-7:30pm  Open Ground Studios showcases its Co-Op Artists creative work, along with special guest Monterey Peninsula instructor and students. I will have my books available for signing and purchase.
1230 Fremont Boulevard, Seaside CA

Monday-Tuesday 7-8 December 9am-4pm daily Watsonville Community Hospital is hosting a Christmas Craft Fair, to include a book signing with Mystery author, Joyce Oroz and Fantasy author, dj jameson smith in their conference room.
65 Neilson Street, Watsonville, CA

It’s A No Blog Blog …

I’M GOING TO BE UPFRONT WITH YOU. My writerly brain has turned to mush. And because of that there is no blog for today … or will there be?

I’ve tried taking a number of draft blogs and expounding upon them but I am so entrenched in getting ready for the Open Ground Studios Co-op Member show that I cannot concentrate. I’m still scrambling due to some very strange circumstances on Thursday. It exhausts me to even think about the craziness that became Thursday.

So, instead I will simply be thankful. Thankful that Thursday has come and gone; that it is Friday and I will be setting up the table this afternoon for the Aromas Hills Artisans’ Holiday Art Festival that is happening this weekend. Thankful that the pressure will be off (mostly). Thankful that there are only a few more pieces of art to prepare for this weekend—and for the Open Ground Studios show, which opens on the 25th … and goodies to gather up for the OGS Artists’ Reception and Holiday Party happening on Friday, 4 December.

And … I’ll leave it at that. Short blog. Perhaps next week my brain and thoughts will gel better. Until then, have a blessed weekend!

AHA Holiday Art Festival

Come one, come all to this delightful event! (click on picture for more detail)

Holiday Art Festival: November 21-22 10:00-4:00 at the Aromas Grange
Art of all kinds, beautifully crafted items, books by
dj jameson smith (fantasy) and Joyce Oroz (mystery). Both authors will be available to sign their books.

Co-op Artist Showcase Exhibition: November 25, 2015 – January 21, 2016

With Special Guests:
Monterey Peninsula College Drawing Students
Presented by Instructor Bob Lamp

Artist Reception & Holiday Party: December 4, 5:30-7:30pm
Free and open to the public
Open Ground Studios Gallery
1230 Fremont Blvd. Seaside, CA 93955

The evening festivities include a raffle with beautiful holiday prizes, hot cider, refreshments and community cheer!

For More Information:
Denese Sanders, OGS Artistic Director
Tel: 831-241-6919 | Cell: 861-236-8636
Email: info@opengroundstudios.com
Website: opengroundstudios.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/opengroundstudio