Greetings from France!

I’m currently attending a writing retreat/workshop at La Poterie in Château-du-Loir. I’ve only been here one full day, but already I’m learning so much. Also feeling nourished by the fresh air and beautiful environment. I don’t know that I’ll be updating much because the goal is to focus on writing, but I promise lots of pictures when I return home next week!

Author Events in Planning

My trip to France for the writing workshop and retreat is slowly coming together. I have my plane tickets, my train tickets, and my hotel reservation for the one night I’ll be in Paris. A friend has likewise advised me on how to get from the airport to the train station, so I will need to explore buying a bus ticket. (When I checked, the calendar did not yet extend to the date I needed.)

Now I should really turn my attention to making sure I have everything arranged for the Bay Area Book Festival in June, since that actually happens before the trip to France. Of course, that’s local as opposed to international, so I’d like to be able to say there is less hoopla involved. Yet at the same time, I have to bring lots of stuff with me and make sure I’m set up to take credit cards, etc. I actually feel doing an author table for a day is a lot more work than international travel preparations!

2015 Summary

We’re staring down the barrel of the end of the year, and while there’s still plenty of time for things to happen, I’m feeling a tad retrospective. So here’s a summary of my year (so far).

After more than a year of sending out queries, I found a publisher for The Fall and Rise of Peter Stoller. That was exciting! The e-book is out in January with print to follow in late spring.

The romantic comedy I co-wrote was optioned . . . and then the option lapsed, so now it’s on the market again.

The short film Adverse Possession, based on my 15-minute play “Warm Bodies,” premiered at the San Diego Fall Film Festival.

I published another Sherlock Holmes story.

I recorded my first ever podcast interview (I was the guest). It should be available early next year, I believe. (Look for She Wrote a Book, launching December 7. I believe I’m episode 7 as well. Links to come.)

I also had a flash fiction piece selected for a podcast which will air in February (that one is called No Extra Words).

I traveled to London to see Hamlet at the Barbican. Also got to see Buckingham Palace. Turns out they have amazing pastries.

I went to the DFW Writers Conference and got to meet—and really converse with—Kevin J. Anderson. He lived in Livermore! ::fangirling!::

Lots and lots of rejection. I’m feeling pretty beat down by that at the moment, but there are still a few agents and publishers interested in Changers, so I’m trying to focus on that rather than the rejections.

And I have vacation starting tomorrow, and my birthday to look forward to, and another little trip to Carmel just prior to Christmas. So there’s still plenty of time and room for good things to happen. At the same time, I fear getting my hopes up too high.

What you, dear readers, can look forward to is the Giftmas Blog Tour coming up on this and other sites. Keep your eyes peeled because there will be giveaways! Including an ARC of Peter and a copy of The K-Pro. Stay tuned!

30-Day Writing Challenge: Day 5

5. A place you would live but have never visited

It sounds a bit ridiculous. Would you live somewhere you’ve never at least visited first?

Truth is, I’ve done it. Twice.

I moved to Boston sight unseen for grad school. My thought was I’d only be there a couple years at most, so what did it matter? I ended up living there for 12 years. (Well, six years in Boston and six in the suburbs.)

And then I moved to California also without ever having set foot in the state. That was 3+ years ago. But I do really love it here anyway.

So is there anywhere else I would move without having visited first? A foreign country. I’ve always, always wanted to live abroad. I’ve been to a lot of places I’d love to live, though, so I have to think about someplace I haven’t been but might live. Australia, New Zealand . . . Maybe Japan. Hawaii? Not foreign but I’m sure it would be lovely (if expensive) to live there.

I’d move to the French or English countryside, or to Ireland or Scotland given the chance. I’ve been to France and England, of course, but mostly in the cities, so I figure the countryside counts as somewhere I haven’t visited.

Returned!

I’m back from London, and it was a lovely trip. We had remarkably good weather, but then that always happens to me—I’ve been told London loves me so much, the sun shines when I’m there and then the city cries when I leave. Don’t know if that’s true, but I like to think it is.

Also, saw lots of magpies. I don’t know why, but I really like them. I want to write a play called “The Mad Magpie.” I don’t know what it would be about, but I think it’s a great title.

Enjoyed a trip to Buckingham Palace, and also Hamlet. Am slowly posting reviews of backlogged shows, movies, books on spooklights, so go take a look.

But now it’s also time to get back to work. So many projects going on . . . And can you believe it’s almost October?! So I’m ducking out again now to get stuff done. But visit my Facebook page for pics from the trip!

London Bound

Don’t panic if you hear even less from me than usual in the next week. I’m off to London in a couple days, and there’s much to do before I go, never mind the whole writing thing besides. (I want to try and get a good amount done before I leave.) Be sure to keep up with me on Facebook, though I don’t know how much I’ll actually be posting, but things are likely to go there before they go here.

Spectacular Settings

Victoria Street, London, April 2012
Victoria Street, London, April 2012

The above is one of my favorite photos. It’s pretty mundane, I suppose, but it’s the wallpaper on my iPhone. I love London, and I was just walking down this street one day with the idea of going on the Eye, and couldn’t stop myself snapping this shot.

Today I’m participating in the WEP Challenge of “Spectacular Settings”. I think London is a spectacular setting. It’s where The Fall and Rise of Peter Stoller is largely set (though, being in the 60s, there is no London Eye).

I love this photo because you get the London cabs and the red buses. You get the red phone box, too. It reminds me that what is exotic to a traveler is everyday for a slew of people. When I’m in London, for some people I’m the most interesting thing that happens in their day. (And that’s not me being self-important; I’ve actually been told that several times.) That’s weird to think about, considering I find all of London so very interesting. And of course, to myself I’m mundane.

This all relates to Peter in that he can’t live a regular life, much as he might want to. He’s a spy. What’s normal for him doesn’t translate to the every day. So when he falls in love with a cab driver, trying to straddle those worlds . . . It’s kind of a mess.

Anyway, this picture inspires me because it forces me to see things differently. It gives me perspective. It makes me think from a different direction, which is an exercise I enjoy. “Stranger in a strange land?” Well, it’s not so strange to the people who live there! Stranger in . . . a land. Though the more often I go, the less of a stranger I become.

Yes! I am still alive!

I was just away on vacation and had little to no online access. Alaska, folks. That’s where you go to really get away.

And I saw bears! A momma black bear and her two cubs, in fact. And bald eagles, and salmon (hence the bears), and orca and humpback whales (also with calfs). Quite lovely.

Alaska is not new to me; my grandparents lived there, so I’d been in both summer and at Christmas. I much prefer summer! Moose used to walk through my grandparents’ yard and eat Grandma Jo’s lilacs. It made her so mad. I’d go out and try to pet them because I thought they were really big horses.

Alas, saw no moose this trip. But had a lovely time, and now I really must get back to work and routine. The kids start school in two weeks; I registered them this morning to be sure they get a classroom assignment. And as vacation always ends with a pile of laundry + an empty cupboard and ice box . . . Plenty to do!

But so good to be home. To walk in and smell your house, and have your water—it’s funny, isn’t it, how the water is always different everywhere else? I mean, it stands to reason, but we’re adaptive creatures. We’re used to the way our water feels and smells and everywhere else, no matter how clean and nice the water is, it’s wrong to us.

And I came into my office and the scent of my last candle still lingered, and it was so wonderful . . . I love to travel, oh yes, I was born with itchy feet. But this time I am so, so glad to be home.

Now back to work.

Halfway Point

So 2015 is half over, which makes it a fine time to check in with those goals I’d set at the start of the year.

1. Get an agent for The Fall and Rise of Peter Stoller.

Okay, so I didn’t land an agent (though there was lots of great feedback, yet somehow I kept being told, “but I just don’t feel strongly enough . . .”), but I did get a publisher for it, and so far they’ve been great to work with. So I’ll count this one as accomplished, and I’m super excited about it being published by Tirgearr in January!

2. Finish Changers.

Actually, now I’m going to be querying Changers and hoping to get an agent for it.

3. Get Hunting Victor Frankenstein picked up.

This one seems far-fetched, I’ll admit, and I haven’t even been actively pitching it. But I do still hope at some point to find an interested party. Feedback has been encouraging, though one agent told me that because FOX has a Frankenstein TV project, mine would be harder to sell. Sigh.

As for my wish to return to London this year, I’m going in late September to see Hamlet at the Barbican. Won’t be in town very long, but I’ll take what I can get.

The rom-com has been optioned but remains in flux as the production company that optioned it looks for others to come on board. I’m also co-writing a sci-fi feature that has a producer already attached and looks hopeful to actually go somewhere. Adverse Possession has been sent off to at least one film festival, though I think we won’t even know if it gets in until October.

All told, though, I’m pretty happy with the direction of 2015. There has been definite progress, and I’ve got some great trips coming up: DFW Con at the end of this month, the Alaskan cruise at the start of August, and that trip to London in September. Much to be pleased with in looking back, and much more to look forward to.

A lot of things happening, and I’m feeling buzzy, which makes it difficult to sit and write.

Press releases are being drawn up (and I’m being asked for quotes!), and tickets to see Hamlet in London in September (and we all know how I do love Hamlet) . . . And then the little things in life like trying to recover from pneumonia, and trying to keep the kids busy during spring break . . . Makes for a very unsettled kind of week, in both good ways and bad. I hope the good things continue to happen, but I also hope I can get back to a normal routine and back to work, too. Because the good things can’t happen if I don’t put forth some effort.

I’ll call it a break. I mean, we were going all out through Monday on the film treatment, so a little down time is not uncalled for. But still, kids go back to school on Tuesday, so I need to be ready to get back to work by then. In the meantime, I’ll try to relax, though it’s proving difficult; I’m very restless and keyed up. All this excitement can’t be good for me.