Way-Behind Wednesday (ALA Pictures)

Yes, these pictures are from June 23rd.... Better late than never, right? Unfortunately, I didn't run into anyone
I know on the floor, but I had a good time checking out all the publishers' booths and getting books signed.
First stop of the day was the Harper Collins booth, to see Jon Scieszka. He was pleased to sign my copy of
his autobiography, Knucklehead, which he modestly called "a classic."
Always happy to see books by writer friends. Hey, there's an ARC of Oh, Nuts! by Tammi Sauer.
And A Whole Lot of Lucky (upper right) by Danette Haworth.
One advantage to waiting in a long line--I got to see 2012 Newbery winner Jack Gantos being interviewed.

The long line was for the S (as in Scholastic) team: Allen Say, Brian Selznick, and Maggie Stiefvater.

Added bonus: seeing blogger friend Beth Howard signing her memoir of love, loss, and pie, Making Piece.
Beth currently lives in the famous American Gothic house in Iowa (after learning it was for rent), where she started a business called Pitchfork Pie Stand, and chronicles her adventures at 

I ended up with 19 ARCs and 5 published books. Favorite ARCs so far: Son by Lois Lowry (the long-awaited follow-up to The Giver) and Maggie's The Raven Boys. Lots of good books to look forward to this fall.

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    impressed impressed

Trying Out the New Camera

Borders Bookstore,  Glendale (3-author event on August 1st).   I liked the big front window.

Little League action at the Western Regionals in San Bernardino.   Baseball + mountains = bliss!

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    creative creative

Friday Five

1)  The Little League Western Regionals start today.  While I always enjoy the tournament, and seeing teams from different states (including Alaska), it's a little bittersweet.  A sign that the end of summer is rapidly approaching, and (sigh) the team from Corona didn't make it there again.  At least I saw them win the first two rounds of playoffs (they got knocked out in the third).

2)  I started August the same way I started July--with a bookstore author event.  Again on the 1st, at the Borders in Glendale, where Jennifer Cervantes, Heidi R. Kling (seaheidi ), and Christina Diaz Gonzalez
(christina_dg ) all looked like models as they read from their first novels, answered questions, and amazed us with their success stories.  Christina, for example, hooked an editor with the first ten pages of The Red Umbrella at a June conference.  When the editor asked if the manuscript was finished, she said yes, even though she only had fifteen pages written.  So she went home and got the rest done before the end of summer.  And then she met her agent at another conference!  Another agent--Jen's,  I think--ignored her own "exclusives only" rule to read the full manuscript--which Jen had e-mailed to her anyway, "just in case."

3)  Facebook friend Alyson Beecher gave everyone a raffle ticket for some cool author prizes, each related to their books in some way.  I usually never win drawings, but this time I did!  A Talavera ceramic serving platter from Jennifer, whose wonderful middle grade, Tortilla Sun, I'm reading right now.

4)  I accidentally wandered into another author event last night, at the downtown Riverside Library.  Gayle Brandeis read part of her new adult novel, Delta Girls, then answered questions from the audience.  I have to admit, I'm not a huge fan of adult novels,  but it was interesting to hear another author's story.  Her book has a pear orchard in it (the cover picture is of an old fruit crate label), so she brought a bag of hand-picked pears to the event.  Everyone who asked a question got a pear to take home!  (Note to writer self:  get crowd to ask questions by offering a bribe.)

5)  It's been a fun, surprisingly cooler (most of the time), summer.  Made sure to get out and about, to Lake Arrowhead, Newport Beach (plein air art show), Old Town San Diego, and Griffith Observatory, among other places.  There's been lots of good food, too, including a chocolatey pecan bar, a slice of peach pie, and a free pizza (thanks to the manager at Garlic Jim's in Pasadena, who sent me a coupon).  I guess I can't complain about going back to work soon.  Although August 11th is awfully early to start a new school year.  


  • Current Mood
    full full

Thanks, Lisa!

Books + cupcakes + lisa_schroeder  = a fun evening at Vroman's Bookstore in Pasadena.  

As if finally meeting Lisa (and new Facebook friend Alyson Beecher) last night wasn't enough, the owner of a local bakery, Polkatots (, put up a white cupcake tier that looked a lot like the one on the cover of Lisa's MG novel, It's Raining Cupcakes.  15 yummy different flavors.  I tried a chocolate one, of course, and then strawberry (well, they were small).

Lisa talked about her journey to becoming a published author, read a page from her book, and answered everyone's questions.  She also had a trivia contest and awarded three prizes, including a cupcake necklace (to a girl) and cupcake earrings (to a young for Mom, perhaps).  

So it was a good start to July.  And tomorrow's the annual Independence Day parade, quite possibly my favorite event of the year.

Happy 4th, everyone!          
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    thankful thankful

Other Worlds

I've said it before: it's funny how many "coincidences" seem to pop up in my life.  I was disappointed in May because Rathskellar, the deaf performance art group, wasn't at DeafNation Expo in Pomona.  I first saw them perform there last year, and finally got to meet founder Jonathan Hall Kovacs, an actor whose TV work I'd admired in the '80s.  (I didn't know enough ASL to speak to him, so I had to write a note.)  

Well,  I was reading about Riverside's Deaf Awareness Week activities in the paper on Thursday, and noticed that Rathskellar was going to perform at the Riverside Plaza on Friday night.  That's closer to my home than the Expo!

I always feel a little out of place at Deaf functions, because I'm still not fluent in ASL (though I've learned a bit),  and everyone seems to know everyone else in the tight-knit community.  But it's fascinating to watch all the hands flying, even little kids', and the animated expressions on everyone's faces.  The show was great--again--and I remembered to take my earplugs (the group cranks up the music, to feel the vibrations). 

Afterwards, I walked over to Borders and browsed for a while.  Okay, maybe more than a while.  Outside the store,  there just "happened" to be a free telescope viewing of Jupiter.  Yes, I covered three of my interests in one night--ASL, books and astronomy.

Hmm,  wonder what's next?



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    contemplative contemplative

Happy Birthday, Sharon!

I invited a few friends over for your party.   Hope you don't mind.   :>)

Wishing you a year of dreams come true!!

  • Current Mood
    thankful thankful

Creative Minds

I worked in a fifth-grade classroom this week, which was a nice change of pace.  I took a lot of notes, as usual.  Today the students wrote and read their own stories for language arts, and I was impressed with their imaginations.  Some examples:

One interesting, but undeveloped premise: a boy named Marco makes a wish to grow very tall, which he does.  The tallest person in his village gets to be the ruler.  The current ruler is... Marco's dad (Polo!).  Hmm.  This has good potential for conflict, doesn't it?

This one cracked me up: a vampire leaves a note on his front door which says, "I'm at a funeral--mine.  I died again, so don't come in."

Also good was "the girl with rainbow hair."  A girl goes to a salon for a perm and highlights.  The stylist asks what color she wants.  She replies, "Red.  No, orange.  I mean, green.  No, wait--purple..."  She ends up with all of the colors, and when she sees the result in the mirror, she screams.  (Apparently,  fifth-grade girls scream a lot.)

Then there was the space alien who disguises himself as a pineapple--a walking, talking pineapple.  When he talks to a girl in her room, she screams (of course), then faints twice.  The pineapple finally says, "Stop fainting!"   The girl replies, "Okay."  They talk the rest of the night, and become good friends.

Wow.  These kids are making me look bad...

My sister has to go back to work (school) next week, so we've been going on mini-vacationish jaunts.  Last night it was to the Griffith Observatory in L.A.  We'd tried to go twice before, on Saturdays, but couldn't even get into the crowded parking lot.  This time, since it was a weeknight, we finally did.  There was a beautiful sunset, and the view from the roof is always spectacular.  A helicopter flew by, shining a searchlight on the nearby Hollywood sign.  On the drive back down the steep, winding road,  a little animal darted across in front of the car.  Not sure if it was a coyote or a fox, though it looked orangey to me.  Anyway,  I'd never had one jaywalk in front of me before. 

So all in all, it's been an interesting week.  


  • Current Mood
    thirsty too hot

Coincidence (or not)

  • I ended up in "Little India" yesterday.   The section of Artesia,  CA that I'd been meaning to visit since I read about it in India West (a free paper from the local Indian market).   I'd been doing some research for a WIP character whose parents might run a little market.   And I'd just happened to find a handy book at B&N called The Indian Grocery Store Demystified by Linda Bladholm.   Yesterday,  thanks to a closed freeway transition ramp,  I found myself detouring down Pioneer Blvd.,  which I'd forgotten was the street.   It also just happened to be India's Independence Day.   I felt like a foreign tourist as I browsed through a few shops.   Women walked by wearing salwars and saris;  Hindi music was blasting from passing cars;  a poster of a cricket player hung on the door of a video store.   I saw a little boy who looked like one of the characters I'd imagined.   The busy Indian grocery store was packed,  and I enjoyed checking out the aisles of exotic goods.   I wish I'd had my handy guidebook with me,  but maybe it was better that I didn't.   I was in the Saturday shoppers' way as it was.
  • I went to five Little League Western Regional games last week.   The Southern California team just happened to be the winner for the West (they also won their first game at Williamsport last night).   I was watching Kentucky vs. Texas on TV this morning,  and the Texas player they interviewed after the game just happened to look like the main character I was envisioning for my baseball WIP.   (Too bad I didn't tape it.)  
  • I've had too much fun wasting time online doing research on identical triplets this past week.   Thanks to Triplet,  I found some blogs by harried mothers.   Lots of cute pictures and stories.   
  • I took a day trip with the family on a Metrolink train to San Juan Capistrano on Wednesday,  the 12th.   (And found out later that marypearsonand Melodye--newport2newport --were there on the same day...)   The following Wednesday,  I got called to work;  a three and a half-day assignment at an elementary school.   Yes,  the school year started here on August 10th--way too early.   So it's good we picked the right Wednesday for the trip.
  • Oh,  and last month I just happened to find Skylight Books and House of Pies in L.A.--places I'd heard about on LJ blogs--when I was on my way to the Griffith Observatory.   Gotta love coincidence.    
  • Current Mood
    amused amused

Friday Five

More randomness (since I'm not schmoozing at the SCBWI conference)...

1)  I went to the L.A. Natural History Museum on Tuesday.  It's free the first Tuesday of each month.   Unfortunately,  about half of SoCal was there taking advantage.  Lots of school and day camp groups running around.  Most interesting group:  the little Hasidic Jew kids.  They all wore purple t-shirts,  but the girls were in skirts,  and the boys had the long locks of hair on both sides of their heads.

2)  The gem and mineral exhibit was my favorite part.  I could've spent hours in there,  looking at all the displays.  One case held gold nuggets.  I also saw a red diamond that was stolen by the Nazis;  they thought it was a ruby.

3)  I found out that I have a lot in common with grizzly bears:  poor eyesight,  but keen hearing and sense of smell;  more active late at night;  and we have a tendency to be ill-tempered.  I draw the line at eating grubs,  however.   (Berries and salmon are okay.)

4)  The day ended with a couple of unusual events.  A boy got his head stuck in a stairway railing (museum employees to the rescue ).  Then,  as soon as I got inside the nearby Science Museum's gift shop,  a cashier announced that everyone needed to evacuate the building.  I saw some smoke and smelled plastic burning.  Several fire trucks arrived,  but the firefighters didn't stay long,  so it must not've been too serious.  They were busy elsewhere,  though--a building downtown belched thick black smoke across the freeway,  and a brush fire was burning in nearby Glendale.

5)  I just finished reading a book--in Spanish.  A self-published mystery novel by my sister's pen pal.  I had my trusty Spanish dictionary at my side,  but I figured a lot of passages out for myself.  Glad I've learned something.