Wednesday, December 22, 2010

I'm back!

I have been a terrible blogger!!  Has it really been ten months since my last post?  Yikes!  I see cobwebs everywhere!  Just kidding ...  Anyway, since it's my day off and the rain is coming down in buckets, I thought I'd post (finally!) something. :)

Well, it has been a busy year of writing, SCBWI conferences, and Japanese rock concerts (yah!).  The first bit I'd like to share is the publication of my first short story!  It appeared in this anthology by Shadowline Comics ...

The story is called, The Secret Princess Society.  It's a retelling of a fairytale.  Can anyone guess which one?  :) I collaborated with comic book phenom Whilce Portacio, who illustrated the story.  Here is a little taste ...

It was great fun working with Whilce.  Challenging too, because even though I had creative freedom with the story structure, etc., I had to make sure Whilce's creative vision came through as well.

So what have I been up to since my last post?  Well, I've been working on drafting my second novel.  It's been a slow process for me because I was having a hard time envisioning the entire story.  I'm not a "pantser" (means writes off the seat of his/her pants) so I need to have an outline, even a rough one, to have a general idea of where my story is going.  Sometimes, well, I should say, most of the time, the actual writing takes the story to unexpected places.  I find this fun and exciting but I still need to have something down on paper as a guide.  So after a couple of months of brainstorming and note-taking, I knew my character well enough to know how the story was going to play out.  My goal was to write twenty-five chapters for this first draft and I'm currently at chapter 17, building up to what I hope will be a blood chilling climax.  Once I'm done with this first draft, I'll put the draft aside and work on a couple of short story ideas before I start with the real work, revising the new novel.  Believe it or not, I can't wait! 

I've also spent the past ten months subbing my first novel, Nora's Grave.  I've had a couple of encouraging nibbles from certain agents and an editor.  When I have news, I will definitely share it here. :)

2010 has been my year for Japanese rock!  I've been to four concerts in all, all of them, here in LA.  In June, my daughter and I went to see MIYAVI at the Club Nokia, a totally bad ass guitarist.  His guitar skills are unique and electrifying and he did most of the show with only a drummer!

At the Anime Expo, I got to see SOHPIA in concert at the Nokia Theater.  I had never heard of them until we saw them at the Expo but they did not disappoint!  They're a popular rock band in Japan whose lead singer is also an actor in movies, television and theater.  We actually had the opportunity to see him act in a play at the Expo as well.

Then in September, I saw XJAPAN at the Wiltern with my brother-in-law, my daughter and her friend.  They are a legendary glam-metal band that started the now popular Visual Kei style in Japan.  The crowd was unbelievable!  There were fans from Japan and all over the USA at the concert.  The drummer, Yoshiki, is my daughter's particular favorite.

This month I saw my new favorite band, LUNA SEA.  Talk about icing-on-the-cake!  Not only did I go to the concert (this time with my hubby) but I also had the exciting chance to go to the band's pre-concert Meet-and-Greet!  It was fabulous!  I got to meet the band members, get their autographs and shake hands with them.  I tell you, I was giddy for DAYS!  Anyway, they are also considered a legendary band in Japan and a great influence on many bands that followed.  Their rock is more my speed, more eighties punk/grunge style rock.  My particular favorite member is Sugizo, the lead guitarist.  He is also an accomplished violinist and his solo work is absolutely wonderful.

I've also been knitting a whole lot!  I've made a couple of beanies (yes, more hats).  Below is a picture of my young nephew modeling one I made for him.

Fingerless gloves are my present passion.  I made a pair for each of my critique friends (for warm writing hands!). I learned how to make them on two circular needles instead of using double points (I apologize to all nonknitters out there who have no clue of what these tools are) and found that I can complete a pair much faster that way.  I also found that I can now use up the odds and ends of my stash because it doesn't require much yarn.  I'll have to post a picture next time since I plan to make a pair for each of my nieces. :)

Well, that's all for now folks.  Till next time ...

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

I Love Contests!

Especially writing ones.  And what a perfect night to enter one while I sit at my desk listening to the rain tapping and dancing on my roof.  It is the Dear Lucky Agent  contest held by Chuck Sambuchino on his blog, Guide to Literary Agents.  It's a great place to get the latest news and interviews of agents you may consider sending a query to.  I'm going to enter my wip, PATHOS.  It should be fun!

I'm currently reading this book ....

It is a haunting story of a young woman who must overcome the pain of her past in order to save a little girl.  The subject matter is compelling and the writing draws you into the main character's mind and holds you there.  I'm enjoying it and will be sorry when the story ends.  Next on my list is this book ...
Isn't that an awesome cover?  My friend Edith recommended it and is so enthusiastic about it that I just couldn't resist placing it  next on my reading list! 
Okay, time to put my mommy hat on and make dinner.  Then it's time to finish reading Tethered ... :)

Friday, January 22, 2010

Book Review

I just finished listening to an INCREDIBLE audio book!  Here it is ...

 The story is set in the 1920s and opens with the main character, David Martin, getting a chance of a lifetime to write a story for a well known newspaper in Barcelona, Spain.  David doesn't last long at the paper and soon goes to work writing horror novels under a pseudonym for a small press with a questionable reputation.  He rents an old abandoned house and devotes his days and nights to his work, churning out novel after novel that the critics denounce as sensationalism.  He continues to work but soon becomes obsessed with the history of the house he lives in and the mysterious circumstances of the previous tenant's death.  He soon gets an offer from a enigmatic French publisher to write a great work that will transform those who read it.  But things are not as they seem when David discovers the haunting connections between the strange history of the house and the book he is commisioned to write.

This story is amazing. Carlos Ruiz Zafon is amazing! (BTW I've also read/listened to The Shadow of the Wind)  The performance of the narrator, Dan Stevens, was incredible.  The prose is so musical that I found myself writing down lines that struck a cord inside me.  One of my very favorite lines is this ...

"He is a good man, but he drowns in a glass of water."

The meaning of the line has many possible interpretations but the sound of this line is just beautiful.  Another one is...

"Every book has a soul.  The soul of the person who wrote it and of those who read it and dream with it."

When I think about the above lines I remember the book When you Reach Me by Rebecca Stead.  It's no surprise to me that this wonderful book won the 2010 Newbery because when you read it, you will discover its soul.

Enough said.  Now I must get back to writing my book and do what David Martin advised a budding writer to do ....  To sit with my hands poised above the keyboard, squeeze my brain until it hurts and see what comes out ... ;)

Saturday, January 2, 2010

A Brand New Year!

Here we are!  I have many good intentions but no resolutions and I think I like that much better.  Less pressure you know.  I do plan to be more active, to eat better and of course, to continue writing my new novel as well as query agents all over this great country for my finished novel, Nora's Grave.  I may not always do the first or second thing but I will definitely write.  It would be impossible not to.  I'm always thinking about my stories whether I'm at work or at home, no matter what I'm doing.  :)

One of the great things about writing and being in touch with other writers on the worldwide web is getting to participate in contests like this.  Mary Kole, an agent for Andrea Brown Literary Agency is holding a contest for great novel beginnings!  Go on, check it out!  What a great way to get a good writing year going.  Well, gotta send my entry off.  Wish me luck!