Day 166

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Two hours of edits in the a.m.  Now on chapter 7.  The book looks good!

Last full day at mom's.  Last-minute packing.  Comcast stuff returned.  Goodwill run.  A beautiful day in Bellingham!

Love this view!

On the road with Chris tomorrow morning at 9, with a short stop at Gwen's.  Hope to reach southern Oregon tomorrow night.

Goodbye view!

Day 165

Friday, June 28, 2013

Three hours of edits early in the a.m. on Zombie Cookies.  One more large pass at the book before commiting full-time to the next book.

A perfect spot to write!

Another full day of packing and organizing.

Living Room

Empty Downstairs

Went to dinner with Dad and Sue.  Chris and Elizabeth arrived around 2 p.m.

Day 164

Thursday, June 27, 2013

No writing today.

Helped mom pack up for her move.  Busy day!


Day 163

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

No writing today.

Off to Bellingham.  Packed, emailed, tidied up and read. 

Fly out of Oakland at 5:15.  Into B'ham at 7:15.


Day 162

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Up at 4:45, racquetball until 7:30, then writing, writing, writing...sent out four queries, sent out emails, plotted II, and now at 10 a.m. I'm editing chapter 2 of Zombie Cookies.  I'll hit it hard until 4:30 when I leave to pick up Alice from work.

I'm leaving for Bellingham tomorrow night to help mom move out of her beautiful house and combine everything into her Arizona house.  Chris is joining me for the road trip from B'ham to Chandler.  This will give us lots of time to brainstorm ideas and develop characters for our novel.

Day 161

Monday, June 24, 2013

I'm so busy with stuff and it feels great!  I logged in another 15-hour writing/reading/thinking day, which is becoming routine.  I printed out a double-spaced draft of Zombie Cookies and will go through every scene, adding, subtracting, modifying, embellishing, emphasizing, stretching out, tightening, cutting, and polishing the manuscript until it's where it needs to be when an agent requests the full.  This will take a few weeks.  This is what writing's all about.  I love it!

I'm also writing a 30,000-word Behind-the-Scenes e-book on the making of Don't Eat the Zombie Cookies.  I wrote about 2,000 words of this today.  I'm a junkie for stories about the making of books, movies and tv shows.  I've read many books on the making of It's A Wonderful Life, Casablanca, All About Eve, and I love listening to filmmakers talk about the making of their movies on DVD extras.  So, I'm writing e-books on the making of all of my books, starting with Zombie Cookies since it's still so fresh in my mind.  I figure this will be a great way to learn how to set up e-books on Amazon.  I'll sell each Making Of e-book for $.99 and load it up with tidbits, my writing process, what the heck I was thinking during the composition of each chapter, my emotional state during the writing of the book, the books I was reading at the time, the music I was listening to at the time, etc.  Remember all those VH1 Behind the Story documentaries on rock bands?  That's kind of what these e-books are about. Should be fun and should take no time to write.

So Chris and I are about to embark on what I think will be one of the most exciting projects I'll ever write.  He came up with the idea a few weeks ago when we were talking about Amanda Bynes and the tragedy that has occurred to such a phenomenal young talent.  Chris said, "what they should do with Amy Winehouse-types is scoop them up off the streets and deposit them on a deserted island so they can go cold turkey and figure out who they are."

Alarm bells went off in my head, along with a voice that said, "We Interrupt this Broadcast to bring you an important pitch in which Survivor meets Cast Away meets Celebrity Rehab."

Working title:  Intervention Island.

I'm reading three books by Mark Burnett, a memoir by Shirley MacLaine's daughter called Lucky Me (apparently, Shachi Parker wasn't so lucky), Ricky Lake's autobiography, a memoir by the producer of the Larry King Show, and Warren Littlefield's account of his time at NBC called "Top of the Rock."  Needless to say, there's unlimited resource material for this awesome, awesome new story.  After reading Gone Girl, I wanted a story Chris and I could write that would combine two narrative points of view into a fast-paced novel that people would enjoy reading on airplanes.  This is it!  The satire levels are on full-throttle with this one.  Lucky for all of us,we live on a planet with so much to write about.  If II becomes a hit and a sequel is requested, the working title for book two might be, The Planet That Keeps On Giving.

After printing off my manuscript, I treated myself to the $25 gift card I'd had in my drawer from Pegasus Books.  Bought these treats that I can't wait to dive into:

New books to gobble up, three YA and one story collection by a true master!

Day 160

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Today, I sent my first Zombie Cookies query to Victoria Marini, three months and three weeks after coming up with the idea for Don’t Eat the Zombie Cookies.   Along with the query were chapter one and the synopsis of novel.  I’m so glad all the query pieces are written.  All I can do now is assemble my query list, shoot off emails and snail mail packets, and wait.  Of course, I don’t wait for anything anymore, so once the novel is revised one last time, I’ll focus my energy on my next project. 

Day 159

Saturday, June 22, 2013

 This morning I teamed up with Tiger for our Club One Doubles Tournament.  We had 12 teams from around the Bay Area.  Tiger and I did well before the playoffs, winning all our matches except one, which we lost 14-15.  Unfortunately, in the first round of the playoffs, we lost to a team from Fremont who I usually beat -- Dave and Markus.  Tiger played well and we had a lot of fun, though it's not nearly as much fun watching the finals from outside the court.  This is the first time I haven't made the finals in the last four outings.

Tiger and a few of the players at our Club One Doubles Tournament
Lunch at La Chaval
The Sheriff - Downtown Robbie Brown
Rod, Tyrone, Steve, Harry and Phil
It was a great tournament!

Afterwards, I worked on my synopsis for three hours, then drove over to Alice's for the evening.  I was dead tired and crashed early. 

Day 158

Friday, June 21, 2013

Alice had a cortisone shot at Kaiser today, so I picked her up at 2.  Before then, I played racquetball, talked with Chris on FaceTime, took Richard out for lunch, and looked over Chris's edits to my synopsis.  It's getting there and should be done before the end of the weekend.

Once at Alice's, I took it easy the rest of the day. 

Day 157

Thursday, June 20, 2013

I spent the entire day working on my synopsis for Zombie Cookies.  I finished around 11 at night.  It's about 800 words long and a lot better than it was yesterday.  Chris will take a look at it and work his editorial magic.  It needs to have funnier lines.  Right now it sounds stilted and dry.  I'm relieved it's on paper.

Day 156

Wednesday, June 20, 2013

Woke up at 4:55, made it to the gym at 5:15 and played racquetball until 6:45.  Dorian's knees are still very sore, so we won't be playing together in the doubles tournament Saturday morning.  Instead, Tiger and I will be partners.  We should do well if I can find where I put my consistency.  Honestly, I've been all over the place on the court lately.  I'm going in tomorrow morning just to work on specific shots that I used put away all the time.

I worked on my Zombie Cookie synopsis this morning and prepared for my first FaceTime meeting with Chris at noon.  We spent 90 minutes discussing a collaborative novel we plan to write this summer.  Details to follow, but I have to say it's a very exciting and interesting project to work on.  The territory covers so many interesting opportunities to analyze and poke fun at our wildly bizarre entertainment culture.  We're using Dropbox for our files and it's really an awesome program.

After our meeting, I took a 10-minute nap that turned into a four-hour sleep.  I must have needed that because it's not like me to sleep from 1:30 to 5:30.  Now at 8 p.m. I'm wide awake and all set for a good three hours of work.

My Zombie Cookies synopsis is being composed.  Wow, do I hate writing synopses.  They're hard and clunky, but a necessary piece of paperwork that agents request.  I have 30 middle grade agents targeted for my first batch of queries.  My query pool is probably about 120 agents deep, so every query matters.  I have no idea what their response will be to Zombie Cookies.  I have one agent in mind who read Julia Milan two years ago.  She is who I want, but I know the odds are low that she'll feel the same way.

I'm printing out the latest draft of Zombie Cookies and collecting reactions/edits/suggestions from my readers as I make one grand pass at the manuscript before moving on to my collaboration with Chris and Introducing Girls, the book I began earlier in the year that put aside for Zombie Cookies.  After Introducing Girls, I'll write Austin15, a book I've been wanting to write for over a year now.

That four-hour nap really set me right.  I feel really clearheaded and focused right now, which is a very rare thing after 8 in the evening.  Usually, I can barely see straight in the evening.

Day 155

Tuesday, June 19, 2013

I woke up at 4:40 and hit the gym by 5.  I practiced for an hour, then came home and got to work.  I began work on my synopsis of Zombie Cookies.  Talk about painful.  The first few drafts of any synopsis I write is always horribly embarrassing.  It's a total confidence downer, not to mention necessary but maddening pain in the ass.  They're worse than writing term papers about a boring subject I could care less about, which in a way is surprising since a synopsis is nothing more than a short outline of a book I wrote.  I'm writing to figure out a way to have fun with this exercise, but so far I've come up empty.  I looked over my synopses for Martin Martinez and Julia Milan, remembering how much I hated writing them.  They're okay, but not great.  Sometimes all it takes is one inspiring line to get me going.  I haven't come up with that inspiring line yet.

I spent several hours returning emails today.  I've almost cleaned out my in box.  Almost.

Tonight, I went over to Richard and Lisa's for dinner and had a great fiddle lesson with Ari's boyfriend Connor, who's an amazing violinist.  He plays classical, bluegrass, jazz, pretty much everything.  He's technically incredible.  It was great hanging out with the Youngs last night.

Day 154

Monday, June 17, 2013

I spent the day unpacking and getting back to the wonderful routine of my life.  I went to the gym bright and early at 5 a.m. and began the long journey toward losing a few of the cruise pounds I mysteriously acquired.  I wonder how that happened?  Damn those cruise cookies! 

I chipped away at my emails but made little progress.  I opened mail and entered bills and receipts into Quicken.  After about three hours of tedious chores, I went to the library for research materials on a new project I'm working on with my uncle.  I checked out seven books, including Lucky Me, a memoir by Shirley MacLaine's daughter.  Now that should make for interesting reading.

I also watched an episode of season 6 of Mad Men on my iPad.  I love everything about Mad Men.  This season is very strange and sometimes totally crazy, but I'm assuming that's the point, because Don is spiraling.  I love it.  What a great great great great television show. 

Day 153

Sunday, June 16, 2013

No writing today.

Spent the day unpacking, unwinding, attending a high school graduation party for Trey and having a nice dinner at Lin Jia with Alice.  Ready to get to it tomorrow!

Day 152

Saturday, June 15, 2013

No writing today.

Arrived back in Seattle at 8 a.m.  Visited with Kathryn Kim and Susan Thornberg for a few hours before flying back home to the Bay Area.  Wow, what an amazing journey.  My first cruise was a complete and total success.  I can't wait for the next one, but in the meantime, I'm eager to get back to work!

Back in Seattle

The Star Princess is a rockin' ship for sure!

Day 151

Friday, June 14, 2013

No writing today.

Heading home with a stopover in Victoria, B.C.  Alice and I took a galley tour of the ship, which was very cool!

Inside the kitchen

Galley shot

Hoi, Austin and Andrew at the Empress, Victoria, B.C.

Day 150

Thursday, June 13, 2013

No writing today

We spent the morning in Ketchikan, caught the early showing of the Great Alaskan Lumberjack Show, then visited my cousin Matt from 9-12.

Good to be back in Ketchikan after 40 years!

With Matt Hagan

At Totem Heritage Center, Ketchikan

With Matt

The Gang on Creek Street, Ketchikan

Second Formal Dinner


Day 149

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

No writing today.

I had a few ideas I jotted down this morning.  Nothing major, but managed to write about an hour or two once we left Glacier Bay.

Today the ship reached Glacier Bay National Park.  Alice and I watched Park rangers board the ship at 6 a.m.  At 7:30 they moderated our amazing sightseeing adventure as we went from one stunning glacier to another.  It was truly incredible and on just a clear day.

Margerie Glacier

Alice in front of Margerie Glacier

At Glacier Bay

Glacier Bay National Park

On Deck 14

Free for the taking...all discipline was lost by today

Day 148

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

No writing today.

Our next stop was Skagway, Alaska, a small, picturesque town of about 2,200 with 12 jewelry stores along Main Street.  It was another perfect 80-degree day in Alaska.

On Main Street

Downtown Skagway
Leaving Skaguay in the evening was memorable because the skyline was so beautiful.

Day 147

Monday, June 10, 2013

No writing today.

 Our first stop on the cruise was Juneau, Alaska.  We arrived in the morning and set out for Mendenhall Glacier a few miles outside town.  Nugget Falls next to the glacier was gushing!  The weather was perfect.  After a few hours at the park, we walked around downtown Juneau, ate a delicious fish taco and bread bowl of salmon chowder, connected online for 30 minutes at a local cafe, and sent out Father's Day cards.  This was an awesome day!

Mendenhall Glacier and Nugget Falls

Alice and Austin

Alice in front of Nugget Falls

With Alice
Alice in Juneau

Day 146

Sunday, June 9, 2013

No writing today.

We spent Sunday at sea, continuing up the Juan De Fuca Strait into Canadian waters, paralleling Vancouver Island and crossing Queen Charlotte Sound.  Dinner was formal dress and everyone looked sharp.  The seas were a bit rough and one of our party was sea sick the entire day; however, Alice and I were fine. 

Alice destroyed me in crib all week.  What is that?

We loved hanging out at the Skywalkers 6 a.m.!

First Formal Dinner

With Alice and Austin

Day 145

Saturday, June 8, 2013

No writing today.

Alice and I left for our Alaska cruise today.  Her son Austin joined us, along with two other families.  We arrived in Seattle at 11 a.m. and took a shuttle to Pier 91.  We embarked aboard the Star Princess at 2 and left the dock by 4.  The weather was wonderful!

Alice aboard Star Princess leaving Seattle

On Deck 15 leaving Seattle

Let the week-long food frenzy begin!