Thursday, May 28, 2009

Exploring. A Santa Monica Photoblog.

Over this past Memorial Day weekend, the weather was gorgeous here in the L.A. area, so my husband and I took advantage of it and explored a few of the local sights. I know, I know...I can just hear my friends now, "You? The palest girl in Southern California? Out in the sun, Michele? We don't believe it." But it's true I tell you; I left my cave. Anyway, on Friday, we chose to head up to Santa Monica, home of Pacific Park and Third Street Promenade...both of which are often used as settings in movies and TV shows.

Also, during this past year, I've gotten into habit of carrying my camera with me everywhere I go, so today I'm posting a photoblog of Friday's excursion. As you'll see, I took advantage of the color isolation feature on my camera... I have so much fun with that! :) But I am finding that by taking photos, I'm seeing everyday things--shapes and angles of buildings, trees, shadows, clouds, expressions--in a completely different way now and that it's helping me pull out those details while I'm writing.

Hope you enjoy! And yeah, I did get a little too much sun that day... just not used to it.

Oh, and tell me: Do you take your camera with you everywhere you go? Do you find taking pictures helps you with your writing? How about another art form?

Take Care,


(copyright 2009: All photos were taken by me on my Canon PowerShot SD 750 Digital Elph.)

Third Street Promenade in Downtown Santa Monica
(lots of shops, restaurants, movie theaters, and musicians)
Actually, I'm not sure where everyone disappeared to in this shot!

Also on Third Street Promenade

On the Santa Monica Pier... Pacific Park.

Still at Pacific Park...

Yep...still there. ;)

Trapeze School on the pier..."learn to fly."

The entrance. We came down a huge hill to get to the pier.
Which meant we had to climb up that huge hill. Ugh.

Route 66 ends here.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Sparking the "Ah-ha!" in Writing...For FREE!

A BIG thank you to friend and fellow blogger SpyScribbler for sharing this link! Literary Agent Donald Maass is offering his new book, The Career Novelist: A Literary Agent Offers Strategies for Success , for FREE as a .pdf download. How cool is that?

Several years ago, I'd taken Maass's one-day "Writing the Breakout Novel" workshop and learned so much in those few hours! Seriously, it surprised me how many novel writing tips he'd given us that, frankly, as he'd listed them... I'd had one (or a few) of those "wow, that makes total sense" moments. Elements I probably should've thought of before, but hadn't. Sometimes it's only a spark that will lead to those "ah-has" in writing and perhaps Maass's new book will be that for you...for free.

Hope you're all doing well!

Take Care,


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The 88. A Celebration on May 21st at the Key Club.

Hey All,

For those of you in the L.A. area, check out this amazing show at the Key Club on Thursday night, May 21st. And if you attend, you'll be the first to receive The 88's brand NEW ALBUM -- FREE!! They haven't even released it yet, so it's super cool of them to do this!

They'll be playing a 2 set show on Thursday. The first set will be Bob Dylan's "Highway 61 Revisited" and the second set will be a lot of favorite 88 songs and some of their new ones! Not only that, but the group is celebrating their new freedom... they're no longer with Island Records and they're ecstatic to be on their own again! Seriously, they're stoked.

So tell your friends and help them celebrate on Thursday! It's an all ages show, so bring your families! And get a FREE CD of their new unreleased album. :)

Tickets are available through this link.

Oh, and hey, remember when I blogged about kindhearted people in the music industry back in February? That was The 88! These are the guys who were given a budget for a music video by their record company, and with that money, they chose to buy gas for strangers (when prices were soaring) and ice cream for kids on the soccer fields in the L.A. area. They have the biggest hearts, they're the real deal, and they love music.

So, if you can... please check them out on iTunes, as they have 3 albums on there presently.

And just to give you guys a little background on The 88, here's an EPK I happened to come across recently. This was put together a few years ago, before they were signed with Island, I believe, and now they do have a new bass guitarist and a new guitar player. The song played throughout the clip is "Not Enough" from their album, "Over and Over," and it's definitely one of their more rockin' songs. It just goes off... so awesome.

Also from "Over and Over" is this classic song, "Nobody Cares." Enjoy!

Take Care!


Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Writing Contest: The Maggie for Unpublished Writers

Since this is one of the contests where my historical novel was one of the winners a few years back, The Maggie Contest for Unpublished Writers will always remain close to my heart. :) So yes, I had a fantastic experience and the first round judges certainly helped me in strengthening my writing and story-telling technique... At least, I seem to think so! LOL

The deadline for this contest is June 1st, so you'll need to get your submissions in quickly.

Good Luck!! Hope you're all doing well!



The Maggie deadline is fast approaching!

Now is the time to make your final edits, get your pages together, fill out that entry form, and mail your manuscript(s) to the appropriate 2009 Maggie Awards coordinator! Use this opportunity to get critiques from two published authors and for the chance to get your story in front of an acquiring editor. And don't forget the cool jewelry. The deadline is June 1, so procrastination is not allowed!

Be sure to include adequate return postage per the May 11 postage increase.

24th Annual Unpublished Maggie Awards
Sponsor: Georgia Romance Writers
Fee: $25 GRW members, $30 others
Receipt Deadline: June 1, 2009
Entry: synopsis, first chapter(s) of ms (35 pages total max)
Categories: contemporary series romance, historical (includes Regencies), contemporary single title, fantasy/paranormal, inspirational

First round judges: published authors
Final round judges:
Contemporary Series Romance: Susan Litman, Silhouette
Historical: Chelsea Gilmore, Avalon Books
Paranormal: Chris Keeslar, Dorchester Publishing
Inspirational: Emily Rodmell, Assistant Editor, Steeple Hill

Multiple entries encouraged, including up to three separate entries per category.
Awardees will be announced October 3, 2009, at Moonlight & Magnolias and will receive the prestigious Maggie medallion.
FMI, entry form, and rules, visit
Email Pam Mantovani at or call 678-957-6775


Saturday, May 16, 2009

Writing Contest: 2009 Heart of the Rockies Contest

Hi All,

I've never entered the Heart of the Rockies Contest, but I thought some of you may be interested, as the organization is accepting electronic submissions only... that's quite a money saver! :)

Good luck! And I hope you're doing well and your writing is going smoothly.

Take Care,


****permission to forward granted****

Colorado Romance Writers is pleased to announce the launch of the 2009 Heart of the Rockies Contest for unpublished writers! Check out our nine categories and don't miss out on getting your novel in front of acquiring editors and agents!

2009 Heart of the Rockies Contest
Sponsor: Colorado Romance Writers
Fee: $25 (CRW members) $30 (Non-members)
Deadline: June 15, 2009

What to Enter: The first two chapters and a 1-5 page synopsis, 35 pages total max. Save money on printing and postage! We are accepting electronic submissions only!

Categories: Short contemporary, long contemporary, romantic suspense, single title contemporary, historical, paranormal/time travel/futuristic/fantasy, inspirational, mainstream with romantic elements & Spicy.

Final Judges:

• Long Contemporary – Kathryn Lye, Editor/Harlequin
• Short Contemporary - Diana Ventimiglia, Associate Editor/Silhouette
• Single Title Contemporary – Elaine Spencer, Agent/The Knight Agency
• Romantic Suspense - Danielle Poiesz, Pocket Books
• Historical – Alexandra Machinist, Agent/Linda Chester Literary Agency
• Paranormal – Chris Keeslar, Senior Editor/Dorchester
• Inspirational - TBA
• Mainstream with Romantic Elements – Valerie Gray, Editor/MIRA
• Spicy – Lindsey McGurk, Editor/Samhain Publishing

FMI, entry form and rules, go to or email Maya Milhous at HORCoordinator1 [at] [Remove spaces]


Friday, May 08, 2009

Weekend Fun with KEANE

Seriously, I can't even imagine this world without music. For me, music, writing, art, discipline feeds the others. It may not work that way for everyone, but it does for me. :)

Do you guys know about the UK band Keane? Back in December, they'd visited L.A. and performed a couple of shows, but only one of them was an acoustic set--at The Largo (very intimate). So, Keane posted one of their songs from that concert on Vimeo to share with everyone and I thought I'd pass it along. It's one of my favorites. We're seeing them again this Saturday night at the Hollywood Palladium, but they'll be "plugged in" this time. Should be a fantastic show!

Also, here's my absolute favorite Keane song, "The Frog Prince," from their concert at the O2 Arena in London (2007). Tom Chaplin has a lot of energy on stage, so he tends to get a little warm up there. LOL. His wild hair cracks me up.

The members of Keane are Tom Chaplin, Tim Rice-Oxley and Richard Hughes. Check them out on iTunes. Their newest album Perfect Symmetry is a lot of fun, but I still love Hopes and Fears and Under the Iron Sea!

Hope you're all doing well!

Take Care,


Tuesday, May 05, 2009


Hi Everyone!

Here's an online writing workshop that comes highly recommended by a fellow OCC/RWA member: "SCENE & SEQUEL - BUILDING BLOCKS TO GREAT FICTION" with bestselling author Patricia Kay. This four-week workshop runs from May 25th to June 20th and costs $30. For more information, please check out the information below and feel free to pass this along to any interested parties! :)

Hope you're all doing well and the writing is going smoothly!

Take Care,


***Permission to Forward Granted***

Patricia Kay presents:

Instructor: Patricia Kay
When: May 25, 2009 to June 20, 2009.
Cost: $30

For more info or to register go to:

Many writers, even published writers, seem to have a difficult time grasping
the concept of story construction using the principles of scene and sequel.
With a combination of 12 basic lessons, class discussion, homework, and
feedback on your homework, Pat takes the mystery out of Scene & Sequel.
Don't miss your chance to take this popular class.

Pat is the USA Today bestselling author of more than 47 novels of romance
and women's fiction which have been published in eighteen different
countries. An acclaimed teacher, she formerly taught at The University of
Houston, and has given writing workshops all over the country. She says
there's nothing more satisfying to her than seeing that light bulb go off in
a student's head.