21 August 2008

Queries: Update

The queries I sent out about my YA novel went better than for the middle grade. I got one partial request that became a no, but that's better than all no's.

So, I've sent some more queries. Fingers crossed!

Other San Diego Adventures

While my main reason for going to San Diego was to attend Comic Con, I went a couple days early. I wanted to go to the San Diego Zoo and see the pandas.

Imagine my surprise when I saw a snow leopard, too. It was sleeping up high and only its head was visible. But I saw it!

Along with adorable sleeping koalas,

meerkats that my cat would love to have for playmates,

a rhinoceros taking a bath,

a giraffe trying to eat,

the giant pandas playing happily,

zebras drinking heartily,

okapi hiding in the trees,

giant tortoises sunning (or playing dead),

and these cute little klipspringers posing beautifully!

The zoo was really nice, although the map left a lot to be desired. I enjoyed seeing the animals. And I was thrilled the pandas were out and awake and playing!

12 August 2008

I Can't Complain About Crowds at TLA Ever Again!

Some of you know that I went to Comic Con International in San Diego last month. For those of you who don't know, Comic Con is the largest pop culture convention in the country. It began as a celebration of all things comics but has turned into a celebration of comic books, television, movies, games and toys.

About 125,000 people attend the four-day conference. That works out to nearly 32,000 people every day. TLA Annual, the Texas Library Association's annual conference only hosts about 8,000 people. So ... nothing to compare really.

And, yes, people were dressed up. I saw lots of Obi-Wan Kenobis, Stormtroopers, Batmans and Jokers. Also some Watchmen characters (mainly Rorschach), Harleyquin, Two-Face, Scarecrow, some apes from Planet of the Apes, anime/manga characters, Snake Eyes, Sylar victims, etc.

Anyway, I paid for a four-day pass which included Preview Night - three hours on the Exhibit Floor the day before the official open. This was amazing! The visual stimulation was almost overpowering - everywhere you looked, there was something new to see. And there were, of course, people all over the place!

While the exhibits were something else, the main attractions for me were in Hall H on the full days of the convention. Hall H is where the major presentations are - movie studio panels and such. Hall H holds 6,500 people, so nearly everyone who attends TLA could fit in this one hall!

Those of you who know me, and know how celebrity-mad I am, know I was in heaven during these three days. And one of those days was my birthday! Just to give you an idea of some of the people I saw, a list of names.

Keanu Reeves & Jennifer Connelly (Oscar winner!)

Mila Kunis, Mark Wahlberg (Oscar nominee) & Chris "Ludacris" Bridges

Hugh Jackman (surprise attendee, he wasn't on the schedule)

Djimon Hounsou (Oscar nominee) & Dakota Fanning
Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart, Stephenie Meyer, et al
And the 6,000 screaming teenage girls in the audience nearly popped my eardrums!

Gerard Butler
Guy Ritchie
Carla Gugino, Jackie Earle Haley (Oscar nominee) & Jeffrey Dean Morgan

Benicio Del Toro (Oscar winner! another surprise, he wasn't on the schedule, either)
Samuel L. Jackson (Oscar nominee)
Seth Rogen
James Franco
Elizabeth Banks
Justin Long (the Mac guy)
the entire cast of Heroes
Matthew Fox & Team Darlton from Lost

Anton Yelchin
Joan Allen (Oscar nominee)
Bill Nighy

Brendan Fraser
Maria Bello
Michelle Yeoh
Jet Li
Neil Patrick Harris

How long did I wait in line? About four hours every day, but it was completely worth it. Seriously, I was in celebrity heaven. One of the best birthdays I've ever had! If you ever get the chance to go to Comic Con, I highly recommend it.

What upcoming movies did I learn about that I can't wait to see?

Watchmen - I love that book, and the movie looks fantastic!
The Wolf Man
Terminator Salvation
Zack and Miri Make a Porno
The Day the Earth Stood Still
X-Men Origins: Wolverine
Tron 2 (Disney showed some surprise footage)

10 August 2008

YA Novel

I've finished a young adult novel set during the French Revolution. I think it has a better hook than the middle grade novel I've been querying. So, I'm setting aside the middle grade book to send out queries for the YA one.

I sent four queries today. We'll see what happens.

Vacation: Back in the USA

We made it through the border crossing back into the United States with no trouble. And we were in Maine.

We made our way to Schoodic Point in Acadia National Park. We had been there seven years earlier, and it was a place Mom and I both liked. More rocks and water!

Then we drove through New Hampshire to Massachusetts to go to Emily Dickinson's home. She's one of my favorite poets, and we were unable to go to her house the last time we were in New England. This was quite nice. You can't take pictures inside, but here's the Amherst home of America's greatest poet.

After our tour of Emily's house, we drove to Connecticut to fly home. And now you know all about our vacation.

Vacation: Prince Edward Island

Finally, we arrived in Prince Edward Island driving over the Confederation Bridge. I could not believe I had finally made it. Anne of Green Gables is my all-time favorite children's book, so this was the Motherland for me.

When we went to Green Gables, I could not stop smiling. I loved, loved, loved this. I could have stayed there all day walking the few trails around the house and soaking up the atmosphere. Other kindred spirits were there, despite the rain. They had smiles on their faces as well.

They sold Raspberry Cordial in the Butter Churn Cafe at Green Gables. Finally! I got to drink some cordial (and not currant wine). It was wonderful. I bought two bottles and shipped them home.

The Haunted Wood stood very near the front door of Green Gables. And it was spooky! I managed not to frighten myself too much. I did not want to be forced to render myself unconscious!

Cavendish Beach, part of Prince Edward Island National Park, was near Green Gables. The water of the northern Atlantic was quite cold.

The North Cape had a wind farm and the glorious red sand found across the island.

West Point Lighthouse did not technically open to visitors until the day after we were there. But the proprietor was there, and she let me go up into the light. There are two hotel rooms in the lower portion of the lighthouse. The steps higher up the lighthouse become very steep and very narrow, and my legs hurt for two days after my visit.

The PEI countryside was just stunning. The red fields and the farm houses looked like something from a postcard - or Anne of Green Gables.

Point Prim Lighthouse is the only round lighthouse on PEI, and the only brick lighthouse in Canada.

After all the fun in Prince Edward Island, it was time to return home. Back to the USA, next.

Vacation: New Brunswick

We spent very little time in New Brunswick, but the province was absolutely stunning. Lots of covered bridges are in New Brunswick, so we had to find as many as we could. One of them was the longest covered bridge in the world in Hartland.

We also drove through Fundy National Park and hiked around Dickson Falls. I loved this spot. I adore rocks and water, so this was just about heaven for me.

And then we went to Hopewell Rocks. More rocks and water! It's on the Bay of Fundy, with the largest tides in the world, so you can actually walk around on the ocean floor and see these amazing rocks. The way the tides have eroded the rocks is incredible. The Flower Pot Rocks are some of the most famous.

And the Bay of Fundy is right there, with Nova Scotia on the horizon.

Next on our trip was Prince Edward Island.