Archive for July, 2012

Back from RWA in Anaheim

Tuesday, July 31st, 2012

I recently returned from the RWA National Conference in Anaheim, California, and I had a great time. This was a very positive conference experience for me. I had the chance to participate in two author signings, the first as Cindy Procter-King for the Literacy Autographing that was held on July 25th and then a few days later, I participated in the Samhain publisher book give-away and signing as an author (under my alter ego). I also attended some great, informative workshops and networked with some people I haven’t seen in years. Now I’m home and ready to get back to work on the re-issues of Head Over Heels and Borrowing Alex. The proofing files for Head Over Heels are in my in-box. As soon as I fulfill the agent and editor requests (for a different book) obtained during the conference, I will get right to the proofing so then I can deliver the file to my formatter. Yes, Head Over Heels WILL be on sale again in August!

In the meantime, here are some photos from the conference. Enjoy!

Laguna Beach, where I stayed with my conference roommate the night before I moved to the hotel. Beautiful!


My future daughter-in-law (FDIL) is a huge Nora Roberts fan, so before the Literacy Autographing (in which I was participating) got under way, I bought a signed copy of THE WITNESS signed to my FDIL from Nora and then Nora’s assistant suggested we take this picture. Thanks, Nora, for being a great sport.

Moi signing copies of WHERE SHE BELONGS, currently available in library-edition hardcover and also audio book.

With roommate, good friend, and author Jamie Sobrato, at the Literacy Autographing.


Find Me at Table 802!

Monday, July 23rd, 2012

As I’m heading off to Anaheim for the RWA National Conference, I realized I might not get a chance to blog during the conference. But a quick heads-up that I’m signing copies of WHERE SHE BELONGS at the Annual Literacy Autographing. The tables aren’t in alphabetical order this year, so just remember (if you’re in the area and want to stop by to say hello) that I can be found at Table 802 along with Jane Porter (the other P in the bunch) as well as a few other authors with last names that don’t start with P. So if you see a long line forming in front of Jane’s station and no one standing in front of mine, pop over and say hello. I don’t bite!

Here’s the WWWW direct from RWA:

2012 “Readers for Life” Literacy Autographing

Wednesday, July 25, 5:00 – 8:00 p.m.

Anaheim Convention Center, Ballroom (third floor)

Proceeds from book sales go to ProLiteracy Worldwide, Read Orange County, and Literacy Volunteers—Huntington Valley.

No outside books are allowed in the event.

I Am Here

Friday, July 20th, 2012

Absent from the blog, but busy working and living life!

The RWA National Conference in Anaheim, California occurs next week. I am attending and will be signing at the Literacy Autographing Wednesday evening. More information coming on that in a couple of days.

I’m mega-behind in posting my Galapagos travel posts. I’ve been busy updating and revising HEAD OVER HEELS for what will now be an August 2012 re-issue through my imprint, Blue Orchard Books. After rewriting about 80% of the sentences (if not more) in the story, I decided to hire a proofreader to make sure I haven’t left any stray commas or typos behind (and by hire a proofreader I don’t mean a family member, friend, or a critique partner. I wanted someone totally objective who was not at all familiar with the story). Yesterday, I sent off the file for proofreading and expect it will be returned to me at the end of the month.

Then comes the formatting, for which I am also hiring out. I am hiring out every step of the process toward the re-issue of HEAD OVER HEELS that does not involve writing or uploading to the various on-line venues. I just have too much going on to worry about learning how to properly format my work for all the different formats (Smashwords, ePub, Kindle, etc.). Maybe in the future, but not right now. This means, of course, that the re-issue of HEAD OVER HEELS does not come without a price. Proofreaders, formatters, cover artists, etc. are not free. However, I am so totally in love with this story again, and I honestly believe that if I want to try and find new readers with a re-issue then I owe it to those readers to put out the best version of the story that I honestly can at this point in time. For me, for a book that was originally published ten years ago (time flies!) that meant a lot of editing. I know other authors feel differently, but I didn’t feel right putting out a re-issue of a “contemporary” that was set in another decade. It was great fun updating technology and cultural changes, etc. without sacrificing characterization and story.

I am in love with the result! I hope you will be, too.

Continue to watch this space for news of the re-issue as I have it.

Now, I need to panic for the next two days as I realize I am not anywhere near finished packing (er, I have yet to start) for Conference!

Galapagos, Day 11, Morning: Egas Port, Santiago Island

Friday, July 6th, 2012

Ecuador Trip: Day 11

Galapagos Cruise: Day 6, Morning

Day 6 of our Galapagos cruise (April 26, 2012) is another that deserves two blog posts. We just did so much in one day, and everyone had their cameras out, that it’s impossible to cram into one post (keep in mind that I update my photo albums about every five years and am partially using these blog posts to help remind me what I did a certain day when I finally get around to putting Ecuador pix in albums).

In the morning, we set off for Egas Port, also known as James Bay, on Santiago Island. For Week 1 of our cruise, this was the first time we set foot on a landing site that wasn’t on either Isabela Island or Fernandina Island (not counting our first visit to giant tortoises in the wild on Santa Cruz before we officially pulled anchor).

The first thing you notice when you land at Egas Port are the cute little Flycatcher birds. Out of our group of 17 people, including the guide, the Flycatchers must have landed on at least 10 of us. I was one of those who didn’t merit a Flycatcher landing (sob), but My Liege, BIL and SIL all did (or, if one did land on me, it wasn’t caught on camera that I know of). The birds would land on your camera, your outstretched finger, the rim of your hat. In the interests of maintaining the privacy of the other passengers, I’m not posting any of their photos. However, I will post a picture of our guide, Harry Jimenez, with the Flycatcher landing on his camera. Harry recently opened his own blog about his hotel and the guiding he does both with his boat, Blue Fantasy, and as a freelance guide on larger boats like the Cormorant. Harry has a new website for the Eco-Lodge and also an Eco-Lodge Facebook profile which you can go friend. I figure if I post links to all his sites, Harry will forgive me for posting his picture with the Flycatcher. It’s called promotion, Harry. You’re welcome.

Here’s Harry with the Flycatcher landing on his camera:

We were cautioned NOT to feed the birds from our water bottles. Basically, the less you interact with the wildlife, the better for them. But the Flycatchers have long been accustomed to flitting all over humans, as the Central Islands of the Galapagos have seen a ton of visitors over the years. They can land on your hat or your camera, but if you pour water into your hand for them to drink from, you are dead meat. They are not to rely upon us for their food or water. You could call that a Travel Tip! (I haven’t posted one in awhile).

Life is not complete without a close-up! “Flycatcher.” Photo Credit: Moi:

Look at his cute little tuft! Is he not a handsome Flycatcher? You can tell it’s a boy, because I said so. Would I lie? (It’s not my fault if I do).

There are beautiful rock formations all over Egas Port/James Bay. It’s not uncommon to spot a baby sea lion catching a nap:


Marine iguanas taking a bath:

“Take us to your leader…after our hot tub.”

There are grottoes and tide pools galore at Egas Port. It is amazing, totally beautiful. We really loved Fernandina Island and Isabela Island for the vast variety of marine life and wildlife. However, the visit to Egas Port in Week 1 was a tiny taste of what was to come during Week 2 of our cruise, where we visited many islands with spectacular rock formations. This is why it’s so difficult for me to choose whether I liked Week 1 or Week 2 better. They are so different. If you only go for one of the weeks, don’t be surprised if you find yourself wanting to go back again a year or two or three later to finish the other half of the Islands. I know one couple from Week 1 who intend to go back for Week 2, and at least one person from Week 2 who intends to return for Week 1. A couple we met from Germany on Week 2 were on their second Galapagos cruise and have every intention of returning a third time.

Travel Tip! Paradise is highly addictive.

I took a walking stick to Egas Port, but quickly discovered it interfered with my zoom lens and my standing ability. So I fobbed it off on my husband. Here we are, happy as Sally Lightfoot Crabs, at Egas Port:

We’re wearing our Panama hats, bought and made in Ecuador. I can’t remember if I’ve told the story of how Panama hats came to be called Panama hats. If you’ve been following the travel blogs and can’t remember me saying anything, let me know (which means you either have to comment or email me) and I’ll include the Ecuadorian-made Panama hat anecdote in another post.

Our group came upon this cool arch that we had to cross. What’s everyone looking at? Sea lions are playing in the water down below!

Proof that I do not lie:

At Egas Port was one of the perhaps two times (that I can recall) during the entire two weeks where we saw Fur Seals. The fur seals are furrier than the sea lions. My knowledge stops there. Perhaps Harry J. can educate us on his blog! I’m only here to be revered, you know. I can’t be expected to retain all knowledge. Limited gray matter is my excuse.

Fur Seal:

Napping fur seal, on right side of grotto shown two pictures above.

Finally, we have an interesting rock formation known as Darwin’s Toilet:

The water rushes in and out and resembles a toilet flushing (once someone has pointed that out to you; otherwise it resembles water rushing in and out more like a well refilling very quickly).

My husband took a short video of Darwin’s Toilet that is on my Facebook page. If you’d like to see Darwin’s Toilet in action, visit and click on Photos, then click on Videos. Then click on Darwin’s Toilet.

While you’re there, it can’t hurt you to like my page, so go ahead and click “Like.”

What, it does hurt, you say? Awwwwwww. It only hurts a little. You can handle it. I know you can.

Galapagos, Day 10: Take Me to Your Leader

Tuesday, July 3rd, 2012

Ecuador – Day 10

Galapagos Cruise – Day 5

Yes, I quickly tired of titling my posts, example “Day 10/5.” I figure the clever among you can follow along with the explanation right above just fine.

On April 25th, Day 5 of our Galapagos cruise, we visited Espinosa Point on Fernandina Island in the morning, after which we went snorkeling at Tagus Cove in the afternoon and then hiked to Darwin’s Lake on Isabela Island.

Visiting Espinosa Point is surreal. Especially if you visit on the first week of a two-week cruise before you might become jaded by all the spectacular marine life (although I can’t imagine anyone becoming jaded, but I suppose some do). By now you’ve seen a few land iguanas, but nothing can prepare you for the Star-Trekian planet full of Marine Iguanas, hundreds of the things, worshipping their sun god as they await transport back to the mother ship. Just when you think you’ve seen so many sun-worshipping marine iguanas that you couldn’t possibly see any more, you round another corner and there’s another batch! As far as iguanas go, I don’t think I saw another site this spectacular anywhere else in the Galapagos Islands. I’ve chosen just a few shots as examples. Honestly, sometimes the iguanas looked like they were carved from the lava rock of the island, because they just stood there motionless, or crawled over each other, in their eagerness to either remain in place or beat out a compadre for the best sun-worshipping spot.

I included some of my fellow passengers (while cleverly not revealing them close enough to expose their identities) to show how large the Marine Iguanas are at Espinosa Point. See those three shadows right in front? More iguanas!

Also, note how close you can get to the iguanas without disturbing them. Our guide would shout out, “Don’t step on the iguanas!” There were literally that many of them.

“Take me to your leader, and you will not be harmed.”

Good thing these guys were slow-moving, because they meant business.

“Here is our leader! Honest, under the human skin lurks iguanas just like you! We are even bigger, however. We could step on your tails if we wanted to. But we don’t wish for your leader to beat us up.”

Our Leader:

Espinosa Point doesn’t only feature Marine Iguanas, however. We saw sea lions frolicking, and this lovely sight of a mother nursing her baby:

A view of our catamaran, The Cormorant, in the background. Also shows the landscape of the area where we walked:

See those little red things in the foreground? Those are Sally Lightfoot Crabs. We saw a ton of them on Espinosa Point.

But first, the bird for which our catamaran was named, the Flightless Cormorant:

They’re called Flightless Cormorants because they do not fly. They do, however, like to stand around sunning their flightless wings, because you never know when another human will happen along. The Flightless Cormorant is always ready for his close-up.

Now, you know I can’t resist showing a photo of a sea turtle. On Espinosa Point, you could get a picture of a sea turtle along with Sally Lightfoot Crabs, and, if you were lucky, a Marine Iguana right beside them. This photo is missing the iguana. He was close by, but I wanted a close-up of the sea turtle in its little pond:

“All right, Sally Lightfoot crabs, who wants a piggyback ride first?” (Just kidding, I never saw the sea turtles giving piggyback rides to crabs.)

Sally Lightfoot Crabs are extremely colorful. A photographer’s dream!

He wants his close-up. He’s not ready, he just wants it:

“Look into my eyes. You feel very sleepy. If you feel me nibbling your toenails, do not be afeared, my child. I will stop when I reach your eyeballs.”

Pretty much like an insect up close, no? And people wonder why I respect crabs enough not to eat them.

After lunch, we snorkeled in Tagus Cove, Isabela Island. It was a sea turtle paradise! (In other words, live with that you’re going to see two of them here):

Photo Credit: BP. I think this was the day “T” lent me her bathing cap, so I could see, I could see! For once. Or maybe I was wearing my backward baseball cap. I can not be expected to remember, because the marine iguanas ate my brain.

“Mirror, mirror, on the…underside of the water, Who is the fairest, the sea turtle or the otter?” Photo Credit: BP (Answer, it’s a tie, because otters are damn cute.)

After snorkeling, we took the pangas to the beach for a hike up to Darwin Lake. The graffiti that you see on the right (it’s very tiny from this far away and at this resolution, but if you can spot what looks like white writing to the right, that’s what I mean) is (a) very old (b) also from the 50s (c) maybe the 70s, too). The oldest graffiti dates back to 1836. Even vandalism becomes historic at a certain point:

You can’t see from this view, but there are sea lions lounging on the path we hiked beside. You had to step around them to continue on.

The idea is that your tour group is supposed to be the only one at a site at a given time. In reality, there are often two or three groups at the site at once, but you don’t see them because there is a loop-path back to your landing site. However, at Tagus Cove there is one place to land, one path to hike up to view Darwin Lake, and then the same path to hike back down. So this is when you’re likely to meet another tour group. You’ll be on your way down and they’ll be coming up.

View of Darwin Lake, with the Cormorant and a second ship in the background.

Just another day in paradise!