I’m back home after unplugging for a five day vacation with the family up to a lake in the Sierras. We had a blast. It’s so good to travel up to the mountains again. That lake is like a second home to us and a place my hubby’s family has been going to for generations.
My daughter and I were able to sneak away from the pack for a while and we started to write a little fairy tale about the lake. It’s the first time I’ve ever written up there. We were sitting on the docks, looking out at the water and she wrote a paragraph and then I wrote a paragraph and before you knew it, we had a wonderful little story brewing. It incorporated a lot of the mythology of the lake, or what we imagined the mythology to be , and includes some of our favorite spots too. I can’t believe I haven’t written there before. I guess maybe it’s not what my brain wants to do at 7000 ft? It’s been years since we’ve vacationed there. We keep asking ourselves why it’s taken so long to travel back to the cabin. A place we’d once gone to two or three times every summer. And then it became so obvious. It hit me at unexpected times. In my search for the table extensions, I opened the wrong closet and found his coats still hanging there. Groggy, on an early morning I opened a drawer in the bathroom and found his razor and overnight bag. Ray’s been gone for about six years now. I can still hear his voice up there. I still expect him to come around the fire at night. As a matter of fact, I’m pretty sure his spirit does. Ray’s been a big inspiration in my writing. He finds his way into many of my books. So, when I returned home to find the 4.5/5 star San Francisco Book Review of Transfer Student. I smiled. What author isn’t pleased that her writing is well received, right? But my happiness doubled because it came from a different place. It brought more memories of Ray and made my smile grow. See, years ago when I was writing the first drafts of the story, I was trying to come up with the language of the Rethan people. I was having a terrible time trying to come up with how Rethan’s measure time. Specifically, I was hung up on inventing their word for year. I ended up calling it a ray. Here’s a link to an interview where I talk more about the behind-the-scenes inspiration for the story.
I hope you all are getting a chance to escape to a favorite spot this summer. Whether it’s sneaking away to your favorite spot in your garden to read or write or plant something beautiful or just walk around your neighborhood or hang out with friends. Escaping sure is fun.
Sometimes you just HAVE to laugh. It was late in the day yesterday. Hubby was smoking a cigar on the deck and I was in the kitchen getting a few things ready for our BBQ. When the kids grow up these kinds of family dinners are few and far between. We live in the hills that overlook a valley with one road in and one road out.
Hubby thought he heard an accident on the main road and wanted to go check to make sure it wasn’t the girls who were with our nephew, a high schooler in town for Spring Break. The three of them [and two dogs] were expected any minute. So hubby drove down. When he didn’t come back, I drove down too. It was a bad wreck but thankfully our kids weren’t involved. Joe stayed to help a while and before long we get a call that the kids are stuck in major traffic. It took them about an hour to get to our house, a drive that’s normally ten minutes from where they were stopped.
We had big hugs all around and were chit-chatting about the huge surf on the coast that day and catching up with each other’s lives. We had just sat down to eat, grateful they had missed that accident and talking about the 30 ft. waves they’d taken videos of on their drive when our smoke alarm blares.
That’s random, I think. I hadn’t burnt anything. We were just sitting around the table eating. One of our daughters runs for a ladder to check on the smoke alarm. I tell the kids to go outside as the sound was so loud. I’m on my way into the kitchen to see what’s up when hubby picks up a pyrex off a burner on the stove that I had left on and it literally explodes in his hands. APRIL FOOLS! Thank goodness he was okay. Just a little rattled. He reaches for the broom and I shush him out of the kitchen to go salvage what he can of dinner with the kids and our nephew.
Glass makes such a mess when it explodes. It was kind of hilarious. There was one breast sort of plastered to the front of the oven full of glass chards. It almost looked like artwork.
Anyway, I might have ruined dinner, but the homemade ice cream was pretty tasty And now everyone’s laughing about it and requesting exploding chicken next time we get together
Congrats to @Jwitt33 winner of today’s TRANSFER STUDENT EBOOK! Good luck to today’s tweeters To read a review and get the scoop on today’s EBOOK/SWAG Giveaways visit the next stop on the tour, the wonderful Epilogue Review!
Over the next few days I’m blogging about the inspirations/challenges of TRANSFER STUDENT.
I wrote the first draft in 2006 after my father-in-law died. It was a crazy, sad time. I was working at The Los Angeles Times on the re-opening of the Griffith Observatory [it had been closed for five years for renovations] and we were back-and-forth between LA and Fresno [a four hour drive from LA], more and more frequently as my father-in-law got worse and worse, eventually ending up on life support. His name was Ray. I named the Reathan word for “year” in his honor. After Ray passed, just hours after, it was late at night and my husband Joe, his mom and I all sat out on my mother-in-law’s patio and looked at the stars. She said she knew Ray was up there, one of the stars. And that’s all it took. I had the beginnings of a story about souls that traveled, that starjumped, through space. And I wanted to explore the idea of a parallel planet similar to Earth, a sister planet. Retha is that planet and an anagram for Earth.
Tomorrow I blog about why I decided to write the story from Two POVS, that of a teen girl Earthling and a teen boy alien from the planet Retha.
It was 26 years ago today that I spent my last night as a single girl. As you can imagine, I was incredibly excited. The weather was going to be perfect. As it turned out, at 5pm on Valentine’s Day in a little suburb of Chicago the snow began to fall. I like to call it our Dr. Zhivago wedding. I always loved the scene in Dr. Zhivago where Lara & Uri flee to Varikino in the heart of winter. The romance of seeking refuge in the ice. And so it was at our reception, after our vows in the beautiful garden chapel in the church where I grew up, we watched the snow fall all around us through floor-to-ceiling glass walls. It was a dream come true. Of course, I believe most brides feel this way on their wedding day. But, I did so love the snowstorm. My husband’s family from California really froze, poor things. And after all the dancing and our friends’ shenanigans my hubby and I started our honeymoon. And another dream come true. I flew out of the snow and into The Tropics.
This year we celebrated by visiting one of our favorite spots on earth. This video reminds me of the feeling I have when we spend time there. xxooLaura
It’s not every day that you pick your daughter up from the airport. And today is even more special because my daughter lives a continent away. She’s coming back home and we are going to get to hang out for ten precious days. One of my fondest memories of San Fransisco is when my daughter graduated from San Francisco State University. It was a magical realism author’s dream come true as Isabelle Allende was one of the speakers at graduation. But Gavin Newsom was also an amazing speaker and he had some great advice for the graduates that I’ll never forget–STAY GREEN. Meaning, keep learning. Don’t stop. What great advice. And what I’ve found, and what my debut young adult novel Winnemucca is about, is that so much of our learning takes place out of the classroom. Just like so much of great writing is about what isn’t said. It’s off the page.