Summer Begins

Today is the third anniversary of my grandpa Fingernagel's death. He passed away at 91 from cancer. I still find it a shame, because he was always in fine health all his life. Both he and my grandmother, I hope to be so lucky when I get that old. He loved to joke and tease, and he was sharp; you couldn't get anything over on him. I always remember his teasing, and it wouldn't be until we were on our way home that I'd think of some whitty response (isn't that how it always goes?), but in those rare moments when I could be just as sharp and quick as he was he'd be doubled over laughing. It always made me happy when I could do that, because it was so damn hard! lol I wish I had spent more time with him, but I guess everyone feels like that when they lose someone they care about. It's also the anniversary of a Japanese musician, Ukyou Kamimura. Kami was the drummer of Malice Mizer, who I actually didn't get into until well after they had broken up though. It's almost surreal to watch performances by someone you find out is no longer here, but he was a great performer to watch. The world will always miss the good ones. Don't cry because they're gone; smile because they lived.

So what's been going on in my end while I've been quiet? Not much, working on therapy mostly. It's hard finding the motivation to get out and do it, but I feel good when I do so that's helping some. I think maybe I need to invest in a bus pass. The city's got to stop jacking up the bus fare, it's just discouraging people from actually riding the bus. I know they've got expenses (especially since all the buses are now new ones), but they've got proof that the rising of the bus fare is actually leading to a decrease in ridership. Just one more reason why I don't like our city council. It's like no one's using their brains down there. And an even bigger city council brainfart: they just invested a bunch of money redoing the farmer's market downtown. Which is great, but now they're taking away the free hour parking because supposedly the city is losing several thousands a year thanks to it. Yeah sure. What they're really saying is 'we can't seem to manage our money properly, so we're just going to take away whatever we can to make up for it'. Folks say you shouldn't complain about politicians if you voted for them or if you didn't vote at all, but I did vote and I didn't vote for any of them so I do have a right :D

Rain's rolling in tonight. I hope the thunderstorm they're calling for is actually worthy of the name. It's back to The Dragon King and Fallen planning for me now, so Happy Solstice everyone!

Author Interview - Cindy Pon!

Woo! I'm so excited to finally post this! Cindy Pon, author of Silver Phoenix: Beyond the Kingdom of Xia, was kind enough to do an interview with me. I really love this book, and the cover art is just gorgeous. So without further ado, the interview!

Okay, let’s get the first routine questions out of the way first. How long have you been writing?

Cindy: Thanks so much for having me, Michelle! I started with poetry as a tween. then moved on to short stories in high school and college. I wrote infrequently during college and then stopped writing altogether for over a decade! Silver Phoenix was the first novel I had written.

Was publishing always your goal?

Cindy: It was a goal in the back of my mind, I think. Publishing a novel was always a "dream goal" from when I was a girl. But when I started the novel, it was more as a challenge. Can I do this? And after I was finished, it seemed like such a waste
not to at least try and get an agent.

Tell me a little about what the process is like after acceptance? What’s in store for an author once their story is picked up by a publisher?

Cindy: I queried 121 agents in about four months time and probably received over 100 rejections. After I signed with agent Bill Contardi, we subbed to eight major publishing houses first. It can take months or even years to hear back. but once one
editor is interested, it all goes down like a stack of dominoes. In the end, Silver Phoenix sold in about five weeks at auction. I spoke with all the editors that were interested in the manuscript and was thrilled to go with Greenwillow Books and (my editor) Virginia.

So what inspired ‘Silver Phoenix’?

Cindy: Fantasy was and will probably always be my first genre love. At the time, I had just started as a chinese brush art student and learning more about the history and culture of China. I thought I'd combine my two interests and the result was Silver Phoenix.

You’ve got a sequel coming soon, ‘Fury of the Phoenix’. Can you tell us anything about it?

Cindy: Yes! I'm working feverishly on the revisions now with my editor. It is two storylines. One of Ai Ling and Chen Yong and the other taking three centuries earlier of Silver Phoenix and Zhong Ye.

Even though your book is fantasy, did you have to do any kind of research?

Cindy: I did a lot of research for both books. Architecture and clothing of ancient
China, the imperial palace, myth and folkore. I won't say what research
for the sequel. =)

Now for some fun stuff. What’s essential to your writing space?

Cindy: Hmm. A drink! Usually a coffee one.

What’s something you just can’t live without?

Cindy: Internet access. Tissues. (ha!)

Favourite food and/or drink to have while writing?

Cindy: I love vanilla lattes and chai lattes and also chinese green teas and milk coffees.

How do you balance family life with your writing?

Cindy: I'm fortunate in that my bubs are both in school most of the day, so I write a lot in the mornings. Also, my husband is so so supportive. Saturdays are all mine too to write or do whatever I need to do!

Lastly, if you could go on a writing retreat anywhere in the world, where would you go?

Cindy: Oh, China of course. Beijing or Hang Zhou.

You can keep up with all the latest about Cindy at her website, check out her profile at HarperTeen, and pick up a copy of "Silver Phoenix: Beyond the Kingdom of Xia" anywhere you buy books. "Fury of the Phoenix: Beyond the Kingdom of Xia" comes out April 2011!

Picspam: Puppies and More

First, some Dalila pics:

She adores watermelon, as well as cucumbers and ice cubes. I didn't let her eat the rind.

Nosy bugger.

Happy smile during playtime.

Clearly too tired to eat :) She's since outgrown those bowls.

Being entirely unhelpful while I was cleaning out some files.

Eating grass. Because it's good fiber apparently.

I was waiting for this to arrive before I blogged about it. I entered a contest awhile back on Nene Thomas' fanpage to redesign the website. I didn't win, but I got an email saying that she liked my design so much I could choose a print of my choice and Nene would sign it!

This is the print I chose. It's called 'Whispers' and it's so gorgeous. Right now it's staying rolled up in the safety of the packing tube until I find the right frame and matting to put it in. I'd love to own an original of hers one day. You can see it on her website here.


Rain storm? HAH! Some rain storm. Sunny all day, got a little cloudy in the afternoon, and didn't start spitting until late evening. I waited all day for that darn storm, it didn't even last that long. I was so looking forward to opening the windows and letting some nice rain-washed air in, but no such luck. So I changed around the furniture in my bedroom, since it underwent a spring cleaning (washed the walls and the carpet) I figured it was as good a time as any. And I like it much better this way. Everything seems nicely spaced out, not so cramped. Later I'll put my room back together and maybe take some pictures. I'm planning another picspam post tomorrow :)

Speaking of disappointments, I watched Avatar a few weeks ago. James Cameron, What. The. Hell. He spent ten years on this story and that's what came of it?! Don't get me wrong, the graphics were amazing and I was totally impressed, but that's the only good thing I can say about the movie. The storyline was completely unoriginal. Granted the basic premise isn't new, it's been done at least three times over that I can think of. But still, it didn't seem like he tried much on the storyline side. Ridiculously predictable. It was just original enough that he wasn't blatantly ripping off from someone else. I expected better. It was hard to keep watching because the cliches just made me so angry I couldn't stand it. Plus as I was watching, I kept feeling like there was a prequel to it that I had missed. I don't know if there actually is one, if there is then that would make some sense. Really a damn shame, because those graphics are just cool. Avatar perfectly illustrates the problem with a great deal of movies today though; too much emphasis on effects, not enough emphasis on story. There needs to be a nice balance. Kind of glad I didn't spend the money seeing it in theatres; I don't think even seeing it in 3D could have made up for that poor excuse for a storyline.

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