Wednesday, March 21, 2012

San Diego

funny cat pictures - He's slightly bigger than me
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I didn't find myself in Narnia last Thursday, but I was in Southern California. The first thing I noticed when I arrived was the weather. It was pouring rain when I left Portland. I didn't find a clear, sunny sky, but there were patches of blue and I didn't need my jacket. Definite progress from the late winter weather we've been experiencing in the PNW.

I picked up my rental car. I thought I might hit early afternoon traffic, but there wasn't any as I drove north on I-5 then east on 8. It wasn't far to Hotel Circle where I was staying. I checked in, dropped my bags off in the room then headed to my friend's place.

When I'd first looked at how I would get there, I thought I'd have to take the freeway. But thankfully my friend emailed me her way of getting to Mission Hills, the neighborhood where she lives. She said if you know the way through all the canyons you can cut down driving time. No kidding. I was there in a little over five minutes. And no freeway!

As I parked, I noticed all the cute little bungalows and the palm trees blowing in the breeze. All I could think about was the Girls' Weekend in Vegas series I wrote with Myrna Mackenzie, Shirley Jump and Jackie Braun. I could imagine Shirley's heroine, Molly, and mine, Jayne, living here. I easily saw the four of them walking on the sidewalk going out to dinner together at one of the many restaurants or slipping inside one of the shops. It was a bit surreal. I'd wanted to make a trip to San Diego before I started writing my book Wedding Date with the Best Man, but there hadn't been time.

That four book series was about four friends who find romance, three during a girls weekend in Las Vegas and one, my heroine, a little while after that. I was so excited to be in San Diego seeing one of my oldest and dearest friends, Elizabeth. My oldest daughter's middle name is Elizabeth if that tells you anything about what she means to me.

It was so easy for us to get together before I had children, but with each passing kidlet I never seemed to have the time to get away (not to mention nursing from 1998 to 2005!) The last time I saw her was in Disneyland years ago. So we had a lot of catching up to do!

I'm going to be back in San Diego with Mackenna in a couple of months so there was no need to see any sites now. I'd just have to repeat them with my daughter. Instead I spent my time with Elizabeth filling each other in on what's been going on with us and our loved ones, talking about our cats and my dog, reminiscing about things we've done together (Days of Our Lives fan gathering, same time next year trips to Sonoma, etc.) and eating!

Thursday night was a pizza from Bronx Pizza. It's a small, hole in the wall kind of place in the Hillcrest neighborhood, one of those places I probably would have walked right past. But that would have been a big mistake. The pizza was so yummy with a great thin crust that hubby would have given a New York thumbs up to. (He's found few places on the west coast that compare to back home on Long Island.)

Friday lunch was Mediterranean food from the deli. It's the white building on the corner.

 Elizabeth had a Hummus dinner plate. Think two different kinds of hummus, stuffed grape leaves and some sort of garbanzo bean salad that probably has some special name along with pita bread. I had a tossed green salad and tabouli. Yum! That night we ate leftovers.

Since I didn't really see any of the popular sites, I didn't take many pictures and unfortunately waited until Friday, not Thursday when the weather was better. But this is the view from Elizabeth's balcony. I took pics from different spots, but my favorite portion was that of the ocean. It's lovely, especially at sunset, as the sun slips beneath the horizon. During the summer she can see the fireworks from Sea World, too!

Saturday, it was pouring rain, something I hoped to leave behind back home. Oh, well... It didn't matter much since I was going to be inside attending the San Diego RWA Chapter meeting that was being held at the same place I was staying. When I checked in, I was directed to a table that had empty spots. There were lots of new members at the table. All were very nice. I put in a plug for Margie Lawson's on-line classes to one of them. It turns out the empty seat next to where I was sitting was being saved for Teresa Carpenter who also writes for Harlequin Romance. We'd met at the RWA Reno conference back in 2005. A very small world. She was joining another woman at our table, Jill Limber, a past president of RWA who happened to know my friend Elizabeth. A very small world indeed!

The meeting was about digital publishing, a very hot topic for writers these days. The morning session featured agent Kevan Lyon of the Marsal Lyon Literary Agency and two of her authors Jackie Barbosa and Anna Randol. The panel answered questions we might have about digital publishing. After lunch, Jackie Barbosa talked about digital self-publishing. Her handout was amazing. A list of everything you might want to know and links. Very informative.

I haven't been to anything writing related since RWA's national conference in NYC back in June. (Not counting my writing retreat this fall with my two friends since that was more casual.) It was great to be surrounded by writers and talk writing. Plus I learned a lot. Writing for Harlequin, my books appear in eBook form without me knowing the whats or hows of it!

My take from both sessions is to do what works best for you and your goals in regards to digital publishing. For some that's self-pubbing. For others that's going a more traditional path (which is what I've done so far.) And there's always a combination of the two.

After the meeting was over, it was off to the airport to return my rental car (I only drove 20 miles the entire weekend.) Unfortunately the rain kept coming down. I don't mind getting wet. If I did, I wouldn't live where I live, but that meant lots of flights were delayed, including mine! But the San Diego airport has nifty seats with plugs on them so I got lots of writing done without draining my MacBook Pro's battery.

So that was my not-quite-two and a half days in San Diego.


Quilt Lady said...

Is a shame it had to rain the whole time you were there. Past few days here have been beautiful but we have rain coming back in on Thursday and my back yard looks like a swamp right now.

Brandy said...

Sounds like you had a good time with your friend and with the RWA conference.
I hope you're having a great day!

Jane said...

Glad you got to see your good friend.