I've been busy lately. Went up to L.A. for a long weekend. Met up with my writing group at LARA and lunched with a couple of pals. Not a lot of writing being done, although I have found the twist, the crunchy, yummy part of the story that I'd been searching for. Now I just have to put it into some semblance of order and go back a little in the story to foreshadow.
The rest of my weekend in the city was spent hunting for foreclosed houses in the San Fernando Valley with my daughter. Not for me, I'm staying put for a change, this was for her. Of course she doesn't have a lot to spend so we visited some rather dicey neighborhoods. Scared the living beejeezuz out of me to tell you the truth. I have difficulty imagining my firstborn living in some of those places. I've been trying to push her toward a condominium but not sure if she'll go for that.
One of the homes had a neighbor who walked by with a chicken on a leash. I kid you not! Another house was owned by a sad little man who had seven dogs and a penchant for cigarettes. There was a recessed garage that he claimed could be a sound studio. It was crammed to the ceiling with junk. His place smelled so badly of dogs and urine and smoke that we couldn't get the smell out of our nostrils. I sat in the car refusing to touch anything, not my face, my hair, my arms and thought I was going to throw up. We pulled into the first 7-11 store we could find, looking for antibacterial soap but none was available so we purchased baby wipes and cleansed our skin, then ate creme Easter eggs to get the smell from the back of our throats. Well, that was the excuse. : ) Love those things.
The next place was another foreclosure and we called the listing agent. She revealed the prior owner had died in the house of self-inflicted wounds. We moved on quickly. By mid-afternoon we found a nice area with an affordable home that was really cute. Good bones in that house but I'm not sure if my daughter will pursue it. It's up to her, her decision and I try not to interfere too much. But it was a sad experience for me to walk around those places and think of someone not being able to make their payments and having to walk away from their home. So sad to think of someone taking their life. We read about this in the papers all the time, but to actually go out and see it first hand, walk around the homes with notices in the windows and know the circumstances behind what might be a "good buy" is, well...it's kind of creepy. By evening I was so depressed I broke my "no alcohol" diet and had a glass of wine.
On to cheerier subjects, a friend of mine started a bookclub in the development where I live. She thought she might get five or six women interested and twelve showed up. It seems everyone knows someone else who they think might be interested. We're going to look into using the clubhouse for the gatherings as nobody has a house big enough for a really large group. We met at 3:30 and left at 6:30pm. It's going to be a lot of fun. Our first book will be The Story of Edgar Sawtelle, by David Wrobleski. In May we'll discuss The Book of Negroes which has been retitled for the US market as Someone Knows My Name. It's authored by Lawrence Hill. I'm looking forward to both books although they are a little on the long side for me. I'm used to romance of about 350-400 pages and a very fast pace. So, for my hosting event, I chose Barbara Samuel/O'Neal's book The Lost Recipe For Happiness. It was a January release and I couldn't wait to get my hands on it. I love her voice and hope the other women in the group do as well. In fact, I'm going to make one of the recipes from the book. I'm thinking the pomegranate baklava. That would go great with coffee or chardonnay. Yum.
I'm really excited about the bookclub because it will encourage me to read outside of romance. I used to read everything but romance, before I started writing. Between writing and staying up on the reading of friend's books and the occasional advanced reader copy from Harper Collins, there isn't much time for reading other genres. (Not that I'm complaining, I love romance.) Once in a while I'll read a Harlan Coban, a John Grisham, or a murder mystery but that's about it. I rarely read biographies anymore, so this club will, I'm sure, help me to broaden my horizons.