Shelter Island Harbor – Another Retreat

Shelter Island Harbor – Another Retreat

This time, we left on Friday afternoon. After way too much traffic, we finally pulled in, got the key to the boat, and headed straight to Filippi’s. Here’s a photo of the cool wine glasses…

The glasses hold roughly 4 ounces.

The glasses hold roughly 4 ounces.

After pizza and salad and wine, we headed to the boat and collapsed. No, we hung out on deck for a bit, and THEN collapsed, lol.

Where we collapsed. No, we didn't leave it wide open all night.

Where we collapsed. No, we didn’t leave it wide open all night.

The next morning, the hubs had work to do on the boat and I went to see my dad. We had a lovely time, sitting and talking and picking lemons and tomatoes and just in general enjoying each other’s company. He’s feeling MUCH better – had a lung x-ray on Friday to make sure the pneumonia is all gone. We talked, laughed, had lunch together, and I fixed his signature lines on his email. Then he seemed tired, so I went to Starcrafts to spend time with Teresa and her sis, Donna. Spent a couple hours there (and had to buy stuff, seriously that shop is FUN) and had some time with Teresa that kind of blew my mind. She’s a spirit medium, you see, and – well, I’ll keep it to myself. But if you ever need to see a spirit medium, I highly recommend her.

So, I finally get back to the boat, change clothes and head up top with a small glass of wine. I hear such a ruckus that Tom passes me my camera, and I spend the next – gee, almost an hour – taking photos. Here’s why…

This guy was cleaning fish. Then tossing the offal into the water.

The guys on this boat caught 13 yellowtail. BIG fish.

The guys on this boat caught 13 yellowtail. BIG fish.

The seagulls caught on…

Seagulls fighting over a slab of mostly yellowtail tuna skin with a bit of flesh on it.

Seagulls fighting over a slab of mostly yellowtail tuna skin with a bit of flesh on it.

And then another player came into the game.

The seal takes charge.

The seal takes charge.

The seal would grab the slab of fish and dive with it. The birds would mill around for a bit, and without warning the seal would come up and fling it a good ten feet away – the birds would swarm, grab it, tear it, and the seal would come up from underneath them and scare them away – which enabled him to bring it up and fling it again. Was he playing with the seagulls? It certainly looked that way!

Until a no-nonsense bird landed, and decided to take over at the source.

The boss flew in to make sure he was doing it right.

The boss flew in to make sure he was doing it right.

Needless to say, this bird got his food.

Taking it from the seal...

Taking it from the seal…

Then it became a free-for-all, with the birds and the seal playing catch (or was that hide n’ seek?) – fun stuff!

Playing hide n' seek...

Playing hide n’ seek…

But the seal tended to win…

The seal won this round...until he flung this piece of fish to the birds.

The seal won this round…until he flung this piece of fish to the birds.

…unless the pelican did.

Pelican for the win! The seal did NOT get this piece of fish back.

Pelican for the win! The seal did NOT get this piece of fish back.

So I basked in the frolicking of nature (with a helping hand from man, flinging yellowtail into the water) and took over 400 photos. I was also lucky enough to get splashed by the seal! Or maybe it was another seal…there were two there, by the end of the evening. My guess is the seal had hidden some fish bits down toward the bottom, where the seabirds would not go.

All in all, it was a wonderful ending to an amazingly emotional day. Here’s another cool photo…

Dinosaur? Or...

Dinosaur? Or…

Tom and I ate, and drank wine, and at the end of our day, we were greeted with this lovely creature. Luckily we had the camera with us, which is NOT normal…

The Great Blue Heron. They like to haunt the piers around Shelter Cove Marina - there are four or five of them who are there before full sunrise, and always after sunset.

The Great Blue Heron. They like to haunt the piers around Shelter Cove Marina – there are four or five of them who are there before full sunrise, and always after sunset.

So even though the drive back took us almost as long as the drive there, I feel refreshed. I needed this break, and thanks to our lovely friend and my lovely husband, I got it.

May you take a break in your daily routine when you really need it. And maybe when you don’t. Sending love and hugs out to the Universe! What an amazing planet we live on!





Looking Back – Looking Ahead

Looking Back – Looking Ahead

It’s here, finally. The end of 2012. We’re on the cusp of 2013, a bright, shiny new year not yet failing to meet our expectations. I’m looking back on my writing year, and then taking a look ahead at 2013. Come along, and see what I’ve been up to!

So in Looking Back, this year I’ve:

Turned in the manuscript for DEMON HUNT – it pubbed 7/16 of this year.

Cover for Demon Hunt

Cover for Demon Hunt, by Taria A. Reed.

Turned in the short story BLOOD DREAMS – it pubbed 6/1 of this year.

Invited to write a short-SHORT play based on The Rose, by the Brother’s Grimm; wrote it, rewrote it, rewrote it again; turned it in; it had it’s debut at the Crescent Heights High School in the Spring. Totally delighted.

Went to Desert Dreams Conference in Scottsdale, Arizona in April; got to hang with old friends, meet up with new ones, and began a relationship with the amazing Brenda Chin of Harlequin. Also met up with Beth Yarnall of OCC RWA and Debra Mullins of EVA RWA; they both asked me if I would be interested in speaking at their chapter meetings. I said yes, of course. ULP!

Worked on “A Run for the Money” and “Evie’s Song” and “Jesse on the Verge”; pitched them, sent them off ; got rejected.

Joined in with friends for a Summer Camp writing group for the month of June. We still meet – Summer Camp has changed into Boarding School. Some of the most creative, intelligent, fun, supportive, and wonderful women – I’m a lucky girl!

Started “Weightless”, a YA story set in a ballet company; wrote 50k on that. Needs a rewrite and it needs to be finished. BUT – pitched it, sent it off, got rejected. I’m okay with that. Sent it in to a contest – and got great feedback.

Got a phone call from Brenda Chin on the last Monday in July (just before RWA National Conference) – she requested a manuscript that I pitched via a piece of paper!  Woo! Sent it off. Have refrained from stalking her via phone or email. Suspect it’s not her cup of tea but will wait for the formal decision on it.

At the conference, I had several delightful, informal bump-intos with Brenda (at the booksigning, in front of Kathy Lyons‘ table, I introduced myself – she said, “I know who you are.” Squee!) (The next day, she bought me a cup of coffee! Double Squee!) Had a hard time not acting all fan-girl on her, but I managed to not totally embarrass myself. Pitched a new manuscript (that wasn’t even written – a HUGE no-no, but since she’d just requested one, I felt safe enough doing that). Needless to say, she hated it BUT – liked a turn of phrase. Gave me a plot. Said “write me that”. So – that’s what I’ve been working on, novel-wise, ever since.

In October, I joined a group called Fierce Backbone; a play development group made up of writers, actors, and directors. They’ve been reading and commenting on my first play (written in 2010/2011); if it ever gets to a staged reading, I’ll be shouting about it from the rooftops. Two people, one set. Imminently produceable.

In October, I also got to be the guest of honor at a book club. They read my book, talked about it, asked me a bunch of questions – it was fantastic and I learned a lot. Thank you Tabitha! And along with Lisa Kessler, I did a booksigning down at Starcrafts in San Diego – Teresa See and friends were lovely and gracious.

Because Fierce Backbone sparks creativity, I wrote a play for my husband for Christmas. Money being not floating from the sky, I needed to get darned creative. He loves it (whew!), and it needs rewriting – but that’s what I worked on almost exclusively from October to Christmas Eve. Dialog comes easy to me, so I’ll get more work done on it and submit to Fierce Backbone to get it into the Monday readings, and we’ll see how it goes!

In November, I gave my first-ever talk to East Valley Authors chapter of RWA. People took notes! They came up afterwards, thanked me, and asked questions! I shocked myself by actually being able to talk for an hour. But yeah, my inner actress was totally stoked.

I’m now (with the help of a couple of wonderful pairs of eagle-eyes) back at work on the Brenda Chin novel. I’ve got so much of it written – now it just needs to get cohesive. I am SO thankful that I’ll be taking a plotting course in January!

Looking Ahead:

I’m taking on the mantle of President of the Los Angeles Romance Authors. I am predicting a calm, easy year (!).

I’m speaking at Orange County Chapter of RWA on January 12th; Los Angeles Romance Authors on January 20th.

I plan on finishing the Brenda Book in January and getting it off to her. Think I should really come up with a series idea to go along with this book and pitch that, too. Then, and only then, will I bug her about the other book. Just a friendly warning, Brenda. 😉

Then I really must get to Demon’s Rage, the final book in the Demon Trilogy. I’d like to get that one turned in by the end of March, then write two or three short stories in the world and turn all those in, as well.

Then back to Weightless, my Ballet YA. I’d love to get that one done up and send it around. If no one bites, I may just dip my toes into self-publishing. I love this book and it deserves to go somewhere.

So Cal RWA conferenceMarch 15 – 17,  I’ll be at the So Cal RWA Writer’s Conference, California Dreaming. Brenda Chin will also be there (according to the conference website). Stalking seeing her will be very cool. If I don’t have that book done and turned in to her BEFORE then, I will just be a failure so there’s that! A good prod to productivity.

I’m not looking too much farther ahead than March. I have a lot to do in the next three months – besides all of the above, I have two plays to re-write.

RWA National Conference will be held in Atlanta this year. Unfortunately, I don’t know if I’ll be able to go, even though I should since I’m chapter president and all. We shall see.

So, there it is – looking back, and looking ahead. How far ahead do you plan your year? Or do you let circumstances change your schedule?

Here’s hoping 2013 is your best year yet! Be safe out there tonight – remember there will be a lot of amateur drunks on the roads. Don’t drive if you don’t have to!

~ Until next year, cheers – and remember to drink responsibly! ~

Demon Soul, Blood Dreams and Demon Hunt are all available for the Kindle! Have you fallen into the Caine Brothers’ world yet?