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Real Settings

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The Encinitas sign at night.

I never planned on setting Family Ties in Encinitas, or even in California. Unconsciously, the settings I was imagining as I wrote the first draft were familiar to me. In the end, connecting my characters to a setting I knew helped me to better connect with them. The same thing with The Downward Spiral. I didn’t intend to set it in San Diego, it just made sense to me that I set it there which led to me connecting the story and characters to characters from another book I’m working on and its fictional setting in Southern California – if you’ve read The Downward Spiral feel free to guess which characters you’ll see again in the future.

There are more real settings in Family Ties than in The Downward Spiral. While in Southern California on our road trip I took some pictures of places mentioned in Family Ties along with some pictures that inspired a scene in The Downward Spiral.

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The fictional Encinitas High School and La Costa High School in Family Ties are based on different areas of San Dieguito Academy (formerly San Dieguito High School). The parking lot is where Sara gets picked up and dropped off at La Costa High School. It has changed a bit since I went to school there but not too much.

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This is the courtyard of the school where Sara, Arissa, Jason, and Damien spent many lunches.

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Outside the fictional biology room and where Sara and Jason spent lunch alone further down.

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Magic Mountain which was mentioned but did not have a scene. I took this as we were driving to L.A. from Napa.

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A view of Moonlight Beach from the parking lot. This is the first beach mentioned in Family Ties.

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The picnic tables at Moonlight Beach where one scene took place in Family Ties.

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Cardiff State Beach where a couple of nighttime scenes were set. It wouldn’t be nearly as pretty if I tried to take a picture of it at night, though.

For more on Encinitas, you can check out this video from the Encinitas Coast Life Blog.

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Entrance to Hotel Del Coronado.

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The backside where Sara and Jason would’ve walked through to get to the beach…

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There were more places I wanted to take pictures of after leaving Coronado but we got called away and had to go back up to Carlsbad. Included in what I wanted to take pictures of was San Diego Bay, which had a scene in The Downward Spiral.

While researching Jason and Sara’s apartment in L.A., I searched for buildings within walking distance to UCLA and found the Levering Arms. They included floor plans in their photos and I chose one of them as their new home.

The other real setting I used in The Downward Spiral was Balboa Park. We met up with my friend and fellow author, Richard D. Mellinger, one afternoon and spent several hours wandering through the park while chatting. I’ll share more about that in another post. What’s important for this post is that I was inspired to write a scene that takes place in the Japanese Friendship Garden on the deck of the Inamori Pavillion. The garden is rather large and Inamori Pavillion, if you take the same route we did, is a natural stopping point before returning to the entrance.

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This bridge is one of several in the garden. One of my favorite things to photograph in Japanese gardens are the bridges, particularly drum bridges.

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Ikebana inside Inamori Pavillion.

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Last but not least, the koi that inspired a funny moment in The Downward Spiral.

My next book takes place in mostly real settings but it’s also set in the 1990s, so many of the businesses that I use are no longer around. In some cases, the buildings themselves have been torn down. Intrigued? I’ll give you a little peek of one location in closing…

Make Horse

 
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Posted by on January 20, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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2017 Reading Challenge

2017-reading-challenge-2In 2016, my best friend posted a reading challenge. It was simple enough, twelve different books. My average is about two books per week (sometimes more, sometimes just one) and I knew it wouldn’t be a problem. And it wasn’t – even if two of the books were ones I wanted to beat my head on.

This year, I wanted to do another one and started looking at lists last week. I found this one which is technically for 2016 – but who cares? The more I looked at it, though, the more I thought, “I want more of a challenge.”

Then I found this one from POPSUGAR. Not only is it more challenging, but it has an “advanced” section as well.

As I was making the tracker in my bullet journal (above – each book will be colored in as I complete it) I decided I would combine the two as there is not much overlap. Why not? Why do a challenge if it won’t be challenging?

Who wants to join me? Share your reading challenges with me on Twitter, Facebook, and/or Instagram.

 
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Posted by on January 2, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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Goodreads Giveaway: The Downward Spiral

This giveaway is now CLOSED. Congratulations to the winner: Lisa Q!

TheDownwardSpiral.bebas+SerifOctober 8th is Indie Author Day and to celebrate I’m giving away another signed copy of The Downward Spiral through Goodreads. Giveaway ends 10/21. Link to the giveaway is at the end of this post.

Synopsis:

Kyle Morgan is an artist, driven by emotion, living with his twin sister, Kyra, driven by reason. He was diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder when they were sixteen and tried to commit suicide multiple times since then—the last time, a year before he moved in with Kyra. Stressors pile up on Kyle: his girlfriend breaks up with him again, his twin micro-manages his life, and his parents and older sister continue to deny he has a mental illness. When Kyra finds Kyle after another suicide attempt, she becomes more controlling out of fear of losing him.
Kyle turns the tables and pushes his twin into a relationship with Finn O’Brien, a man he thinks is perfect for her, while he seeks a delicate balance for his own life. Through Finn, Kyra finds a man who isn’t out to use her or keeps one foot out the door. As Kyle settles into life with less interference, he finds love with a witty single mother, Gloria Ramos.
Kyle makes an effort to live in a world that does not understand him while Kyra learns to set aside her fears to focus on herself. When disaster strikes, his stressors return in full force, but Kyra steps back despite her desire to protect her brother. It’s up to Kyle to choose whether to succumb to his internal demons or to live with the constant pain, determining the fate of both of their lives.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Downward Spiral by Debi V. Smith

The Downward Spiral

by Debi V. Smith

Giveaway ends October 21, 2016.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

 
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Posted by on October 8, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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