Tag Archives: San Diego

From Twitter to Real Life: Meeting Authors Offline


awesome-authorsWhile the road trip, we were able to carve out some time to meet more of my author friends for the first time face-to-face. First up was Kennedy Ryan, author of some steamy romance novels. We became fast friends after meeting through our mutual friend, Katie Oliver. She’s as funny and effervescent in person as she is online and I don’t think my husband got a word in edgewise the whole time we were in the restaurant having lunch together.

I’m pretty sure we talked pretty fast for two straight hours and that heads turned with our raucous laughter. We spoke of our writing processes, self-publishing, book cover art, her foundation – Myles-A-Part – and her son’s adjustment to their move to San Diego, and many other things. Lunch flew by too fast and I was sad at having to part so soon. Kennedy is the kind of good energy you want to be around.


After lunch, we spent another couple of hours or so walking through Balboa Park with Richard Mellinger. I was drawn to Richard on Twitter, not only through a network of mutual author friends¬†but because of his quirky sense of humor and ability to always surprise me with his twists on his short stories. I’ve lost count how many times I’ve said to him, “I did not see that coming!” – and I’m the one who can usually spot the twists from far away. He gets me every single time.

He is smart as a whip and our conversation varied from physics, teaching, dogs, and Sasquatch to name a few. Together we witnessed koi trying to eat ducks that were sharing a pond with them and proceeded to make all kinds of jokes about them as well as the giant koi we found in the Japanese Friendship Garden. Some moments we had no idea where we were going, we just walked and talked until we ran into a dead end – that was part of the fun of it. Next time we’re going to the zoo, right Richard? ūüėČ

I’m still waiting for his publisher to set a date for his debut novel to drop. *drums fingers on desk*

One author I was hoping to meet up with was T.H. Hernandez. We met online seven years ago when we were both gluten-free bloggers and then lost touch when she stepped back from blogging. She found me on Twitter as we were both working on our debut novels and it’s like we never had that gap. She’s been a supportive friend through the years and I hope our next visit to San Diego will include a meet up with her.

On our drive home, we stopped in Arizona because it would’ve been sacrilege to not get together with my partner in crime, Douglas B. Wimmer. He cooked Japanese curry for us and we went miniature golfing. This last picture is a good representation of what it’s like when Doug and I get together.


That disturbance you feel in the Force is us up to no good.


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Posted by on February 24, 2017 in Uncategorized


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Real Settings


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.


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.


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


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


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


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


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


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.


Entrance to Hotel Del Coronado.


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


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.


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.


Ikebana inside Inamori Pavillion.


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


Posted by on January 20, 2017 in Uncategorized


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The Old Globe Theater

George Takei had been posting for months on his project, Allegiance – A New American Musical. ¬†If you don’t know anything about Mr. Oh My! other than he played Mr. Sulu on Star Trek, you should know he was in the Japanese internment camps during World War II. ¬†This project is close to his heart.

I never thought I’d see this. ¬†Ever. ¬†I live in Ohio for goodness sakes and it is playing in San Diego’s Old Globe Theater.

This was one of those things that just happened.

I discovered Lea Salonga was playing in the show alongside Mr. Takei and I decided I had to go. ¬†I was already interested in the show from all of Mr. Takei’s posts, but you throw Lea Salonga in. ¬†That’s a deal breaker right there. ¬†I don’t pass up an opportunity to see Lea Salonga. ¬†Just ask my co-workers back in Hawai`i. ¬†They dealt with a lot of screaming from me and another co-worker when I told her that Les Miserables was coming to town with Lea Salonga playing the part of Eponine. ¬†Did I mention the screaming?

Anyway. ¬†Chaz was amenable to going – he’s not always a fan of musicals, opera, and ballet, but he goes when I ask because I don’t ask often. ¬†We managed to get 2 tickets on opening night. ¬†The very first night. ¬†Not the opening night they had last week.

Having a glass of wine before the door open

Despite leaving Encinitas early to get to downtown San Diego, we got stuck in a lot of stop and go traffic. ¬†A lot. ¬†Then we managed to park in the furthest parking lot in Balboa Park from the theater. ¬†We didn’t have trusty Darth Vader with us to guide us so we had to rely on the navigation app on our phones. ¬†I decided our smartphone navigation isn’t so smart. ¬†Walking to the theater wasn’t so bad though. ¬†Until we got lost. ¬†We were about to start walking in circles when we flagged down a nice gentleman coming out of the back of a restaurant.

We were there in plenty of time.  I looked around the little gift shop and we went over the bar to get a drink before.  The amazing part was they had gluten-free goodies along with the regular goodies they sell.  None of them were also dairy-free and egg-free, but it was great to see more diversity out there.

I must mention that for those of you who only know me through my blogs, I lived in Encinitas for a number of years and graduated from high school there before moving back to my true home, Hawai`i.  This was my first time going to The Old Globe for a show.

I got that little shivering vibration run through me when the show started and Lea Salonga came out on stage.

I truly did not know exactly what to expect musically from this show. ¬†This isn’t like other shows that come up on Broadway and you end up hearing the soundtrack before going to see the show. ¬†You pretty much know all about it before ever seeing it visually. ¬†I knew this was about Japanese internment. ¬†That was it.

Waiting for the show to start

I wound up very impressed with the music and the story of a family pulled apart during the war because of their differing views of what they should be doing as people of Japanese descent during the war.  That is really what hit me.

The family is composed of three generations.  The two elder generations are still Japanese citizens.  The nisei siblings are American born.  Thus, they all have different perspectives and different frames of reference which causes the son to end up butting heads with everyone.  You cannot appreciate just how much different experiences shape our beliefs until you see it in play in something like Allegiance.

I was struck in the midst of it all that there I was sitting in a replica of the real Old Globe (I am a Shakespeare fan) watching the very first show of a brand new musical that is Broadway worthy and I wasn’t on Broadway. Make sure you check out the link I provided above to the musical and you can see some clips to see what I mean.

If you are in the San Diego area, go see this show.  And take some tissues with you.

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Posted by on September 24, 2012 in Uncategorized


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