Saturday, April 30, 2011

Oh, the Ren. Faire!

I, along with four stout-hearted friends, went to the Renaissance Faire last Saturday. My friends had all gone before but this was my first time venturing forth into the unknown world of the 17th century. I had a puffy shirt to wear ("But I don't want to be a pirate!") and a red skirt from another costume that was appropriate for a Ren. outfit. I made a pattern and made my own bodice. (Duct tape and T-shirt bodice pattern that I learned from high school play costume making. Look it up.) My friend Amanda has a blog post with info about what to wear and what NOT to wear to the Ren. Faire. I only wish that several of the people we had the misfortune to see had read her post before showing up. *sigh* Cover up, women! IMPORTANT! For those of you who would like to go to the Ren. Faire, you must not be easily offended. There's a lot of bawdy talk/innuendo in certain areas of the Faire. (You can avoid them.) Some women are dressed immodestly. Really immodestly. That's why only us girls went. So...yeah. Forewarned is forearmed. And all that good stuff. :)

So, here we are, ready to go while we're still clean and fresh. :)

left to right (Abby, Amy, Joanna, Amanda, Melissa)  This will be useful later so you know who we are in the various things that happened. :)

We drove out to the Santa Fe Dam Recreation Area in Irwindale. It's a ginormous park! We paid for parking and made our way to the front. The first thing to greet us was this guy. And his pig.

A girl stopped to touch and the man warned her off with "It's real. And it's leaky." Ugh! I think I threw up a little in my mouth. Keep walking....

Enter the gates, give our tickets (Thanks, Manda!), and see...lots of booths. Lots and lots of booths. Places you can rent costumes from, swords and knives for sale, custom jewelry, hair braiding, hats, art...So many different things available to buy.

We found these people dancing.

They invited us to join them in a dance. So we did. It was very enjoyable to learn to do the dance. We broke out in that dance several times throughout the day. 'Cuz we're cool like that.

Next was the mock battle. It was very dramatic.

The woman is helping the man off the field. It looks like he is helping her...
We went on to the soldier encampment to check out the weaponry they used in the battle. I told the guy there that I wrote a book with medieval type of weapons. I think he was surprised that all of us girls actually were there to learn and hold the swords, pikes, etc. Not to flirt with the soldiers. (I told several that I was married. They replied they didn't mind "used goods." Much blushing and stammering ensued.)

We walked around and saw yet more booths open to take our money. Haha. :)  We stopped for lunch at the "food court" area. There were about 20 booths in one area all selling exorbitantly priced food. I got pizza because it was only $4, making it the cheapest option there. And I wasn't in the mood to eat a giant turkey leg. Especially when aforementioned leg was $9.00!! We ate our lunch near a stage that had some actors talking about Shakespeare but ole Will never showed up while we were there. (Christopher Marlowe was lamenting that he wasn't as famous as Shakespeare.)

Amy and I paid to do archery. (I have a character who shoots archery in my third book so I needed to make sure what I was writing was correct. I haven't shot archery in many years.)

Next we saw the joust.
A quintain! Just like in my first book!

Queen Elizabeth I

"Our" knight for the joust

Abby, Amanda, and Joanna decided to pay to take a fencing lesson. Their instructor was...humorous. At least to those of us watching. :)

Photo taken right before we left. We're all a bit dusty and tired. And very thirsty.

We took some epic photos back at a field near my friends' house.

It was an experience that I'll never forget. A few things happened that are best not mentioned. Except in the company of the girls I went with. ;)  I'll leave you with a video that summarizes the day.
Or not. The video wouldn't upload. I'll load it to YouTube and put the link here when it finally uploads.
Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Rock the Drop! Support Teen Lit Day

Thursday, April 14 is "Rock the Drop!" 

 It is sponsored by readergirlz. Find their manifesta here. For more info about "Rock the Drop!" click here.  This sounds like fun! But what books can I part with?? ;)

Monday, April 4, 2011

SCBWI Writer's Retreat

I was able to go to the SCBWI Writer's Retreat held out in Temecula, CA last weekend. Wow. We got to hear from four different literary editors, three authors, and they all had such great information for us. I can't write down exactly what they said (intellectual property privacy) but we got some great tips to take home. I was able to meet Mary Pearson ("The Adoration of Jenna Fox") and heard Marlene Perez ("Dead Is..." series) and Michael Reisman ("Simon Bloom - Gravity Keeper"). Awesome authors with wonderful tips, such as....

-Write everyday. EVERYDAY. Even if it's just one sentence. Get in the habit of writing.
-Edit your work for those "throw away" words that really don't matter. Like "really." And "like." ;)
-Keep a word count tally in an Excel document.You'll be able to track how productive you were.
-Write and write and write. Edit later. Get your words down and don't procrastinate. Don't give yourself writer's block.
-Try something new. Get fresh material. Read stuff you've never read before, watch TV shows and movies to get ideas, check out some non-fiction books. You never know where you'll find inspiration for your next project.

I was able to meet some fantastic writers and we sat together for the two days and had lunch together. It was a great time to connect with other YA lovers! I look forward to meeting up with these writers again and working on critiques together. :)

Where've You Been?

I haven't blogged in awhile so you might ask "Where've you been? I thought you were a stay-at-home mom. Don't you stay at home? And write?"  Ha. I wish. Really, I do. If I could turn off the world and stay in my office and write, that would be fantastic. But, alas, the real world calls. What do I do with my time?

-Substitute teaching. I'm a sub and that's part time work that is sporadic. No one really plans to get sick, right?

-Volunteer at my son's school. This includes PTA work, chairing the Carnival committee (biggest fundraiser of the year!), going on field trips, helping at class parties, making craft projects, reading to the class, crossing guard duty after school (are you tired yet??), and...more stuff.

-Volunteer at church. My husband and I are Sunday School teachers in the jr. high class and youth group leaders. I also go to the weekly ladies Bible study and occasionally lead the study.

-Clean my house and other housewifey things. Someone has to do the laundry and sweep and vacuum and all that good stuff.

-Craft projects. I love to sew. And paint. And scrapbook. And stamp. And just make stuff. (Including messes. No, I don't like messes. They happen, though. Blah.)

-Reading and writing. These end up at the end of the list because they aren't *really* necessities. Unless you're me. Then they are necessary. As necessary as breathing. I read everyday. It's a good thing we have a well stocked library because I read several books a week. (Sometimes I do read more than I fold laundry but no one has been without clothes yet. So, I guess that's all good.)

-Cub Scouts. I help out when I can with different outings. We went camping this last weekend. Real camping. Tent camping. No showers or flush toilets camping. Mmmhmm. Oh, I can write about that. Plenty of new material. ;)

I'll put together another post about going to my first writer's conference ever. It was WAY better than I dreamed it would be. More on that later. :)