Time for the L.A. County Fair again, one of my favorite times of the year. For the 3rd time in a row, I purchased a season pass. Debuting this year is Mi Poco L.A., a section of the fair dedicated to celebrating Latin-inspired food and drink, vendors, music (including a DJ), every Thursday – Sunday of the fair. I had been following the L.A. County Fair on Instagram when I learned of Mi Cafecito, a local coffee shop with a Latin flair. My tongue tingled in anticipation of the flavors of cinnamon and spices. I knew I had to sample their tasty offerings right away!

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With new posts up on the blog, I feel like I’m getting back into the rhythm of writing. It makes me wonder, what kept me away all these months? Part of it was inspiration, but the other part was an overwhelming influx of social events. Here’s a highlight of some of the “Life” events that kept me from updating this blog.

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My reading journey has taken me to a number of places around the U.S., backwards and forwards in time, and to alternate realities. Reading can be a great escape for those of us interested in retreating from the stresses of everyday life. However, after months of dystopian fiction, memoirs, an even a one-off fiction story about the complications of marriage, I need a break from all the reality.

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When I set out to write my novel last year, I never intended to stay away from my blogging for so long. Back in October, I was so excited to start writing my novel that I burrowed myself into a cave for all of October, outlining and brainstorming how my novel was going to take shape. On November 1, I thought I was ready. I was so not ready.

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I am preparing for my second attempt at NaNoWriMo. November has been deemed National Novel Writing Month and the goal is to write a novel (estimated at about 50,000 words) in 30 days. Last year I persisted for eight days before I gave up. I didn’t get very far because I was just free-writing, but this year, I’m determined to finish. I am ramping up with a story outline and character ideas.

I'm using RocketBook to help organize all my ideas.

I’m using RocketBook to help organize all my ideas. This was my first brainstorm of what to write about in November.

I have always loved to write stories since I was a child. In third grade I wrote a story that was chosen to be performed by the local theatrical troupe visiting my elementary school. It was based on the board game Candy Land, imagining a world where the characters came to life. I was thrilled to watch my story performed. That was just the beginning of love for writing and creating stories.

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You will feel sick reading this book. It will make you frustrated, melancholy, curious. I suffered nightmares and stomach aches.

Renting it from the library gave me only 21 days to cover the extensive 509 pages, which meant I was reading this book every moment I had free. The details surrounding the incident (how victims were killed, bodies left behind by the police, a teacher left for dead) left me feeling nauseous and appalled. Reading words from the killer themselves brought them back to life. Columbine by Dave Cullen is an enlightening, yet, stomach churning examination of the events leading up to, during, and following the Columbine High School Massacre of 1999.

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Borrowing e-books using OverDrive couldn’t be easier, except for when my e-book reader of choice, the NOOK, suddenly stopped opening the books. The joy of getting an email that the e-book I’ve been waiting for had finally been checked out to me was followed by disappointment that I couldn’t read it on my NOOK.

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It’s amazing how one dollar and a paper bag could bring me so much delight. And not just me, but everyone else scrambling in the small room. People squeezed through the aisles and hands fluttered over the tables. It was the Friends of San Dimas Library Buck-a-Bag Day book sale.

For $1, readers were provided with a paper bag to fill with as many books as they could fit or wanted. Joey and I got a total of 12 books: seven that I was interested in and five more that Joey picked out for himself.

One bag of books was about our limit since I had to haul all the books back home in my bike basket.

One bag of books was about our limit since I had to haul all the books back home in my bike basket.

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Earlier this year I reviewed In a Dark, Dark Wood, a story about a hen party (British slang for bachelorette party) gone wrong. The setting: an isolated cottage in the woods. The main character carpools with the one girl she knows besides the bride to someone’s vacation home for a weekend of pre-wedding shenanigans.

When I received news that the bachelorette party for my dear friend and sister-in-law, Candice, was planned for weekend away at a friend’s beach house and the only girl I really knew besides the bride is the one I would be carpooling with, it put me on alert. I joked with my husband, “I’m either going to be murdered, murder someone or solve a murder. I don’t know which yet, we’ll find out on Sunday when I return home –or not!”

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Even though you know that it’s her destiny to make the trip to California, your heart aches knowing that she has to make this journey. It yells out to her, “No! Don’t do it, Eliza. Think of your future!” but you know she must go and there is nothing you can do to stop her. So you prepare yourself for a tear jerker — the story of a Chilean girl who follows her lover to California during the peak of the Gold Rush.

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