HAPPY NEW YEAR! I hope everyone is having a great 2014 so far! :)
I’ve been on a much-needed vacation recently. So here’s a fun blog about my holiday adventures before I settle back into the Writing Batcave.
Let’s start with the most important bit of breaking news… I know you’ve been waiting, so without further ado, here are the official 2013 Christmas photo shoot pictures of Oreo, Beethoven and Charlotte.
As for the humans, this was the 14th year in a row that we went to Las Vegas for our annual XMAS IN VEGAS vacation! Las Vegas is ALWAYS decked out to the nines for the holiday season…
And as usual, Vegas was waiting for me with open arms…
(Keep reading after the jump for more fun pictures & stories about our holiday adventures!)
We stayed at The Mirage on The Strip. This was the first casino we ever stayed at on our first trip back in 1999. Here was our view this year:
Of course the minute we checked in, I made a beeline for the nickel poker slots. (You can’t win big if you don’t bet big!)
I also had the special treat of meeting up with dear friend and amazing and critically acclaimed children’s book author/illustrator DON TATE while in Vegas. As an extra New Year’s Day treat, check out Don’s latest blog on writing and taking chances and believing in yourself… http://dontate.com/2013/12/summing-up-the-past-few-years-flying-high/
(To find out more about Don’s books, please visit his website here: http://dontate.com).
In the meantime, we also checked out the exciting sights and sounds of Las Vegas…
One of the highlights included checking out the Liberace exhibit at The Cosmopolitan. They allowed tourists to take photos, but we were NOT allowed to play Liberace’s piano…
However, you can’t blame me for trying…
And of course, the foodie in me had to check out all the amazing gourmet eats in Vegas! Our trick is to check out all the Happy Hours on The Strip because that’s when you can eat some gourmet food for cheap and affordable prices! We also had some fantastic help and tips from two very good friends & fellow foodies who live in Vegas (we have at least one dinner together every Christmastime!). Our favorite happy hours this year included the ones at Comme Ca and Milos (Cosmopolitan), Red Square, Aureole, House of Blues, Hubert Keller’s Burger Bar, RM Seafood (Mandalay Bay)…
We even found a “secret” pizza place hidden inside the Cosmopolitan that few people know about! (Go here to find out where it is! http://www.yelp.com/biz/secret-pizza-las-vegas)
But we also ate some regular food, too. Including the Dairy Queen soft serve ice cream and 24-ounce pina colada at Excalibur…
But every year we chicken out and can’t eat here. It’s too scary! One day!
And we always check out the Bellagio’s famous Christmas-themed exhibit. Every year, they always seem to top themselves! What will they come up with next Christmas?
Of course, after our annual XMAS IN VEGAS vacation ended, it was time to return home and unpack. However, I seemed to have some problems trying to unpack…
Although I miss Vegas, I missed my cats even more! Time for a big purr pile!
And of course, let’s not forget NEW YEAR’S EVE! Me and the cats got into the spirit of New Year’s Eve with some bubbly…
And how are we celebrating New Year’s DAY? Watching the Rose Bowl, of course! I wonder why… (for the record, I married a Spartan, hence the loyalty to “Go Green, Go White!”) GO MICHIGAN STATE!
So what’s in store for me in 2014?
MUSIC: My first gig of 2014 is with the GLENDALE PHILHARMONIC. Our concert takes place at this Sunday January 5th at 4 PM at the 1st Baptist Church in Glendale. Awesome special guests include comedian EMO PHILIPS narrating St. Saens’ Carnival of the Animals, the world premiere of Sharon Farber’s Cello Concerto featuring Ruslan Biryukov on cello and narration by actor MICHAEL DES BARRES, and Bach’s Concerto for 2 Pianos in c minor. Info here: http://www.glendalephilharmonic.com
MORE WRITING: I’m finishing up some final edits for my fourth book… it’s my third non-fiction children’s picture book biography coming out from LEE & LOW BOOKS. I can’t say much yet about it but STAY TUNED for the big announcement later this year!
My “on spec” writing projects including finishing another middle grade novel and what I hope will be the final draft of an adult-novel-in-progress I’ve been working on for awhile. (I originally started out in adult literary fiction novel writing when I earned my MFA in Creative Writing at Warren Wilson College. Although I love kid lit, I’ve been wanting to return to my roots, so it’s been fun working on this adult novel.) Also doing more TV development stuff and working on another feature spec script.
See? This is what happens when you are between TV writing gigs and book sales. YOU KEEP WRITING. The writing. never. STOPS. So it’s going to be another busy year! Although it can be frustrating, this is the roller coaster life of a writer. But trust me, the roller coaster ride is worth it because the ups make up for all the downs. In the end, it’s always about the writing. Period. So 2014 promises to be a very busy, and I hope, rewarding new year.
What are your plans for 2014? Any writing resolutions for the New Year? I’d love to hear from you. Stay tuned for more blogs and updates, and don’t forget my annual NAPIBOWRIWEE (National Picture Book Writing Week) takes place this May 1-7, 2014. (More info on that later this spring at http://paulayoo.com/napi)
Until the next blog, you can follow me on Twitter @paulayoo. As always, remember… HAPPY WRITING! WRITE LIKE YOU MEAN IT! :)
Best wishes for 2014!