Tag Archives: San Francisco

JIM AVERBECK – WRITER & ILLUSTRATOR

Jim Avereck - Cropped
Photo by Sonya Sones

Saturday, October 19, 2013 the Tri-Valley Branch of the California Writer’s Club was privileged to have Jim Averbeck as our guest speaker. Jim studied engineering at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio.

Looking for an opportunity to serve and grow, he joined the Peace Corps. He spent almost four years living and working in the western Africa country of Cameroon.

It was in Cameroon where he got the inspiration for his first children’s book.

Jim has a fun and interesting blog, Jim Averbeck * Words and Pictures. Visit him at http://www.jimaverbeckbooks.com/

His story, from idea to publication, took several turns, along with ups, downs, and bumps. If you ever get a chance to hear him speak, take it. Although his genre has been children’s books, his journey is one all aspiring writer’s should hear. It wasn’t an easy one. Talent he has plenty of, but talent isn’t everything. He needed perseverance and the ability to roll with the punches to succeed. He has plenty of both.

Jim’s description of the path to publication is one of the best I’ve heard. More than a few of the audience, myself included, left wondering, do I have what it takes? Can I accomplish what Averbeck has managed?

Jim writes Picture Books, Middle Grade, and Young Adult. He is currently working on his first novel for the middle grade audience, a mystery set in San Francisco. From his description of the characters and plot, I know one seasoned citizen reader who looks forward to reading about “Hitch”.

Picture Books by Jim Averbeck:

The Market Bowl (2013)
Oh, No, Little Dragon (2012)
except if (2011)
In a Blue Room (2008)

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Our last night on the Grand Princess – Final Post

Many passengers were apprehensive about our last night at sea. The concern was that we might experience winds similar to those of the first night. We were pleasantly surprised with calm seas. The only sensation experienced was the on-shore swell common to any sea coast. These caused a slow but pronounced port to starboard rocking motion.

Cathy and I wanted to be on our balcony while going under the Golden Gate. We checked the daily newsletter, and asked four or five crew members. “What time do we go under The Golden Gate?” The consensus was between 6:00 and 6:30 a.m. We were scheduled to dock at 7:00 a.m.

For the only time on the cruise, I set up a wakeup call, 5:30 a.m. The call came. We were up and out of bed quick as a shot. I threw open the curtains, stepped out on the balcony. To our amazement we were next to Alcatraz. It was foggy. We couldn’t even see the Golden Gate.

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After an early and leisurely breakfast, we cleared out of the stateroom and prepared to disembark. We met our friends Mike and Maddi Misheloff waiting on the sidewalk in front of Pier 35.

The Misheloffs hadn’t eaten. Maddi said, “We haven’t eaten. Do you want to get breakfast? We know this great place, or do you want to go straight home?” Good thing we ate a small breakfast.

It was a short but hectic drive to 6th Street. The restaurant was in a new location so the Misheloffs were not positive where. We parked and tried to feed the meter. Wow, it was five minutes for a quarter. We had less than a dollar’s worth of change between us.

Cathy went into a bodega for parking change. “If you buy something, I’ll give you four quarters. No more.” She bought water. Now we had forty minutes on the meter. I offered to come back and feed the meter after we got to the restaurant. We walked east. A young lady heard us talking and told us to go four blocks the other way.

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This old building had pieces of furniture mounted to the walls.

Two blocks up we found a free parking spot on a side street. Mike and I went back for the car. After making the mandatory three turns, we got to the spot and parked. Both our phones began to ring. “Hey, there’s a free spot up here beside the café.” Another odyssey. We arrived only to find that a third of the parking spot was marked with no parking signs for construction. I had Mike pull as close as possible to car in front of him. I moved the no parking signs a few feet back.We looked legal.

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Cathy and Maddi chat as the line reaches the corner. It was another half hour wait from there. There is always a line for:

Dottie’s True Blue Café
28 6th Street
San Francisco

They had muffins the size of small cakes and a dozen specials. What a place.

Outside Dotties

Mike, Maddi, and Cathy are discussing the specials.

Later in the day, our daughter Jennifer and her boyfriend, Brandon Witt, stopped by the house for dinner. I had two great steaks ready to BBQ but there wasn’t enough for the four of us. So we decided on Frankie, Johnnie Luigi Too! It’s about a mile from our home. On the way I tried to explain to Jen and Brandon where we had our second breakfast. I said something like, “Dorothy’s on 6th.” Jen screamed, “Dottie’s True Blue Café.” Jen first saw the place in 2007 when a group of women from the Nike Women’s Marathon * San Francisco stood in line waiting to eat at Dottie’s old location. It took her until this past June to get back and actually eat there. It’s now one of her favorites.

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Cruising Alaska’s Inside Passage on the Grand Princess – Fifth Posting

We remained on-board for the remainder of the cruise. Our last day in Alaska was a cruise up the Tracy Arm Fjord to the Sawyer Island Glacier.

We spent a few hours at the glacier and then begin the two and a half day cruise back to San Francisco.

I have to tell you about my biggest complaint about the ship, Internet. They charge almost two-hundred dollars for ten hours of service. That is why there was no blog posting during the ten-day trip. Believe it or not, the cruise line charges the crew the same amount.

I was up at 5:30 a.m. We approached the glacier as I got topside. It was biting cold. The bay was clear of any other vessels.

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Glacier

I took these at 5:50 a.m. as we slowly neared the glacier. Crew members told us that sometimes the fog is so heavy that they can’t get close enough to see the glacier.

The ship rotated so that every passenger and stateroom had sufficient time to watch and photograph the glacier.

We had breakfast at the Horizon Buffet with a window seat. Enjoying breakfast, I forgot just how cold it was outside.

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We had a room service order for coffee at 6:00 a.m. The waiter was new to the crew and had never seen a glacier. Cathy invited him in. He was in awe of it. We got him to snap this photo of us with the glacier in the back ground. I prepared well for the weather, shorts and my ever-present Aloha shirt.

After we went topside, I remembered just how cold it was. We saw movement from the glacier. We watched a huge slab of ice break away. The splash was followed by a tremendous roar.

Camera crew

We heard a motorboat and then this zodiac boat came into view. It was a five member film crew. The man standing in the bow looks for ice. If spots a large piece he warns the boat operator, if small he has a long pole to push it away. They moved very slowly.

Film Crew

This iceberg was one hundred yards or so from the ship. With the zodiac at the right side you get an idea of how large it is.

Visiting Glacier Bay a dozen years ago, several cruise ships moved about. The Tracy Arm Fjord is much smaller. When the Grand Princess was rotating, there wasn’t much more than a hundred yards from either end to shore. Traversing the fjord out to the open sea, there were places where two ships could not have shared the passage.

The trip back out to the open sea remained cold, biting cold with snow-capped mountains on both side of the fjord.

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The mountain is about fifty yards from the right side of the ship. There isn’t much more room on the left. We turned and passed through the notch visible in the center of this picture.

This was a successful cruise. We enjoyed ourselves; saw some good shows and sights.

The Writer

I’m happy to report that during the cruise, I wrote over 15,000 words. Of those almost eleven thousand were for the new novel.

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Cruising Alaska’s Inside Passage on the Grand Princess

Friday, July 19, 2013 we boarded the Grand Princess at Pier 35, San Francisco. We chose this cruise because of its proximity to our home, only thirty-five miles. The last time we cruised to Alaska we flew to Vancouver, Canada, spent the night, and boarded the ship the next day. We enjoyed it, but it was a bit of a hassle and expensive.

If we board the ship in San Francisco, we won’t have any hassles. Nothing is hassle free. The first thirty-three miles took a half-hour. The mile or so along the Embarcadero took an hour.

The weather in Dublin was great. I dressed in proper tourist attire, shorts and Aloha shirt. San Francisco was cold and windy. It got worse.

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Don’t you just love Cathy’s latest hair style?

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Notice the lack of California sunshine?

It got worse, much worse. The winds continued to increase throughout the night.

Saturday morning the captain came on the P.A. System with this announcement. “No Cause for Concern.”

Instantly alert, I turned to Cathy. “What the hell?”

The captain continued. “The winds coming across the bow are running at 40 knots.” Looking out our balcony window we could see that seas were running deep with more white caps showing than dark gray water. Wanting us to feel better and I assume to appreciate the mere forty knot wind, he continued. “Throughout the night we had sustained winds of sixty knots with gusts of eighty knots.” He had our attention. It got better, or maybe worse. It depends on your point of view. “Eighty knot wind is just shy of hurricane conditions.” Oh, Boy. “Although we have closed several areas of the ship for safety, there is no cause for concern.”

According to disastercenter.com, 80 knots equates to 92.2 miles per hour. Above 73 mph hurricane devastation occurs.

Saturday was spent at sea. Heavy seas kept everyone indoors. I didn’t even write. I spent the day eating and reading a novel by recently published author, I.C. Enger. I met her at the Public Safety Writers Conference in Las Vegas. Her book, Blue Ice, is the first in a series. I found the story very interesting, a page turner. Later in the week, I read her second book, Green Ice. The third in the series, Black Ice, is due out shortly.

Sunday we docked in Victoria, B.C. just as the weather broke. It was a beautiful day. We’ve been to Victoria several times and have seen most of the sights. It’s a good thing. Victoria was hosting a Good Guys type car show. The theme was Deuce Coupe. We learned that more than a thousand 1932 Ford Deuce Coupes were entered along with another thousand or so vintage cars and hot rods. Several locals told us, “This is the largest event ever held in Victoria.” I believed them. Most of the downtown streets were closed down. Almost all tours in town were cancelled. The open streets were worse than San Francisco.

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This was the only car not sporting a DO NOT TOUCH sign.

Every car entered in the show, and all the ones parked around town were brought in by ship and ferry.

We spent Monday at sea. It was a productive day. There is a library and game area on the ship. Just like at my home office, I couldn’t write in our room. Even though kids and adults play a variety of board games, it didn’t bother me. I rarely hear them, it is a pleasant distraction. Occasionally a group of adults will take over a couple of tables and each tries to outdo the other in volume. These are interruptions and they do bother me.

Cathy dragged me away for lunch. I returned in the afternoon. While A Tale of Robbers and Cops is out to an editor, I’m concentrating on my second novel. The story is about police officers working Anti-Gang Enforcement in the fictional city of Liberty, Arizona.

It was a good day. I wrote 3700 words.

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Rain and Remembrances

6.20 Todays Scenery

June 20, 2013

This gives one an idea of my view of the scenery for the best part of Wednesday and until noon Thursday. Actually, it was worse. Between my eyes and the windshield, the face guard on my helmet had an equal amount of water. Several times during the day it rained so hard I could not see the roadway. We rode for five hours before we broke out of the rain and into sunlight. It was miserable.

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Here we are at our first stop after leaving the rain behind. The person taking the photo is from Sydney, Australia. He, his wife, and four year old daughter, are riding bicycles from Vancouver, B.C. to San Francisco, California. His wife has a solo bicycle. He and his daughter share a tandem bike. The child’s is equipped with pedals; she can pedal if she wants. If one is curious, the distance is 950 miles.

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These sea lions were on a rock below us. Less than a mile south are the Sea Lion Caves. The caves are located 11 miles north of Florence, Oregon. If you happen to be in the area, I recommend that you stop. It is quite a treat.

The URL http://www.sealioncaves.com/ will give you a glimpse.

A stop at Gold Beach was a must for Jim. While on the Brown Water Run in 2003 I had an accident and was medevac’d not far from Gold Beach to a hospital in Medford, Oregon.

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After I was carried away, my fellow riders continued on to Gold Beach for a meal. Doug Foss, retired San Francisco P.D. Motors, offered a memorial to George Cramer. I hate mayonnaise and my buddies have tried over the years to slip me a taste or two. The group went to the Port Hole Café. Doug arranged to have a small bowl of mayonnaise brought to the table with a lighted candle “in case George doesn’t make it.”

2 Memorial Mayo

Jim wanted to relive the experience at the Port Hole Café. We had a good meal and then rode south to Crescent City, California.

4 Chopper

July 12, 2003, not a fond memory.

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Talented Writers – JULIE ROYCE

My luck continues with talented authors. This week’s author is Julie Royce, who writes as J.K. Royce.

Julie Royce 0500 Hours

Attorney Julie Royce rises daily at 5:00 a.m. to write in a variety of genres.

PILZ Book Cover

Julie has a recently published legal thriller. PILZ is a sizzling whodunit written by an attorney whose legal career exposed her to the dark side of the medical profession. This spine-tingling tale of murder and betrayal will leave you wondering how far to trust your family doctor.

Casey Lawrence is an assistant attorney general who believes her biggest problem is the ex-husband camped in her guestroom. That annoyance escalates to major trouble when she enters her blood-spattered study. Her ex is missing. After the police arrive, she becomes the prime suspect in his disappearance and probable murder.

A grisly crime she committed seventeen years earlier sucks her into a conspiracy between a drug kingpin and unscrupulous doctors. The stakes are her career, her freedom, and her life. The only cards she holds are her wits, a well-honed instinct for survival, and the loyalty of an ex-cop with questionable ethics. Will those be enough to win the deadly game?

Julie is currently working on another mystery/thriller, tentatively titled, “The Mission Murders” which will move her protagonist, Casey Lawrence, to San Francisco’s Mission District.

Julie has written two travel books, Traveling Michigan’s Thumb and Traveling Michigan’s Sunset Coast (Thunder Bay Press). She currently writes a monthly travel column for www.wanderingeducators.com. She has also written and is editing Ardent Spirit, a historical fiction novel that recounts the life of American Indian fur-trader, Magdelaine LaFramboise.

In her spare time Ms. Royce writes short stories. One has received first place and two others have received honorable mention in contests. Several have been published in anthologies.

PILZ is one of my favorites. If you want your own copy you will find it available as an e-book or paperback from Amazon.

Ms. Royce’s website and blog are at http://www.jkroyce.com

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