Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Day 2: Honk Kong = Delicious + Colorful

Yesterday was my first real day to venture out into Hong Kong. My body spent most of the day in a state of jet lag confusion, which kind of feels like having a mild hangover.

We started the morning with a delicious breakfast at home with Asian Pears, turkey, scrambled egg, egg quiches, and some much needed coffee. Then we took a car ride through the city to join in on the BSF chapter here in Hong Kong.

During the car ride, I saw a really cool tree. I love how the trunk looks like its made of multiple cords of bark woven together.

I was pleased to see that Hong Kong has decided to go with my favorite color, red, for their taxi service.

The streets remind me of a mix of the highway's back home and a bit of road travel in the larger cities of India (due to the congestion), save for the fact that drivers in Hong Kong actually respect lanes, unlike in India.

I got to attend a BSF small group with my bestie and some local ladies. Everyone in Hong Kong speaks English, better than some people in Alabama, I might say. LOL. The English that people speak here has a soft English accent, and it sounds beautiful and proper. A dear family friend is the leader of the entire Hong Kong chapter of the day women's group of BSF, and it was such a privilege to hear her speak.

Before we started small group, since the jet lag was making me feel hung over, I decided that I needed some sort of liquid hydration So my bestie and I left the building, and boldly crossed the street and walked into the shopping center where there was a sign for a Starbucks. We walked inside, never found the Starbucks, but did find a small grocery store and headed to the refrigerated section. I didn't know what half the bottles were, but my eyes zoned in on these.

And because the bottles said "Water" I assumed that "POSTONIC" was just the name of the manufacturer. So as we walked back, I opened the cap, and took a sip, and the water was syrupy sweet. That's when I looked at the label and saw that it had TWELVE THOUSAND CALORIES!!!

It was Diabetes in a bottle. No Joke. I even asked my Uncle and he confirmed that it had TWELVE THOUSAND CALORIES!! He said that people drank it after they exercised. Ummm....why? So they can undo all the calories they burned from working out?!?

Needless, to say that once I saw the primary ingredient was high fructose corn syrup, plus the TWELVE THOUSAND CALORIES, and the bottle went in the trash.

After BSF and the water incident, we spent some time with my goddaughter and her cousins and then headed out to here for lunch:

The restaurant was on the top floor of a building and boasted panoramic views of the Hong Kong skyline:

From that high up we could even see the equivalent of Hong Kong's white house. It's where the leader who is the equivalent of Hong Kong's prime minister lives.

I ate dumplings, chicken mushrooms and rice, cucumber salad, and sipped on tea. And then the waiter brought in this:

Yes, that is a bowl full of floating red chili peppers, under which you will find the vegetables and fish. The dish is called Spicy Sichuan Style Stewed Wild Organic Freshwater Fish. I'm a failure at being Indian because I can't eat spicy foods. So naturally, I thought I'd skip this dish. But, then my Auntie, gave me the idea of giving the fish a bath in a bowlful of water, to wash off the spices and pepper. I felt like Anna from Anna and the French Kiss when she was at lunch giving her grapes a bath. The fish was so moist, and still had a moderate kick to it after I gave it a bath. I can't imagine what it'd taste like straight from the fiery bowl.

For dessert I had a delicious bean curd custard with sprinkled yellow sugar on top and a gelatinous cake made of coconut and dates:

On our walk home from lunch, we passed a pond full of beautiful koi.

After that it  was mid afternoon, and with my tummy full and my brain foggy with jet lag, it was nap time. In the evening, we ventured out to the Ladie's Market. No Joke. That is actually what it's called. And, no, they don't sell ladies there. 

Really missing my selfie stick on this trip. I know the #NASASocial media folks are probably like whhhaaat?!? Anita, with no selfie stick?!? On an international trip?!? Don't worry, I've got someone from the states bringing theirs later in the week.

After the Ladies Market we rode the MTR (the subway) back to Town Center and had another delicious meal at home. Another one of my Aunties made this flavorful crab dish. It was soooo fresh and sooo flavorful. Here in Hong Kong, the tofu literally melts in your mouth. And we had chicken and fish and beef and veggies and wine. And after that, I went to sleep. At 7:30 in the evening. LOL.

Stay tuned for Day 3 in Hong Kong!

Monday, October 12, 2015

Made it to Hong Kong!

Now that I'm here, and looking at this view out of my bedroom window, the seventeen hour non-stop flight from Dallas was worth it.

I'm in the heart of downtown Hong Kong looking out at a bunch of skyscrapers that belong to banks. HSBC. Citi Bank. Bank of America. Bank of China. In between the buildings you can see the Hong Kong Observation Wheel and the harbor. I hope to go on the observation wheel soon and see a bird's eye view of the harbor.

This is a view of the harbor and skyline as we drove from the airport into Town Center. When we were going through immigration at the airport, the lady at the intercom cautioned touching the wild animals in Hong Kong, specifically the camels.

So...yeah...watch out for those wild camels.

I'm so blessed to get to stay here with friends (that are really family) and to be with my goddaughter to celebrate her first birthday! Who, by the way, was an absolute trooper. For almost being one year old, she handled the flight pretty well. It did involve chasing her precious diaper butt up and down the aisle of the plane, but over all she handled it fairly well.

I'll have more to share tomorrow!

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Cover Reveal for FROSH!!!

Today we have the honor of featuring the cover reveal for Mónica Bustamante Wagner's new adult novel, FROSH!!!

Who is Mónica you ask? 

She was born in a Peruvian city by a snow-capped volcano. Growing up, books were her constant companion as she traveled with her family to places like India (where she became a vegetarian), Thailand (where she *almost* met Leonardo di Caprio), France (where she pretended to learn French), and countless other places that inspired her to write. Now, Mónica lives in Chile with her husband, three boys, eleven hens, and stray dog.

Not only does she spend time with hens and almost rubs shoulders with Leo, she is also a Pitch Wars mentor (if you don't know what Pitch Wars is, I highly suggest you click on the link. Dude. click on the link.) 

In December 2013, I actually submitted my manuscript to Mónica in hopes that she would be my Pitch Wars mentor, but she had already fallen in love with another project. BUT, Mónica took the time to complement my work and told me that she would continue to root for me. Encouragements like this can really help a writer make it through the query trenches. And I'll be forever grateful to Mónica for encouraging me to push on. 

Now that we know that Mónica is waay cool, one can only logically come to the conclusion that her new adult novel FROSH has to be just as awesome as she is. 

*drum roll*

*Throws some confetti*

*passes out celebratory snow cones*


That cover is HOT. And the story is even HOTTER:

During welcome week at Hillson University, the FROSH will hit the fan.

Type-A aspiring journalist Ellie plans to take freshman year by storm. But hell-bent on breaking a huge on-campus scandal, she risks becoming one herself—and getting the mysterious, heart-melting QB in serious trouble. 

Grant, star quarterback and charismatic chick-magnet, is hiding a life-altering secret. The last thing he needs is an overeager (absolutely adorable) journalist asking questions. He’s got a reputation to protect.

High-society legacy student Devon is ready to catch the football hottie of her dreams. If the tabloids feature her with the “it” boy on her arm, her tainted past will be buried—or so she thinks.

Charlie, pre-med, is done being the sweet and funny geek that girls like Devon ignore. But if he tries to impress her with a new edgy, spontaneous attitude, will his heart end up in the emergency room?

FROSH intertwines the stories of Ellie, Grant, Devon, and Charlie in Mónica B. Wagner’s sexy NA debut series, about falling in love and falling apart.

I can't wait to read FROSH. If you're just as eager as I am, check out FROSH on Goodreads. And if you want to stalk....I mean...err...follow Mónica you can find her on Twitter and Facebook.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

First Time: Watching the Movie Before Reading the Book.

This past Friday I watched the movie PAPER TOWNS, based on the novel by John Green. I vacillated over whether or not to see the movie because I hadn't finished reading the book. In my experience, the book experience is always richer than the movie experience. And I always, always read a book first prior to watching its movie adaptation.

But with PAPER TOWNS I did things different. I had started the audio book the middle of last week. The narrative voice hooked me as the did the hi-jinks of the female lead character, Margo Roth Spiegelman. While I was compelled by the narrative voice  and the narrator of the audio book, I was a bit disappointed because it seemed the main character, Quentin or "Q," wasn't the one moving the story forward, it was Margo. And then I thought about if maybe Margo was really the main character of the story? Granted, I had only made it through the second audio disc and these were only thoughts and musings going through my head. I was enjoying the book, but I wasn't completely hooked by CD 2.

So I decided to watch the movie, and I LOVED it.

You know how movies have to trim out scenes from the book in order to keep the film at a reasonable length? And often I poo poo the choice of which scenes were trimmed. I mean, I would have sat though a four hour long Harry Potter movie, wouldn't you? But, back to PAPER TOWNS--I feel like every scene that was combined into another or cut was done to benefit story pacing. In addition, the beginning of the movie made it quite clear who it was that was moving the story forward, and it was Quentin--the main character, not Margo Roth Spiegelman, the mysterious girl next door.

I don't know if I'm going to make watching movies before reading the books a habit. But, in this situation it wasn't a bad decision. I'm still finishing up the audio book, and despite knowing the ending, I'm thoroughly enjoying the story. Well, done John Green. Well done.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

The Joys of Volunteering

This summer I decided to volunteer my time and started a writing workshop for teens and adults. We've had quite the turn out with students ranging in age from fourteen to forty. I've enjoyed working with the budding writers and encouraging their creative spirit as they venture on the journey of writing a novel.

Last week, middle grade fantasy author, Lou Anders, came out and gave his very informative Scrip Tips lectures. The writers were little sponges, soaking up all the knowledge Lou had to offer. We are also lucky to have middle grade author and poet, Irene Latham, come visit us at the end of the month to talk about finding your writing voice. And for the last class of the workshop, young adult author, Stephen Duncan, will talk about how to get an agent and write a query. The writing community is so amazing and generous with their time.

It has been a privilege to work with the writers in the workshop. And I've learned so much week from week as I prepare lectures, come up with in class writing exercises, and critique work. It has been a wonderful experience, but unfortunately it has meant radio silence on Anita's Edge as of late.

Hope everyone is having a lovely summer! Happy Writing!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015


CONVICTION by Kelly Loy Gilbert
Official Release Day Celebration Hosted by MMSAI Tours

*Throws confetti and passes out cupcakes*

Kelly and I are agency mates and I'm so happy to be celebrating the release day of CONVICTION! Here's a little bit about the book:

Ten years ago, God gave Braden a sign, a promise that his family wouldn’t fall apart the way he feared.

But Braden got it wrong: his older brother, Trey, has been estranged from the family for almost as long, and his father, the only parent Braden has ever known, has been accused of murder. The arrest of Braden’s father, a well-known Christian radio host, has sparked national media attention. His fate lies in his son’s hands; Braden is the key witness in the upcoming trial.

Braden has always measured himself through baseball. He is the star pitcher in his small town of Ornette, and his ninety-four-mile-per-hour pitch al- ready has minor league scouts buzzing in his junior year. Now the rules of the sport that has always been Braden’s saving grace are blurred in ways he never realized, and the prospect of playing against Alex Reyes, the nephew of the police officer his father is accused of killing, is haunting his every pitch.

Braden faces an impossible choice, one that will define him for the rest of his life, in this brutally honest debut novel about family, faith, and the ultimate test of conviction. 

“While the mystery of what really happened on the foggy stretch of highway is the driving force behind the narrative, it is Braden’s unfolding story that will captivate readers ... Both hopeful and devastatingly real.” -Kirkus, starred review
“A poignant look at the messiness of love, faith and humanity.” - School Library Journal, starred review
“Braden is a deeply sympathetic character ... a moving debut.” - Booklist, starred review

Now go forth and get your own copy of CONVICTION from here:

Kelly Loy Gilbert is a fiction writer who believes deeply in the power of stories to illuminate a shared humanity and give voice to complex, broken people. She is passionate about social justice, the San Francisco Giants, and organizing things by color. Kelly studied writing at the University of California—San Diego and at San Francisco State, and enjoys serving on the NaNoWriMo Associate Board and leading creative writing workshops for teens. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her family in a home teeming with books.

Ships in US Only. Must be 13+ To Enter