Tag Archives: San Francisco

Miranda Writes 8 – Edits, inspiration and winners

All this year I will be documenting the writing, editing and publishing of my fifth novel, giving you a unique, behind-the-scenes look at my life as a writer. This week, I announce the final two winners of my #getinvolved challenge, talk about edits and answer your questions!

After a completely crazy couple of weeks, the first edit on Book 5 (still awaiting a title) is done and I’ve recovered enough to be almost coherent!

So, without further ado, here is this week’s vlog – hope you like it!

Enjoy! xx

p.s. This week’s YouTube-nominated freeze-frame is entitled, ‘Oy! Oo nicked me teef?’)

San Francisco – Painted Ladies at Alamo Square

I’m posting a photo (or set of photos) each day, telling you about the location and where you can expect to find it in Book 5! And even though my new book is waiting for its title, you can actually pre-order it here (Waterstones) and here (The Book Depository) – I know, how crazy is that?

Today, I’d like to take you one of my favourite places: Alamo Square.

Alamo Square signSMALL

Set right at the top of one of San Francisco’s many hills, Alamo Square is home to a beautiful park and a row of gorgeous houses, known as The Painted Ladies. It’s also known locally as ‘Postcard Row’ because it’s such a hub for tourists. The houses are so beautiful that no matter where you point your camera you’ll get a perfect picture and Bob and I fell in love with them.

Painted Ladies 1 SMALL

Each house is decorated differently, creating a fabulous pastel confection of colour. This is something we noticed right across the city, even with newer buildings. I wonder if it has something to do with being by the sea – it reminded me very much of Dartmouth in Devon, where the houses are all painted in different colours. Whatever the reason, it gives the whole city a real sense of fun, which I loved.

Painted Ladies 3SMALL

At the centre of the square is a beautiful park and here you can see amazing views of the city – from the TransAmerica Pyramid and the Financial District…

TAP from Alamo SquareSMALL

…to the beautiful dome of City Hall…

City Hall from Alamo SquareSMALL

In Book 5 there is a scene I love set here, where Nell meets a Japanese tourist who believes he is the long-lost brother of a very famous American crooner whose song about San Francisco is famous the world over. I hope you’ll love him when you meet him!

More tomorrow – if you like what you see, leave me a comment! xx

San Francisco – Food, glorious food!

I’m posting a photo (or set of photos) each day, telling you about the location and where you can expect to find it in Book 5! And even though my new book is waiting for its title, you can actually pre-order it here (Waterstones) and here (The Book Depository) – I know, how crazy is that?

Food is an enormous part of life in San Francisco. It seemed there were restaurants, cafes and diners on every corner and the choice was endless. Bob, as you can imagine, was in his element, and where I had a list of places I wanted to visit while we were there, Bob had a list of food he wanted to try!

Pancakes

Food also plays a key role in Book 5, as you will discover. So actually, visiting lots of amazing places to eat was really essential research (*innocent face*). And everything has abbreviations, which really amused me. So, for instance, the pancakes above are a ‘Two, Two and Two’: two pancakes (short stack, y’all), two rashers of bacon and two eggs. I also had an ‘SBK’ – a crepe with strawberries, bananas and kiwi fruit. But the best one I came across is below:

OMFG Haight St

Kind of speaks for itself, really!

I found this sign on Haight Street in Haight-Ashbury, which is where Nell will stay during her two month trip to San Francisco and sums up the fab sense of humour I experienced all over San Francisco but especially in this neighbourhood. More on that soon!

Hope you’re enjoying these posts – leave me a comment if you are! See you tomorrow xx

San Francisco – Amazing people

I’m posting a photo (or set of photos) each day, telling you about the location and where you can expect to find it in Book 5! And even though my new book is waiting for its title, you can actually pre-order it here (Waterstones) and here (The Book Depository) – I know, how crazy is that?

Today, I’d like to introduce you to some of the amazing people we met on our trip…

Peeps 1

This is Tony. He could be Kenny G’s cousin (but I don’t think he is). Tony was playing saxophone in the lovely Ghirardelli Square (more on this place soon). As with every other busker in the city, he had a great PA sound system! You might remember him from the most recent episode of my vlog (he was playing out at the end). Being a musician myself I was so impressed with the talent of the many street musicians we met – and also by the real regard local people have for music.

Peeps 3

This is the very grumpy lady who sells hand-knitted hats by the Powell turntable at Fisherman’s Wharf. I don’t know her name, but I was fascinated by the way she could serve people and carry on knitting at the same time…

Peeps 2

This guy is a comedy legend. He was playing to entertain the long line of people waiting for the cable cars at the Friedel Klussmann Memorial Turnaround at Fisherman’s Wharf. He had a great line in wry humour, thanking the people in the queue for ‘seeking out my exclusive gig’ and suggesting that the more one dollar bills people donated into his bucket, the faster he could make the cable cars arrive. His humour is the inspiration for Marty – a philosophising taxi driver and one of the regulars at Annie’s diner in Haight Ashbury (where Nell will volunteer to work during her San Francisco stay). Classic line: ‘My father always used to say something to me, and that thing I will share with you now: “Son,” he used to say, “wherever you go, there you are.” I like to live by that motto.’

Peeps 4

This is Frank and his dog, Jaq (the ‘Q’ is very important, apparently). I met them at The Warming Hut at West Bluff, in the shadow of the Golden Gate Bridge, as Bob and I were enjoying a takeaway coffee in the sun, gazing out over the San Francisco Bay. To be precise, I met Jaq first when he trotted across the sea wall to say hello. As with everyone we met in San Francisco, they were very friendly and Frank told me how lucky we were to have a clear day. Dogs were everywhere in San Francisco, but especially here and Crissy Field park in the distance, where local people come to hang out, work out, enjoy BBQs and walk their dogs.

More coming tomorrow. Leave me a comment below! xx

San Francisco – The Golden Gate Bridge

I’m posting a photo (or set of photos) each day, telling you about the location and where you can expect to find it in Book 5! And even though my new book is waiting for its title, you can actually pre-order it here (Waterstones) and here (The Book Depository) – I know, how crazy is that?

Today, let me introduce you to the stunningly gorgeous Golden Gate Bridge

GG 1

During our stay in San Francisco, we saw this amazing structure from many angles – here (above) from the viewing point at the head of The Presidio National Park, on a boat going underneath it, walking by the side of it at West Bluff (where the bridge joins the land), peeking through the houses and buildings at it from high up on Alamo Park (more on that soon) and at the end of streets as we climbed up San Francisco hills on the cable cars.

GG2

It’s very strange to see it for real after seeing it in so many photos, TV programmes and films and I wasn’t prepared for how beautiful it would be. Often, the tops of its towers are shrouded in mist which hangs across the San Francisco Bay and makes the mountains look as if they are rising out of the clouds. But this day was really clear and the views were stunning.

GG3

And, of course, you have to attempt the comedy bridge shot photo… (Taken from West Bluff – one of our favourite places.)

The Golden Gate Bridge features in Book 5 several times – but it’s when Nell returns home to London that its significance really comes into its own… Watch this space for what happens when it does!

More tomorrow. Let me know what you think – leave a comment! xx

San Francisco – Cable Cars!

I’m posting a photo (or set of photos) each day, telling you about the location and where you can expect to find it in Book 5! And even though my new book is waiting for its title, you can actually pre-order it here (Waterstones) and here (The Book Depository) – I know, how crazy is that?

Today, I’d like to show you San Francisco’s famous cable cars

Cable car 1

These little wooden cars have become iconic and they are so much fun to travel on. The best thing (apart from hanging on the outside which Bob and I did – terrifyingly good fun!) is the banter that the blokes who work the cars share all the way. This is the Powell/Market Street turntable and although the queues were quite long, it was worth the wait!

Cable car 2

A little bit of safety there… (although the hanging on around curves wasn’t far off what it actually felt like – these cars are fast!)

Cable car 3

Inside, everyone was smiling. But then, that seems to happen a lot in San Francisco. On the way back everyone was smiling apart from a very irate New York lady who objected to waiting. (Everyone else was smiling at her…)

Cable car 4

The end of the journey at lovely Fisherman’s Wharf, with the San Francisco Bay and blue mountains of Marin County beyond. Gorgeous! The cable cars will feature in Book 5 during Nell’s first week in San Francisco when her cousin Lizzie takes her sightseeing – watch this space for what happens!

More tomorrow – leave me a comment! xx

 

 

 

 

San Francisco – Sea Lions!

I’m posting a photo (or set of photos) each day, telling you about the location and where you can expect to find it in Book 5! And even though my new book is waiting for its title, you can actually pre-order it here (Waterstones) and here (The Book Depository) – I know, how crazy is that?

Today, I’d like to show you the sea lions at Fisherman’s Wharf

Sea Lions 2

They’re very lazy, a bit stinky and incredibly noisy, but it’s fab to see so many of them in one place. The pontoon where they sunbathe, bicker and basically veg out is in a pretty impressive location, with Alcatraz Island, the San Francisco Bay and the Golden Gate Bridge in the distance…

Sea Lions 1

They also know they’re on to a good thing and are very good at posing for the crowds of tourists who come to take photos of them. Pier 39 is an odd place – very kitsch and seaside-y but fun and very, very friendly. Bob and I visited on our first full day and we loved it. The sea lions will, of course, get a mention in Book 5 – so watch this space!

Sea Lions 3

More tomorrow – leave me a comment! xx

 

 

 

San Francisco: Meet Eric!

I’m posting a photo (or set of photos) each day, telling you about the location and where you can expect to find it in Book 5! And even though my new book is waiting for its title, you can actually pre-order it here (Waterstones) and here (The Book Depository) – I know, how crazy is that?

Today, I wanted to introduce you to Eric

It's Eric

I don’t know if his name is Eric, but in Book 5 that’s what he will be known as…

Those of you who know my books well will know there is always an Eric in them. I have a reason for this, but it’s secret. (A bit like Richard Curtis films always have a Bernard in them…) Most of the time Eric is a fleeting character, like the New Year’s Eve gig organiser in It Started With a Kiss or Danny’s uncle who operates the deck chair hire on Brighton Beach in When I Fall in LoveFor Book 5, Eric is the rather crazy unicyclist at Pier 39 in Fisherman’s Wharf.

The actual man you see is originally from the UK and performs a crazy routine of juggling on unicycles every hour. The unicycles gradually get taller and the things he juggles become more dangerous. The largely American crowd loved him – we heard their whooping and cheers before we saw who it was for.

So, Eric in Book 5 is a friend of Nell’s cousin Lizzie (who she stays with in San Francisco). When he meets Nell, he invites her and Lizzie to come and see one of his Pier 39 shows. And it is while she is watching the show that she first lays eyes on a gorgeous stranger who is about to become so much more…

More tomorrow! Leave me a comment to let me know what you think and what you’d like to see (I have a lot of photos to choose from…) xx

Book 5 – The research trip!

Apologies for the delay, but for the next couple of weeks I will be posting little snippets from the research trip I took with Bob to glorious San Francisco…

I’m posting a photo (or set of photos) each day, telling you about the location and where you can expect to find it in Book 5! And even though my new book is waiting for its title, you can actually pre-order it here (Waterstones) and here (The Book Depository) – I know, how crazy is that?

So, here’s the first photo – Bob and me at the giant heart painted by Tony Bennett:

Pandy & Bob Union Sq Heart

Tony Bennett famously left his heart in San Francisco (we heard that song played everywhere, from a jazz player to a trumpeter, to a Chinese man playing it on a huquin in Chinatown). The photo was taken by a very friendly local man who told us Tony Bennett painted the heart. These heart statues are all across the city, raising money for a local hospital – and they’re all completely different. This heart is in Union Square – it’s surrounded by famous department stores like Saks Fifth Avenue, Tiffany, Macy’s and Nieman Marcos and you can see the statue of Victoria (Goddess of Victory) on the plinth in the centre.

And there are palm trees, which I loved!

More tomorrow, lovelies! xx

Heading home…

Well, I’m writing this at San Francisco International Airport as Bob and I wait for our flight home. I can hardly believe we’ve done our San Francisco trip!

We’ve packed so much into our six days and I’m coming home with a million ideas for Book 5. I can honestly say San Francisco has stolen my heart in ways I could never have foreseen. The neighbourhoods, the colour, the relentlessly positive atmosphere and the melting pot of cultures are a heady mix and it will take a long time for it all to properly sink in.

If you’ve enjoyed my daily Book 5 Adventure blogs, don’t worry – there’s more to come! When I get home, I’m going to post the photos WordPress wouldn’t let me upload in San Francisco and will be doing a post a day for the next week at least, so please keep watching… I’ll tell you a story about each post and hopefully bring you some of the sights we have enjoyed this week. And, of course, watch out for this week’s vlog (on Saturday), where I’ll show you some of the places we visited.

It’s been completely wonderful to visit the city Nell will escape to in Book 5. I’m going to pour everything we’ve experienced in SF into the novel, so I hope you’ll get a sense of just how fantastic the city is when my book is published in October. In the meantime, keep watching this blog!

More soon! xx