Poppies, Ostriches, and Magic Castles

Southern California is in the middle of a wildflower superbloom, and because I was visiting my BFF last weekend, I got to see it!

California poppies were blooming in droves at the aptly named Poppy Preserve. The photos are great, and yet they still don’t do it justice. If you’re anywhere in the area, I suggest a visit!

A collage of three pictures featuring bright orange poppy flowers, along with smaller yellow flowers, blue skies, and wooden power poles

While we were exploring for the weekend, we found a tiny little roadside attraction called OstrichLand USA. And I don’t know about you, but I’m not driving past a place called OstrichLand without stopping to check it out.

For a mere $8, I was given bowl of food pellets and set loose to feed the resident ostriches and emus. This was far more fun than I expected, mostly because giant birds are hilarious all on their own. When they’re trying to use their ridiculous necks and beaks to steal your food bowl, it’s even better.

And they are ridiculous. They remind me more of velociraptors than chickens, because have you ever seen an ostrich’s foot? Nightmare fuel.

A male and female ostrich eating feed out of a bowl bolted to a dustpan

The fancy dinner I was talking about a while back also happened while we were in CA—a visit to the Magic Castle, the home of the Academy of Magical Arts. Yes, there’s a club for magicians, and I will always, always think of Gob on Arrested Development insisting he’s “an illusionist” not a magician.

To get in to the club, you have to be a member or know a member, but membership is expensive and, you know, for magicians, so that wasn’t an option for us. Instead, my BFF booked us into the on-site hotel and talked them into giving us tickets. Win!

The club is in a cool old house that was built in 1909, and the ambience is exactly what you would expect from a club for magicians—a little old school, a little glam, and a lot quirky. The strict dress code meant everyone was dressed up, so it was a fun vibe.

And the magicians at the Castle were incredible! We saw several short shows, including two close-up acts. For the second one, I was two feet from the magician, and I still have no idea how he did some of his sleight of hand, which is the best kind of magic.

It was hard to dress super fancy while traveling, since our bags were full of normal clothes, but Mr. M and I made a respectable showing. Honestly, he made a much better showing than I did, but such is life when your hair goes poof at the slightest drop of humidity or wind. 😂

Mr. M in a black suit, silver waistcoat, and maroon tie with me beside him in a shiny silver dress, with yellow walls behind us.

Now we’re home and I have to buckle down and make some words. The fantasy romance I’m working on crossed 53k while we were gone (it was a working vacation), and I have a slew of interviews and Q&As to do for Capture the Sun—which comes out two months from tomorrow. Ahhhhhh!

My publicist is talking to BookPeople about possibly doing an in-person event for the release, so if you’re local and you’d be interested in seeing my smiling face in person, drop me a comment and let me know! 💕

7 thoughts on “Poppies, Ostriches, and Magic Castles”

  1. You and Mr. M look very nice in the picture. I very much understand the hair poofing when there’s a little humidity.
    I have a solution for the poofing. I use WEN treatment mist. You can use it on both wet and dry hair. The poofing goes down really fast. 😁

  2. Oh this is the dress up occasion you posted about, right? You and Mr. M both look so lovely! And as a person with stick-straight Asian hair, I don’t see the poof in your hair at all! It looks bouncy and has nice volume. The hair is always nicer on the other side, right?

    I have been doing an epic re-read of all your series- once I started with Polaris Rising I just couldn’t stop- I am on Hunt the Stars now and will finish waaay before June- which is too far away! Can’t wait for Capture the Sun.

    And if you want to see real velociraptor relatives, look at cassowaries. *shudder* they have been known to disembowel hapless zookeepers.

    1. Yes, this is the dress up event. I had to scale back my plans when I saw how full my suitcase was with normal clothes. 😂🙈 And cassowaries definitely have some velociraptor feet going on!

  3. A trip to the Magic Castle sounds like so much fun. I had a cousin who was a member (magician – even worked in a circus for a while) and other family members were able to make it to the Magic Castle with him but it never worked out for me. How fantastic that it worked out for you two! 😀

    I saw a movie with an ostrich chase scene (was it Jumanji? Can’t remember) and they can definitely be intimidating with those feet. Not eager to get too close to one unless there’s a fence between us but even so…Nope, just nope. 😉

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