On the Rooftop

May 6, 2014 § Leave a comment

May 5, 2014

This photo was taken from the rooftop level of the hospital parking garage in downtown Albuquerque. As I was walking to my car, I thought of the scene in Breaking Bad when Gus Fring is striding through the hospital parking garage and gets the feeling something is very wrong. I saw this scene so vividly in my mind it was eerie. And kind of cool. Got me out of my own headspace for a moment in a strangely glorious way.



Breaking Bad Finale Watch Party in Albuquerque

October 1, 2013 § 1 Comment

“Anything really worthwhile is perishable.”—Bryan Cranston

1 BreakingBadFin

Poster on the door to the ballroom of the Breaking Bad finale watch party
at the Hotel Albuquerque.

September 30, 2013

Text from me: Hey, Cyn, r u watching Breaking Bad? Want to go to the finale watch party on Sunday?

Cynthia: Hey Shannon girl you know I’m watching Breaking Bad. Where’s the party???

2 Hotel ABQ

Walking from the street to the Hotel Albuquerque for the Breaking Bad finale watch party.

“This parking lot is full,” said Cynthia as we drove around the lot at Hotel Albuquerque futilely looking for an empty slot. I told her it was because of the watch party, and at first she didn’t believe it. As a lot of L.A. transplants are prone to say, “But this is Albuquerque.”

It’s also the end of Emmy Award-winning Breaking Bad, the show that made its home in Albuquerque, brought in $1 million in direct spending per episode (according to Mayor Richard Berry), and also made the Duke City a main character in the show.

Sticker from the Breaking Bad finale watch party at the Hotel Albuquerque.

Sticker from the Breaking Bad finale watch party at the Hotel Albuquerque.

Inside the hotel, the  ballroom was packed. Cynthia approached a lone woman at a table and asked if all the chairs were taken. She said they were, that she was guarding the camera and video equipment for the rest of the gang, but if we could find some extra chairs we were welcome to share the table.

4 Breaking Bad Crowd

Cynthia, otherwise known as my good luck charm, immediately scored two chairs from various locations, and we parked our behinds at the table. Turns out we were sitting at a “media” table: two of our table mates were reporting and filming for Gov TV and another writes for Steven Michael Quezada’s The After After Party.

The woman who let us sit at her table had the same phone cover as me. How’s that for synchronicity? Some law of chemistry had to be at work here.

The woman who let us sit at her table had the same phone cover as me. How’s that for synchronicity? Some law of chemistry had to be at work here.

We bought our table hostess, and ourselves, some blue drinks. We were going to need liquor to get through the next 75 minutes. Breaking Bad has been such a huge part of our lives. Although we were both late to the game, Cynthia by one season and me by four, we were both instantly and irrevocably hooked on the show from the pilot. It’s like we’re losing a friend. Or several seriously messed up, yet beloved, friends.

Crystal Blue Persuasion Drinks.

Crystal Blue Persuasion Drinks.

Cynthia’s company, C&H Cleaning Solutions, worked for the Breaking Bad production. “Remember when they faked Jesse getting his brains blown out? We had to clean that up.”

Cynthia with Giancarlo Esposito at the Albuquerque Film and Media Experience event in August.

Cynthia with Giancarlo Esposito at the Albuquerque Film and Media Experience event in August.

On the two screens at the front of the ballroom, last week’s repeat episode played. As it concluded, a resounding cheer went up from the crowd because the finale was about to begin. “The energy in here is incredible,” Cynthia said. “I just got goosebumps.”

Throughout the finale, there was plenty of of whooping and hollering. But at the climactic scene that revealed, in all its glory, the fate of the Aryan Brotherhood, I’m pretty sure I was cheering the loudest.

9 Shan and Cyn

Hard to be too sad that the series is ending when the finale was so fantastic.

Our verdict, after it was all over:

Cynthia added, “Vince Gilligan is a genius.”

Here’s the money shot right here.

Here’s the money shot right here.

I was so disoriented and euphoric after the finale that on the drive home, I took the wrong exit. Twice. I blame Cynthia. She’d been reminiscing about how when she first moved here from L.A. she only took the city streets because she was so sick of driving on the freeway.

So the drive home took a little longer than usual, through the back streets of Albuquerque. Fitting conclusion for the night.

I’m pretty sure the after effects of arguably the best drama ever to air on television will last a lot longer.

I Got My First Rejection and I Feel Fine

August 21, 2013 § 7 Comments

For the most part.
And Breaking Bad’s Bryan Cranston talks about the value of writing.

August 21, 2013

On Saturday I heard back from the agent I pitched to at RWA13. It was a very gracious “I’ll pass” email.

The strange thing is, I’m not even upset about it. I know this is part of the process and I just have to keep on keeping on.

Plus, I have wine.


And a new exercise bike.

New Bike

And my cat still loves me.


Or, she loves my books, anyway.

Even though I really liked this agent and had hoped she’d connect with my voice, I know that I’ll be paired with the right agent at the right time.

One thing I did learn from pitching to her is that my manuscript is twice as long as the normal word count for my genre. Yeah, all this time I was writing two books and I didn’t even know it. No WONDER it was taking so long to finish it!

So now I am working on splitting the novel into two. Back to the Hero’s Journey drawing board.

And now for some pep talks.

In this interview on NEW MEXICO IN FOCUS, Breaking Bad’s Bryan Cranston said that as an actor he relies “heavily on the writing. It’s all about that.” (At the 19:30 mark)

Masterpiece Mystery’s Alan Cumming says that movies should be named as by the writer, not the director.


And author Mitchell Jackson, talking about his debut novel The Residue Years, says, “I’ve always felt an obligation to tell this story, which is why I stuck with it.”


Keep on keeping on.

Reading New Adult, Waiting, and Binging on Breaking Bad

August 14, 2013 § 2 Comments

I have been reading a lot of New Adult (NA) books. It turns out that this relatively new genre is what I’ve been writing in all along. College-aged protagonist experiencing first true love, first real relationship, first split from family, and trying to figure out what the heck to do with her life. I love this genre. Here are some NA books I’ve read, or are currently reading, that I really enjoyed.

Losing It

Losing It by Cora Carmack—(Read). Light, hilarious, fun.

Fallen Too Far

Fallen Too Far by Abbi Glines—(Read). Spunky heroine. Great premise. Great voice.

Faking It

Faking It by Cora Carmack—(Currently reading). Love. Love. Cade is my dream man.

Entwined with You

Entwined with You by Sylvia Day—(Currently reading). Just as sexy as the first two in the series.

Three days after I returned from RWA, I submitted the requested material to the agent I pitched to. Yeah, I jammed on it right away. I didn’t spend the last several months holing up every weekend and not getting enough sleep for nothing! Now, I play the waiting game. It’s not a bad place to be. I can do some supplemental research. Sketch ideas for the next book. Read—a lot. Re-invigorate my social life. And I really have to get on the social life thing. I hermitized for so long that my beta reader Dia is threatening some elaborate schemy-scheme to get me hooked up. And that sounds like a disaster and a half.


Dia and me. Don’t let that smile fool you.

I was one of the 5.9 million viewers who tuned in for the final premiere of Breaking Bad on Sunday. After I spent the last few months frantically catching up on the series via Netflix. Now I know what the infamous “Box Cutter” episode is all about, the one that Steven Michael Quezada brought up during the Breaking Bad panel at Albuquerque Comic Expo (ACE) in June.

Giancarlo Esposito said that filming THAT scene in the season four opening was tough. “I had to try to elicit some compassion somewhere behind my dead eyes.”

BTW, in person, Giancarlo is a very handsome, gregarious, charismatic man with an amazing, resonant voice. Not like Gus Fring at all. When an audience fan announced breathlessly to Giancarlo, “I love you,” he replied, “Did you just say I’m a handsome cat or what? Yeah! I love you, too!”


l-r: Steven Michael Quezada (Gomez), Giancarlo Esposito (Gus Fring), Jeremiah Bitsui (Victor). Breaking Bad Panel at Albuquerque Comic Expo, June 22, 2013.

Steven Michael Quezada told the story of his audition, when Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan asked Steven what he thought of the script. Steven didn’t know who Vince was, so he said, “I read it twice. This shit’s so crazy, it just might work.”

When Vince said he was the one who wrote it, Steven thought, “Shit. I just blew it. I just did the opposite of what I tell my students to do. Just go in and read the lines. They don’t care what you think about the script. I don’t know what he [Vince] saw in me to give me the part.”

Giancarlo said, “You know what it was. You. You were being yourself. He saw you. When you go in, they want to see you. Who you really are.”


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