Monday, October 31, 2011
Luckily, I'm over my malaise from last week - or if I'm not over it, I've at least hit it over the head with a shovel and buried it in the deepest recesses of my heart (where it will sleep, Balrog-like, until I delve too deep into my own fears and insecurities and lure it back out to destroy me) (Mom, that's a Lord of the Rings reference, since you might be the only person who reads this blog and didn't know that - but I still love you).
With two parenthetical statements in a row, it's time to restart this entry. Today was absolutely lovely. I got up earlier than usual, at the ungodly hour of eight a.m., and had breakfast with Claudia (aka Claude the Fraude, aka Santy Claude). V. longtime readers of this blog will remember Claudia as my sometime roommate and bff who moved to New Haven several years ago to pursue a PhD in science (science!), and so she makes many fewer appearances than she did in ye olde days of wine and roses (and shrimp and feet). She was in town for a conference and came up to spend the morning with me. The morning turned into the entire day; we had breakfast at Moulin (formerly Moulin Rouge, but I'm guessing they were threatened with a lawsuit, since they repainted the sign green and removed the 'rouge' reference). Then, we bought champagne and adjourned to Chandlord's, where we drank mimosas and caught up, etc. Katrina and Terry showed up for book club, and we spent a somber hour discussing MAUS I and II (boo holocaust, but yay mimosas and friends? it was a very confusing morning).
Post book club, Terry and Katrina disappeared into the vast and sinful city, and Claude, Chandlord and I continued to enjoy each others' company over coffee at Philz Coffee on Van Ness. The line was extremely long, but we scored a comfy couch in the corner and caught up on all sorts of topics over iced coffees (mint mojito for me, ginger snap for them). Finally, though, we had to part ways; Claude had dinner plans with her mom and brother, Chandlord had fancy dinner plans at some fancy restaurant, and I was an hour later than usual calling my parents. They were eating supper, so they called me back, and we talked until my mom abruptly hung up so she could watch "The Good Wife" (her priorities are clear). So I went downstairs, ate an Amy's enchilada, and watched TV with Terry -- we started with "How I Met Your Mother", then watched the new "Next Iron Chef". It turned out to be AMAZING -- the ten contestants are possibly the best cast I've ever seen on a cooking competition, and the second half of the show (an iron chef cookoff between the lowest two scorers in the first half) was one of the most intense things I've seen in awhile. I love love love it, and can't recommend it highly enough if you're into Top Chef and its ilk.
And now I should really go to bed -- I'm going to a conference tomorrow morning, and while it's in the city, it starts at 8:30am, which means i need to get up at like...6:15 or something. Ugh. Goodnight!
Sunday, October 30, 2011
The whole day was consumed by the engagement party, though. I got up at 9:30, messed around too long, made some tea, and rushed around the block to the waxing salon to get my brows done. They were looking way too grandpa-ish for my age, particularly since I got my bangs trimmed this week, so waxing was essential. The aesthetician was great, but for some reason she also had to double as the receptionist, which was annoying because she kept stopping to check people in/ring them up, and so the waxing took almost half an hour. I know it was like waxing twin caterpillars, but still. Properly groomed, I came home, ate lunch (leftover hamburger, which is pretty much my gluten-free breakfast/lunch/dinner of champions, and the last of my roasted tomatoes), worked on my toast for an hour, showered, dried my hair, gussied myself up with some glittery eye shadow, considered my toast some more, finished getting dressed, stressed a little bit, drank some Diet Mountain Dew (I feel so trashy), and finally left for the party.
The party was really lovely; one of Nathan and Lauren's friends threw it at their house, and they decorated it with a Tahoe/ski lodge theme, since that's where Nathan and Lauren met. Lauren is aka Subz, for those of you who are confused by the lack of her nickname, and I introduced Subz and Nathan, quite accidentally, at a Google ski trip in 2007. That's why I was asked to give the toast, since I set them up, although my whole toast was about how it never occurred to me to set them up (worst matchmaker ever, and it makes me wonder if I should be writing romance). Terry came shortly after me, although she left early to catch the rest of the Stanford/USC game (which turned into a nailbiter, although we pulled it out in triple overtime), and John and Jess were also there, of course, which made for a lovely afternoon. I had a very long, very nice conversation with Subz's mother, who also trains with Alyssa, and so we gossiped about the gym and vowed not to tell Alyssa about the cake we ate at the party (or the wine/champagne, etc.)
I didn't leave the party until nine, and by the time I got home, I was hungry enough to eat the leftover lasagna they'd shoved upon me as I was leaving. I had dutifully avoided all gluten, except for a sliver of the cake, but as it was almost all gluten, I basically only had some grapes, a couple of slices of apple, and a bit of fondue cheese, which wasn't enough. So I ate the lasagna, which was fantastically wonderful (so at least it was worth it, in some capacity), but I don't have high hopes for feeling well because of it.
And now that I've updated you on my health like the geriatric I am, I should go to bed. I have breakfast plans (crazy, I know), then book club, then my usual Sunday rituals, and I should do some writing in there too (or at least prep for the conference I'm attending this week). Goodnight!
Saturday, October 29, 2011
Post-pampering, I stood in line at the Cambridge Ave post office and got a post office box. Yes, it's a little ridiculous that I got a post office box in Palo Alto when I live in San Francisco -- but I go to Palo Alto a lot, it's much easier to park there than it is at a lot of post offices in the city, and since I move a lot, it seemed like a reasonable idea to get the PO box someplace where I will naturally go at least once a week (Stanford Library) rather than getting one in a neighborhood that I will eventually mistake (say, the Marina). I anticipating getting absolutely no mail there for awhile, but I'm going to use it as the return address on promo materials, as contact info on my website/mailing lists, etc. -- so maybe I'll get a letter there in a few months.
After the post office, I picked up my dry cleaning, went to Stanford, and wrote a few pages. The scene was quite intense (an argument between Amelia and Prudence), and I found myself wondering if Amelia and Prudence had ever had some lesbian sexytimes. I don't think they did, and anyway Amelia's now firmly lusting after Malcolm -- but if I rewrite this book for the twentieth time someday, maybe I'll rewrite it as lesbian erotica to try to tap into a different market. At least I can use the covers I already had designed, since none of them feature men...
I sloughed off earlier than I should have to drive to San Bruno and have dinner with Terry, who had a v. stressful week at work and needed to decompress. We had Mexican (my fave, particularly now, since I can eat tortilla chips and corn tortillas and not feel like I'm missing out on a gluten wonderland (even if Alyssa isn't exactly a fan of enchiladas and chips)), and caught up over margaritas before coming back to the evil city. Terry wanted to make me watch some more "Bones", but I turned her down for once; I needed to read the books for book club, and since I was sober tonight, I figured it was better to do it tonight than wait until tomorrow and risk being too blitzed (ha) to read about the holocaust. The books are MAUS I and MAUS II -- they're graphic novels about the artist's relationship with his father, a Polish Jew who survived Auschwitz and many other terrible things. I plowed through them in a couple of hours and had several interesting observations, which I shall save for book club. But as a personal aside, it was interesting to me how much I focused on the dialogue and how little I looked at the actual drawings -- I really am so much more word-oriented than I am image-oriented, and it's something I struggle with in my books (since I sometimes don't describe people/objects/rooms/etc. enough, and yet can write dialogue quite quickly/easily).
And now, I should sleep; I have a lot to do tomorrow, including writing the toast that I have to give, and I need to get some writing in there someplace as well. Goodnight!
Friday, October 28, 2011
I woke up around 5:30am due to a mild earthquake, which shook me hard enough to wake me, and then made me do some researching on my phone about foreshocks, since we've had more mild earthquakes than usual in the past couple of months. Verdict: no one knows how to predict an earthquake, and no one can tell if something is a foreshock until after the main event has happened, which seems pretty useless to me. Stupid. So I went back to sleep and slept until 9:30, which was lovely. I messed around the house, put away some laundry, cleaned the kitchen, showered, etc., and was just getting ready to work when my friend Vivi (not her real name) arrived for some quality writing time.
And I must say that, surprisingly, I got a lot done. I wasn't sure I would get much done since we didn't do so well on the productivity front when we got together last weekend, but we did much better today. We worked at my place for a couple of hours, then relocated to Morning Due and ate lunch while working some more. When I needed to move my car, we came back here and continued to work (with some gossip/talking thrown in) until Terry came home. Terry had her coworker Angela with her, and we went to Roam and grabbed burgers before coming back here and introducing Angela to "Bones" (if you spent any significant time with Terry, she will someday get you to watch it -- so take that as fair warning). By the time "Bones" was over, it was almost time for the season finale of "Project Runway". So, Terry took Angela home, then came back and watched with me and Vivi.
It was a good episode -- I wasn't as in love with any of the collections as I wanted to be, but I'll take it (and won't say anything else in case you're tivoing it). Then Terry went to bed and Vivi and I watched the premiere of "Project Accessory", which managed to be both amazing and boring at the same time. Vivi left a little bit ago, I took care of some emails, and now I desperately need to sleep -- I've had a smashing headache all day that even my ulcer-inducing Aleve couldn't fix, and I'm training with Alyssa tomorrow. The good news is that my stomach hasn't been hurting; the bad news is that I will never eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich again, which is the latest sad food realization to strike me. Goodnight!
Thursday, October 27, 2011
Because I stayed up too late, I didn't have a lot of time to get stuff done this morning -- unfortunate, since I woke up to a super annoying email telling me that the deadline I was on track to meet for submitting awards ceremony theme proposals had, at some point in the past, and without notification, changed from October 30 to October 14. So instead of being early (shocking for me, but I'm trying to come in early on the ceremony rather than hitting the deadline day-of), we're suddenly ten days late. Ugh -- I hate people and their stupid deadlines. Properly miffed, I drove down to Palo Alto and got slowly unmiffed (that sounds oddly dirty) with Alyssa. Our workout was half workout, half therapy session; she consistently tells me that I'm too hard on myself (wherever did she get that idea?), and so I took most of the rest of the day off at her suggestion.
It wasn't entirely her suggestion; the day would have conspired against me anyway. I ate a quick lunch at the gym cafe, then drove up to the evil city and saw Susie for a bang trim; she told me a quick and dirty story of a guy she'd gone on a date with, so I left with a bounce in my step and the ability to see without my bangs scratching my corneas. I proceeded from there to Nordstrom, where I bought a bag that was virtually free because I've been hoarding Nordstrom Notes; I had to buy something since some of my notes expire at the end of the month, so I got a lovely red bag that will hold all my myriad notebooks and tings when I go to the library. I need another bag built for notebooks like I need another lipgloss or pair of shoes or hair tie or comforter or Starbucks mug...I think you get the idea. But I love it, so screw you for judging my hoarding ways.
I stopped at Whole Foods after Nordstrom and stocked up on gluten-free goodies -- and that phrase wasn't actually as sarcastic as it sounded. It turns out that my beloved, adored Amy's enchiladas are gluten free; Alyssa doesn't like me eating things that I don't cook myself, but if the choice is between Amy's enchiladas and a whole jar of trail mix, I have a feeling the enchiladas would win. With that slightest, briefest glimmer of happiness, I drove home and made the roasted tomatoes that I make for my favorite caprese salad -- that salad is gluten free and also delicious, so it's a nice thing to have.
While the tomatoes roasted in the oven, I listened to the first half of my cousin Drewbaby's football game on the internet. They ended up winning handily (42-7, I believe), but I stopped listening when Drewbaby's team clearly had it well in hand. It's still a bit odd to me that the kid is athletic (and a senior in high school), but I'm sure it's odd to him that I'm a romance novelist, so c'est la vie. After I turned off the game, I wrote a page of the romance novel -- and it didn't go too badly, but I let myself off the hook when the tomatoes were done. I cooked some hamburgers (one for tonight, three for subsequent meals over the next few days), cut up some fresh mozzarella, and ate my delicious gluten-free feast while watching last week's episode of Craig Ferguson in which he and the robot have a Connery-off to see who has the best Sean Connery accent (Craig won handily).
Terry showed up shortly thereafter and made me a cosmo, at which point I was done for the night. So we watched two episodes of "Bones" as part of my continued directed reading to get me caught up on the series in time for the premiere. While I'm not quite as fanatical as Terry is (and I do sometimes wonder if she will turn into a cannibalistic serial killer out of absolutely nowhere as an homage to the show), I will say that the writing is quite good and the chemistry between the main characters is excellent. And David Boreanaz is hot hot hot, particularly when you picture him as an ex-sniper FBI agent rather than a cheating bastard of an actor.
After "Bones", I felt suitably calm enough to deal with the deadline issue from this morning, and now I really must sleep. If my brain doesn't explode tonight, I have high hopes for tomorrow's writing session. But if I don't write a million pages tomorrow, I must remember that it's not the end of the world. Goodnight!
Wednesday, October 26, 2011
Really, I have no idea what tipped her off.
But, I did manage to write today -- and I emerged from the grim, grey anteroom of my despair with six pages clutched in my fierce and desperate grasp, so I'll take 'em. It's not enough, and I think I'm going to have to exercise the nuclear option at some point in the next few days (perhaps next weekend) and possibly pull a senior-thesis style bit of madness to write the number of pages necessary to get to a full new draft of Malcolm and Amelia's book. My mother called me today to cheer me up; after I recounted Malcolm and Amelia's woes, she thought that her pep talk hadn't gone as well as she had intended, but as it turns out, it was better than staring at the wall and despairing -- so thank you, Jeanie baby!
Terry came home sometime after dark, and we talked for awhile, which was nice. Then we decided to watch an episode of "Bones" while she ate her supper. That episode was the season finale from season three, and I was extremely upset and angry afterwards because a main character was cut from the storyline in an utterly ridiculous way. However, Terry told me that years later, the head of the show admitted that he had originally intended to kill the character, but at the last minute couldn't do it because he liked the actor too much, and so he flipped and turned the guy into a villain rather than killing him off entirely. This was a valuable writer lesson to never let emotion/pity get in the way of killing off someone who needs to die. Note that I considered this a valuable writer lesson, not a valuable lesson -- although if any of you need someone who will pull the plug with a medical power of attorney someday, I'm your guy. I'm only doing it to keep you from turning into a cannibalistic serial killer, I promise.
I fear that I have said too much, so now that I have watched another two episodes of "Bones" to mourn that character and written up a document for the awards ceremony I'm planning, I shall go to bed. I have to train with Alyssa tomorrow, who will no doubt be annoyed that I sustained myself on tuna salad and trail mix today -- she doesn't get the tortured artist thing, I don't think. Goodnight!
Tuesday, October 25, 2011
My workout was an hour later than usual since she had a DMV appointment, so by the time I ate a late lunch, ran a bunch of errands, talked to my dad to make up for missing his half of the usual parental call yesterday, and took care of some emails, it was after five p.m. So I ate an early dinner at Chipotle in an attempt to fuel myself for a marathon nighttime writing session, but it didn't work. I got to Stanford library and sat staring at the manuscript, and slowly slid into a dark and desperate place where I was convinced that everything I'm doing to Malcolm and Amelia's book is futile and that I should abandon the whole thing and start up a yak-milking business in Tibet instead. Nevermind the difficulty in getting visitor permits to Tibet - I could probably make more money smuggling yak milk out of Tibet and selling it to Whole Foods than I ever will as a writer. And if I don't get out of Tibet, I could write a memoir in fifteen or twenty years about my experience in China's secret political prisons.
That was an unexpected tangent. Anyway, I sort of pulled myself out of that dark and desperate place, but I only made it to the dark and desperate place's grey and grim anteroom before throwing in the towel and driving home. The anteroom is better than the full-on horror show, though, so I'll take it. When I got home, I read part of the monthly romance writer magazine and loathed every single article, which points to me still being pretty cranky. I also talked to Terry, who was having a cranky day of her own, if the fact that she was drinking $4 malbec was any indication. And now I'm going to put the laptop gently aside before I toss it out the window, pick up one of my notebooks, and attempt to write my way into a better mood. Goodnight!
Monday, October 24, 2011
I woke up late this morning, probably because I woke up in the middle of the night with a ridiculous stomachache and it took awhile to fall asleep again. I've been avoiding blogging about this because I didn't want it to be true -- but Alyssa suggested that I stop eating wheat/gluten to see how it makes me feel, and it's made a big difference. I ate a hamburger bun last night (after having two cosmos, which perhaps dulled my judgment), and then my stomach hurt, which I'm afraid is not a coincidence. So, I'm going to keep going with this no-gluten thing for awhile and see how it treats me, and then perhaps go to my allergist to confirm. The good news, though, is that I seem to have no adverse reactions to dairy -- if I couldn't have gluten or dairy, I would demand to be shot and put out of my misery, but losing one of the two seems halfway acceptable.
Anyway, I had a gluten-free breakfast (trail mix) and lunch (tuna and pickles, sans bread), then took a walk and talked to my mom. It was gorgeous today -- so gorgeous that I'm a little surly, since I'm ready for it to be fall and it insists on finally being summer. I walked for awhile, then sat on a bench overlooking the marina, then walked back; all told, I talked to my mother for somewhere around seventy-five minutes. My father lost out, since he wasn't home when I called; in his defense, I called earlier than usual, and when he tried to call me back later, I was out to dinner. But it was lovely sitting in the sun and looking at the Golden Gate Bridge, so I'm glad I spent some time outside.
I stopped at the grocery store on the way home and bought some fine gluten free products (hamburger, arborio rice for risotto, bananas, cottage cheese, etc.), since I thought I was having dinner at home tonight. Then I did some work, which was mostly subsumed into general slacking, since I intended to work tonight. But at 5:30pm I got a text from Irish Matt, who was in Palo Alto for one night only and wanted to see if I was down there and willing to grab a drink. I wasn't down there, but I don't see him very often, so I threw on some clothes (since sweatpants just wouldn't do) and drove down to meet him. We went to Nola, where I had a steak, mashed potatoes and green beans (not so shabby) and we split a pitcher of raspberry mojitos. Irish Matt was in fine form, and we spent a bit more quality time together across the street at Coupa Cafe before I dropped him off at his hotel. Then I drove home, crossed a few minor things off my to do list, and am now determined to go to bed so that I can work like crazy tomorrow. Goodnight!
Sunday, October 23, 2011
I dragged us back home by five p.m. so that I could watch the Stanford/Washington game, which turned into a complete drubbing of the Huskies. Terry had gone to the south bay for a baby shower/party, but she came back and watched approximately 3/4s of the game with us, which was quite entertaining. She made us a couple of cosmos, too, which were v. strong and therefore v. welcome. After the game, we grabbed burgers at Roam, came home, ate the burgers (with our second round of cosmos), then watched last week's "Project Runway". By the time it finished (45mins ago), Vivi was ready to go home and Terry was falling asleep on the couch, so we called it a night.
And now, with that v. short recap, I should go to sleep -- goodnight!
Saturday, October 22, 2011
...and the truth is that today was nearly perfect. I woke up around 8:30, and was energized enough (and eager enough to drink the tea that my absurdly expensive teamaker had waiting for me downstairs) that I got up immediately and started slogging through emails, romance business, etc. By the time I looked at the clock, I realized that it was 9:47, and I needed to leave in thirteen minutes to make it to the glorious south bay in time to train with Alyssa. Since I was still in my pajamas, I was cutting it close. But, I made it just in time, and we had a great workout. She's now training Lauren (aka Subz) too, and Subz made the mistake of telling Alyssa that we were having a very Alyssa-unapproved dinner at Fiesta del Mar tonight -- so since Alyssa knew that, she punished me with some particularly grueling lunges. Or maybe we would have done that workout anyway, but I shall never know. But still, our training session was good, and I continue to be amazed at how her workouts are improving my flexibility, etc. The latest thing she's harping on is that I look at my feet too much when I walk -- which I think I do because of my old tendency to trip over anything and everything, including my feet, but my eyes are overriding (or at least conflicting with) my natural muscle feedback and I have balance issues as a result. It's all tres interessant, and I'll have to practice looking up more (if I can remember to do it).
After training, I showered v. quickly, got ready, and went to my favorite place (you guessed it - Joanie's Cafe) to have lunch with Becky and Christine, my friends from my historical fiction writing group. Becky works near California Ave and Chris lives nearby as well, so it was quite convenient for us to meet up and discuss writing. Given the intense, unending rejection cycles we've all gone through, we realized we probably should have met up at a bar rather than having a ladylike lunch, but it was good to talk to other writers for a bit. I remembered just in time that I needed to move my car (which gives away the fact that we spent two hours at lunch), but we parted ways with promises to do lunch again soon (yay).
Post lunch, I stopped by Target to buy batteries, since my bluetooth keyboard and trackpad are dying (v. necessary for my productivity, if not the health of my wrists). I didn't grab a shopping cart or basket in an effort to limit my purchases, but this wasn't utterly successful; instead, after seeing things on sale, I ended up schlepping five bottles of contact lens solution, two tubes of toothpaste, three lip balms, hand soap, and batteries to the cash register cradle in my arms. My errand thus successfully concluded, I adjourned to Starbucks, where I wrote six pages of Malcolm and Amelia's story (a new early scene between Amelia and Prudence; Prudence didn't even exist when I first wrote the book, but now I'm totally in love with her).
Smug with the fact that I met my wordcount goal for the day, I met up with Lauren (aka Subz) and Terry (aka Terrence) at the aforementioned Fiesta del Mar. I hadn't been there in ages, but the waiter was super psyched to see me; I grabbed a table but left my sweater there while I went to the bathroom, and when I came back he'd already brought me a special margarita (without me ordering it) and some complimentary guacamole. When Lauren and Terry arrived, he recognized both of them too, and we ended up getting our entire first round for free -- what a fiesta! So we spent a few quality hours discussing all sorts of things about our respective lives, and it was all quite wonderful.
After having spent 4.5hrs in restaurants and another two hours at Starbucks today, I was ready to come home after dinner. And so I did; I procrastinated on the internet for a bit, then decided to read a book. I wasn't in the mood for a romance, so I picked up THE THOUSAND AUTUMNS OF JACOB DE ZOET. It's been languishing on my shelf since my parents gave it to me for Christmas, but now is the time. I'm 57 pages in, and while the fact that I could put it down and go to bed isn't the greatest sign in the world, I put it down because it was a little dense for an all-night power reading session, not because I wasn't enjoying it. It's set in the Dutch trading post outside Nagasaki in 1799, when the Dutch East India Company was trying to hold on to its Asian interests and the Japanese were determined to keep all foreigners out. As I said, it's a little dense, but the writing is surprisingly delightful and has all sorts of lovely little word choices and odd linguistic surprises scattered through every paragraph. So far it's a winner, and it even seems to have the beginnings of a plot (shocking for a literary book, I know), so I have high hopes.
Now, though, I'm going to sleep; I need to make some serious headway with Malcolm and Amelia tomorrow, as well as see THE THREE MUSKETEERS (as an antidote to my literary reading) and hang out with Vivi (not her real name). Goodnight!
Friday, October 21, 2011
And that excitement translates into adrenaline...which translated into me working for the last twelve hours. The two hours before that weren't exactly a cake walk, since I took care of some emails, cleaned my room from the explosion of belongings that I dumped on the floor after getting back from Tahoe, folded a couple of loads of clothes, washed my sheets, showered, etc. But I finally vacated the house around 12:30pm to go to Morning Due, where I sat for four hours, ate a belated breakfast/lunch, and worked on the back cover blurbs. Then I came home and worked on romance stuff for another seven hours, with a short break to eat some leftover Thai food. And then I finally took care of personal email before deciding I should blog and go to bed immediately so that I can make it to Alyssa in time for our workout in the morning.
I must say, however, that working this much is good for distracting myself from the health and general happiness woes of so many people around me. And I'm super psyched to publish my books, but it will take a pretty brutal slog to do it in a way that will satisfy my perfectionist tendencies. The key is just being productive without burning myself out entirely...which I think I can do, but my track record in that arena isn't particularly strong.
Now, though, I must set my teamaker for tomorrow and go to bed -- goodnight!
Thursday, October 20, 2011
Even though I was in the mood to slough off and do nothing, I went to Stanford library after lunch and spent three hours working on copy edits for Madeleine and Ferguson's book. I'm done with them, with the exception of putting the last few edits into the actual manuscript, so I can get back to Malcolm and Amelia's book tomorrow. Then, I sped south to Mountain View to have an earlyish (5:30 is pretty early, right?) dinner with Heather (aka dear respected madam) at Shana Thai. We had much to catch up on, since I hadn't seen her since our slumber party a few weeks ago, and while the slumber party (and dim sum the next morning) were awesome, there were also boys in attendance, so we couldn't really gossip to our hearts' content. Tonight we covered more territory over green curry, crispy tofu, and spicy eggplant, which made my tastebuds very happy (although my stomach has been gurgling, which will interest Alyssa greatly - she's having me cut out gluten this week, and while I thought I'd succeeded, there may have been gluten in some of the sauces tonight).
I finally parted ways with Heather around 7:30, then drove back to the evil city, where I spent some quality time with Terry. Then I spent the last two hours answering email, etc. - necessary, but not exciting. Perhaps tomorrow will be more exciting, but I doubt it. Goodnight!
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
When I got home, I decided to relocate south - not all the way to the glorious south bay, but in a more southern part of the city than my Marina abode. Adit was at Coffee Bar and invited me to join him (or rather, I correctly interpreted an email with the subject line "wampturd" and the body "I am working at Coffee Bar" to be an invite). So I went. The benefit of Coffee Bar is that while the clientele is a little ridiculous, there is a lot of space, the baristas are excellent (albeit also ridiculous), and one can park all day on the street with relative ease and no metering. So I hung out there from approximately 1:30pm to 7pm, and got almost all the way through my copyedits for Madeleine and Ferguson's story. Adit left at six, but I was participating in a group chat w/some other romance novelists, so I hung out and waited for that to wrap up before shutting down the laptop and leaving Coffee Bar to its pretentious twilight crowd (where twilight = dusk, not vampires).
However, I wasn't done with Adit; he invited me to have dinner at his place, and promised that Priyanka would cook. I went over and found them in the midst of dinner preparations, but we ate shortly thereafter. She made an eggplant and potato dish, rice, daal (aka lentils), and had yogurt and mango pickle on the side, and it was all quite good. I mean, it's no Kraft Mac and Cheese, but it will suffice. She also made me two cups of masala chai, using a variety of spices that are different than Samovar's masala chai, but still quite good (which is wonderful, since I'll have to formulate a new mix if I continue my Samovar boycott). Then we settled in to work, but I ended up not getting any work done; instead, I wrote a limerick-style poem for my friend Rat's birthday.
Rat is one of my former frosh, and those kids party like they're not old yet - his small, informal birthday party started at ten p.m. the night before his birthday so that they could have cake and candles precisely at midnight, when it became his actual birthday. In the meantime, there was drinking, Beirut/beer pong playing, and all sorts of other jhokes. I stayed for the candles, but left shortly thereafter; since I don't drink beer, let alone beer from a four-day-old keg, I felt woefully out of place. But I saw Greg, whom I hadn't seen in ages and ages, and I also got to hang out with Tom and Shari, so it was all wonderful.
And now that I've made it safely back to my apartment, I should really sleep; Alyssa is going to happen far too early for my liking. Goodnight!
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
But just before I left to go to Palo Alto, I got an email from the woman who's designing the covers for my books. I was expecting a 2-3wk turnaround time, but she sent me the first draft of Madeleine and Ferguson's cover this morning. Those of you who know me know that I'm not the demonstrative type (unless you count hugs, or when I'm so incandescent with rage that I fail to hold it in), but I got goosebumps and almost cried when I saw the cover for the first time. It's awesome, and exactly what I wanted, and looks and feels so *real*, that I couldn't help but be excited. She made a couple of tweaks based on my feedback, then sent me a draft of Malcolm and Amelia's cover tonight (which is also awesome). So, getting some great covers is a huge relief - I want my end product to be as professional as possible, and amazing covers will go a long way toward making that happen.
Nothing could really top the covers, but I saw Alyssa anyway; she just got back from a three-day training in Vegas that was very focused on flexibility, so we did a ridiculous amount of workouts for my wrists (welcome, since I'm worried that I'll end up with arthritis like my grandmother), and she told me to switch my watch to my right wrist for awhile to see if it makes a different. And I must say that it's amazing how heavy my watch felt on my right wrist; I wear a heavy, almost-man's watch, and while I don't notice it on my left wrist, my right wrist was not loving it. After the gym, I went to Sprout and had a salad, then sat at Starbucks for a couple of hours and nursed an iced coffee while working on copyedits for Madeleine and Ferguson's book. I debated going home then, but checked out traffic and decided to stay south for rush hour, so I went to Stanford library and worked for another three hours. Then I grabbed Chipotle, came home, and had a drink with Terry whilst watching an episode of "Bones" (yes, we are so lively).
And now, I shall go to sleep, and dream of a great cover for Ellie and Nick's book, and hopefully finish copyedits for Madeleine and Ferguson tomorrow. Goodnight!
Sunday, October 16, 2011
We left Morning Due so that I could call my parents, as per usual. They were in fine form, and didn't mention anyone dying or having catastrophic health problems last week (not that those things are usual for my family, just that someone's always dying in a small population of mostly-elderly people), so I considered it a positive conversation. After getting off the phone, I messed around with some online promo investigation (looking at other authors' blogs and twitter feeds to see what I could learn), but I was getting distracted by v. strangely familiar music coming from whatever Terry was watching downstairs. The fact that I couldn't figure out what the music was bothered me so much that I finally went downstairs -- and discovered that she was watching "How to Train Your Dragon". No wonder the music was familiar; I listen to that soundtrack while writing all the time, but since I associate the music with writing and Green Library rather than the movie now, I had trouble placing it. So I watched the last half of the movie with her, which was wonderful. I really do think it's one of the better children's movies I've seen in a long, long time, and I highly recommend it. And it has Craig Ferguson, so really, what could be better?
After the movie ended, Terry and I got takeout from Blue Barn, then ate supper (you might call it dinner) while watching last week's "Project Runway." And then I procrastinated until now, but I think I shall read for a bit and then go to bed. Tomorrow it's back to the grindstone known as Malcolm and Amelia's book, with some training with Alyssa thrown in. Goodnight!
The Romance Writers of America conference, for which I am planning the giant Oscars-style awards ceremony, conflicts with the opening weekend of the 2012 Olympics.
How I didn't realize it conflicted before I volunteered, I have no idea. I actually thought I checked; but instead, I think I checked the dates of the conference, saw that it was all in July, and thought the Olympics didn't start until August. However, the Olympics start on Friday, July 27th, and I can't leave Anaheim until Sunday morning. I can't get out of planning the ceremony, nor should I, since the whole thing is a good development/visibility opportunity and I love these conferences. Still, the thought did cross my mind...
However, after breathing for a bit, I realized that almost none of Opening Ceremonies viewing experiences have been ideal since leaving Iowa. I shall recount them briefly:
- 2010 (Vancouver), I was in transit from Delhi -> Hong Kong -> SFO
- 2008 (Beijing) was actually lovely, with a party and cakes and blackberry shots and everything in Chandlord's apartment
- 2006 (Torino) was in the upstairs room at Old Pro because I was homeless at the time (due to my debacle around leaving for Dublin)
- 2004 (Athens) was the first of the Olympic Rings Cakes in the disgusting dwelling that I shared with Walter (who was the only bright spot in that ridiculous complex)
- 2002 (Salt Lake City) was in the Mirlo lounge, where I spent two weeks watching the Olympics with Tammy and Shedletsky and had to withdraw from a class as a result
- 2000 (Sydney) was in the lounge of Sophomore College with a bunch of people I hated
All my opening ceremony experiences watching in Iowa were quite sedate by comparison, although the '94 Lillehammer Olympics were crazy because we were in Ukraine, which only showed men's 50k cross country skiing, biathlon, and Oksana Baiul beating Nancy Kerrigan (in other words, they only showed sports where Ukraine did well). But since I'll just miss the opening ceremonies on Friday and some inconsequential events on Saturday (there's a couple of swimming medal events and men's gymnastics qualifiers, but otherwise it's a lot of fencing and my hated beach volleyball), as long as I drive back as fast as possible on Sunday, I should be fine.
Okay, that was a lot of ranting -- but you're used to Olympics ranting from me, I think, so I'll assume I'm forgiven. Today was otherwise totally lovely. I went to Berkeley for my romance writers meeting, which was quite fun and super helpful. The speaker was a publicist, and while she said that self-pubbed authors don't really need a publicist because they usually can't get traditional media coverage, she still had a ton of interesting points and made me wish that I had a better angle to attract tv/radio/newspaper coverage, etc. After the meeting, I had lunch with several of the chapter members, including my friends Grace and Tina, which was a great way to catch up. I changed into my teal silk dress in the alehouse bathroom (the restaurant is an alehouse, which I think is appropriate for a bunch of romance writers), then drove to Moraga, where I slathered on a bunch of eye makeup in the parking lot of a Starbucks and got a snack to augment my lunch before going to a wedding.
The wedding was perfect; as mentioned last night, it was my friend 'other Heather' (as in, the Heather who is not dear respected madam) and her fiance (now husband) Eric. I've known Heather for years, used to manage her, and became friends with her at the same time (solidified for all eternity when we shared a room at Pete's wedding, drank about a dozen champagne and rum cocktails, and walked home down Highway 1 at midnight after stopping at Del Taco). The wedding was totally her, with a lot of 80s songs (the first dance was to the song from the end of 'Sixteen Candles'), really cute bridesmaids dresses, casual food (three stations: tacos, pizza/pasta, and sliders/fries, with ice cream sundaes and s'mores for dessert), etc. She also looked gorgeous in her gown, and I cried throughout (mostly because she and her dad are criers, which started me off on a waterworks note v. early).
The only downside was that when I got there, I didn't know *anyone* except Heather, Eric, and Heather's bridesmaid Ariel, all of whom were obviously busy. I sat by myself during the ceremony, and then wandered around and considered leaving, but knew I needed to suck it up and stay through dinner. However, thankfully, I ran into Sujatha and her husband Krishnan; Sujatha and I have known each other since I lived in India, and she moved here last year to work on the team I worked on before I worked for the big boss. Really, there are no better friends than the people you run into at a wedding when you don't know anyone else. So, we had a great time together; they were on the verge of leaving before they ran into me, but luckily we all stayed, enjoyed dinner, saw the first dance, etc. I would have known Chris and Natasha, but their baby was sick; I also would have known Heather (aka dear respected madam) and Salim, but they weren't able to come either. It all worked out, though, and I'm so glad I got to see Heather marry such a wonderful guy.
And then I left, drove home (with a stop at Starbucks to change back into my jeans), and hung out with Terry since I hadn't seen her for a week. And now I shall go to bed, dream/mourn about the Olympics, and hopefully get up in the morning ready to write and market like the wind. Goodnight!
Friday, October 14, 2011
Eventually I stopped pretending that I was going to write, and instead spent a couple of hours playing around with social media (which is, now, a form of work, since I need to build my platform). I mostly played with Goodreads, the social media site for books, where I've had an account for years and let it languish mostly unused. It's a tricky thing, because I want to be honest in my reviews, but I also don't want to alienate authors with whom I may have a professional relationship someday. I'm navigating it by being honest with my positive reviews, and just not entering negative reviews (unless they're books outside the romance/paranormal/YA genres, since I don't intend to write nonfiction/mystery/cookbooks/etc). It's a pretty cool site if you love books, though, so I recommend joining if you haven't already (and if you have room to get active on more networks than just Google+ ;)
Speaking of Google networks, though, I saw today that Google is officially killing Google Buzz, which has languished for months and was clearly just waiting for the coup de grace after the launch of Google+. I get the impression that a lot of my blog readers are reading it on the feed into Google Buzz - if you're one of those people, you'll need to come to the site (or subscribe to the rss) to continue getting your usual dose of my inanity.
And now, I should sleep, if the heat and the lingering caffeine in my bloodstream allow me to. I have to get up early to go to Berkeley for the monthly romance writer meeting (featuring a publicist, which should be tres interessant), and then I have to find someplace to change between Berkeley and Moraga so that I can go to my friend Heather's wedding in the afternoon (not Heather aka dear respected madam; the other Heather). Sixteen hours at home, and my social butterfly life picks up right where it left off. Goodnight!
Thursday, October 13, 2011
Still, it's been a great week for my goals. Today was slightly less productive than yesterday, but perhaps it felt less productive because i spent a lot of it inputting the 50pages' worth of edits that I did yesterday. I also packed everything except tomorrow's clothes and toiletries so that I can get the hell out of here in the morning, then wrote six pages of the rewrite I'm doing on Malcolm and Amelia's story. And now I'm eating dinner and considering what to do with the last few hours of my night - write some more? Read a marketing book? Throw in the towel and read a book?
So that's all for tonight, friends (aka my mother). When I blog again, I'll be back in the evil city!
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
Anyway, I haven't yet written anything of substance today, although there are still a few hours in which to change that -- but I still chalk today up as insanely productive. I spent the morning rewriting the blurbs for my three books (the two I've written, plus Ellie and Nick's story that I keep jumping into and out of) and filling out questionnaires for the artist I'm going to use to design my covers. That also involved looking up romance novel covers that I like, which felt slightly dirty in the middle of Starbucks, particularly since there seems to be some religious gathering going on and I'm not sure they look fondly on half-naked women and the even nakeder men who love them.
But, I'm glad that task is done; I heard back from the cover artist and she's happy to work with me, so I should have covers to share in a few weeks. I grabbed a subpar sandwich at the only sandwich place open for lunch, then actually left the resort (gasp) for the first time since getting here on Sunday to stock up on Diet Mountain Dew at the 7-11 down the road. When I got back, I ventured out into the village again to take advantage of the wireless for some more wireless related tasks; one was estimating the number of pages in my properly formatted books, since I didn't include that info for the cover artist earlier and had not yet gotten to the stage of debating whether to publish the book in 5x8 or 6x9 and the relative merits of each. The other was to transfer Madeleine and Ferguson's book to my iPad in reasonable chunks so that my super-spiffy editing software can handle me doing one last round of copyedits on it. Then I spent a couple of hours copyediting and got through approximately five chapters, so I'm going to have to up my estimate of how long the copyedits will take.
Sorry, this is all supremely boring. But it's got to be better than 'I did nothing today and am so depressed about it', isn't it? Or at least, it's better for me, and you're just along for the ride on this blog anyway, so you'll have to suck it up and take it. I took a break for the past forty-five minutes or so to eat some pizza (Alyssa is going to kill me next week), and now I'm debating whether I have the energy to keep copyediting or whether I should throw in the towel and do something that doesn't involve looking at a screen. Goodnight!
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
So after Starbucks, I went in search of lunch (and had shepherd's pie - yum) and wrote several pages of longhand notes about Amelia and Malcolm's new story. Then I went home and wrote several more pages of notes. Then I wrote 5400 words, which is approximately 22 pages. Granted, what I wrote was more of a stream-of-consciousness telling of the highlights of each scene, but since I blocked out the first two-thirds of the book, I was insanely pleased with myself. By 7:15ish, my brain was totally fried, and so I decided to reward myself with the rest of the night off. And so now I just finished eating some delicious sushi, drinking two v. strong soju-based cocktails, and reading the first part of Julia Quinn's latest release (which came out over the summer, and which I'd never gotten around to reading). I intend to go back to my suite, curl up in bed, finish the rest of the book, sleep the sleep of the just, and then wake up in the morning and do it all again. There are moments like these when the writing life is totally sweet. And I'm sure it will suck again sometime in the not-too-distant future, but tonight, I love it. Goodnight!
Monday, October 10, 2011
Going into hiding has been productive thus far. I wrote ten pages today, made several pages of notes about the new direction of my first book, put up a blog post for tomorrow (today as you're reading this) on the group romance blog I'm part of, and read an entire book on editing and revising. It's only ten o'clock, but I'm taking the unusual step of going to bed. Writing is such an emotionally and mentally draining process that a twelve hour day feels like a week, and I'm sure the caffeine crash I'm on isn't helping matters.
The challenge right now is that I have a fabulous, awesome idea for Malcolm and Amelia's story, one that fits with all I've learned about plot/structure/pacing but still feels true to their characters and the initial humor and tone of the book. However, if I pursue that idea, I can probably only use 25% of the current book (basically the sex scenes and the ending). Writing the other 75% in the next month seems rather unfeasible.
And yet...if I don't do it, if I scale back the rewrites and just tweak what I have rather than making wholesale changes, I will always regret it because I will know it's not my best attempt. So I'm going to press as hard as possible this week, and evaluate where I stand at the end of my hermitage. Hopefully I don't go crazy, particularly since I'm in what feels like an abandoned ghost town and I'm not sure anyone would notice or intervene in my craziness for awhile.
Okay, it's bedtime, and I shall sleep while hoping that my subconscious works out a plan for the next twenty pages. Goodnight!
I'm typing on my phone, so I shall be brief - I'm in an undisclosed location with limited internet access until Friday, with the grand plan of getting a complete first draft of the fiftieth draft of my first book. If that's confusing, sorry; I've rewritten parts of it more times than I can count, and now I'm embarking on another rewrite to make it as close to perfect as possible before publishing it.
And to do that, I decided to run away. I'll be back on Friday, provided I don't almost die on the freeway like the guy two lanes over from me who ended up with an errant tire bouncing across the freeway and slamming into his drivers side door. And I'll blog in the meantime, although you should expect them to be erratic and half crazed (in other words, the usual). Goodnight!
Sunday, October 09, 2011
I did force myself to take an hour away from the fun after my first cosmo so that I could wrap up a post I'm doing for the group romance blog next week, so at least I accomplished one important thing on my to do list. After I finished that, Terry made more cosmos just in time for us to watch the Blue Angels, who were remarkable. It was a perfect day for watching an air show and doing some day drinking, and our patio was a perfect place to host both of those activities. Properly soused by the end of the air show, we retreated indoors and watched the first bit of the Stanford/Colorado game (which was so bad that I almost felt sorry for the Buffaloes). We went out in search of supper after that, and it's a good thing we went to Perry's when we did; at six p.m. we only had to wait five minutes for a table, but when we left the restaurant, it was crawling with people. Union Street was in full Marina form, to the point that I just wanted to escape and barricade myself in my apartment as soon as possible -- a lot of drunk, douchey twenty-three-year olds stumbling around and being loud (which now makes me feel like I should shake my fist at the damn kids and tell them to get off my yard, since I've clearly turned old sometime in the last few years). But, dinner was lovely, and I can handle a few minutes of people watching as long as I'm not condemned to repeat it.
Post dinner, Terry and I came back to our apartment and did some desultory television watching (mostly "Raising Hope", which is awesome). And then my friend Vivi (not her real name) showed up! I had some advance warning that she was coming; she's still figuring out what her long term plan is, but for tonight she's sleeping on my couch. We spent several hours discussing life (losing Terry at some point to the lure of her bed), but now I really must sleep so that I can get some tings done tomorrow. Goodnight!
Saturday, October 08, 2011
Around 4:30 I was craving carbs/something sweet, so I went to La Boulange and had an almond croissant and an iced latte while continuing to read the marketing book. I also went to Sephora and only purchased exactly what I went for (moisturizer and some hand lotion), which was a miracle in its own right. By the time I got home, Terry had come home from work, and we spent a few quality hours hanging out. We watched some "Big Bang Theory" together, then went to Roam to get burgers to go, then came home and ate our burgers while drinking half a bottle of wine and watching last night's "Project Runway". I was moderately sad about who went home, but since they're down to the final six, it's going to get harder and harder to feel good about anyone who gets cut.
Normally when it's 9:30 and I've been in the grown-up equivalent of pajamas all day (leggings, basic knit dress, striped sweatshirt on top), I know that I'm just going to go to bed. But, I had grand plans to meet up with Chris Boyd and Connie, so when "Project Runway" was over, I came upstairs, redid my makeup, and changed outfits. Since I had some time before they arrived, I went overboard a bit, and so I wore a black dress with a corset bodice, fuchsia high heels, and foundation/lipgloss/green eyeshadow for lowkey drinks with old friends who I don't care about impressing. But, "Project Runway" always brings this out in me, and it's fun to dress up when I have such little occasion to whilst working from home.
Chris and Connie were kind enough to pick me up, and we went to Blackbird for drinks; Blackbird is a block from where Adit and I used to live, which means it's close to where Adit and Priyanka live now, and parking is infinitely easier there than it is in the Marina. Chris found parking immediately, across the street from where Adit and I used to live, and we proceeded to nurse our drinks for quite some time. Adit's parents are in town, so he couldn't escape quickly, but eventually they showed up and much fun was had. I can't believe I've known Chris and Adit for twelve years...time flies, apparently. Adit got us another round of drinks, but Chris and Connie left shortly thereafter to make the sad trek back to the glorious south bay (which even I can admit isn't so glorious at one a.m.). Adit, Priyanka and I sat around for another half hour or so and finished our drinks (I must say they make a good mai tai, although the mai tais I had with Terry at a seafood place in LA were much better). Then, Adit and Priyanka helped me find a cab, which turned out to be moderately terrible; the cab wasn't actually a cab, but rather an off-duty airport shuttle service, and he tried to invite himself to watch the Blue Angels on the roof with me and Terry tomorrow (amongst other come-ons), and since he didn't have a meter, he just told me I owed him whatever I thought I owed him. I had a single, brief moment of panic when I couldn't open the door as he kept asking me for my number, but then he unlocked the door and I escaped unscathed.
It's unclear to me why I have such interesting interactions with strangers, when I would trade them all for one halfway normal interaction with an interesting guy, but c'est la vie. Now I should sleep, and dream of mai tais and pirates (preferably pirates who own ships rather than chartered shuttle minivans). And I shall also wish Adit a happy birthday, since his birthday officially started while he was buying me a second mai tai -- yay! Goodnight!
Friday, October 07, 2011
Post workout, I showered, then went to Sprout for lunch. I might have stayed longer, but the place filled up quickly and people were scavenging my table (I ended up giving it to a girl named Danielle, who randomly walked up just as I was getting up and whom I hadn't seen in ages; she's actually good friends with Jess and John, but I know her because I managed her a lifetime ago). Also, the woman sitting next to me was making agreeing sounds to everything her friend said by emitting some sort of weird high pitched moan, which made for an unpleasant accompaniment to my attempts to brainstorm.
And that's where the afternoon slowly went off course. I went to Stanford after that, with the intention of writing in the library all afternoon, but I couldn't find any parking at all, either in Tresidder or in the new parking garage under Wilbur Field. Then, as I tried to get off campus, I drove straight through a massive horde of people leaving Maples, and since there weren't any traffic control officers when they left, they just kept streaming through the crosswalks at the Galvez stop sign without letting anyone through. I sat there for ten minutes before a cop showed up and stopped them, so at least I escaped before my rage boiled off.
So I decided to run my errand for the day and go to Target, which killed an hour. Then I tried to go to Red Rock Cafe in Mountain View, but after waiting out a sudden downpour in the parking lot, I walked in and found that every single table on both floors was taken. So I got back in my car, found a Starbucks, and took their last free table, where I read the stories for tonight's writing group (more on that in a second). Then I tried my luck with Stanford again, and this time I was successful. It turns out there was a career fair on campus this afternoon, which explains the lack of visitor parking, but I arrived too late to apply for any jobs. Instead, I went to the library and knocked out three pages of Malcolm and Amelia's new opening; not a lot, but since I spent an undue amount of time describing how gorgeous Malcolm is, I felt both productive and strangely dirty.
After writing, I grabbed a quick dinner at the Coho, but yet another stranger ruined yet another cafe experience. This time was worse, though; a guy asked if he could share my table, since everything was full, which is common there, so I said sure. But then he sat across from me and proceeded to stare, giggle to himself, and drink three fountain Cokes in quick succession, without ever attempting to pretend like he was working, checking a phone, whatever. He also had a pink backpack, which I found v. disconcerting. If I were less of a coward I would have asked him if he was alright, since there's a chance he was suicidal instead of homicidal -- but I'm a coward, so when he finished the third coke, I decided it was time to call it a night.
I made it back to my car without having to stab him with my car key, which I counted as a success. Then I met up with my historical fiction writing group; this meeting was at Christine's apartment, which is in Palo Alto and quite close to Joanie's Cafe (yay). There were only four of us tonight, but we had a great discussion. I was particularly interested in Chris's piece, since she's writing a screenplay and I've never really read screenplays before. We wrapped up around nine, but I stayed for twenty minutes after that because she had a book she wanted to loan me. And because I stayed, we actually got to know each other a little bit beyond the writing; it's funny how you can join these groups, go to each others' houses, and know next to nothing about the people you're interacting with. It turns out that she isn't working right now either, so hopefully we'll get lunch together or something in the v. near future.
Finally, happily, I drove home, and I'm so excited that I don't have to drive anywhere at all tomorrow. I think I'll hang out in my neighborhood and keep pressing forward with Malcolm and Amelia's story. The Blue Angels are in town for Fleet Week, so perhaps I'll sit on the roof if it's nice out and write while warplanes fly overhead -- sounds romantic, right? Goodnight!
Thursday, October 06, 2011
Today was mostly ugh as well, if I'm being honest. I made it down to Palo Alto and Alyssa with no problems, and our training session was great. Then I went to Joanie's and wrote some more notes about my first book whilst eating my usual salad; the notes were good and all, but they certainly weren't polished, perfect scenes (which is what I'm going to need with increasing desperation over the next few weeks). I came back to the city of sin to avoid the rain-ruined traffic patterns, stopped at the grocery store, came home, cleaned out the fridge so that I had room to stow my groceries, and by the time I sat down at my desk, it was four o'clock.
And then Steve Jobs passed away, which threw Twitter and all my other tech sites into a frenzy of mourning. I was unexpectedly sad about it; the man did achieve an incredible amount in his lifetime, and his vision has, perhaps as much or more than any other single human in the past thirty years, completely changed the world. I have three Apple products within two feet of me right now (macbook, ipad, ipod -- and I suppose it's five if you count my bluetooth keyboard and bluetooth trackpad), and Apple is one of the drivers in the content revolution that will ultimate determine whether it's possible to make it as a self-pubbed author (or, one could argue, any kind of author at all). So, Steve Jobs's passing is quite sad, particularly when one wonders how his vision would have changed the world in the next two decades if he hadn't died so young.
Anyway, I spent the rest of the night taking care of a variety of tasks that I absolutely loathed the idea of doing, but I knew that I needed to get them off my plate so that I could focus my mental energy on my novel rather than on avoiding all thought of those tasks. Luckily, I accomplished all of them -- but between the tasks themselves and the extreme procrastination between tasks, it's now 1:30a.m. One of my methods of procrastination was making some chicken fajitas (sans tortillas, but with my favorite storebought Casa Sanchez guac and salsa) and watching the season premiere of "Hawaii 5-O". Granted, a girl's gotta eat, so making supper wasn't procrastination -- but one could also argue that a girl's gotta see Alex O'Loughlin wearing a wifebeater and orange prison pants, doing some really hot pushups, then getting shanked and dramatically escaping prison (with his abdomen bleeding copiously, and doing a cleanup job in a gas station bathroom) to find the evidence necessary to prove that he was innocent of the crime he supposedly committed at the end of last season. Actually, you can stop at him doing really hot pushups. All I'm saying is that I don't usually gush over such stuff, but even I felt a flutter of something that I can only guess was attraction rather than indigestion.
And on that somewhat seamy note, I'm going to bed. Goodnight!
Wednesday, October 05, 2011
I ended up writing the first three or four pages of a new scene to open Malcolm and Amelia's book. Usually I hate my openings, but this one i actually almost love. I know these characters so well from all the months/years I spent with them the first time, and so it felt easier to get back into the story, albeit in a new way. I took a break when the scene broke, though, and I didn't go back to pure writing; instead, I read part of an updated version of the screenwriting book that I love, this one supposedly with more information about how to use screenwriting techniques in romance novels. I'd say that the author didn't do a great job of including more info -- she's clearly a thriller writer, not a romance novelist, and so she just doesn't have the same excitement for or insight about romance as she does about JAWS or THE SHINING. But, it was somewhat useful for stimulating thought about how to structure Malcolm and Amelia's story (which, I realize now, has virtually no structure -- no wonder it didn't get snapped up by a publisher, even if the writing was fun enough to get several agent offers).
So I spent the afternoon alternating between writing, reading that book, eating some Keebler striped cookies (Alyssa will be so proud), and polishing off the rest of my leftover chicken wrap. By eight p.m., though, it was time to throw in the towel, and luckily I had plans already in place for my towel-throwing -- I met up with Tom (aka Tom Foolery) at a bar called the Royal Oak, which is approximately halfway between our respective dwellings. The bar was quite lovely, with a lot of velvet couches, etc., and a v. nice bartender (who made me three delicious drinks -- two pomegranate cosmos, and one Bailey's on the rocks, which admittedly a toddler could probably produce). Tom and I met up to discuss a variety of topics, particularly writing and self-publishing, and so we spent a good two hours there ruminating on the industry and life. Three drinks was enough to give me a proper buzz, which I quite enjoyed as I walked home through the light rain and empty streets. Tom is one of my faves, even though I see him infrequently (and I'm not just saying that because of the aforementioned three drinks), and so it was a wonderful end to a productive day.
Now, though, I should sleep off the remnants of my buzz so that I can make it down to the my training session with Alyssa, who will no doubt torture me once I explain to her innocent soul what cosmos and Bailey's are. Goodnight!
Tuesday, October 04, 2011
After the gym, I went to Sprout in Palo Alto and had the salad that I'd been craving for weeks (Southwestern with steak, no onions). I spent some quality time there working on romance novel stuff, then proceeded to work some more in a cafe. I took a brief nap in a parking lot, then got a coffee from Philz to keep me awake on the drive home. The drive was rough; it rained for the first time in quite awhile, which meant people suddenly became blithering idiots, and so even though I left Palo Alto at four p.m. it took an hour and a half to get home. Upon arriving here, I spent the rest of the evening working on romance stuff -- I'm beginning to figure out how to rewrite my first book, so I did some editing and wrote some notes about Malcolm's character development.
And that, my friends, is it. It's only a bit after eleven, but I'm going to go to bed and hope that I can make some solid progress on my writing tasks tomorrow. Goodnight!
Sunday, October 02, 2011
I had accepted all week that today would be a complete wash, but it became not-a-wash when Vivi and I went to Leland Tea to write for a couple of hours. I have a feeling she was more productive than I was, but since I really just wanted to put my head down on the table and instead managed to write three pages, I'll take it. I forced her to leave Leland Tea with me around 4pm so that I could come home and have my usual call with my parents, who seemed to be in fine form. Then, I took a rather unplanned and unexpected nap before venturing back downstairs and washing a dozen or so wine glasses and several of my martini glasses in an attempt to repair the ravages of yesterday. The kitchen is basically back in order, even if we do need to clean a lot of inedible leftovers out of the fridge. We ended the evening by going to Roam for burgers with Terry and Terry's sister Mary Kate, then coming home and watching football, then watching last week's "Project Runway" (which made me sad). And then I spent the last hour or so crossing things off my to-do list in preparation for the busy week ahead.
All told, this weekend was an excellent end to fun social butterfly Sara -- I know y'all think I'm hermity, but I'm about to get way hermitier (yes, that's now a word in my vocabulary). My agent and I are catching up sometime in the next couple of days to agree on next steps, and since I need to finish Nick and Ellie's story, rewrite Amelia and Malcolm's story, plot a novella involving some side characters from Madeleine and Ferguson's story, and somehow find time to finish my non-gargoyle young adult book, I'm going to be a busy bee over the next few months/years/decades. So I'm glad that I had a v. lovely weekend to see all my friends, which will make not seeing my friends much for awhile feel like less of a sacrifice. I mean, let's not kid ourselves -- I'll still be going out to some dinners and likely letting Adit talk me into drinking more sweet nectar than I intend to. But I'm embracing my current workaholic desires with both arms.
I suppose, however, that I should go to bed so that I can jump into all of this tomorrow with full energy and no spinning-room feeling. Goodnight!
- pinot gris
- dean and deluca
- patrick swayze
- eclipse (of the heart, total)
- failure to drink seventy bottles of water
- girl talk
- book club
- gondola for one
- what can men do against such reckless hate
- some people call him the cat
- jess doesn't like it when people talk about her (like right now)
Really, there is so much more to it than that. I got up voluntarily before eight am., which is anathema to me, but it helped to ensure that we got off on the right foot. I took a shower, then ceded my bathroom to Vivi (not her real name) while I went to Safeway and bought bagels + three bottles of champagne + juice for mimosas. I then came home, changed out of sweats, and we started drinking around 9:45 am, which made for twelve hours of general drinking for me (I keep typing horus instead of hours, but Horus is the god of Egypt, not a measure of time, which means I'm totally fucking up). sssanyway, the bus showed up, and we were moderately late leaving because someone had an assplosion (as they like to say) at a particular apartment that shall remain nameless (meow) and so were late coming to my place. But it all worked out most wonderfully in the end. We went to Sterling first and were only fifteen minutes late, which mattered not at all, and we took the aerial tram up to the variety of tasting rooms/outdoor patios/etc. Since we lingered, we were a) sober and b) forced to skip the second planned winery altogether (luckily there wasn't a reservation at the second winery). So we got sandwiches at Dean and Deluca, then walked next door to our 'third' winery (Flora Springs), which turned out to be the best thing ever. We had their entire rooftop patio to ourselves for an hour and half, and after we finished tasting four wines, we got a couple of bottles to drink on the roof (which was key, of course).
We boarded the bus sometime slightly before five, and it took forever to get home -- a fact that didn't bother us at all, since we were too busy eating leftover bagels, chips, cookies, etc. and drinking the three bottles of wine we'd purchased for the bus. We got back to my place, Terry and her sisters promptly left to go to Stanford to catch the Stanford/UCLA game, and some of the rest of us (Chandlord, Can, Shedletsky, Bride of Shedletsky (he's not really married, that just makes me laugh), my friend Vivi (not her real name), Adit, Priyanka, and I) stuck around and had Thai food while watching "Date Night" followed by the last half of "The Two Towers" (yes, those movies were marketed as a package, since they really complement each other). We drank a couple more bottles of wine at home, which means I will be quite unhappy tomorrow - but it was worth it. This was possibly the most fun I've ever had in Napa, mostly because we chillaxed and had a lovely time while still managing to rage through a whole lot of wine.
And now, I must sleep; tomorrow is Sunday, which means some kind of brunch, some kind of hangover/regret, and some kind of phone call to my parents. Goodnight!
Saturday, October 01, 2011
After working out, I ate a late lunch at Joanie's Cafe (where I surprised the waiter by getting eggs instead of a salad). Then I went to the grocery store, where I checked out three times -- once for 70 bottles of water (see: wine tasting tomorrow and my desire to keep the group hydrated), once for snacky snacks (because the water weighed so much that I couldn't steer the cart, so had to do two trips), and once because I got in my car and realized I'd forgotten to buy cups. After I finally finished at Safeway, I sped back to the city of sin and furiously cleaned the apartment in preparation for the weekend. I got through everything I wanted to get done just when my friend Vivi (note: not her real name - that's the glory of being friends with romance authors, since everyone has multiple identities) called to say she was looking for parking. Vivi's in town for the weekend, and possibly forever if my nefarious plans to convince her to move her are successful. So I met her downstairs, she came up and saw the apartment, and we promptly retired to the roof deck, where we started to catch up in the glorious late afternoon sun.
At some point Terry came home, who had the unbelievably bad luck to be rear-ended a second time in three days on her way home from work tonight. Needless to say, she needed a drink, so she made us cosmos and we continued to sit on the deck until it got dark/cold. We spent some more time hanging out downstairs, then adjourned to Perry's for dinner (and another drink, por supuesto), where I took an awesome photo of a man whose shirt exactly matched the tablecloth. Then, we came home, painted our toenails, watched "Big Bang Theory", and then watched an episode of "Jeopardy!" that I'd taped from yesterday. I never tape Jeopardy, but my friend Chris Fleitas was on it -- he was one of the kids at the summer camp that I went to in high school, and I stayed with him when my parents made the v. questionable decision of letting me go to Mardi Gras my senior year of high school, alone, with kids from camp that they had never met (Chris lived in New Orleans then). Chris lives out here now and I haven't seen him in forever, but I saw on Facebook that he would be on Jeopardy, so I taped it. And he was AMAZING - I forgot to tape today's episode, but he won yesterday and today for a combined two-day total of $83,000. Boo yah! Yeah, I realize it's silly to get so excited, particularly when I haven't seen someone in ages (which is mostly my fault, since I'm flaky), but I like Chris and that's ridiculously cool.
Anyway, post Jeopardy, it was clearly time to go to bed -- wine tasting is in the morning, and I can't wake up late for it given how much I've harangued everyone about getting here on time. Tomorrow will be epic, and I will do my best to stay awake long enough to blog tomorrow night. Goodnight!