Monday, December 31, 2012

all your love is just a dream, dream, dream

Happy new year! As I am still in Iowa, I have no drunken exploits or other fun new years activities to report (although I am drinking half a glass of wine in bed, which is v. unusual for me, and even more unusual since I usually don't drink in Iowa). However, today was nice despite the lack of external socializing...

...but first, I suppose I should apologize for not blogging last night. Unconscionable, I know. I spent the day alternating between writing stuff and family stuff (heavy on the family stuff). I read through most of Nick and Ellie, making notes along the way about which scenes worked (almost all of them) and which didn't. But I had to take a break in the afternoon/evening because my mom's sister, my Aunt Dee, came up from Missouri with her oldest kid, Moriah (who is three months younger than [censored]), to see us. My sister and two of her kids also came over so that they could see Dee and Mo, so we had a full house in the afternoon. Jackie and the kids left around four, but my mom made a roast and we had supper with Dee and Mo while my father preached the low carb gospel to them. Post-gospel, we ended up playing Cards Against Humanity, which was hilarious once again, and Moriah stunned us all with a quick and effective victory. They left around ten to go to the motel in town, and then I stayed up until two (against my better judgment) and read more of Nick and Ellie.

So now that you'll caught up, you'll understand what happened when I say that I got up this morning at eight in case Aunt Dee and Mo had come back out, discovered they hadn't, and so dozed until ten. Then I got up and had breakfast with them before they headed back to St. Louis. After they left, I finished reading Nick and Ellie, took a bit of a nap in the living room, helped my mom stream ESPN online from [censored]'s laptop to the tv since the ISU bowl game was on ESPN and we don't get cable (a barbaric workaround I'll have to use tomorrow if I want to watch the Rose Bowl), and then worked/napped until supper. Post-supper, I threw in the towel on my own writing and ended the year by reading a book - MR. PENUMBRA'S 24-HOUR BOOKSTORE, which I thought was charming and delightful (albeit a little slow to get into). It was set in San Francisco at the intersection between Google and a strange, bookish cult, so needless to say it was right up my alley.

And now, 2012 is over and I must move forward into 2013. This year wasn't too shabby - while I always seem to feel like I should have written five times as much as I did, I suppose I should be proud of myself for publishing Madeleine/Ferguson, rewriting and publishing Amelia/Malcolm, and being *thisclose* to done with Ellie and Nick. I have no idea what 2013 holds with my writing - Nick and Ellie will be done, obviously, but I don't know what combination of works I'll try to complete after them. Still, regardless of what 2013 holds, I'm excited - and perhaps I'll even try to be a bit more social and less hermity than I was in 2012. No promises, though; maybe I'll just hole up in my apartment and prepare for the apocalypse instead. May you all have wonderful and safe and healthy new years - goodnight!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

deserted cities of the heart

My time in Iowa is rapidly drawing to a close, alas. Sad, since I doubt I'll be back before the end of April, but in some ways probably for the best since I need to get cracking on the revisions for Nick and Ellie (aka the book that will never be done - I may be too invested in it). So today, rather than holing up in my room and writing, I hung out with the family. [censored] and I watched the final episode of the most recent mini-season of [censored], which I had avoided watching since I knew that [censored] were going to die and I wasn't prepared for either the sadness or the [censored]. But [censored] encouraged me to watch it so that we can watch the Christmas episode before we part ways, and I'm glad I finally watched it, even if it did make me cry excessively. Damned [censored].

After we were finished with that, the family sat down to play a friendly game of rail baron, which took like eight hours, as per usual. We took a break around seven to eat supper, since my mother had made buffalo wings to sustain us with (verdict: success). Then, we finished the game - I came within a turn or so of winning, but I was foiled in my attempt, and then [censored] won. This was particularly disheartening since [censored] won last time we played - spending ~16hrs over the course of three days in the last week to give [censored] reasons to gloat was probably not the best investment of my time, but I suppose it was fun. Maybe.

And now, I should sleep; I'm particularly unenthused about doing anything tomorrow, since I'm starting to run short on me-time, but I suppose I'll rally. Goodnight!

how can we be lovers if we can't be friends alone in a white room

My head is still spinning with all things Nick and Ellie, and I am eager to get back to work on them - I know that I said I was done two weeks ago, but these things are never done, and I want to do another pass at the story before sending it to my editor in a couple of weeks.

But first, my day. [censored] and I went to Des Moines, discussing many tings along the way, including [censored]'s plot to [censored]. I dropped him off at [censored], and then I went to the mall, where I intended to buy all sorts of heavily-discounted after-Christmas clothes. However, it was mostly a bust; the mall was insanely busy, so the pickings were slim and I ended up walking away with a new pair of jeans (same as my old jeans, just a different wash) and a few basic tees/tanks. Boring, but useful, I suppose. When I walked out of the mall three-ish hours after arriving, I discovered that the car had an inch of snow on it, which meant I had to find my mother's snow brush (covered in two years' worth of dust from our gravel roads, since it's impossible to have a non-dusty trunk here and they had no appreciable snow last year). Getting home proved to be treacherous, so I had a crash course (sans crashing) in steering into the skid and coasting to a stop on ice. Yay.

But I made it home, ate the leftover remnants of supper, hung out with [censored], hung out upstairs, and eventually finished reading the story/screenwriting book I was reading yesterday. And then I wrote a couple of pages of notes of what I think I might want to do to Nick and Ellie; I need to read through the whole thing and see what I think, but these notes are a v. good start. Now, though, I should sleep; my time at home is rapidly drawing to a close, so I will likely have family events this weekend, which means I need my beauty sleep. Or maybe I don't need my beauty sleep, since my foundation was finally in stock at Sephora today after three months of being out of stock. Either way, I'm tired, and it's time for bed - goodnight!

Friday, December 28, 2012

turn the beat around

I'm swimming in ideas for how to rewrite a couple of key sequences in Nick and Ellie's book, which simultaneously makes me want to lock myself away and write until my fingers bleed and/or pull the covers up over my head and sob quietly to myself. I suspect that whatever happens will fall somewhere between those two poles. But I spent most of the afternoon/evening/night reading the first 300ish pages of the story/screenwriting book my parents gave me for Christmas, and it helped me to give a name and a description to the problems that I vaguely recognized with my current work in progress but didn't know how to solve.

Not that I'm sure I know how to solve them now, either. The biggest problem is the ending, which I think I may need to completely rewrite; the second problem is whether the stupid killer subplot (which I hate so so much) is strong enough/in the right order; the remaining problems are smaller, within certain scenes, perhaps requiring adding a bit of backstory here or cutting down some dialogue there. I would have done all of this on the next draft anyway, but now I'm itching to rewrite the end before I send it to my editor...and that means I have a lot of work to do in the next ten days or so.

But now isn't the time for work; I need to go to bed, since I have grand plans to go to [censored] with [censored], and that requires getting up before noon. Life is hard. Goodnight!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

will you hose me down with holy water if i get too hot

Merry Christmas! I should have blogged last night, of course, but I was tired and doubted that anyone would be too disappointed. But then, [censored] told me that he was worried when I didn't blog, despite the fact that [censored], so perhaps I should have. But I had a v. lovely Christmas Day with the family. We woke up at the ungodly hour of 7:30 (to be fair, my parents had been up since five or something ridiculous) and started opening packages around 8. Since we go one at a time, and since we tend to give many smaller packages rather than one or two big gifts, this ritual took a couple of hours, and it was all v. merry. I got my usual haul of strange and interesting items, with an odd mix of writing gear (lovely fountain pen ink, some moleskine notebooks, a book on storytelling/craft), cooking/kitchen stuff (two cookbooks, a butter dish, iced tea spoons, etc.), survival/earthquake prep gear (leatherman, fire starter, emergency tent, and other gifts from my dad), etc., etc. After opening gifts, my dad picked up my grandmother and brought her out for lunch, and then I took a nap before the four of us finished our game of Rail Baron. [censored] won, much to my dismay, since I had been in a pretty good position to win it in another five or ten turns. Boo, hiss.

Today was utterly uneventful by contrast. I slept late, then spent the rest of the day in my pajamas, alternating between doing stuff online, playing solitaire (such an addictive waste of time), reading, and watching tv. Tonight was the Kennedy Center Honors, which is one of my favorite things to do during the holidays - this year they honored Dustin Hoffman, David Letterman, Led Zeppelin, and two people I'd never heard of. The Letterman tribute was pretty hilarious, and the Led Zeppelin tribute was awesome, with a great rendition of 'Stairway to Heaven' featuring the lead singer from Heart and a huge backup choir. I am reminded that writers aren't eligible for the Kennedy Center Honors, which is a shame, but I suppose I can survive without having that as a stretch goal.

After that concluded, I watched the news, then most of Letterman, then came downstairs, filled one of my favorite pens with my new ink, and started reading the storytelling/craft book I got for Christmas. Verdict: excellent so far, but I've only read the warmup, so we'll see how I feel over the next four hundred pages. And now I should really go to bed so I can keep reading this book tomorrow (or maybe do some writing if I feel particularly adventurous) - goodnight!

Monday, December 24, 2012

don't bite the apple, eve

Merry Christmas Eve! Today was lovely, but I should really go to bed if I am to get up early to open presents. It's basically tradition to get up earlier than any other day of the year and groggily stumble around looking for caffeine before it's time to open presents, and I intend to follow through with that tradition tomorrow. To be clear, I'm the only one stumbling around groggily; my parents usually get up before five, so 7:30ish is actually a compromise.

sssanyway, today was great. My sister, her husband, her kids, and my grand-niece came over for Christmas Eve dinner (that's 'lunch' to you coastal fools), and the package opening was rescued by the UPS man, who showed up just as lunch was ending with ten packages that [censored], my father, and I were waiting for. That meant my sister actually got her main gift from me and [censored]; our offerings to her might have looked pretty paltry otherwise. My sister made me some really cute Christmas ornaments and some nice placemats, so that was lovely. And I got to spend some quality time playing with my grand-niece, who is super adorable; she's three and a half, which is a pretty cute age, and she was surprisingly willing to hang out with me given that I see her approximately once every six months.

My sister and the kids left around four, and then the fam spent some time putting the house back together and organizing for tomorrow. I went into town to get a convenience store cappuccino, which is my sad, shameful addiction when I'm back here, and then came home, hung out in the kitchen, and eventually started a game of Rail Baron. We played for three hours, which was just long enough to get all the railroads sold (the point at which shit gets real). A break was necessary at that point, since it was ten p.m., but we'll hopefully get to finish it tomorrow. Then, the parents went to sleep, and [censored] and I [censored] in preparation for [censored]. And now, it's beyond my bedtime - Merry Christmas Eve, everyone!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

it'll be just like you were never gone

Today was the end of Wampler Family Christmas (tm), and I had a few hours between the end of that festivity and bedtime in which to prepare for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. But the day was lovely, even if I did wake up at 8:15; everyone (sans Drewbaby) came out to the house for breakfast, and we ate and hung out for a bit before Aunt B and Uncle B went back to Des Moines. That left mom, dad, [censored], Uncle Mark, Aunt Kathy, Gram, and I with nothing to do and all sorts of desire to play a game. But since Uncle Mark and Aunt Kathy wanted to leave by three, we couldn't play Rail Baron, so we dug through the closet looking for games...

...and as it turns out, most of our games are 20+ years old, and many of them haven't held up particularly well to the test of time. Let's just say that trivia questions are more challenging when they're related to long-gone 'current events', and a game about advertising slogans is really, really hard when most of the slogans are obsolete and half the companies/products have been renamed or disbanded. So, the games were a bit of a bust, but we were moderately entertained and still have lovely memories of Cards Against Humanity to tide us over until next year.

So we ate leftovers, talked politics (v. different than talking politics in San Francisco, I assure you), told Gram approximately twenty-five times that I've never met her cousin Gene and am now writing full-time rather than working anywhere, and generally relaxed. Mark and Kathy left as they had planned, and I took Gram back into her place in town, which was entertaining if only because I point-blank refused to buy her a lottery ticket on the way to dropping her off. Once she was safely indoors, I got a convenience-store cappuccino and drove the long way home with the windows down in an effort to get some (v. cold) fresh air and enjoy a few minutes of much-needed me-time. Yes, I am a hermit.

The rest of the evening was pretty productive; I took stock of all the presents that have arrived and the few things that are missing, then ate supper with the fam. [censored] went to [censored] at that point, but I stayed up, watched an episode of 'Blue Bloods' and an excellent episodes of 'The Good Wife', and wrapped approximately twenty packages. This may be the first time I'm done before Christmas Eve, although I suppose I'm not totally done; I'm missing one package each for my siblings, and my father is conning me into wrapping stuff, which is always a jhoke on my face. But hopefully this means I can actually get some sleep on Christmas Eve, which would be a lovely change from previous years.

So, speaking of sleep, I must go to bed - goodnight!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

don't need no credit card to ride this train

Today was Wampler Family Christmas (tm), which, as usual, meant much eating and much merrymaking. People were shockingly late getting down here from Des Moines, which means I was (even more shockingly) awake, showered, and fully dressed before anyone showed up. But everyone was down here by eleven, and then Aunt B and I went into town to pick up Gram so that she could hang out with us this afternoon. We kicked things off with lunch (smoked turkey and a variety of side dishes), then opened Christmas presents (yay), and then most of us played Cards Against Humanity all afternoon. Gram didn't play, which was utterly for the best, and my father and the scandalous Uncle Brian didn't play for reasons unknown to me, but the rest of us had a grand time.

'Grand time' makes it sound so civilized, though. It's basically an adult version of Apples to Apples, which was v. welcome in a group with a v. raunchy collective sense of humor; I think all of us were utterly bored with Apples to Apples by the time we last played it together, but the group (mom, [censored], Drewbaby, Aunt B, Uncle Mark, and Aunt Kathy) was too big to play Rail Baron, hearts, or canasta. So, Cards Against Humanity was a good fit, particularly with the added hazard of never knowing when Gram would wander by when you had to read off a card that said 'clitoris' or 'jacking off into a pool of children's tears'. We stopped around 5:30 so that we could clean broken glass off [censored] while Becky and Mark went into town to check into their respective motel rooms and buy some rum so I could make some eggnog. Then, we ate soup (vegetable beef soup + black bean chili), drank some eggnog (okay, only Becky and I drank eggnog), and played another round of Cards Against Humanity. My dad played that time, and he ended up winning it (that bastard).

And now, bedtime approacheth; I am risking a hangover with my eggnog/wine consumption today, but more to the point I barely had any water and perhaps didn't eat enough, which is always a dangerous mix. Or maybe I just have a headache from laughing until I cried so often - it's unclear. [censored] is taking Drewbaby to [censored] early tomorrow, and then we're all having breakfast (sans Drewbaby) before people start heading back to the Des Moines metropolitan area (which makes it sound so metropolitan!). And then I have a scant few hours to wrap presents and take care of tings before Christmas Eve arrives. Goodnight!

Friday, December 21, 2012

we are spirits in the material world

Holiday preparations continue apace; I'm not precisely ready for Christmas, and much depends on the safe arrival of several packages on Monday, but today was v. productive regardless. After answering all my email last night, I slept the sleep of the just, but I was still up, dressed, and showered before noon, which is quite a feat for me when on vacation (and when I never switch from Pacific timezone to Central timezone). And then, I spent the afternoon preparing...I made two crustless quiches for Sunday brunch and a batch of chili for tomorrow, to go with the vegetable beef soup my mother made (and all the other stuff she made as well - I won't pretend I was more industrious than her, obvi). I also printed out a set of Cards Against Humanity, which is a game I saw at Heather and Salim's; they are sold out, but you can print the cards, so I did that even though it then took me almost two hours to slice and dice the cards with the paper cutter.

Luckily, I was able to cut cards after an enjoyable supper with the fam and while watching three episodes of 'The Good Wife' (on CBS, of course). Then I came downstairs, chatted with [censored], poured myself a small glass of Bailey's, and read a few chapters of a research book for the non-gargoyle young adult series. But the book started to put me to sleep (or perhaps it was the Bailey's), and I should go to bed anyway since we've got Wampler Family Christmas (tm) this weekend. Goodnight!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

said i wouldn't call but i lost all control and i need you now

I just engaged in my every-three-months cleanup of my email inboxes - I realize that every three months is probably too long to go between cleanups, but my lack of a schedule or a routine means that emails that I thought I received a few days ago turn out to have been sent two months ago, which is usually pretty embarrassing. In the corporate world, if someone sends you something and they need a response, they'll just send it again - but in the private world, if someone sends you an email and you ignore it, they don't respond and just think you're being an asshole. So, for those of you whom I've been an asshole to (that's probably all of you), I'm sorry.

Anyway, the aesthetic appeal of three empty email boxes (my personal email, my professional email, and my fan email) should be enough to keep me answering my email regularly, but I'm sure I'll slip again in the future. Still, I'm glad I crossed that task off my list. The rest of the day was a wash; I woke up at noon (after apparently sleeping through a fire alarm chirping outside my room that woke up everyone else in the house at three a.m. - I guess I was tired), messed around on the interwebs, showered, and then read through all my notes on the non-gargoyle young adult project. I'm feeling very itchy and in need of some writing time, but I'm torn between playing with the gargoyles for awhile and banging out the Madeleine/Ferguson novella that I wanted to write over the holidays. Decisions, decisions. I also ate supper with the fam (roast chicken, yum) and watched just a bit of fine CBS programming before answering all my emails, so all in all it was a lovely day.

Finally, though, I'm sad to report that our blizzard wasn't a true blizzard; while [censored] had trouble getting to [censored], we didn't get enough snow to cover all the tall grass - we just got enough to blow around wildly with the gusting winds, which still caused problems. We were luckier than Des Moines, though; I guess my uncle and Drewbaby were snowed in without power at their house in the rural area north of Des Moines, and my aunt, who had stayed in Des Moines for the night so she could make it to work, was instead stranded because the place she stayed lost power and she couldn't get her car out of the garage. Oops. So while I may wish I had seen more snow, I don't actually wish for that at all. And now, I should sleep; tomorrow I must wrap many presents and cook many things in preparation for the weekend. Goodnight!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

welcome to thunderdome

I'm super sleepy and expecting my sleep to be interrupted by the same bitchy monotone voice of the weather radio announcer who interrupted my sleep last night. Last night's weather announcement was just to warn us about this impending blizzard that we already knew about, although the announcement was apparently warranted because they were upgrading (downgrading?) us from a winter storm warning to a blizzard warning. YAY, right? But the weather radio is automated and super loud, since it's meant to wake us up when there's a tornado, so that was all v. unwelcome for me.

sssanyway, I had to get up anyway because my mother and I were on a mad dash to stock up on groceries and finish Christmas shopping before the blizzard. We went over to Centerville and bought groceries first, knowing it was so cold that we could do that first and they wouldn't go bad while we did everything else (you know you're not in California anymore when you put fruit in a cooler to keep it from freezing rather than keeping it cold). Then we met up with my sister and my nephew for lunch to celebrate my mother's birthday - we had a buffet, and while the restaurant is quite nice (it's where Katie, if you remember her, had her wedding reception), the buffet was not particularly gluten-free friendly, so I had some subpar meat and some scalloped potatoes made from a boxed mix. Boo.

Then, we went to Walmart (under duress, since there is nowhere else to shop for the stuff we needed in Centerville anymore), and then I dropped my mother off at her dentist appointment and killed an hour at a consignment-type shop while waiting for her. I am reminded that I know more about ceramics and porcelain and antiques than someone my age probably should, and I bought at ceramic plate with a green chinoiserie design on it that later research confirmed was probably pre-World War One. I know, I need a chinoiserie plate like I need a hole in the head, but it was cute and I was drawn to it like the ceramics crackhead I am, so whatever.

sssanyway again, we drove home as the rain began (which seemed so ominous) and got our groceries put away while my father was making sure his animals will survive the upcoming apocalypse. The minicows and peacocks aren't going to be very happy, since this is the first major winter storm in quite some time (last winter was really mild). Then we had supper, played a game of hearts, and have been enjoying (if that's the right word) a v. odd thunderstorm. It's raining, with a lot of lightning and thunder, but it's only 33 degrees, so at some point this is going to switch over to ice, then snow. They're having thundersnow north of us, which is even more intense than regular snow, so I'm hoping we get some of that. We're prepped for the worst, so getting snowed in tomorrow would actually be kind of fun. I'm a hermit by nature anyway, so it's not like I'll go stir crazy if I just have to sit inside and read a book. And if it gets really bad, I have a bottle of Bailey's, which it would be nice to pour over fresh snow and drink by candlelight, right? Anyway, I need to sleep so I can enjoy whatever tomorrow brings -- goodnight!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

o [censored], where art thou

First and foremost, happy birthday to two of the best ladies in my life - my mother, who is exactly thirty years older than my friend Vidya. YAY BIRTHDAYS!

Second and leastmost, I had a good day, mostly because I slept for eleven hours before it started. That meant I woke up sometime a little after noon, feeling more refreshed than I have in ages. I can't accomplish the same feat tonight, since I need to get up earlyish (9?) so that I can shower before going with my mom to stock up on groceries, have lunch with my sister, and finish Christmas shopping before a blizzard strikes tomorrow night. Yes, a blizzard. This is going to feel like the end times for me even if nothing bad happens - 6" of snow and 40-mph winds are apocalyptic when your only weather patterns are 65 degrees + sun and 60 degrees + fog. Boo. So in my precious few hours awake today, I went into town with my mother to buy stamps and a couple of other things, then planned the menu for this weekend with her so we can buy groceries tomorrow. We also went out for supper to celebrate her birthday - there's no better birthday celebration than one that involves ribeye. Then we came home, watched some fine CBS programming, and I sent some emails and talked to [censored] about [censored] before realizing I need to go to sleep.

And so, to sleep I shall go. By this time tomorrow night, all that frozen stuff will be falling from the skies, and great havoc shall be wrought upon the earth. Goodnight!

Monday, December 17, 2012

we've been poisoned by these fairy tales

I made it to Iowa, no thanks to the eggnog still going through my veins when I woke up at three a.m. - but my hangover was mercifully mild and I don't think anyone could have guessed what I got up to last night, since I woke up in time to shower, dry my hair, put on makeup, and dress v. cutely for my trip. The flights were all perfectly on time, although I was forced to sit with the peasants from SFO to Denver - specifically, two of the dumbest people I've had the misfortune to listen to in recent memory, who had a toddler sprawled across their laps. I shan't recount all of their tales of stupid woe to you, since it will just make my blood boil, but suffice it to say that they asked the flight attendant if he was going to give them an infant life vest like the people on the last flight did (apparently from Hawaii to SFO). He said no because we're not flying over water from SFO to Denver - but when we took off, the woman was like, "omg, we're flying over water!", because the runways extend out into the bay. Of course, we were away from water in like thirty seconds, but she couldn't see that because of the fog, and so then they speculated for a couple of minutes about how stupid the flight attendant was for not knowing which direction we were flying in. Um. Thank god for earplugs, is all I'm saying.

sssanyway, my second flight was much better, and my parents picked me up on time and took me to a steakhouse for lunch. I had warned them that I would be surly and hungover, but I was surprisingly chipper - I think I'm so exhausted from the past ten days that I am past my surliness, which is a rare state for me. So we all had steak, then stopped at Walmart (hiss) and Hy-Vee (yay for an expanded gluten free section!) before coming home. And then I stayed up until now, which is really quite shocking; I thought I would fall asleep hours ago, but I hit a second wind around seven p.m. California time, as I always do. I think perhaps I'm diurnal...I do get some stuff done in the morning, and I thrive at night, but afternoons are the devil.

And now, I should sleep, or at least try to; [censored] arrived from [censored], which is part of why I'm still awake, since we exchanged insults and generally [censored] for longer than I intended. And so, goodnight - more Iowa fun awaits!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

ho hey

I must go to bed immediately because, due to an absurdly bad decision on my part, I must get up in less than four hours so that I can go to the airport and head for Iowa. The 'head for Iowa' decision was not the bad segment of that statement, but the fact that I booked at 5:30am flight was just sheer stupidity on my part.

Aggravating the stupidity was the choice Terry and I made to host a small holiday soiree tonight, so I'm drunk on life (and by life I mean eggnog) and really *really* not in the mood to take a flight tomorrow. But the party was worth it -- many of my favorite people came, including most of the usual suspects (Chandlord, Fred and Jamie, Adit and Priyanka, John and Jess, Katrina, Dan, Lauren and Nathan (aka Subz and Subz-ma'am-sir), Tom and Minnie, Julie, Rat (in a special guest appearance from Bangalore), etc.) And I made two soups, two types of cookie, a lemon cake, and a whole vat (aka a punch bowl, which is rarely seen in these parts) of homemade eggnog, which was to die for. Many jhokes were told and much merriment was made, including a dramatic reading of part of one of the sex scenes from my first book + some dramatically terrible color commentary on the Niners game (from those of us who know next to nothing about football, which either amused or infuriated those who cared about the game).

So now that I have reconnected with my friends for three hours after my marathon/sprint to finish Nick and Ellie, I must bid them all farewell, sleep for three hours, and go to Iowa. Goodnight!

i just haven't met you yet

The mad dash to do everything under the sun before I go back to Iowa continues. For the second weekend in a row I ran errands with Terry at nine a.m. -- I sincerely hope this is not a trend, but it was good to accomplish what we accomplished (grocery shopping at Safeway and Whole Foods). When we got home, I ate the sushi I'd bought at Whole Foods, made some lists, sat around lethargically, and eventually took a much-needed two-hour nap. Then, I spent the rest of the night slogging; Terry and I did some edits to the Christmas tree (I sawed off some branches and she added more lights and ornaments), and I took a break to watch an episode and a half or so of 'The Tudors' with her (so I will probably dream of gruesome Tudor-era executions, which may actually be an upgrade from the apocalyptic nightmares I've been having with surprising frequency).

And then, the cooking commenced. I made a lemon cake, a bunch of sugar cookies, and chocolate chip chewies (all gluten free). I didn't get the sugar cookies frosted, but I feel v. industrious, so I'll take it. I also [censored] with [censored] at some point, which was a nice break. And now, alas, I must go to bed -- while I have the list of things I need to pack for Iowa, I haven't started yet, and packing is just one of approximately five million things I must do tomorrow. Goodnight!

Friday, December 14, 2012

hey there delilah

Today was a little bizarre...the school shooting in Connecticut was obviously awful, and I have no words to describe it, but I also was too mentally exhausted to handle watching hours of coverage about it, so I tried to take care of other stuff on my list instead. I didn't sleep all that well last night, likely because I was in a strange bed and my back is still hurting, but I spent a couple of quality hours hanging out, drinking tea, and checking email before driving to Mountain View to have a v. quick lunch with the big boss. She's just as busy as she ever was, it seems, and it had taken a couple of months to get time on her calendar - so even though we only had half an hour to catch up, I was still glad to see her and reconnect (that sounds so business-y - we basically just talked about my books/career and her career/life, which wasn't nearly as business-y as it sounds).

Post-big boss, I went to Michael's (the craft store) to get some Christmas crafty stuff. Yes, I've gone over the deep end. But it was all already discounted, and there wasn't much on my list - fake snow was the key ingredient, and I got some absurdly glittery fake flowers, which I did something legitimately cool with despite what they sound like. Then I drove home, with a stop at Lowe's to return a plastic christmas tree stand and buy new lightbulbs for the entry light fixture, and some absurd city traffic that was already springing up at 2:45pm. Then I talked to my parents for quite some time to catch them up on my life and hear all about the many and varied things they've been up to.

And then, I drank half a bottle of wine and decorated like I'm a crazy woman, which is probably true since I chose to hang out drinking wine and decorating rather than going with Terry to her holiday party. It's not like I bailed on her, since I'd refused the invitation when it was extended due to the fact that I knew finishing my book was going to wipe me out. But she seemed to enjoy drinking and watching me decorate before she went to her party. I put up garland and lights over the fireplace, I fixed the rocking chair (not broken, but the felt on the bottom of one of the rockers was hanging off), replaced lightbulbs, and made a glittery floral arrangement and a bunch of little terrarium type things with fake snow and glitter flowers. I realize as I type that that those decorations sound truly hideous, but I promise they're pretty cool - perhaps I'll take pictures to demonstrate. But for now, I really need to go to bed; I have grand plans to grocery shop, alcohol shop, make cookies, and pack for Iowa tomorrow, and since I've barely slept this week, my bed seems mighty appealing. Goodnight!

oh, we're bleeding out

I'm so exhausted. I can't remember the last time I was this exhausted - maybe during my dad's surgery week? So obviously this is way less intense than that, now that I've put it in context, and I feel like a terrible person. sssanyway, I'm still tired enough to complain about the fact that I'm tired. Part of the reason why I'm exhausted is that I barely slept last night; I'm still full of Nick and Ellie adrenaline, I think, and my posture while finishing was so bad that my back and legs and everything else ache like mad, so I had to pop four ibuprofen just to feel human again. I had some stuff to take care of in the glorious south bay today, so I came down around eleven, had lunch, did my tings, picked up my new contacts, got a pearl milk tea (sans pearls) and continued south to Santana Row, where I intended to do some Christmas shopping...

...but I was so tired that I thought I might cry if I couldn't just sit down, so I got an impromptu, v. fancy pedicure instead. That satisfied my need to sit down, and I got a foot massage to help alleviate the fact that I've been wearing heels more often lately. It was the right call, even though I felt a bit lazy; the rest of this weekend is going to be a mad dash to finish everything I need to finish before going to Iowa, so it was nice to have some me-time. Then I met up with Heather (aka dear respected madam) for dinner, where I had a glass of wine that helped to start my cure. Then we came back to her place, where I drank some Bailey's on the rocks, which made everything right again. We also watched "Miss Congeniality" for some reason that still eludes me. And now I must sleep; I have lunch with the big boss tomorrow (provided her admin doesn't cancel on me; we've been trying to have lunch for four months), so I should at least attempt to look respectable. Goodnight!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

forget what we're told, before we get too old

I am still a little burned out and crazy from finishing Nick and Ellie's book last night, but even though I was exhausted, I didn't sleep well - I think I'm still on an adrenaline rush. Or the caffeine I've pumped into myself over the past week is still working its way out of my system. Anyway, I was up and about by a little after eight this morning, and I took care of a whole bunch of stuff around the house before going downtown to get my bangs trimmed and my eyebrows waxed in preparation for the holidays. Then, I ran some errands (buying coffee beans to take back to the midwest, getting Christmas decoration supplies at CB2 and Cole Hardware, buying more leggings at Nordstrom, getting a present for my grandmother, doing other Christmas-related things, etc.).

And then I came home, finishing doing stuff around the house, and spent the past couple of hours contemplating the publishing industry while painting my nails and trying not to fall asleep, detrimentally, at eight p.m. But I have fun plans for tomorrow, including a sleepover with Heather (aka dear respected madam), and then I can spend the weekend getting ready to go back to Iowa! Yay! Goodnight!

the dog days are over

NICK AND ELLIE ARE DONE.

There are no more words.

Today was pretty brutal -- for all of you who are wondering, idly, why I don't write forty pages every day, it's because the first five pages are reasonable, the first ten pages are mostly manageable, and every ten-page increment is carved out of my brain in such a way that those processing centers are truly no longer capable of processing anything. I drove home last night in a daze, thankful that I could use cruise control (and, btw, I saw FOUR FUCKING DEER by the side of 280 at one a.m. last night -- if I had hit one in California, where I have never seen a deer on the freeway before, I would have been truly upset). I woke up this morning in even more of a daze. Everything felt foggy and weak...and yet I had to rally because I had lunch plans that required me to be coherent and presentable.

So I showered, put on a cute skirt (old) and some brown sweater leggings (new) (oh, and a top, also old - I didn't go to lunch like a bare-breasted fertility goddess, although someone there apparently thought I left my job to have babies rather than write books, so maybe I'm exuding some pheromones). And then I drove down to the water to have lunch with Gretchen, one of my former directors. She was in fine form, and it was good to catch up with her and talk about life. Then I had a second lunch, which just consisted of drinking a diet coke while Katrina ate her first lunch. Then Katrina made me a latte (fancy), I came home and took care of some calls and errands, and then I stared stupidly at my laptop trying to figure out how I was going to think clearly enough to finish this book. Clearly that didn't go well, since when I decided to make a piece of toast with peanut butter, I dropped the bread on the kitchen floor, then picked it up and rinsed it off before putting it in the toaster. Weird.

By the time Terry got home at seven, I was basically nonverbal and unable to tell her anything at all -- so I stopped pretending and came upstairs, where I slogged, successfully, for five hours. And now, the book is done and off to my agent, and I am going to sleep the sleep of the just, then get up tomorrow and try to tackle everything I need to do before I leave for Iowa in five days. And maybe I'll celebrate the book being done -- or maybe not, since it won't feel real until my brain is functioning again. Goodnight!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

there are many things that i would like to say to you but i don't know how

SO CLOSE TO DONE OMG. So close. I was at Stanford library from 1pm to 1am, but it closed at 1am (it's finals week), and I was half a scene away from the end, but I couldn't stomach the idea of moving to the twenty-four-hour study room to finish. So, I drove home, feeling strangely surreal and out of words -- my mind felt just a little empty, in an odd way, as though whatever voice produces my running monologue was totally out of words due to my writing binge.

So, obvi, I did nothing else today; I woke up lateish, ate something, showered, and was at the library by 1pm. I stayed there for twelve hours, with a break to get a burger at the Treehouse (it's like I'm a student all over again). And I think I produced forty new pages from the tattered, bleeding remnants of earlier drafts. That's the most I've ever done in a day, and utterly unsustainable -- I just hope I have enough left tomorrow to finish that scene, reread and proofread what I did tonight, and format it so that I can send it to my agent.

But now, I really must sleep; I have lunch plans tomorrow morning, and then it's back to the slog (although I may slog in the city, in hopes that I can be done by six or seven and eat something tastier than a Treehouse burger). Goodnight!

Sunday, December 09, 2012

let the right one in

Today was both wonderfully productive and amazingly unproductive. Wonderfully productive in that I was out of bed and out the door by nine a.m. to participate in some roommate bonding/Christmas decorating schemes; amazingly unproductive because I did not finish the book today. I had toyed with the idea of going to Stanford to work, but I was too tired (less than six hours of sleep never works well for me) and too unmotivated.

But I can officially say that I have caught the Christmas spirit after so many years trying to avoid it. Damn. Terry and I went shopping for a tree stand because we didn't want to buy the one at the place where we bought the tree...but after going to two different Lowe's and discovering both were sold out of tree stands, we ended up going back to Fort Mason and buying a tree stand there. There was also a craft fair going on, so I got a soap dispenser made out of a blue Mason jar, which I adore. And then we came home, put up the tree, I made us some celebratory eggnog french toast (most delicious french toast ever, and you couldn't tell I used gluten free bread), and Terry put up the lights while I cleaned the kitchen. So, all in all, that was successful...

...but I have not decorated for Christmas ever, and now all of a sudden that's all I want to do. I warned Terry that I believed that Christmas decorating is like vampires -- per vampire lore, they are not allowed to cross the threshold of your house unless you invite them, but once they're in, you're basically powerless to stop them. And for me, that was true with Christmas -- as long as I never decorated, I was safe, but the moment I decided to decorate, I was lost. And now I'm truly lost, thinking of cool centerpieces and interesting garlands, etc., etc. Damn.

So the rest of the day was mostly a wash, but that's probably because I was too tired to really think and my head has hurt all day. I should have just taken a nap in the afternoon, but I tried to power through and didn't get much done. I did shower and talk to my parents, so I suppose that's something. And I took a break tonight to watch an episode of 'Wedding Band' with Terry. But now I'm going to throw in the towel, admit defeat for the night, go to bed, and hopefully sleep nine hours so that I can be revived for a long slog tomorrow. Goodnight!

you gotta get up and try, try, try

I've hit the wall, and hard -- but not as hard as the fools who just moved into my complex are going to hit the wall when they get a raft of complaints to their landlord tomorrow for the party that is still raging tonight. Considering that the people next door to us were very short for this world because their dog peed on one of the community plants and they occasionally slammed doors, these young twenty-somethings are clearly in the wrong complex. And I personally cannot wait to join my octogenarian neighbors in bidding them a swift farewell!

Anyway, today was v. productive, but I managed to squeeze some non-writing stuff into it without feeling like I totally wasted it. I was up and writing by 9:30ish, which is crazy, and continued to slog pretty steadily until early afternoon. I should have gone to my romance writing chapter's holiday party instead, but I am desperate to finish this book, so I skipped it. But in the interest of roommate peace and wellbeing, I kept the plan to go with Terry to get a Christmas tree. Her friend Angela came along, and we went to Fort Mason, where some charity had Christmas trees (precut, an abomination compared to my childhood) set up in one of the pavilions. So we picked the best tree (naturally), got them to net it, and were going to have them put it on top of my car when I realized that it would probably fit inside if I folded the seat down (it did). So we got it home, and I rewarded Terry and Angela by making them eggnog, which I am becoming quite proficient at.

But rather than enjoying my eggnog in a leisurely fashion, I had a couple of sips and then met up with Katrina and Chandlord for a late-afternoon snack. I hadn't seen them in ages (since before Thanksgiving, I believe?), so it was nice to see them, even if I didn't know most of the people they were talking about because I'm so much of a hermit that I haven't met anyone new in ages. I got home around 6:30 and worked straight until 12:30, with a v. brief ten-minute break around ten p.m. to talk to Terry and drink a bit of leftover eggnog in an attempt to fuel the final push of the night.

Now, though, I really need to sleep; I don't think I'm going to finish tomorrow, but I have high hopes for finishing Monday, and a v. long slog is required tomorrow to get me there. Goodnight!

Friday, December 07, 2012

where there is a flame someone's bound to get burned

It's 10:45pm on a Friday night, and I am doing exactly what you would expect me to be doing -- going directly to bed. I am totally and completely out of words for tonight, and keep making typos even as I try to write this, so I think it's time to throw in the towel. I was massively productive today, despite spending almost two hours on the phone with various family members discussing Christmas shopping plans. Even with their interference, I edited several chapters (where 'editing' means I slaughtered sentences and reshaped paragraphs, not just corrected typos), then tossed out a whole chapter and rewrote it from the ground up (fifteen new pages! excavated directly from my brain!).

And now, the words have run dry and I need to sleep so I can do this again tomorrow. Goodnight!

i belong with you, you belong with me, you're my sweetheart

Hello! I had too much eggnog.

But I will continue to write this blog post as though I've never imbibed any alcohol in my life, since I like to pretend that I'm sober and see whether I can make it through the post without typos. Today was less productive than I had intended; I was out of bed around nine-ish, and I made myself an awesome breakfast (three slices of bacon, one egg, and one slice of gluten-free toast, where the limiting reagent was the toast; I only had one slice of bread left in the freezer, and runny eggs sans toast is a tragedy, so I had to cut back on the eggs this morning). Then I thoroughly cleaned the kitchen because I am turning into my mother. Then I reread what I wrote yesterday, did some light edits, and pronounced myself satisfied with what I had produced (miracle!).

But I had to go to the glorious south bay today, which interfered with everything. First it interfered with my writing; I had to shower, get dressed, dry my hair, and do all those other things grownups supposedly do. Then, I went to my optometrist, who pronounced my eyes to be wonderful, but not before he dilated them, which made the drive home and most of this evening just a little odd. Then I drove home during the beginning of rush hour (not really a good thing to have done, since I'm considering getting a job, and rush hour reminds me how wonderful my current shindig is). And then I had to work on my Christmas list, since I knew that if I didn't send it to my mother today, she would kill me...

I took a rebellious break, though, and had dinner with Lauren (aka Subz, aka the bride in that epic wedding I went to last month) and Terry (aka my long-suffering roommate who came home to discover that I was singing to the same song over and over and over again, as is my wont). The food was tasty (fish tacos), the wine was also tasty (a pinot grigio that was more of a rose (row-ZAY, but I'm too lazy to find the little accent to go over the 'e'), and a pinot noir), and the company was tasty (I refrained from licking either of them). Then, Terry and I dragged Lauren back to our place, and I made a small batch of egg nog to get in the holiday mood (not hard, since you'll be in the holiday mood just mixing the stuff up - even the fumes are potent).

But Lauren left long ago, and Terry went to bed an hour and a half ago, and I'm just quietly rocking out alone with my last glass of eggnog and the feeling of satisfaction over sending my Christmas list before [censored] did, thus winning yet another skirmish in our interminable sibling rivalry. [censored] will win the war when he takes excellent care of our parents someday while I just throw money at the problem, but for tonight, I reign supreme. I shall go rest on my eggnog-soaked laurels now...goodnight!

Thursday, December 06, 2012

these spies, these slow hands

I'm totally out of words because I wrote fifteen pages of new material today to fill a placeholder I had made for the scene that was supposed to go there (a rather intense Nick and Ellie scene, and by intense I mean they had sex and it always takes me forever to write those, and I usually write them last so I know what the emotional arc is so that the scene feels necessary and not gratuitous). It's actually rather amazing that I wrote fifteen pages, since I didn't start until six p.m. -- but that fifteen pages took me six and a half hours, with a break to eat some string cheese and another break to eat some chocolate, and a third break to do a crossword puzzle because I'm an octogenarian at heart.

Anyway, the beginning of my day didn't look promising; I stayed in bed too long, and since I wasn't looking forward to writing this scene, I kept putting off working. Then, it was time to go downtown and get my bangs trimmed -- they were actually the perfect length, but in a few days they would be too long, and my new stylist is so great that I don't want to lose her trust by trimming my bangs myself if they get too bad before it's time to see her again. So I got them trimmed, then went to the mall to return a bra that I had bought a month ago, worn once, and discovered it squeaked every time I moved (which is quite distracting when you work alone in a silent house). It was odd that it squeaked, since I had bought two others in different colors and they were totally fine. Anyway, I returned that one, bought a different black one to replace it, and then got some leggings to replace the worn-out onces I had to toss. Then I ate at Chipotle (gluten free food of the gods), came home, and worked for the last six hours. Yay, me.

And now, I really should sleep -- I need to repeat this performance tomorrow (sans shopping), and I have an eye appointment in Mountain View and a social plan (gasp!) in the evening, so productivity is going to have to happen earlier in the day. Goodnight!

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

nothing lasts forever but the earth and sky

I'm way too tired to blog, so I will attempt to keep this brief (how many times have you heard me say that?). Today was quite productive, if I do say so myself - I woke up after nine thanks to my reading binge last night, but I was out the door by 10:45, and I went to Stanford to work on zee romance novel. I had lunch first (more subpar than usual - new waitress was nice but inefficient, and the kitchen undersauteed the veggies in my scrambled eggs), and then I checked my mail in Palo Alto and talked to my mom, since I hadn't fully caught her up on my life when I talked to her on Sunday.

Stanford proved quite productive, despite my lackluster lunch; I edited three or four chapters and wrote 4-6 new pages of material, which I'm v pleased with. I would have kept going, but I had friendship renewal plans with Tolu, Joann, and Jane in Sunnyvale, so I had to reenter the world of real people and hang out with them. It was lovely to see them, since I'd missed the last couple of dinners, and we had fun catching up. Eventually, I got home (around eleven), reread what I was writing at the library (good stuff), and started falling asleep on my keyboard - so I think it's time for bed!

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

this is a wasteland now

Today was...odd. I was actually up and at my desk by 9:30, which is practically unheard of given my lacksadasical morning 'routine', and I made great progress with the writing for an hour or two...when suddenly I hit a wall. And by 'wall' I mean that I got interrupted by a phone call, and then I discovered that the Duchess of Cambridge is pregnant (this is major news in my industry), and then I got lost in a two-hour wormhole on Wikipedia that started by looking up what year Tipu Sultan was killed during the Fourth Anglo-Mysore War (too early for my purposes by a year or two). So I ate some lunch, but my concentration didn't really come back. I left the house around four, in hopes that a walk might help, but it only helped my closet (and harmed my bank account) since I live far too near some v. cute clothing boutiques for safety. Damn my gluttony.

So I came home, messed around with the book a bit more, ate a v. subpar supper (actually, come to think of it, it wasn't supper - it was two slices of ham and a piece of cheese, which may explain why I'm hungry now). I had promised myself a snack later, but at some point I decided that continuing to bang my head against my laptop was fruitless and bad for my eyes, and so I picked up my kindle instead. We all know how that decision turned out for me -- I read the whole book I started in one fell swoop over the last five or six hours. Bleh. But the book was great; it was the first YA book by one of my favorite adult paranormal authors (Kresley Cole), called POISON PRINCESS. Some of the pacing was a little off, since the places where there would have been sex scenes in one of her usual books were replaced with almost-kisses and considerations on whether this was the right time for the main character to lose her virginity. Since everything around them was a post-apocalyptic wasteland, I'm torn between 'when's the WRONG time?' and 'it would be beyond foolish to risk a pregnancy at this point!'. And I also thought the book took a bit too long to get rolling, with a bit too much happening before the apocalypse. But the premise is v. intriguing to me (a bunch of teenagers are all fated to play the roles of various Major Arcana cards from the tarot deck, and will end up killing each other in a battle of good vs. evil), so hopefully the next book comes out soon.

And now it's almost two a.m., and I need to get up tomorrow and write enough to not feel guilty about the fabulous dresses in my closet (and they *are* fabulous - perfect for whatever job I will end up getting to pay for them). Goodnight!

Sunday, December 02, 2012

restless hearts sleep alone tonight

I'm too tired to blog tonight, but unfortunately that's more due to excess gluten intake than to any sort of productivity on my part. I made it down to San Jose this morning despite the rain and flooding, and what was supposed to be brunch at Heather and Salim's with Jenni, Lauren and Durand turned into almost six hours of hanging out. That was lovely, of course, but it wasn't really in my plan for the day, which called for me to be at Stanford and writing by two p.m. The waffles also weren't in my plan, but when brunch lasts six hours, you eat what you can get (and they were tasty, after all).

I still had to go to Stanford after "brunch" to return an overdue library book, so I drove there and talked to my parents while sitting in my car before trekking across campus. But I promptly left after returning the book, since I was too tired to hole up in the library, and I grabbed dinner at Chipotle before driving home, talking to Terry for a bit, and then curling up in my bed. And now that I'm in my bed, I am going to sleep - tomorrow is for writing, though, so slap me if I don't say I wrote when I blog tomorrow. Goodnight!

Saturday, December 01, 2012

underwater sunshine

I was in ultra hermit mode yesterday and today - hence the lack of blogging last night, although I suppose I should blog tonight or I may lose all my loyal readers (aka my mother). At least I left the house yesterday, for a v. quick trip to Safeway during a break in the rain. I didn't step outside the apartment at all today - in fact, I barely stepped outside my bed, since I wrote on my laptop in bed most of the afternoon/evening. But, I'm making good (if tortuous) progress on Nick and Ellie, and I wrote ~15 new pages today to replace a scene I decided to scrap. And I took a break to watch the Stanford/UCLA game yesterday. I almost regretted it, since I hadn't seen a lot of games this year and was worried that I had jinxed them, but luckily my absurd prognostication came to nothing, and Stanford carried the day.

And really, I have nothing else to report. Usually my hermitville is at least punctuated by talking to Terry, but this is not currently the case since she went to LA for the weekend. But I have plans to see people tomorrow (a brunch in the south bay, inconveniently timed to coincide with heavy rains), and then go to my beloved Stanford library and slog like there's no tomorrow, so at least I can move my hermitville to another location. And perhaps if I finish the next draft of the book this week as I plan to, I can be more fun at a not-so-distant date. Goodnight!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

don't pay no mind to the demons, they'll fill you with fear

Today was exactly the day I wanted to have - v. productive, with a v. lovely end, and only a little bit of broken glass and spilled wine along the way. I woke up a little after eight, messed around on the interwebs, did the first of three loads of laundry, showered, blowdried my hair, and proceeded to my favorite cafe down the street for some restorative huevos rancheros (not that there was much in need of restoration, since I wasn't hung over, but I had no food in the house and so had to go out). When I got home, I spent almost an hour on the phone with my agent - no news to report, but we were discussing possible launch strategies for Ellie and Nick, whether to redo my covers, marketing schemes, etc., etc. I'm feeling good about all of that; Ellie and Nick will almost certainly come out later than I had hoped, but it will be a better book because of it (or at least I can tell myself that).

sssanyway, after talking to my agent (I'm going to keep saying 'my agent' in as pretentious a way as possible), I went to the post office to pick up the mail they couldn't deliver, then went to the grocery store and stocked up for my impending week of solitude (that's a gross distortion, of course). Then I came home, put away the clothes that were done and started another load, took care of some little but necessary tasks, changed clothes (because I live like a Regency lady and must wear multiple outfits a day), and then took a bus up to Pac Heights, where I wrote for a couple of hours. And I'm happy with what I wrote; I had to scrap an early scene and rewrite it, and I got about six new pages this afternoon, which I will take.

Eventually, though, it was time to meet up with Lauren (aka Subz) for dinner and a long-overdue debrief from her wedding and honeymoon and everything we've each been up to since then. I hadn't seen her since the day after the wedding, since she left immediately thereafter for her honeymoon and I was in Iowa by the time she got back. So, we had much to discuss, although it got off to a poor start when our server dropped Lauren's wine as she was serving it, shattering the glass on the table and getting wine all over the place. They moved us to a different table, but brought us a free and unwanted dessert rather than comping our drinks, which I thought was a little annoying. However, the food was delicious (a papaya salad, a crab with cellophane noodles, and a chicken claypot that I thought was thebomb.com). And Lauren and I talked for over two hours, which was very lovely; luckily, my arrangement of an afterparty at her wedding was taken as a fun thing to have done rather than a sign of how trashy I am, so we're still friends and hope to remain that way. Or at least I hope to remain that way - I try not to scare her off, although I did mention that I hoped there was a good photo of us from her wedding so that I could put it in a heart-shaped frame on my desk. She took it well.

And now that I've walked home and probably destroyed me feet again (the hill down from Pac Heights is so steep that there are ~3 blocks that have stairs cut into the sidewalk), I should really sleep - I want to finish that scene tomorrow and power through some more edits, and I should theoretically go to this Sound of Music singalong thingy, so sleep is crucial. Goodnight!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

back to plan b

You will be disappointed to know that I did not win the Powerball jackpot. Had I won, I would have immediately shut down this blog, gone into hiding, lawyered up, and taken preemptive measures to protect myself and my family and friends from the degradations and disasters brought on by extreme wealth. And by that I mean I would have bought three hundred million dollars' worth of MREs and a 1972 Ford Bronco to serve as my bugout vehicle so that I could escape into the wilderness and evade anyone who might want to harm me for my winnings (see: prepping).

But I didn't win, so no bugging out, at least not today. Actually, I kind of did the opposite of bugging out - I left my parents' well-stocked country paradise, where there are no people and plenty of deer to eat (see: opposite of the Donner Party), to come to this godforsaken city, where there are plenty of people and I think I have half a jar of peanut butter and some potentially-moldy cheese to get me through a disaster. Yay. I woke up at 6:40, which is something I would normally only do when bugging out, but this was solely so that I could shower before random dudes showed up to steal our water (this really is sounding kind of apocalyptic, right? if your version of the apocalypse is fairly boring, I suppose). But I hadn't slept well last night, most likely because I tried to go to bed too early - so I got up at 6:40, showered, half-dried my hair, and went back to bed from 7:10 to 8:40. Then I got up again, dressed, made myself up (second rule of prepping: a natural disaster is no time to let yourself go), finished packing, and then went to Des Moines with my parents.

We had lunch at Johnny's, which was v. tasty - a cheeseburger sans bun and garlic fries were the right start to my journey. We also bought Powerball tickets, like everyone else in the convenience store was doing, although it was to no avail (at least for me, although I think I won $4). Then my parents kicked me out of their truck and I made the hard journey back to California. It was made harder by getting upgraded to first class on the first leg, which totally spoiled me for the second leg, where I wasn't even able to get economy plus (I swear, the people back there were savages!). I had an hour and a half in Denver, which turned into two hours, but I'm glad I got to SF, since we're in the middle of a torrential downpour system (so far I haven't seen any rain, but I read about it...in a book).

Terry picked me up, and we had dinner at a Mexican restaurant in San Bruno, where we tried to catch up under/over/around/through the din of some singer caterwauling various Spanish hits + "Hotel California". We also dreamed about winning the lottery, since I had bought a second set of Powerball tickets to split with her at the foreign exchange booth in Denver airport (which was probably having its busiest day since the day when everyone realized it's cheaper/easier to get money out of a foreign ATM rather than exchange it in the US). But we didn't win, so we moped around the rest of the night. And now, I must sleep; I did some good work on Nick and Ellie on the plane, but I have grand plans to get much more done tomorrow. Goodnight!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

she's deceiving me, she cuts my security

I'm going to take the unprecedented step of going to bed at eleven (11:30, more likely, by the time I finish this and get ready for bed) so that I can get up early to shower. Crazy, I know. We don't have to leave for the airport that early, but due to some construction shenanigans and frozen pipes that I won't get into, it seems that half the county is coming to our house at seven a.m. to tap into our water supply and fill the tanks on their trucks. This shit doesn't happen in my lovely Marina apartment complex. sssanyway, it hasn't impacted me while I've been here since a) I don't get up at seven and b) the number of trucks was much lower yesterday, before the other pipe froze. But the day it will impact me is the day I need to get ready to go to the airport...and since I would like to shower before leaving, I suppose I should get up.

Now that I've bored you with that, I must say that I'm glad I overslept this morning. I woke up at ten, but messed around with work stuff and packing and didn't go upstairs until twelve, where I immediately discovered that the dishwasher was missing. I thought about tiptoeing back downstairs and pretending that I was dead, since I was pretty sure a missing dishwasher was catastrophic, but my mother caught me, so I stuck around to hear her tale of woe. Not only did everyone and their mother show up to take water this morning, thus interrupting her laundry/bathing/dishwashing routine, but she walked into the kitchen later to discover the dishwasher pouring water out onto the floor. Luckily she was here to notice it and my dad was here to shut off the water/electricity and pull the dishwasher out before it caused any damage, but still - now she has to do dishes by hand, which is traumatic when she's even more OCD about dishes than I am and can't stand having them on the counter for any length of time. I realize I'm turning into her - you don't need to remind me.

So after hearing that, I ate some leftover turkey (which probably poisoned me), talked to my mom, and helped her get the rest of her Christmas decorations out (I don't have any in California because I have observed that it's like syphilis, and once I get the Christmas decorating bug, I will be stuck with it and it will eventually eat my brain). Then I was going to write, but a great documentary called MY LIFE AS A TURKEY was on PBS, and I wanted to see it. It was well worth watching - some dude spent a year and a half raising a bunch of wild turkeys from incubation until they left him, barely seeing other humans and spending all his time pretending to be their mother. It was pretty intense, particularly at the end when they all left him through death, abandonment, or fighting. He's now living with some mule deer in Wyoming, so I look forward to another movie someday.

Eventually I did get some writing done, and then had supper with my parents before watching some fine CBS programming (NCIS and NCIS:LA for those of you who don't know the CBS schedule). And now I must sleep - I will be back in San Francisco tomorrow night, if fate allows me to return to that evil city. Goodnight!

Monday, November 26, 2012

it's the way we sing that makes 'em dream

This chapter of small town life is coming to a close, but another will be opening in about two weeks, so there's nothing to be sad about. Today was mostly productive, if you consider crossword puzzles productive. Ha.

Actually, I really was productive, just not maximally productive. But then, I woke up at eleven a.m. after having dreamed some of the strangest dreams in recent memory (a Helm's Deep-type battle against millions of orcs suddenly turned into my wedding ceremony, which took place in a castle to one of my high school classmates -- not sure whether killing orcs or getting married is more horrifying right now). So, I suppose maximal productivity wasn't in the cards. But I spent a few hours catching up on business stuff, exchanging emails with my agent (nothing noteworthy), sending many emails to the poor woman who took over my volunteer position with my local romance chapter, and otherwise organizing my thoughts about the edits for Nick and Ellie.

I took a break in the late afternoon to run into town and buy some sweet potatoes for my mother (Merry Christmas!), and I ran into one of my old high school classmates - luckily not the one I married in my dream, as that might have been super weird. Instead, I ran into Dusty and his wife Jessica (who was a couple of years behind us), and we caught up for five or ten minutes while blocking a key aisle in the store (I guess when there are only six or seven aisles, they're all key). They seem to be doing well, and we shared whatever info we have on our other classmates (which isn't much, since I only ever talk to Katie and Hannah and Dusty seems to be just as hermity as I am). Then I came home, ate supper with the parents, watched some fine CBS programming, and then came downstairs and went through the whole manuscript again, inserting notes about what I want to change where so that the direction for my revisions is as clear as possible.

And now that you're caught up on my day, I should go to bed; I need to write tomorrow, and I also need to pack, which is not a particularly daunting prospect since I'll be back in two weeks to pick up anything I forget. Goodnight!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

so you think you can love me and leave me to die

I read through all of Ellie and Nick's book today. And the verdict: hmm. Most of it is really good, if I'm being honest and not self-loathing. But there are also some rough patches, and some ghosts of plot threads that have since been cut, and some late additions that aren't fully woven into the story. So, I have a lot of work ahead of me - but the end is in sight, and I have an idea of what I need to do to get there.

The rest of the day was v. quiet; I woke up around ten, ate brunch with the fam, and said goodbye to [censored], who had to [censored]. Then I spent the afternoon inadvertently napping before beginning to read. I took a break in the late afternoon to go into town with my father to see my grandmother, and then I continued to break until after supper (leftover roast beef) and tv ("The Good Wife", which I really should watch all the time, since I think it's awesome). And then I came downstairs, finished reading the book, contemplated for awhile, and then wrote a page of notes on what I should work on. And now, I should sleep; I want to finish organizing my thoughts tomorrow, so sleep is necessary. Goodnight!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

dream until your dream come true

I printed out Nick and Ellie's book today, so I guess that means it's getting closer to being a real thing! Granted, I have to do a full read-through, and the results of that full read-through will determine whether I can move on to copyedits or whether I need to rewrite the whole thing while weeping and drinking heavily. I suspect the actual result will be somewhere in the middle of that continuum - I know there are some bits I need to fix, and I may need to add a scene or two. But it's getting there, and I think I might be able to be excited about it again...but we shall see.

However, I didn't do the full read-through today - I want to do it with minimal interruptions, which wasn't possible during the day, and by the time I finished watching tv with the parents (I feel very unhip for enjoying 'NCIS' so much) and conversing with [censored], it was ten p.m. I could have stayed up and powered through, but I'm a bit sleepy and need to get up in the morning to bid [censored] adieu, so instead I did a crossword puzzle (again, I'm an octogenarian) and read about the Romantic movement in British art, since one of the unresolved threads is Ellie's painting. Fun, right?

The rest of the day was a hodgepodge of family stuff. I didn't get up until eleven, since I had stayed up too late last night, and when I woke up I discovered that my sister was almost here. So I got dressed without showering and went upstairs to spend some quality time with my sister and my youngest niece. After they left, I formatted my manuscript, printed it, hole punched all of it, and made it into a lovely book. Then I chatted with my mother as she started unearthing all her Christmas decorations (a week-long process, which I expect I will someday mimic, much to my chagrin), and we eventually ate supper (roast beef) before watching some fine CBS programming. And now, I should sleep - I want to do the read-through tomorrow, if I have time, so I should probably get up earlier than eleven a.m. Goodnight!

he ain't heavy, he's my [censored]

Today was v. lovely and v. slothful - which is not good for the book, although I did write a couple of pages tonight to fill in a gap before the final scene. I think I'm close to being ready to print it off and fix everything, which is both good and terrifying, since I don't know how much work fixing it will be. But that's a problem for tomorrow. Today was all about being lazy. I whiled away the morning sleeping/doing nothing, and then spent some time in the afternoon going Black Friday shopping with my mother. We both loathe the thought of going to malls on Black Friday (and she loathes malls at all times; my apparent love of shopping is fickle and has only developed in the last few years, probably a result of my time in India where all we did was shop). So instead we went up to Chariton (~30mins away) and went to two stores to check out the sales. The first store (Pamida, for those of you who care) was recently bought out by someone, who closed the store in our town (boo) and is now selling everything in the Chariton store to make way for their own brands, etc. So, the pickings were slim and fairly dreadful. Then we went to Ben Franklin (another store I've never seen outside southern Iowa), and then we came home, where my mother and [censored] watched the ISU/West Virginia game while I tried my best to ignore it.

Tonight, we ate leftovers (yum) and played most of a game of hearts (which I did not do well at) until [censored]'s bestie came over with his wife. [censored] and friends adjourned to the downstairs couches while my parents and I watched a hideously depressing documentary on the Donner Party on public television. And then I messed around, read more about the Donner Party, said goodbye to [censored]'s friends, and wrote a couple of pages. And now that it's almost three a.m., I should really sleep -- goodnight!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

look into my eyes, you can see the flames

Happy Thanksgiving! And apologies for not blogging yesterday - I wrote most of the final scene of Nick and Ellie's book (yay) and was out of words, so I didn't bother. But there was nothing much to report yesterday - I helped my mom with the Thanksgiving preparations, and wrote, and greeted [censored] when he arrived from [censored].

Now that you're all caught up, I shall recount what happened today. I woke up before ten (shocking!), checked in with my mother, and then got in the shower just as Uncle Mark, Aunt Kathy, and Drewbaby arrived. They were followed shortly thereafter by Aunt Becky and Uncle Brian, who brought Gram along with them. And all in all, we had a v. lovely day; Gram has slipped a lot in the last year, which is all rather depressing, but she seems to remember who we all are even if she doesn't remember that she just asked us the question she is now asking again, so I suppose that's something. But it was good to see everyone, and we had a delicious Thanksgiving dinner - my parents are following the low carb gospel, so the meal was less carbariffic than in previous years. We had mashed potatoes and baked sweet potatoes, but we had green beans instead of green bean casserole, and cranberries instead of the cranberry jello salad with two cups of sugar, and my mom made gluten-free pumpkin cheesecake instead of pumpkin pie. But this made it all totally easy for me and my gluten issues, and Aunt Kathy and Aunt Becky brought carb items for those who wanted them, so it was all good.

Post dinner, I didn't fall immediately into a food coma, so I was able to help mom with the dishes and hang out with the family. B&B took Gram home around five and left for Des Moines from there, and Mark/Kathy/Drew left as soon as the best bits of "Inside Edition" were over (a sentence I never thought I would type, since I loathe "Inside Edition", but there was a story of some family who found it impossible to get some squatters out of their house, which would have been interesting had they not been maddeningly vague on details). Then the four of us ate leftovers for supper, and I watched some tv with mom and [censored] before coming downstairs and contemplating the romance novel. And now that I'm done contemplating (and about to fall asleep), I should go to bed - goodnight!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

what is left to learn when he would let you crash and burn

Today was my first full day in Iowa, and I used it to oversleep (of course), overcaffeinate (thanks to my coffee grinder arriving at three p.m.), and generally engage in slothful behavior. But I learned a lot about ducks! And I brainstormed a novella (I know, brainstorming yet another book when I have like ten others waiting to be written is stupid), and wrote some of Ellie and Nick, etc.

But really, today was lazy. I woke up at eight, thought that seemed too early, went back to sleep, and woke up again at eleven. Then I hung out with my mom for a couple of hours before showering; my dad had recaulked my shower a couple of days ago, so I used his in an effort to make sure the caulk dries properly, and it was an adventure if only because his shower (which is gigantic and confusing) has jets that would be great for massaging a normal person's back, but for me they just try to massage my face. Not helpful.

Post shower, I made coffee and watched a documentary on ducks with my mom, who was watching it while she ironed (it was not on CBS, which I know shocks you, but she hates Dr. Phil more than she likes CBS, so she was watching PBS instead). Then I went into town to get some soda and ran into my former fifth/sixth grade English teacher (who went to high school with my dad and is the mother of [censored]'s best friend), so we chatted for a bit. Then I came home, worked on my novella idea, ate supper, watched some NCIS and NCIS:LA, and then came downstairs and procrastinated/worked on Nick and Ellie.

And now, I must go to bed - I want to wrap up this draft tomorrow, which is theoretically possible if I don't sleep until noon and get caught up in another documentary (although they advertised one called 'My Life as a Turkey', which looked AWESOME, so no promises that I'll be productive). Goodnight!

Monday, November 19, 2012

that dog won't hunt

I have arrived in Iowa, after a v. long day of traveling that was made longer (in emotion, not duration, since it ate into a layover rather than an arrival time) by the ineptitude of TSA, which had made some sort of error with baggage screening in San Francisco and so held all the planes in our terminal for an hour. This of course caused a traffic jam on the runways when they finally released everyone, so we were an hour and a half late getting into Denver. Boo. But luckily I had closer to three hours in Denver, so that still left me with time to get something to eat and check my online world, etc.

All in all, though, things went smoothly; Terry and I left the apartment at 6:45, as planned, and traffic was v. smooth, also as planned. Security was not as smooth, since it took twenty minutes, but I still had time to grab a latte before boarding my flight (which then sat on the tarmac, as mentioned above). And I made it to Des Moines a few minutes early, where I met my parents, grabbed my bag, and went to Johnny's for a ribeye to celebrate my dad's birthday (which is today!). Of course, we would have gone to Johnny's for a ribeye whether it was his birthday or not, but the fact that it was his birthday made it even better.

Then we came home, and a deer tried to kill us - while coming close to hitting a deer is sort of standard operating procedure for any drive home from Des Moines, this one was the closest I'd been to actually hitting one in a very long time. Not that I would have hit it; my dad was driving, so a) it wouldn't have been my fault if we did and b) he saw it in time to stop, although the tires squealed and we were only a couple of feet from it when we stopped. Fucking deer. Anyway, after that excitement, we made the rest of the drive unscathed, and then my dad and I talked in the kitchen for another hour or so before my parents fell asleep and I came downstairs to unpack my suitcase.

And now, I should sleep; while I can't promise to switch to Iowa time while I'm here, I'm going to try to get a little closer to it (and write a book in the process). Goodnight!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

making love out of nothing at all

I must go to bed immediately; I'm leaving for Iowa in the morning, which means I have to get up at some ungodly hour and go to the airport. But, I expect that once I get on the plane I'll be in a lovely mood - I have grand plans to work on zee book and ignore all other distractions (provided there are no children kicking me in the back).

Today was all about preparing for my trip (and being lazy); I slept until 10:30, and then had brunch with Terry. We had mimosas like every other person in this godforsaken neighborhood, and I said goodbye to my beloved huevos rancheros in preparation for my ten days of non-Mexican food. Then we came home and I packed, cleaned my room, cleaned out the fridge, talked to my parents, ran an errand (Sephora!), etc. Then, Terry and I ordered gluten-free pizza for dinner and I totally vegged out in front of the tv as I rarely do - we watched last week's "Once Upon a Time" (I should probably catch up on that show, since I'm missing half of what's going on), a little bit of "Beauty and the Beast" before I revolted, and the first two episodes of "Wedding Band", which I ADORED (to the point that I told Terry I was annoyed when she switched to the AMAs and I discovered that Brian Austin Green wasn't starring in the awards show).

But now, I must sleep - tomorrow I shall be in Iowa! Goodnight!

you can wipe off that grin, i know where you've been...it's all been a pack of lies

I'm super, super sleepy, but I'm also hyped up on McDonald's coffee like a long-haul trucker who was recently scared off of 5-hour Energy by all those reported deaths, so going to sleep may be difficult. I shall endeavor to succeed...but first, my day. I spent the morning taking care of tings, and I also managed to write six pages, which I'll take. I had to leave home around 1:15, though, so that I could drive to Manteca (sorry, [censored]) for the transitional board meeting for my romance chapter. I got there right at three p.m., and ended up staying until a quarter to eleven, which was a little intense. The meeting itself took almost three hours, since the old board (me + the other officers) had to explain to the new board how to do everything. Then we had dinner (baked potato bar!) and talked for another couple of hours. Most people left around 8:30, but I stuck around because I liked the people who stuck around, and the remaining four of us talked about writing and books for another two hours.

So, that was totally fun, but at 10:30 I realized that I was going to have to drive home and try to stay awake for it, so I abruptly left, killing the party in the process. I stopped in Manteca for a McDonald's coffee, since Starbucks was closed, and I nursed it on the long, dark drive back to the evil city. Luckily I was coming in so late that there was absolutely no traffic, so I didn't get stuck for an hour on the bay bridge like I did coming back from this meeting last year. Unluckily, though, it rained most of the way, which made the drive slow and exceedingly unpleasant. But I survived, and now I have no volunteer activities lined up for next year - remind me to stick with this and not suddenly think I have to sign up for something. And now, I must sleep, since I have many tings to do tomorrow in preparation for my trip to Iowa. Goodnight!

Friday, November 16, 2012

we run the night

I didn't do nearly enough writing today, but that's a common refrain. I did do *some* writing, though, so I suppose it could have been worse. And I maintained ties with at least a few friends, so there's that as well. The morning started off on an unusual note; I woke up (not unusual), showered (still not unusual), and then GOT ON A BUS (crazy) and had coffee with Chandlord and Katrina. I know, shit just got real. We went to Hooker's Sweet Treats, which is a ridiculous name for an eating establishment, and I had a latte that was a'ight while catching up with them. When we were done, I was hungry (sweet treats almost inevitably contain gluten), and so Chandlord ordered me to go to Brenda's, which is in the heart of the Tenderloin and serves amazing soul food in a v. New Orleans-ish atmosphere. Upscale New Orleans, for what it's worth, which is odd given the cracked out citizenry lingering just outside the restaurant. But I got a table pretty quickly, and my food was great (although I accidentally got some gluten, since I didn't realize that the oysters in my oyster/bacon/scallion scramble were breaded).

So I did some writing there, finished eating, came home, and wrote some more. Then I took a painted my toenails and took a nap, because I'm industrious like that. Eventually, Terry came home, and we chatted it up before going out for dinner, where we had margaritas and tacos and were generally quite content (and I was even more content than she was because I wasn't seeing BREAKING DAWN - there is a god). When we got home, we watched some tv while I wrote up a best practices doc for the VP of programs role that I'm transitioning out of with my romance chapter - the transition meeting is tomorrow in Manteca, which must be code for Nevada because it's ridiculously far away. And so now I need to go to bed so that I can write before heading off into the wilderness in the morning. Goodnight!

stripping down to dirty socks

I'm falling asleep over my keyboard, which is how blog entry travesties happen, so I'm going to knock this out and go to sleep before I write some ridiculous string of typos that has the potential to give away too much of my inner thought processes.

Today was very productive; it started with some online activity with [censored], and then I eventually made my way to the glorious south bay, where I had a late lunch and worked furiously on Nick and Ellie. This continued until it was time to have coffee with Heather (aka dear respected madam). It turned out that an hour of catching up wasn't enough, so we made plans to meet up again later for dinner. In the meantime, I went to Stanford, where I returned a book and wrote until it was time to meet back up with Heather.

As it turns out, dinner was worth it not just for the company (which was awesome even after she told me she was going to skin me and burrow into my skin - I think she was joking) but because the brainstorming we did helped me to overcome the last thing that I hate about this book. Well, second-to-last thing; last thing is that it's not finished, but after writing eighteen pages tonight and figuring out my biggest plot issues, it's a lot closer than it was. When I got home at around 10:30, I continued to write...but now, as I said, I'm falling asleep and it's time to be done with you, with Nick and Ellie, and with everything else. Goodnight!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

black hole sun

I don't really want to get into how the writing went today; suffice it to say that my stomach hurts and I'm generally annoyed. But I did leave the house for a bit to get my bangs trimmed and my eyebrows waxed, which will be wasted since I don't intend to leave the house again. I had intended to eat a late lunch at Samovar and write there, but there was some big event going on at the Moscone Center, so my plan was thwarted. Instead, I had lunch at the mall food court, then came home, considered my story, and instead cleaned my linen closet. I'm running out of things in my room to reorganize, though, so I think tomorrow I will have to make progress or die trying.

And now I'm going to go to sleep, and attempt to be a bit more mindful tomorrow about staying in the story rather than letting myself anesthetize all the fear (which is the real root cause of my writer's block) by wasting time cleaning or messing around on the internet. Goodnight!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

we'll go dreaming

I'm out of words...I'm making progress with Nick and Ellie, but every step is slow and painful, and I need to go to bed so that I can get focused on them again tomorrow. Since I didn't leave the house, there's really nothing else to share, right? So, please accept my apologies, and I will do my best to be more interesting tomorrow. Goodnight!

Monday, November 12, 2012

my heart has started to separate

I have nothing of interest or import to share - today was all about getting everything unpacked, organized, taken care of, etc., so that I can focus for the next few days before packing again and going to Iowa for Thanksgiving (aka tanksgiving). I spent the morning at Morning Due, where I dutifully typed ~3500 words that I'd written in my notebook since the last time I typed up my manuscript pages. Then I got some groceries, came home, and spent the afternoon making steady but substantial progress through all the piles of paper, receipts, research materials, and other random accumulations of stuff that had taken over my room - it now feels like someplace that I can write in again, rather than something I must avert my eyes from, so that's a good thing.

Finally, though, it was time to take a break, so I made some chili. While I was cooking, Terry came home, and we talked briefly before she went out for dinner and I sat down to eat my chili alone like the sad little hermit I am (j/k - I'm actually in an excellent mood; the hermit thing might be accurate). I worked for a couple of hours after that, and then Terry came home and we watched "Bones" while I messed around on the internet some more. And now, I should sleep; I'm slowly canceling all my plans this week so that I can stay focused on zee writing, although Terry tricked me into seeing "Breaking Dawn" on Friday (clearly I need to accidentally scratch my corneas or something between now and then). Goodnight!

a beauty and the beat

I am embarrassed with myself for quoting a Bieber song in the title, but we'll all just have to deal with it. I have successfully returned to San Francisco, after a v. long day of continuing to be my alter ego, followed by reverting swiftly to my real identity so that I could spend some time with an old boss, followed by sitting in DFW airport and talking to strangers because my flight was delayed.

But first things first...I actually made it to breakfast on time this morning, and discovered that Sarah MacLean and Eloisa James were sitting at my table, which was super fun and surprising. The breakfast itself was utterly ridiculous for reasons that I won't go into in a semi-public forum (okay, one reason: the author who hosted the entire breakfast did a Q&A that ended up revolving around her own sex life, which made me incredibly uncomfortable). But I had an awesome time at the conference, and I'm invited back for next year, so I'll have to figure out my conference schedule and see whether it makes sense to go again or try somewhere new.

Post conference, I finished packing, then drove to another side of Dallas to hang out with Laura for a few hours. She was a director in my group way back in 2007/2008 (the one who was really into crafting), but her family lives in Dallas (although she's now working in San Antonio and going back to Dallas on the weekends). It was so great to see her and get to catch up, since it had been over a year since I had seen her; she seems to be doing well, and her son is applying to colleges, which is hard to believe. They sent me on my way around 4:30, and I successfully got to DFW, returned my rental car, got to the airport...and discovered my flight was delayed by an hour. Boo. So I had enchiladas and a couple of margaritas at a cantina type place in the airport, where I befriended a guy in the oil industry who was flying back to Alaska tonight. Then I grabbed a latte, talked to my parents for awhile, and then had a v. uneventful flight back to San Francisco. And now, alas, I should sleep; I know I say this every day, but tomorrow really does need to be all about the writing. Goodnight!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

maybe i'm just in love when you wake me up

I'm super tired, but I had an awesome day at this conference despite the fact that it's two hours ahead of California and I believe we've already established (exhibit: everything) that I'm not a morning person. But I had a v. enjoyable day despite that, and I even wrote a page of Nick and Ellie's story, which was unexpected but v. welcome. I had to hang out in the 'author lounge' for an hour in the morning, where I sat at a table with other readers and writers and discussed books, which is always fun. Then I had lunch at a table with some v. fun writers; the conference served tex-mex, which as far as I can tell just means that everything is smothered in cheese (change we can all get behind). Eloisa James was the featured author, but she did a q&a instead of a keynote, which was great to hear.

After lunch, I hid in my room for a bit because I needed a break, but then I had a panel with Sarah MacLean (love her!) and Connie Cox (a contemporary writer whom I've never read, but that's not surprising since I don't really read contemporary). It was all about naming characters, a topic I didn't really have enough thoughts on to fill an entire hour, but the attendees seemed to enjoy it anyway. After the panel, Sarah and I walked down the street to Starbucks, then came back to the hotel and wrote (and talked) in the lobby until it was time for the book signing. I actually sold a few books to people, and had a couple of people come up to me and say that they'd read and loved my books already, which was kind of squee-worthy - it's still incredibly bizarre to have that happen, and I don't know how to handle it (or how to sign my name, since ending a signature with a 'y' is so different than ending with an 'r'). But even though I'm a baby author compared to a lot of the people here, it all feels more real at events like this - so that was fun.

Post-signing, I freshened up and then went out to dinner with Sarah, Eloisa James, Lauren Willig, and four readers we invited to come along with us. Sarah had invited me to this dinner, and told me to bring a reader, so I snagged one of the women I sat with last night, and we all had a fabulous time over more tex-mex (chicken enchiladas smothered in shredded cheese and cheese sauce for me, plus appetizers for the table that involved smothered french fries and smothered nachos). We made it back to the hotel just in time for the bachelor auction (ridic) and costume contest (also ridic), where I hung out with some new writer friends and was incredibly entertained by a major historical romance writer who is probably my mom's age and yet knew all the words and some awesome dance moves to apply to the seminal Lil Jon/LMFAO song "Shots". And now I'm suddenly out of energy, and I have to get up earlier than I had planned tomorrow because it turns out my attendance is required at breakfast, which is a travesty that I will disallow if I ever become a big enough deal to dictate my schedule at these things. A girl can dream. Goodnight!

Friday, November 09, 2012

girl, you really got me now, you got me so i don't know what i'm doin'

First, can I say that I wish writing a romance novel was as easy as writing the lyrics to "You Really Got Me" by Van Halen. I mean, even "Jump" is a lyrical masterpiece compared to that. If only I could repeat a chapter or two over and over again and sell it as a finished book...but alas, I cannot.

sssanyway, I'm still in Dallas, and I accomplished everything I set out to do today (other than finishing my book, which ain't happening this weekend). I got some sleep, checked in with the people for the conference and dropped off a bunch of those #&@%ing excerpt booklets that have been the bane of my existence for the past four months so that they could put them in the goody bags for the conference attendees, and then had lunch at an awesome French bistro nearby that one of the conference coordinators recommended to me. Their roast chicken was great, as were the fries, and I drafted a bit of the next scene of zee romance novel while drinking diet coke and enjoying life.

After lunch, I enjoyed life a little too hard by going across the street to Anthropologie and buying an utterly ridiculous coat that I should probably take back (but I know I won't, because it's the most awesome thing I've ever worn). Then I went to the gift store next to it and bought scented votives and a basket and some organza bags for the favors I'm giving out at my luncheon table tomorrow, and then I went to the fancy grocery store in the same shopping center to get tea and hot chocolate for the same basket. My basket ended up super cute - a copy of each of my books, the tea/hot chocolate, and the votives/candleholders. Yes, this is my life now.

I spent the rest of the afternoon working, but I rallied in time to go to the welcome reception/dinner/general hangout, where I sat with a fun table of people and ended up eating pizza that I shouldn't have eaten because I wasn't hungry enough to eat dinner at five p.m. and then thing unexpectedly went until ten p.m. rather than ending at 7:30 like I had expected. Still, it was fun, and I'm excited for tomorrow. Speaking of tomorrow, though, I should really sleep so that I can wake up in time to blowdry my hair - this is Texas, after all, and I'm not sure I'm allowed to show my face in public with wet hair. Goodnight!

Thursday, November 08, 2012

it's not a homeless life for me

I have arrived in Dallas, where I shall spend the next couple of days being Sara Ramsey. Luckily, I remembered my alter ego when I ran into some bloggers in the elevator and had to introduce myself - they said I looked familiar and recognized my name immediately, and when they said which blog they write for I knew who they were, so that was kind of fun. I'm by no means famous, but it's totally crazy to run into people who have read my stuff, so I'm feeling good about life (even if I need to work on Nick and Ellie in every free moment this weekend).

Anyway, my trip was uneventful, albeit annoying; traffic was bad on the way to the airport and the security line was longer than usual, so instead of having all sorts of extra time to eat breakfast, I had just enough time to get a coffee and a takeout container of scrambled eggs before they were calling final boarding. But my flight was only half full, so there was an empty seat between me and the window guy, which was v. conducive to getting some work done. I got to Dallas around 4pm, retrieved my bags (protip: two suitcases full of books are pretty heavy), and took the shuttle to the rental car location...which must be on the Rio Grande or some shit, because it took like half an hour to get there. Then I drove through rush hour (not advised) to my hotel, which is lovely - it's amazing how big the rooms in a Hilton Garden Inn can be when it's Texas instead of the Bay Area.

By the time I dragged my stuff upstairs and sent a couple of emails, I realized that the only things I'd eaten during the day were those scrambled eggs and some Fritos, so I was suddenly ravenous. I used Yelp and found a Mexican restaurant nearby, which was totally delicious - I love seeing how different 'Mexican' food is in different parts of the country, and this was certainly different than the bay area. Their salsas were tasty, although I didn't care for the avocado/sour cream one (odd, since I'm all about sour cream). And both enchiladas were good; the salsa verde one was a little bit more vinegary than the salsa verde I usually get at Fiesta del Mar, but the sour cream sauce on the second enchilada was something that I could have eaten forever. After becoming stuffed just as rapidly as I had become ravenous earlier, I came back to the hotel, hung up all my clothes, took care of some tings (not to be confused with things) online, and am now going to go to bed at the ridiculously early hour of 10:30pm (8:30pm on the west coast) to try to make up last night's sleep deficit before the conference starts. Goodnight!