Tuesday, January 31, 2012

want you to make me feel like i'm the only girl in the world

I'm going to shut off the internet and write until I fall asleep (which may be sooner rather than later), but I don't want to leave you without a blog post, since I know I'm sooooo interesting. I got a lot done today, which was v. necessary, although some of it was more administrative than actual writing -- keeping on top of everything that's going on is a struggle, but hey, I love me a struggle. And it gives me an excuse to overcaffeinate (not like I need one).

Anyway, I'm rambling. Today was good, with lots of productivity, even if I subsisted on scrambled eggs, coffee, and trail mix, and didn't shower or get dressed until almost five p.m. I probably wouldn't have showered at all, but I'd agreed to do family time dinner with Priyanka/Adit/Katrina in celebration of the end of Priyanka's latest awful two-month nonstop residency rotation and the launch of my beloved book. So I went over to Adit and Priyanka's around seven, drank a few sips of wine (contrary to Alyssa's wishes, but then again, she probably wishes I would live on coffee and trail mix either), and then we all walked to Eiji Sushi for dinner. The food was fantastic; I'd been craving sushi, but the Marina isn't a hotbed of fine sushi dining, so this was exactly what I wanted. Katrina and I split a lot of fish goodness, while Adit and Priyanka confined themselves to the few vegetarian things on the menu, and we generally had a delightful time.

When we were done with dinner, I declined the offer of more wine, drove Katrina home, and then came back here and watched some "Big Bang Theory" with Terry. Then I wasted the last hour trying to gear myself up to write and instead taking care of email and obsessively checking out my Barnes and Noble rankings, because I can't stop checking them. While Heiress is not quite as low as it had gotten on Saturday (currently 214; the lowest I saw it reach was 94), it's still doing remarkably well, and I'm relieved that it's sticking around at the top of the historical/regency lists. Tuesday is traditionally the day when all the new releases hit, which means any preorders for new books are fulfilled today, which means it's natural that my book would take a hit as new books show up. But, fingers crossed that we'll weather this wave and keep doing well for another week or two...and then the fun starts all over again when I need to do some promo pushing to launch it successfully onto the Kindle and in paperback.

But that's all a fight for another day...and while that day is coming quickly, the day when I need to finish Malcolm and Amelia is much sooner. I'm just praying that I've actually made it better and haven't utterly ruined it, but we'll see. And on that utterly non-cheery note, goodnight!

Monday, January 30, 2012

the angel from my nightmare

It's still relatively early for me, but I'm going to go to bed v. soon -- I'm too tired to write, but as that's all I should be doing right now, I'm going to sleep and hit it hard tomorrow. The end is in sight with Malcolm and Amelia, and I'm trying desperately to get to the end (or at least the first version of it) by the weekend...so no fun for me this week.

I made it down to train with Alyssa this morning, although I was late because traffic was inexplicably backed up (boo). After training, I had a salad at the gym, took care of some email/promo stuff, and then went to Philz to work for a couple of hours over some delicious, v. caffeinated coffee. Then I adjourned to Starbucks and worked some more, with the intention of meeting up for dinner with some friends at 5:30, but both the friends canceled. That unfortunately left me stuck in the south bay at rush hour, and so I grabbed food at Chipotle and then went to Stanford library and wrote until 8:15ish. Once traffic subsided, I came home, but as I accomplished v. little upon arrival, perhaps I should have stayed at the library. Oops.

Anyway, that's all I have to report; Heiress continues to do v. well, but that's beginning to sound like a broken record, so I shall spare you my excitement (even though I'm really v. excited). Perhaps tomorrow will be more interesting for you -- but given my hermit ways, I doubt it. Goodnight!

there's a side to you that i never knew, never knew

My contacts are adhering to my eyes and I'm having trouble typing, but this time it has nothing to do with alcohol and everything to do with the fact that I've worked almost nonstop for the past twelve hours. I would probably keep going if I didn't have to go down to Palo Alto tomorrow morning -- stupid Palo Alto. But I need to sleep if I'm going to survive the morning, so sleep it is.

I will admit that I was not in peak physical condition this morning; I was surly and sullen, as I usually am the morning after an evening that ends in shots, and it took awhile to un-surly myself. A bubble bath helped, and then I fortified myself further by going out for huevos rancheros, which set me right as rain. When I got home, I wrote all afternoon/evening, with a break to call my parents; they were in fine form, even if we're all equally obsessed with checking my Barnes and Noble rankings (which I'm getting slightly less obsessed about -- I was able to work a whole hour at a time without checking, which is nothing short of miraculous). I took another hour off sometime around 7:30 to eat some non-Alyssa-approved gluten free pizza with Terry, since neither of us felt like cooking and I was sick of the leftover stirfry in the fridge. Then I came upstairs, answered a lot of email, plowed through a lot of stuff on my to-do list, and wrote a guest blog post for a blog I'm appearing on on Tuesday. Good times all around, right?

And now, alas, it's bedtime. Goodnight!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

set fire to the rain

I'll own up right now to the fact that I'm intoxicated, so that you don't have to wait until the very end of the post to find out what I got up to tonight. I know, I spoil you. You can thank me later.

Anyway, I had a lovely day -- not enough writing got done, but as it's currently impossible to get enough writing done no matter how much I do, perhaps I should forgive myself. I did make myself some delicious eggs for breakfast, and I cleaned the kitchen and my room, and I took care of some email stuff, and I did a little bit of writing. Then I spent an inordinate amount of time getting ready for dinner, since I basically spent the entire last week in my sweats -- any chance I get to dress up these days is one I embrace with open arms, so I pulled out a cute top and slathered on the makeup even though it was almost certainly wasted on the friends I was going out with, since I've known them longer than I've known anyone except my family/hometown peeps.

But before dinner, I went to Four Barrel Coffee at 14th and Valencia; I decided to go to that neighborhood and hour early and write, since I was worried I would have cab troubles, and the plan was a solid one. Four Barrel was still a hipster scene even at six p.m., but it was less of a scene than usual, and I was able to get a latte with no line and a table without a wait, so it was a totally amazing experience. Then I strolled up the block to Mission Beach Cafe, where Chris, Connie, Adit and I had a reservation for dinner. Mission Beach Cafe is awesome for brunch, but it is a complete and utter scene then, with a 1-2hr wait; at dinner, it's still a scene, but it's a more mellow scene since they take reservations and there isn't a crush of people outside waiting to get in. It's definitely on the nicer side of where I usually go, but the food and ambience are amazing. Boyd and I are both on the no-gluten train, so he got a porkchop and I got steak; I loved my steak, but I tasted his chop and have to admit that he won the meat sweepstakes tonight. Adit and Connie both got a goat cheese ravioli, which I didn't try, and a mushroom soup that was outstanding. And we split two bottles of wine, which left us feeling warm and happy.

Unwilling for the fun to end, we walked up the street to 14th and Market (where Adit and I used to live) and had another drink at a bar there -- I once again made my classic mistake of picking based on name, and so I drank a cocktail called RIDING WITH DEATH, which involved tequila, which is all you need to know. It was better than I deserved, but still added a rough edge to my wine buzz. After we finished there, Chris and Connie went back to the glorious south bay, and I walked with Adit in the direction of a house party. I didn't intend to go in, but once I got there I couldn't say no, and so I went up with him. As it turns out, the house party was hosted by the boyfriend of my college friend Pavithra, who was on staff with me/Allie/Walter in an auxiliary/non-RA role, and whom I don't think I've seen since graduation. So that was surreal, and we spent some quality time catching up. The night ended the way all my nights with Adit end -- we did a completely unnecessary shot, this time of Fernet, before he helped me find a cab home. He was continuing on to another party, but since it was already 1:30am and I need to sober up if I'm going to write tomorrow, it was time to call it a night.

So now I must go to sleep, so that I can write tomorrow -- demand for the second book should be decent if people liked the first book, and I must must must finish it. Heiress is still doing amazingly well...it's up to #28 in all romance / #7 in historical romance / #4 in Regency, and it's #69 in the Nook Top 100 (across all genres), so that's absolutely incredible. I really can't believe it's doing so well -- I had faith in it, but this has exceeded all my hopes and expectations, so thank you to those of you who've bought it/recommended it to friends/not sabotaged me. You're the best!

And now I must sleep so that I can wake up and write a book. Goodnight!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

and the games you play...you would always win, always win

Heiress is still holding steady at #6 in Regency/#12 in Historical/#50 in all romance, which is awesome and unexpected; if anything, it's doing better today than it was yesterday, although I don't know for sure since I don't have the actual number of copies sold (but its overall ranking dropped from 350 to 250 over the course of the day). It's all a little surreal -- while I certainly had high hopes, I had schooled myself to expect that this book would probably go nowhere and would end up selling the bulk of its copies months/years from now as future books started to take off. So obviously, I'm super psyched, but I keep waiting for the ratings to taper off like they're supposed to. On the other hand, I have more promo planned for the next few weeks than I did this week, and B&N is supposed to do more stuff as well, so...well, we'll see what happens! But thanks to all of you who have told your romance reading friends and family about it -- every little bit helps in terms of getting it to the point in the rankings where strangers can discover it, so all of you who've facebooked/google+'d/emailed, etc., are very much appreciated!

sssanyway, today was good; I was slightly late to train with Alyssa, but my workout was v. good and I'd had a good week of obeying her dictums overall, so it was all very pleasant. Then I took an absurdly quick shower, grabbed a smoothie from the gym cafe, and got a massage. I'd prepaid for a set of three massages sometime last summer (when they had a deal to prepay for 50mins and get 80mins), and had somehow never used them, so I decided to celebrate my book's success with a massage. Sadly, while the masseuse got a lot of the tension out of my back, I'm pretty sure she bruised me in the process, so hopefully it all feels better tomorrow.

Post-massage, I went to Philz and worked for a couple of hours -- partly promo (which basically means wasting time on Twitter, although I must say that my time-wasting on Twitter seems to be paying off), and partly writing several pages of Malcolm and Amelia's story. I was also distracted by an odd chick who insisted on putting out a lot of 'free origami' on the game/book shelves that were six inches behind my seat, which required her to rearrange a lot of stuff so that her origami had room to be displayed, and it was all extremely awkward. Then I grabbed dinner at Chipotle (not entirely Alyssa approved...shh) and went to Stanford library, where I wrote another few pages before coming home. Since I'm in extreme crunch mode and could neither afford to take tonight off nor be hungover and useless tomorrow, I skipped a friend's birthday party -- bad Sara. But hopefully I'll finish this damn book next week and can then play as much as I want to.

And now I must go to bed, so I can do everything (sans workout/massage/bruising) again tomorrow. Goodnight!

Friday, January 27, 2012

smoke on the water

Today was lovely. Heiress stayed steady in the rankings all day, which was great because the ranking is good, but bad because I wasted a lot of time refreshing the Barnes and Noble page whenever I thought about it (which was probably more often than a dude thinks of sex), only to find that nothing had really changed. It's still #6 in Regency / #13 in Historical, which is epically satisfying, particularly since the only books ahead of it are either by super famous authors or are priced at <$1.99 (or both). I don't know how long this will last, and even at rankings that good I'm not selling enough copies to retire (retire from retirement? didn't know that was possible), but it's pretty awesome while it lasts.

Beyond that, I tried to stop obsessing long enough to write, and I managed to eke out eight pages, which I will totally take. I'm getting closer to the end, but this weekend needs to be massive. I went back to my tried and true tactic of writing longhand, which was even more useful today because it meant I couldn't just break my train of thought every three minutes to check Barnes and Noble. And rather than carrying around a giant, daunting notebook full of blank pages, I made a special notebook with ~15 pages in it so that I could feel like I was making obvious progress with every page I filled. The tactic was successful, and I wrote a scorcher of a scene, so yay for me. I also discovered my new favorite place to work -- it's called Readers Cafe, it's in Fort Mason, it serves Blue Bottle Coffee, and it's attached to (and the proceeds go to) the used bookstore run by the Friends of San Francisco Public Library. It's like it was made for me! And it wasn't crowded, given that it's in the middle of Fort Mason and not heavily advertised/obvious. And it was nice to walk down there and back and clear my head. And I was able to stop at Safeway on the way home and buy some shrimp, which I threw into a stirfry and devoured when I got home. So yay to all of that.

Boo to my social life, though, which is suffering as a result of my art (which sounds better than suffering as a result of my procrastination, which has thrown me into a crunch time)...it sounded like Priyanka wanted to hang out this afternoon and I couldn't, and I barely talked to Terry today even though she worked from home and was here all night. But hopefully I'll finish Malcolm/Amelia soon so that I never have to read them again and can focus on other things, like friends and Ellie/Nick and the gargoyles (remember the gargoyles? it would be awesome if I could ever finish them...). And now I shall go to bed, since I have to drive down to Palo Alto and train with Alyssa tomorrow before hitting the book hard in the afternoon. Goodnight!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

hike up your skirt a little more and show the world to me

So I'm still obsessing over numbers to the detriment of finishing Malcolm and Amelia, which needs to stop immediately because they're theoretically coming out in March (not theoretically -- definitely, since I'm putting it in all the promo I'm doing for Madeleine/Ferguson and I don't want to look like a flaky unprofessional loser), which means I should probably be done in the next ten days so that they can get formatted and proofread, etc., etc. Shoot me. But before you shoot me, the awesome thing about being obsessed with the numbers today was that the numbers were great. As of right now, HEIRESS is #65 in the Nook store for all romance, #14 for historical romance, and #6 for Regency romance!

I don't actually know how many books I sold to get those numbers -- it's clearly based on velocity of sales, not just number, and so maybe I sold five books while everyone else sold nothing and that catapulted me up in the charts. But either way, this is awesome, since it means my book is very easy to find for people browsing the top romances in my categories. And hopefully a few of them will love the book and want to read the next one, but we shall see.

So I took care of a variety of promo stuff this morning, talked to my dad, and obsessed over the numbers, before finally going out and having breakfast at a cafe since I was clearly too excited to cook oatmeal for myself. I had huevos rancheros at the cafe down the street (yum), then went to Sephora and used my aunt's giftcard (thanks aunt b!) to buy some high-powered hand cream for my desiccated typing hands. Then I came home, did some more stuff for my publicist, obsessed over the numbers, tried to write, didn't write as much as I should have, talked to Katie, obsessed, talked to my mom, obsessed some more, wrote a bit, obsessed, and finally decided to cook supper. The leftover steak from last night was the highlight of my dinner, but I made a stirfry with broccoli/red pepper/onion/green beans/coconut oil that wasn't bad, just boring. Then I tried to write again, but instead updated my romance website with a bit about where I'm going to visit this year and where I've got guest blog posts coming up. Fun, right?

Tomorrow I think I'm going to leave my computer at home and go someplace to write in my notebook, since clearly I can accomplish nothing when the internet lets me check my ranking all the time. After all, it's all well and good if this book does really well, but it ain't exactly "To Kill a Mockingbird", so it's important that I publish more than one book in my life. And on that note I'm going to bed -- goodnight!

[edited on 1/26 at 11:48am PST to add...]

Here's where you can see the book on Barnes and Noble's rankings by category:

Regency romance: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s?CAT=666294&sort=sa&view=grid&store=ebook

Historical romance: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s?CAT=914217&sort=sa&view=grid&store=ebook

All romance (typically on the third page right now, if you're looking at 30/page): http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s?dref=2565&srt=sa&store=ebook&sze=10&view=grid

pick up the receiver i'll make you a believer

I should have gone to bed ages ago, but I procrastinated after getting home from the glorious south bay, and I had a bit of promo-related stuff that had to be done tonight. Today was, on the whole, quite nice. I woke up this morning and was disappointed to see that my book's sales ranking hadn't improved significantly yesterday, even though yesterday was the official launch, and so I drove south in a slightly surly mood. But, training with Alyssa was good (even if she did work out my upper body to the point that everything now aches as though I'm getting the flu), and I showered after and went to Joanie's Cafe for a celebratory Cobb salad. I then spent the afternoon working in a variety of cafes, with marginal success; I tried going to Stanford library but couldn't find parking, so I took part in the cafe scene instead, which was somewhat annoying today.

I would have just come home after working out, but I had dinner plans in Palo Alto. It was my semi-regular Friendship Renewal dinner with Tolu, Joann, and Jane, and we went to Reposado, which was as tasty and classy as it was overpriced. But my skirt steak really was absolute perfection, and the tamale I split with Tolu was great even though my stomach seems to be indicating that there was some gluten somewhere in my meal. So we all caught up for a couple of hours, and they gave me a little mini chocolate gluten-free cake thingie with a little congratulations sign, which was super cute.

When I got home, I messed around on the internet, answered email, took care of some giveaway stuff, and brainstormed a blog post for a guest blog that I'm doing on Thursday. I kept refreshing the stats on B&N even though I didn't expect anything to change -- and at first I thought it was a typo when I noticed that my ranking was in the 800s rather than the 32000s. It must not be, though, since my book is now #12 in Regency romance and #38 in historical romance!! This is exactly the kind of progress I want to be making -- it's really key to get into the top rankings in your category, since readers browsing for new books are much more likely to stumble across it, which then becomes a virtuous cycle that should keep your book selling for awhile. We'll see tomorrow -- it could all just be a fluke, but I hope not.

I probably won't keep sharing numbers here in the long term; you can expect me to go back to my regularly scheduled drivel soon. But since this is all publicly available on B&N, and since I'm too damned excited to shut up about it, you'll have to bear with me this week. You've borne with worse drivel than this and kept coming back, so I live in hope that you'll forgive me for this too. Goodnight!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

it's so romantic on the borderline tonight

Today went about as well as I could have hoped for it to go -- I don't have any sales numbers for today, but at least I had fun, right? I was extremely active on Twitter, which seems to be paying off, since I've got over seven hundred followers now, which seems absurd given that I just tweet about nothing. But everyone that I've gotten to know in the romance community was v. congratulatory, which was sweet. And I got a four-star review from Romantic Times, which is the industry magazine that has reviews of all the major debuts every month, so that was totally awesome.

I spent the whole day being crazy in the same sweats I've been wearing for several days, but I eventually showered and retinseled my hair in an effort to look sane (yes, I know, tinsel in hair isn't an obvious indicator of sanity, but c'est la vie). Chandlord had sent out an email last week saying that we should get together tonight to celebrate my debut, which was totally awesome of her. It ended up being a book club after dark/after hours/between the sheets (we didn't settle on a specific name), since the only people able to get together were Chandlord/Katrina/Terry/Subz (aka Lauren), and Adit showed up when we went to a bar. Chandlord made the book club after dark a couple of cocktails each (except for Terry, who had to leave for NYC straight after the party), which were all strong and delicious, and then we met Adit at Olive (after walking past a pack of cigarettes lying in a puddle of blood, which is par for the course in the Tenderloin), where I had another drink and a half. Lauren had to leave relatively early since she's training with Alyssa at seven (I have four extra hours to recover, yay), and Katrina and Adit left at the same time. Chandlord and I went back to the Chandlord condo and watched some "Mr. and Mrs. Smith" on tv, but when Chandlord fell asleep at midnight, I left her and walked home. I watched the rest of the movie, though, which I have a strange, guilty affinity for -- don't judge. And now, it's time for bed -- goodnight!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

look how they shine for you

My book is technically already out, and has been for a week, but I still feel nervous and giddy about tomorrow, like it's the first day of school, graduation, and my wedding all wrapped into one. It's the culmination of so many things, the peak after years of effort -- but it's also the start of everything, the first step toward what I hope is a lifetime of writing success. I don't know what it will hold; my goal for the first year is to produce enough books and sell enough of them to be able to keep doing this full-time, and it's theoretically possible even though it will be a lot of hard work. Still, I'm excited, and if nothing else, it's great that my family and friends have been so supportive. So yay to all of you!

Today was the calm before the storm. I succeeded in writing a few pages of Malcolm and Amelia's book, even though I kept getting distracted by checking stats. I talked to my parents for an hour, [censored] for half an hour, and my aunt for a few minutes (in response to the comment she left on last night's post), and they were all good. I also spent too much time looking at my 23andMe information, which I just got back this week; I had bought the test a year ago and never took it, but I finally sent it in just before it expired, and I got the results back this week. [censored] and I compared results, and it turns out we are related (phew). Some of my results amused me -- for instance, it says that I'm a 'likely sprinter' (although that's based on muscle recovery, not on height/ability to walk without stumbling). It also said that I'm in the 83rd percentile for Neanderthal DNA, whatever that means. But generally, there was nothing either surprising or worrisome (and the only worrisome thing is also unsurprising, given how many of my relatives have had dementia), although I've got some cleft lip genes that my kids will have to watch out for. [censored] and I both have slightly higher than normal odds of living to be 100, so hopefully we will be antagonizing each other for many years to come.

As for the rest of the day, I have little to report. I worked on the manuscript off and on, alternating with a variety of promo stuff. I watched bits and pieces of the 49ers game, although Terry was in no state to tolerate my 'humor' by the end of it. I also made chicken pad thai for the first time ever, using the recipe from the gluten-free cookbook my parents gave me, and it turned out both extremely tasty and surprisingly quick to make. Alyssa would want me to have more vegetables, and I'll have to do a vegetable dish to go along with it next time, but for a first effort it was really good.

And now, my friends, it is time to sleep. Goodnight!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

you'd better run, better run, outrun my gun

So much for getting up early; I slept for almost eleven hours instead, which I guess I needed. I wasn't as productive today as I intended to be, since I'm still in the midst of a mild panic attack over Malcolm and Amelia, but I think I'm getting over it, and I wrote several pages tonight as a result. My day was v. hermity, though; I did some email business, I made some delicious scrambled eggs with zucchini and onions, I ate some berries, I ate some soup, and Terry and I chanced ordering a gluten-free pizza from Patxi's (verdict: pretty tasty, even if I probably would have thought cardboard was tasty after two months without pizza). I also watched some tv with Terry (last week's Once Upon a Time; last week's Project Runway; and the hundredth episode of "Big Bang Theory"), which was bad for productivity and good for my soul.

And now, I'm going to sign off abruptly and leave you without any other interesting content -- not because I'm holding back, but because there is none. Goodnight!

Friday, January 20, 2012

raining in baltimore

I know, 10:30 is ridiculously early to go to bed, particularly when there were two parties I should have gone to. But I had a long day, and I just sketched out a plan for extreme productivity over the next week, so bedtime it is. I only slept five hours last night; I woke up at 7:30, made the mistake of checking my email rather than going back to bed for another hour, and ended up wide awake and working until ten. Then I had to speed down to the south bay to train with Alyssa, who was good as usual. While I worked out, we discussed my plans for the coming year, and we ended up deciding to cut back and only train twice a week and see how that works out. I like training with her three times a week, but I hate the drive, and spending six hours in my car every week for three hours in the gym makes me really surly. So we're going to try twice a week for now, and then experiment as we go to see whether she can program workouts for me to do on my own, or maybe find a trainer friend of hers in the city who I can alternate with to cut down on my drive time. We'll see what happens; I think twice a week feels more reasonable than three times, so hopefully that's a good start.

After training, I got a smoothie and came immediately back to the city with the intention of getting groceries, then working all afternoon. Instead, by the time I got home I was in desperate need of a nap, and by the time I napped and then took care of some stuff online, it was after four p.m. So I went to the grocery store, came home, worked for a bit, and made supper -- vegetable beef soup, which is quite appropriate for the rain lashing at the windows. It turned out really well, even if it was a bigger batch than I expected, which meant I had to dump everything into a different pot halfway through. It's not exactly my mom's recipe, but it seemed pretty close, even if this recipe required V8 instead of tomato juice, and even if I threw in a leftover zucchini (a vegetable that I don't know if I've ever seen my family cook).

I did some desultory work this evening, but Malcolm and Amelia really aren't going well and it's making me really frustrated and slightly depressed. So I wrote in my journal and figured out that a lot of it is a reaction to the fact that it didn't sell, and I took that feedback too much to heart (even though there wasn't much specific to work off of -- I just second-guessed myself), and while the changes I've made are good ones that I'm happy with, they were so major that it just became a bigger and bigger endeavor. And lurking underneath it is this insidious belief that everything I write must be better than the last, which means Amelia and Malcolm must be better than Ferguson/Madeleine, which is hard to see/believe in when I'm comparing rough material to something I polished and haven't lived/bled with for the last couple of months.

So I'm going to try to calm down and just finish the end that I'm struggling with, and then go back and take a more objective view of it. But that means I need to write all weekend, do not pass go, do not collect two hundred dollars, so that I can feel accomplished enough to take some time and savor the official book launch on Monday. Luckily I have about five gallons of vegetable beef soup and a lot of caffeinated beverages in the fridge, so I can hole up and write like there's no tomorrow. Goodnight!

paperback writer

Nothing happened today that can top what I did tonight, so I'll ignore all the rest -- I just spent the day holed up in my apartment working, which isn't exciting at all. However, the exciting thing is that my wonderful Madeleine and Ferguson are now out and available on Barnes and Noble! While the official launch day is Monday, January 23, HEIRESS WITHOUT A CAUSE is actually available now. It went up a couple of days ago, but I kept it pretty quiet so that we had time to test it out and make sure there weren't any issues with the file, tags, reporting, etc. It all looks great, though, and I'm too excited to keep it to myself a moment longer.

So I sent out an email to my friends and family list twenty minutes ago saying that it was up (if you didn't get the email and want to subscribe, go here: http://eepurl.com/ifZTQ). The email included my ridiculous definitions for Regency vocab words, if you're curious. And it included as many links to the book as I could sneak into the email and still feel moderately classy (although I probably failed at that).

If you have a Nook and want to read my book, you can buy it now. If you don't have a Nook and don't want to wait for another format, you can download a Nook app for Android/iPhone/iPad/Mac/PC and then buy my book. Or, you can wait until February 23, when it will come out on Kindle, all other major e-formats, and in paperback.

And now, as excited and hyper and overcaffeinated as I am, I must get to sleep if I'm going to make it down to Palo Alto to see Alyssa tomorrow (which will not be fun -- it's raining for the first time in weeks, which means the freeway will be a treacherous morass of accidents). Thank you for putting up with my shameless self-promoting -- I'll get back to my vaguely boring posts soon, I promise. Goodnight!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

we'd keep all our promises, be us against the world

Everything feels like the calm before the storm right now...the first book is ready to go, I'm attempting to work on the second one, and I'm lining up all my eggs/ducks/whatever for promo for the next few weeks. But right now it's all heady promises and dreams of success -- until Monday, I can believe anything I want to about my chances for success, and so I'm trying to enjoy the feeling while it lasts without getting myself too excited.

So I drove down to Palo Alto and trained with Alyssa, who forgave me for being to hungover to see her on Monday, which was awfully kind of her. Then I ate a smoothie while sitting in the lobby and playing on my ipad; then I went to Philz and drank a coffee while figuring out my promo schedule for the next few weeks; then I went to Printers Ink and answered email while drinking a strawberry soda. Basically I just move around Palo Alto looking for new places to sit every couple of hours, which is always fun. I stuck around there because I had dinner plans with Heather (aka dear respected madam) at 5:30 so that we could catch up on all the things we couldn't discuss during Sunday's dinner party (namely romance novels), so it was great to see her again. I had intended to go to Stanford library after, but by the time we finished it was eight p.m., and so I decided to come home, take care of some desultory business, and throw in the towel.

Sorry this is extremely boring -- my brain is totally done for the day. Goodnight!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

sudoku ain't gonna do itself

This morning kicked off with an early surprise, when I got a call at nine a.m. for a package delivery -- turns out that Aunt B and the scandalous uncle had sent me a bottle of champagne to celebrate my upcoming book release, which was totally lovely of them. I must hide it so that I don't accidentally open it at the end of a drunken binge, thus wasting it at the end of a night rather than savoring it at the beginning of one. Picking up the package was the only time I left the house today; I spent the rest of it chained to my desk, alternating between writing Malcolm/Amelia and obsessing over Ferguson/Madeleine's launch (you can guess which of those got more of my attention vs. which I should have spent more time on). I did take a break in the middle of the day to make lunch, which was simple and delish -- scrambled eggs with zucchini, onions, basil and thyme. Yum.

By seven, though, I couldn't stare at my computer any longer, so I decided to take a break and start a book while eating supper (leftover boeuf bourguignon). And I knew in my heart of hearts that I would finish the whole book, but I did it anyway -- I devoured Kresley Cole's latest release, LOTHAIRE, which I'd been looking forward to for years (months since the last release, but years since it became clear he was going to have his own book). I wanted to read it before my next encounter with Heather so that we could debrief together, since she's reading it right now too, and since it came out almost a week ago, my forbearance has been astonishing. And really, I loved it; there were bits that I didn't love, and for once I almost thought a book was too long, but all in all I thought it was possibly her strongest book in ages, and definitely worth the wait.

And now that I've answered email and obsessed some more, I should go to bed; I have to go down to Palo Alto in the morning, and since I don't have a hangover to stop me, I should probably get some sleep. Goodnight!

Monday, January 16, 2012

missouri loves company

Yeah, so this morning was just as rough as I deserved. I skipped my training session with Alyssa, since I was in no shape to either drive to Palo Alto or work out when I got there. Instead, I laid in bed for awhile and enjoyed the spins. I had to get up, though, because Durand had left his phone here last night, and when I got in touch with him via email to arrange its safe return, he invited me over for brunch. Clever of him, since that meant I had to drive to Diamond Heights, but since the food was great and his place is amazing, it wasn't really a sacrifice. He was feeling just as beat as I was; that bottle of Bombay Sapphire that I mentioned polishing off in last night's post was only split between me, Durand, and Salim, although Durand and I also played our part toward the five bottles of wine and the final, epically stupid bottle of champagne. But he made some delicious scrambled eggs, bacon, ramekins with raspberries, and gorgeous little salads with greens, heirloom tomato, and avocado -- while I cooking gigantic vats of food and serve it all up family style, he goes for a modern, minimalist, plated approach, and it was all wonderful. It also fits his apartment; while he's waiting for all the furniture he ordered and so we had to sit on the floor, you can tell that the space is going to be fantastic. It's up in one of the highest neighborhoods in the city, and he has a gorgeous panoramic view of San Francisco in a space that feels oddly like a modern ski chalet/loft. So it was cool to see that, and the eggs went a long way toward restoring my vitality.

After leaving Durand, I came home, parked my car, and went for a walk (since Alyssa ordered me to get some exercise to make up for skipping training). I walked around Fort Mason, etc., for an hour, which was totally gorgeous even if it was pretty brisk today. While walking, I talked to my parents, who were in good spirits even though they both had colds. Then I came home, meant to get some writing done, and basically spent all afternoon/evening obsessing over the book that's coming out, the visitor stats on my website, and other silly things that I need to just ignore. I also cleaned up the kitchen and dining room from last night's debacle, which wasn't all that hard. I exchanged texts with Drewbaby, since I completely forgot that yesterday was the 15th and so forgot to wish him a happy birthday (happy birthday, Drewbaby!). I talked to my aunt, since I thought she'd gotten some personalized corkscrews someplace and I'm trying to come up with possible giveaway/prize/swag stuff, but I was mistaken (although she did have a great idea to do some personalized tea canisters). And, [censored] called me tonight to say that he had [censored], which amused and touched me.

I spent the remainder of the night making a list of Regency-era words that I'm going to send out the (ridiculous) definitions for when I announce my book release to my friends and family mailing list, which should be fun. If you'd like to subscribe to the friends and family list, click here -- you'll get an occasional email when I have a book coming out, and I will try to make them entertaining. But now, I really need to sleep -- my hangover almost, almost disappeared, and then suddenly shifted into a massive headache, so I think I need to sleep. Goodnight!

what's up with bitches and henna

I can barely see straight, which is not an auspicious start to Monday. Today was extremely hectic, since I was trying to prepare for an ultimate dinner party -- but it all came together swimmingly, and really, what matters to everyone is the company and the alcohol, and I had both of those in spades.

I spent the morning/afternoon grocery shopping/cooking/working on romance novel stuff, and it all came together just as Heather/Salim/Durand arrived around five p.m. So they hung out while I finished preparing dinner; luckily, they brought alcohol with them, so entertaining was no problem. Jenni showed up around six, which was the stated time; Lauren (my old manager, who gave me a review on a plane trip to India, if that helps you to place her) showed up at 6:45, just as I was starting to mash the potatoes.

And I can't possibly replicate what happened over the next few hours, unless we all want to get arrested/fired, but I think we all laughed harder than we have in ages, and it was truly a magical experience. We all spent months/years in India, which meant we had tons in common even if we didn't overlap, and we're all friends anyway, so it was a truly hysterical night. If you care about metrics, we also went through four bottles of wine, a bottle of Bombay Sapphire, and a bottle of champagne, which, spread across six people, is a fucking shitload. So, the chances of me making it down to Palo Alto to train with Alyssa tomorrow morning (who probably doesn't know that Bombay Sapphire = gin, bless her soul) are slim to none.

Most of my friend left between eleven p.m. and midnight, although one friend (who shall remain nameless to protect the innocent) is passed out downstairs. And now I shall go to sleep, and hopefully dream of repeating this all again someday, even if I do have to go through the hoops of making boeuf bourguignon and creme brulee (which turned out amazingly, btw). Goodnight!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

you better run for the hills before they burn

Too much work, not enough time...but today was lovely, even if I am way underwater on everything. I woke up at seven and dragged myself to the dirty east bay for a board meeting for the San Francisco romance chapter before the main meeting; luckily we don't have to have a board meeting every time, although since I'm organizing the speakers I'll probably have to show up more than five minutes before the meetings start. Anyway, the meeting went really well; no thanks to me since I didn't book the speaker, but I did get to intro him and then try to pump people up for the next couple of months, since attendance today was a new record compared to every meeting I've been to in the past two years. Obviously people are super keen to hear about CreateSpace/Amazon and everything they can do for authors, so the place was packed. After, I had lunch with Tina, Grace, Bella, Carolyn, and people farther down the table whom I didn't get a chance to talk to. So that was all v. nice, even if it meant that I didn't get home until 2:30.

Upon getting home, I promptly fell into bed and took a nap. When I woke up, I did some stuff online, then threw my sheets in the wash so I wouldn't be tempted to crawl back into bed. Then, I spent the next several hours cleaning the kitchen and dining room and figuring out what I'm going to make tomorrow. I'm having friends over for dinner (aka supper), and since they haven't seen the place before, I wanted it to look nice. So I made some chili, and while that was cooking, I got myself organized. I also spent some quality time outside, sitting on the edge of the courtyard fountain; my next door neighbors had people over for dinner, and they burned something so badly that it set off the fire alarms in the entire complex, and the fire alarms continued to go off until the fire department came. The fire department was there within 5-7 minutes, though, so that's a good thing. And better the neighbors than me -- I made sure to throw them under the bus early and often to everyone who asked if I knew where the fire was, since I didn't want them to think that I had anything to do with it.

So everything is clean that needs to be clean, and I have a meal plan for tomorrow, so I think everything will be good. And now I'm going to go to sleep; I should stay up and finish this interview (written/online) that I'm doing for a friend's historical romance blog, but I'm going to sleep and hope that I'm wittier/funnier/better tomorrow morning. Goodnight!

Friday, January 13, 2012

east bay = beast bay

Today was long, somewhat productive, and ultimately utterly ridiculous. I dragged myself out of bed at 9:30, which wasn't really early enough to gather myself into some semblance of order and stumble out the door, but I made it in time for my training session with Alyssa. She didn't torture me too badly, although that's all relative; also, compared to all the people training around me, I felt like I was being handfed grapes while being fanned by a bunch of young/dumb/hung men -- my training schedule seems to overlap with the time when a bunch of the trainers take their breaks and do their own workouts, which means that while I'm doing my measly lunges and stretches and squats, they're performing superhuman feats of strength without batting an eyelash. Sigh.

sssanyway, after working out, I showered and took a bit more time than usual with my appearance, since I was meeting with some romance business people tonight and didn't want to look crazed/slovenly like I have been the past couple of weeks. This may have been a mistake, as we shall see. Then, I went to Joanie's and had some eggs while catching up on email, and then I drove to the dirty, dirty east bay so that I could beat rush hour/holiday weekend traffic, since my dinner tonight was in Emeryville. I went to Target first and stocked up on some necessary items (including emergency glowsticks (in case of emergency, not in case of emergency rave)), and then I hung out in Emeryville. First up was Williams Sonoma, where I got some butane for my fancy new creme brulee torch. Second stop was a bookstore/coffee shop, where I intended to write for a couple of hours before dinner.

I wrote about four pages, but it might have been twice that had I not accidentally befriended the security guard. In yet another odd occurrence that only seems to happen to me, I was friendly to the guy initially because he helped me find a table (the first coffee shop I've ever been to where they have a seating expediter), and my initial friendliness, combined with making too much eye contact because I tend to look around a lot while writing and so kept inadvertently looking at him, ended up making us fast friends. Or something. It was all fine at first, and then I found out that he was a painter in addition to being a security guard, which was interesting. However, I never would have ever gone on a date with him; I was just being friendly, since I figured he doesn't get a lot of friendly people. But it all took a strange left turn when he came back from somewhere with a tin foil packet containing two eggroll-like things and insisted that I eat one of them. He wouldn't take no for an answer since it's rude in his culture for someone to refuse food, and so I ate it because (as we all know) I tend to just go with it when things get awkward (see: friends hooking up in the bed I'm sleeping in, double breast massages in India, etc., etc.). This led to him telling me that he loves kissing more than anyone else in the world, that I'm very beautiful, etc., and asking when we could go out.

I ultimately fled, leaving for dinner half an hour earlier than necessary and sitting in my car instead, since I was done making excuses but also didn't want to be too rude. But yeah, that was my first truly bizarre experience of 2012, and I'm sure it won't be the last!

So the dinner I was going to was with tomorrow's speaker at my romance chapter's monthly meeting; it was just me, the speaker, and the chapter president, and we ended up having a truly fabulous time. The dude works for Amazon, but he ended up being younger than I thought he would be (my age), which I guess shouldn't surprise me, since in tech everyone that level is probably younger (as opposed to traditional publishing, where you're still making coffee for people until you're forty). It was the most fun I've had in ages (well, days -- but it was new fun, since I'd just met him and don't hang out with the president that often), and it was great to get to know him before tomorrow's meeting. Then I sped home, took care of some stuff on zee computer, and now desperately need to sleep -- I need to go back to the dirty east bay tomorrow morning (and be there by 8:15, ugh), so I must sign off. Goodnight!

like a madman laughing at the rain

Man, I need to go to bed. Today was v. long, filled with all sorts of writerly delights. I stumbled out of bed, threw on some gym clothes, packed my gym bag, and ate some breakfast before leaving -- and in my pre-caffeinated disaster mode, I had yet another run-in with that failed pie crust from last weekend, which managed to piss me off a final time. When I tried to make it, I'd split it into two batches and put both in the fridge, as instructed. I took out the first batch and later tossed it when it failed to turn into anything other than a big pile of loose flour, but I had left the second batch in the fridge. And when I reached into the fridge to grab something this morning, I knocked the second batch out -- and rather than being a blob of dough wrapped in saran wrap, it was a pile of flour wrapped in saran wrap, which promptly came undone and spilled it all over the floor. Ugh. So I cleaned it up as best I could, but it was a rather inauspicious, unpleasant start to the day. Not as unpleasant as the day had by the people who had an accident on the freeway about two minutes ahead of me -- when I drove by it, the cops weren't there yet, traffic was barely backed up, but a taxi looked to be missing its entire front bumper, and there were people milling about on cellphones surveying the damage. In comparison, a bit of flour on the floor is nothing.

So I made it down to the gym and trained with Alyssa, which went well. Then I showered, ate a salad, and went to Stanford library, where I wrote ten pages, then checked out some books on the economic history of the Highlands (fascinating, I know). I left the library around six p.m., grabbed dinner at Chipotle, and then went to the monthly meeting of my historical fiction writing group. Five of us were there, which was a nice size, and we had a good discussion of the two pieces that were up. After the writing group, my friend Chris asked if I could take her home, which I was happy to do -- and when our conversation was clearly nowhere close to over by the time we got there (since it was a five minute drive), we readjourned to Starbucks and talked until 10:30ish. I'm glad I'm getting to know other writers -- while I wouldn't trade (most of) my friends for anything, it's nice to talk to people who are going through the same gutwrenching, nervewracking process of trying to get one's stories published and out into the world.

Needless to say, though, by the time I got home, it was almost 11:30pm, and I still needed to take care of some emails, fold a load of laundry, prep for tomorrow, etc. And so now I really must go to bed. Tomorrow is another hectic, v. writerly day, so hopefully I have the stamina to survive it. Goodnight!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

he took her out to high class places, he made a promise in the dark

You have no reason to believe that I will follow through on this intention, but I think I'm going to go to bed. I know, it's only 10:21pm -- but I haven't been sleeping as much as I usually do, I had an utterly frustrating day, and the rest of my week is looking rough enough that I'm sure a lot of sleep would be beneficial.

The frustrating thing is not that I got nothing done...I basically worked all day without a break. The frustrating thing is that almost none of that was writing; I wrote three pages, which is fine, but not awesome. I spent an absolutely absurd amount of time (1.5hrs) booking travel for someone as part of my role as VP of programs for my local romance chapter (the person wanted to search for flights while I was on the phone with her, which, as you can imagine, was nonideal). I spent two hours prepping for a conference call about the awards ceremony I'm planning, and then an hour on the call itself. I had all sorts of emails and tings to take care of. And I baked a crustless quiche to use some of the ingredients I had left over from this weekend; I substituted milk for the cream to make it more Alyssa-approved, and added bacon since I didn't have any damned dirty vegetarians around to eat it, and it was utterly delicious.

After I got done with all the annoying stuff, it was 7:30pm. I then proceeded to mess around and not be super productive, which is when I realized I should just go to sleep rather than trying to keep forcing it. And so that is what I shall do -- goodnight!

a glorious existence

I was extremely productive today, which I suppose was necessary, even if my spine is crying for relief and I should probably take my contacts out before they permanently adhere to my eyeballs (does that qualify as cheap lasik?). I didn't intend to start being productive quite so early, but my phone rang at the ungodly hour of seven a.m. I didn't answer, since I don't encourage such foolishness -- but as it turns out, the person who called didn't expect me to answer, but hoped that it would wake me up so I would check my email. Their nefarious plan succeeded, and my email told me that the business school rec I was writing (due today) was actually due at 9am, not at some civilized 11:59pm hour like I blithely assumed. Oops. So I'm glad the person in question woke me up, since I would have felt horrible if I scotched his/her chances at b-school through procrastination.

I finished the rec by around eight, which wasn't hard since I'd written one already and could reuse some of it. Then I went back to sleep and slept until 10:30. Then I woke up, messed around, made some breakfast/lunch (oatmeal and bacon), took care of some administrative tasks for my various romance volunteering activities, and finally hied myself downtown to get my hair cut. I saw Susie, as usual, and she was good, as usual; we discussed the trials and travails of dating (to which I didn't have much to add other than that I'm not bothering right now, even though theoretically I should probably put some effort to meeting people whom I've known for less than a decade, right?), and then I told her all about my books. She was super psyched, and I may have gotten her to choose it for her book club, which would be awesome. Then, I got my eyebrows waxed, since they were too unsightly for words now that my bangs are shorter and don't cover them up. Then I went to Samovar and wrote for a couple of hours while getting myself super hyped up on chai. Yum.

When I got home, I thought about writing some more, but I decided to knock out the rest of the b-school recs for this person so that I wouldn't risk getting woken up again sometime in the next couple of weeks. That took some serious quality time, since I still had four left to do, but I successfully knocked them all out. I also cooked a steak, which I ate basically by itself since I was too lazy to do anything else. And then I answered email for a couple of hours, and then I set up an AdWords account for my new book (which was entertaining; I did quality assurance for ads for multiple years, and yet I still tried to create an ad with too much capitalization. Ha.) And now, my friends, I must sleep -- goodnight!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

she is touring the facility and picking up slack

Remind me never to agree to train with Alyssa at nine a.m. again. Traffic looked fine on my phone when I left the house at 8am, but the traffic site is useless for projecting traffic within the city -- and it took me fifty minutes to go the fifteen miles from my apartment to SFO airport. Since Palo Alto is significantly further south than the airport, you can guess from that stat that I was half an hour late for my hour-long training session. Boo. So we had an abbreviated workout, and then I did cardio for half an hour (double boo) before showering and getting on with my day.

I had a salad at the gym, then cafe hopped throughout the afternoon; I spent three quality hours at Philz Coffee before moving to Starbucks to keep writing for a bit longer. I grabbed an early supper at Chipotle, then went to Stanford library and slogged until after 9pm. All told, I wrote about fifteen pages, which was wonderful and v. necessary. Then I drove home, crawled into my toasty bed, and answered email for the past two hours. I know, you're so jealous of my life.

I hope that more writing awaits me tomorrow, in addition to overcaffeination and an unsatisfactory amount of sleep -- it's like I'm back at work again, only I'm not getting paid. Cheerful, right? Goodnight!

Sunday, January 08, 2012

this river is wild

I'm going to bed before 11:30pm (I swear), since I got less than six hours of sleep last night and need to wake up at seven to make it down to Palo Alto to train with Alyssa. She asked if I could train two hours earlier than usual, which I acquiesced to at the moment and am now thoroughly regretting. But, theoretically that means that I can start writing earlier in the day, which is a good and v. necessary thing; in reality, it probably means that I'll be surly all afternoon and may need to take a nap.

Anyway, this morning got off to a slightly sour note. In my continued quest to adapt to a gluten-free life (which I have flung myself into wholeheartedly, particularly now that I've noticed a correlation between the hives that I had three or four times a week and gluten -- who knew that not having hives was so normal and wonderful?), I've been eager to explore the world of gluten-free baking, and so I rather rashly and madly decided to make two baked goods for brunch rather than sticking to my tried and true recipes. First on the list was quiche; I love quiche, and wanted to experiment with pie crust. However, the pie crust never came together -- it basically stayed the consistency of flour, and while I could sort of mash it all together into something resembling a crust, it would fall back into the flours from which it came as soon as I tried to move it. I eventually grew so disgusted that I dumped it in the trash as a lost cause and made a crustless quiche instead, which is more en vogue anyway.

As it turns out, the crustless quiche was amazingly delicious, and I wished I'd made two just so I would have leftovers this week. You can get the recipe for the filling here - I cut the mushrooms and added a leek, since Terry doesn't like mushrooms, and I also cut the goat cheese and doubled the gruyere, since Katrina can't eat goat cheese. So basically, I think you could really add/do anything you want with this, within reason; I think it would be awesome with some ham or proscuitto in it, or even salmon, which I may have to try sometime soon since I can no longer eat my beloved quiche at Samovar. I can't vouch for the crust on this recipe, since I didn't try to make it, but if you do make the crust, may you have better fortune than I did with the gluten-free recipe I tried.

After popping the quiche in the oven, I took a v. abbreviated shower, then mixed up a batch of blueberry muffins. These were a substantially better experiment; I used fresh blueberries, and they came out pretty awesomely, if I do say so myself. As I was mixing, my guests started to arrive, but luckily I was able to get the muffins in the oven so that we could eat the quiche while the muffins cooked. They seemed to like the food, even though it was a far less bountiful spread than what I put out last weekend -- I think they'll survive, though.

So we ate brunch and discussed SWAMPLANDIA!, which yielded one of the better discussions we've had, albeit a much more depressing one since it turns out that the book, while v. well-written and wry and funny, etc., wasn't exactly a feel-good story. That's what I get for choosing books based solely because they sound like my name. Seriously, though, it showed up on a lot of best-of lists for 2011, and I can see why; the writing was gorgeous, even if the story was sometimes much bleaker than one would expect given the surface humor. So I would recommend it, with reservations, given that several of us admitted that we probably would have stopped reading at some point in the middle if we hadn't had to finish it for book club.

After we were done, Subz and Terry both left, and Katrina, Chandlord and I sat around the living room drinking coffee and being utterly lazy. Then we all piled into Chandlord's car and went to Cost Plus and Trader Joe's, where I bought a lunch bag and little lunch containers (in which to carry food and snacks to Palo Alto for my long slogs at the library), and zucchini and corn tortillas, before coming home and parting ways with my friends. Then I called my parents, who caught me up on all the goings-on at the caucuses this past week, which I wish I could have attended. Post parents, I cleaned up the kitchen from this morning, made myself some steak tacos (yum), watched a bit of "Modern Family" while eating, and then came upstairs and read another book.

I should be writing, but at least I recognized that I couldn't write with SWAMPLANDIA! still flooding through my system, and so I avoided using the internet as anaesthetic and read a book instead. Tonight's pick was SOLSTICE WOOD by Patricia A. McKillip, and I of course went through it in one go, falling deeply and effortlessly into it without really wanting or needing to pull myself out. It was lovely, straightforward, and exactly what I needed as a palate cleanser, even though it continued the themes I've been reading recently (and am always drawn to) of people trapped between two worlds -- a theme that I shall not dwell upon now. Instead, I must sleep so that I can go to the gym tomorrow -- goodnight!

out here the good girls die

I'm flipping exhausted, and since I have to get up in less than six hours, I need to go to sleep immediately. Today was a weird sort of wash; I worked all afternoon, although my wordcount doesn't show it (damned wordcount), with a break for breakfast/lunch (oatmeal and bacon), a couple of snacks (but not the bag of chips I would have preferred -- hating my characters makes me ravenous), and some homemade steak tacos for dinner that were tasty if I do say so myself. After dinner, I watched the first episode of "Project Runway: All Stars" with Terry, which was entertaining even if I'm not completely in love with the season yet. Then I made a grocery list, went to the grocery store, came home, and finished reading SWAMPLANDIA! (note: the exclamation point is part of the title). I must say that it was not at all what I expected, although I enjoyed it in an awful, desperate sort of way.

But now, sleep is v. necessary -- goodnight!

Saturday, January 07, 2012

i realize that nothing's as it seems

I've got nothing particularly interesting to report, although today was mostly wonderful because I kept getting emails from the friends and family in response to the shameless self promotion that I sent out about my upcoming book release. Writing is a mostly solitary, lonely endeavor that requires slogging onward even in the weeks/months/years where there is no validation at all, so to be reminded that my friends like me (even if they don't yet know whether my book is any good or not) was quite wonderful.

I got less than six hours of sleep, though, so the pleasure was felt through a grey and misty fog. I woke up in time to eat some breakfast and throw my sheets in the washing machine before driving down to Palo Alto to train with Alyssa -- and it was amazing, but I actually made it there fifteen whole minutes early because I'd promised to meet Jess there and set her up with a week-long trial membership. She's starting work next week at a place near the gym, so I gave her the tour, and she worked out while I trained with Alyssa. As it turns out, Alyssa and I didn't do any workout at all; today was our every-so-often reassessment, and so we did all the measurements and everything before spending the rest of the time talking about my short-term and long-term goals, food and gluten and mealplans, etc., etc. I'm happy with what I accomplished last year, since my muscle mass has increased significantly and my general health and happiness is way better (particularly since I figured out the gluten thing, which could be a gamechanger), but now it's time to put all the pieces together and break through the current plateau.

Of course, it's challenging to think about plateaus and be vigilant about eating my veggies when I just want to sit at my desk and eat trail mix while screaming at Malcolm and Amelia to get their fucking shit together and just let me finish the damn book already. But I digress.

After the gym, Jess and I had lunch at Joanie's -- they must be surprised that I ate with someone else twice in the same week, when usually I go weeks letting them believe that I'm a weird loner without any friends or coworkers willing to spend an hour with me. Then, I checked my mail, got some coffee to wake me up, and sped back to the evil city, where I bought some groceries before coming home with the intention of working. To be honest, I didn't get much done; I should have just slept and/or read a book, but instead I messed around on twitter, remade my bed, and was generally useless. I finally took a break to cook supper, which was half delicious, half disappointing; I made some roasted carrots which turned out deliciously, and also sauteed some onions and mushrooms, and also plated some raw plain spinach (okay, maybe not so awesome), but I failed in the cooking of my steak and ended up with a piece that was too seared on the outside and too rare on the inside. I'm ashamed of myself, but I shall try again tomorrow.

Just as I was about to work again, Terry came home with one of her coworkers, so I spent an hour hanging out with them. Then I came upstairs and intended to write, but instead I started reading "Swamplandia!", which is my pick for the next book club. I like it, but I also couldn't keep reading it right now, because even though it's about a family running an alligator park in the Everglades, it strangely felt way too close to home for me. So I'll have to pick it up again tomorrow -- but right now, it's time for bed. Goodnight!

Friday, January 06, 2012

i want to kiss you on the mouth and tell you i'm your biggest fan

I'm super exhausted -- I've been on my laptop for about sixteen hours, with a break to see Tammy (who rarely qualifies as a break, amirite?), so it's no wonder my eyes are crossing and my neck feels like it's about to snap. But, I was quite productive as a result of my self-abuse. I had two conference calls this morning, which is obviously unusual -- now that the holidays are over, I need to get busy planning the awards ceremony for this summer's romance writers convention, and so I had a call with the emcee (Victoria Alexander, a famous romance writer, so yay to that) and another call with the assistant chair so that we could solidify the plan and agenda for next week's committee meeting. I think the ceremony will go well, but there's a lot to do between now and then, so don't be surprised if I go insane (shut your mouth about how insane I already am).

After I finished the calls, sent some emails related to the ceremony, and took care of some other romance business, it was two p.m. So, I cleared out of the apartment and went downtown to Samovar, where I wrote for an hour before meeting up with Tammy (aka Tammmehhhhhhh). We'd seen each other at the same restaurant -- nay, the same table -- on Tuesday, but that was with Claude, and we talked more about oliphants than anything related to real life. So we caught up for another couple of hours, leaving me extremely overcaffeinated and jittery (just the way I like it).

When I got home, I sat down on the couch and basically stayed there for eight hours, with a brief break to talk to Terry (without leaving my position) and another brief break to heat up and eat an Amy's enchilada (fuel of the gods). I should have written, but I also need to be thinking about promo for the book that is launching in two and a half weeks (omg), and so I spent several hours updating my romance website and letting my friends know that they should sign up for my mailing list since I intend to never spam them again. If you didn't get an email from me and you'd like to sign up for the mailing list yourself, you can do so here. Exciting, right?

And now, I must must must go to bed; I have to be in Palo Alto tomorrow morning to train with Alyssa, which should be interesting if I can't turn my head. Goodnight!

Thursday, January 05, 2012

the way she moves in the logic of all my dreams

Must...go...to...bed. I stayed up way way too late last night, and meant to go to bed an hour ago, but started rereading the book that I set aside months ago (Nick and Ellie's story) and read through everything I'd written. It has so much potential, and yet I'm stuck slogging through the quicksand of Malcolm and Amelia's rewrite well beyond the point where I wish to be done. Ugh.

Anyway, I woke up this morning and dragged myself to the gym after about five and a half hours of sleep, which wasn't nearly enough. It was good to see Alyssa, even if the first workout back always seems to be quite difficult -- but I survive to be tortured another day, so that's good. I then showered hastily and spent some quality time in the lobby, eating a smoothie and using their wireless to finish a business school rec for someone and upload it to the appropriate school website with an hour to spare. After that, I intended to go to Stanford library and work for hours and hours, but I realized I was simply too tired. So I grabbed a coffee at Philz, came home, and took a nap. Then, when Terry got home, I spent several hours watching tv with her, with a break to make a wholly unappetizing-looking but utterly delicious dish from some leftover chicken/peppers/onions and some eggs/sour cream/salsa.

Eventually, though, I did buckle down and finally finish the scene I've been loathing and dreading and hating and all sorts of other negative verbs. That doesn't stop me from loathing and hating the rest of it, but at least that bit is over. And so now I shall sleep, and hopefully magically love it all again in the morning. Goodnight!

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

all of the lights

I must go to bed immediately (or, rather, two hours ago, but that appears to be an impossibility) -- I worked from 9:00 until now, which was good for, y'know, productivity, and bad for my beauty sleep. When I awaken looking like a black-eyed hag, you shall know why.

I wasn't as productive this morning as I intended to be -- probably because I shut off my alarm and promptly slept until 10:30. I eventually woke up, puttered around, showered, etc., and was putting on my makeup when my agent called. So, my foundation ended up caking since I answered mid-application, and my bangs dried ridiculously, but business trumps beauty (right?). There's nothing of import to share there other than that the final final version of Madeleine/Ferguson's book is back from the formatter, and so she wanted to discuss strategy for getting it out to potential reviewers.

After that was all done, I finished getting dressed, did the dishes downstairs, ate some leftover egg/spinach/goat cheese frittata-casserole, and then brought a leftover scone back up to my room to eat while contemplating my manuscript. The scone was great; the writing wasn't; somehow, the balance was okay even though clearly my manuscript is more important than a little brick of gluten-free deliciousness slathered in butter and jam. (on a completely unrelated note, Alyssa is going to hate me tomorrow).

But I did get some writing done before leaving the house and meeting Claudia and Tammy at Samovar in Yerba Buena. They went to the SFMoMA, which I had no desire to visit, but we all met up for some delightful tea and snacky-snacks. I couldn't have my old favorite, since I can't eat the gluten in the quiche anymore (depressing), but I had some coconut rice pudding that tasted quite good with my masala chai. I also split a Kenyan white tea with Claude, which was good too. And Tammy and Claudia were both in fine form -- we didn't even drive any patrons away, so I consider it a success.

After we finished there, we met up with Tammy's boyfriend for dinner at Osha Thai. The food was delicious, although I suspect I ate a bit of gluten -- not enough to kill me, but enough to notice. I also had a green tea mojito (another strike against me in Alyssa's book), but I consider that necessary to wipe away the memory that we came up with a game called 'fuck, marry, oliphant' (don't ask). Once we'd had all the fun we could have, I dropped Claude off at the Caltrain station (after subjecting her to an unnecessarily long, awkward hug in the 5th and Mission parking garage elevator) -- she's going back to Yale (Jail) tomorrow, and I won't see her again for ages and ages, which makes me sad. I'll likely see Tammy later this week, which also makes me sad, but you can't have everything.

That last sentence was a jhoke, of course. When I got home, I said a quick hello to Terry's friends, who were eating dinner at our dining room table, before coming upstairs and working. And I got all sorts of things done -- I sent a lot of emails that I needed to send, paid a bunch of bills, registered the copyright for Madeleine/Ferguson (so if you steal it/pirate it, I'm protected legally, even though the heartbreak of having one of my friends steal my book might be the death of me), worked on a business school rec for a friend/fellow employee, and generally worked like mad. And now I really, really need to sleep -- I have to be in Palo Alto at eleven, and up well before then to finish this rec so I don't ruin some poor kid's chances of getting out of here. Goodnight!

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

that was one lonely night

Sigh. Today started off good, almost ended wonderfully, and instead ended on a sad note. I woke up and worked for a couple of hours, fueled by some strong, smoky Russian tea, before proceeding to Palo Alto to have a late lunch with my friend Mahin at my beloved Joanie's Cafe. She and I worked at my former employer together, and now she's living in LA and pursuing film school + still working part time for our employer, but she was back up here for winter break. She seemed to be in fine form, and it was great to catch up and 'talk shop', as it were, about the creative life and what's been going on with our respective artistic endeavors.

Post-Mahin, the rest of my afternoon was sort of a fail; the errands that I intended to run all fell through, due to some miscommunications/government holidays/insane crowds at Target. So I got home around 4:30 a little surly and attempted to write for an hour, which made me surlier because I'm struggling with a scene I'm stuck on and couldn't unstick myself.

And then it was time to watch the Fiesta Bowl. Terry made chili and I made us two Hemingway daiquiris, which was all quite wonderful. The game was great, too; I kept saying that I just wanted it to be a good game, but I guess I should have specified that I also wanted Stanford to win. Unfortunately, it came down to my nightmare scenario, which is when a game is lost on a kick (or two, in this case, even worse) -- I hate when one kid walks off the field feeling absolutely certain that he could have made all the difference and instead cost his team everything. Ugh. However, it really was a fantastic game and hopefully shut up all the haters who thought Andrew Luck was a mediocre quarterback who had been overhyped, so at least there was that.

After the game was over, I spent an hour mourning and exchanging post-game commentary with family and friends on a variety of social media outlets -- including [censored], who went to grad school at Oklahoma State (I probably should have censored [censored]'s alma mater as well, but that would just be too confusing). Then I crawled into bed with the new pencils that [censored] gave me for Christmas and finally, finally figured out what was wrong with this stupid scene and how to fix it. Now that I have a roadmap, I anticipate that tomorrow morning's writing will go much more smoothly.

And so now I'm going to bed; I must write for hours tomorrow, and so my teapot is set up to brew me some more strong, dark, dangerous-tasting Russian tea so that I'm encouraged to get my ass out of bed before it gets cold. Goodnight!

Monday, January 02, 2012

all is quiet on new year's day

Hello, 2012, you sexy beast. This must surely be the best year ever -- my first books will come out, there will be a glorious Olympic Games in London, and everyone will spend the entire year looking forward to the Mayan apocalypse. Really, if ever a year was designed just for me, this may be it.

This is also the start of my ninth year of blogging; I will ominously warn you that the blog may not last forever, since I hope to become an increasingly public figure in the writing sphere, and so this blog will either have to go on lockdown, or I will have to change the focus and stop blogging about what I do every day in case I get a stalker who could easily use my blog to track my movement patterns. I don't want to lock it down or stop it, but if I decide I have to, I'll give you plenty of warning so we can all mourn together.

sssanyway, today was a lovely start to the new year. It was also a v. spinny start to the new year; I woke up with hangover-induced spins, which really didn't go away all morning, which was unfortunate since I was cooking brunch for seven. I got out of bed around 8:30, showered, hung out with Claudia (aka Santy Claude, aka Claud the Fraud) and Terry, and then started cooking. Claude helped me tremendously, essentially acting as sous chef; she set the table and cut up the potatoes/peppers/onions for homefries, which saved my trembly hands from causing a catastrophic kitchen emergency. She also discovered that every cocktail she made for us last night was inadvertently a double since I guessed wrong on how much alcohol the jigger held, which explains why I was blind drunk off two and a half champagne cocktails and some extra champagne on top of it.

I made an awesome (if I do say so myself) egg casserole/frittata with spinach, leeks, cottage cheese, and goat cheese, as well as home fries, bacon, ambrosia, and chocolate chip scones (gluten free, natch). The ambrosia and scones were done last night, and today's tasks weren't particularly difficult -- a good thing, since whisking fourteen eggs made me feel dizzy because the whisk was rotating at a different speed than the room. Ugh. But I was able to put on a good front for my guests; I was in a great mood, despite my hangover, and so once I was sitting down and somewhat stable, it was easy to be enthusiastic rather than wretched.

Terry and Claude were already here, obvi, but Chandlord, Katrina, John, and Jess all came over too, and we enjoyed a delightful couple of hours together. Many jokes were told and many stories were shared, all of which warmed my heart and reminded me how much I like my friends, even if they did call out the accent that I apparently always come back with after spending time in Iowa (it's apparently subtle, and it disappears within a few days, but if it does exist, I'm sure it's in full force right now since I've spent four of the last six weeks at home). Of course, all good things come to an end, and so when everyone else was gone, Claude helped me clean up and load the dishwasher before Terry and I dropped her off at the BART station. I then spent the rest of the afternoon hanging out, calling my parents, contemplating my book, talking to Terry, etc.

And that's really how the rest of the day went as well. When it was suppertime, I cooked up another package of bacon and some chicken breasts, and Terry and I made a Cobb salad, which wasn't quite as good as Joanie's but was decent enough to satisfy. Then we watched some tv, including this show called "Leverage" that I've never seen but would probably love, and then I came upstairs and wrote in my journal (which is one of my 2012 goals). And now I really must sleep; I have to go down to Palo Alto tomorrow, and I want to write before I go, so wish me luck. Goodnight, and happy new year!

Sunday, January 01, 2012

four horsemen

Happy 2012, everyone! I am having trouble typing, so this will be brief. I woke up at ten a.m. (a perfectly reasonable hour), and spent some quality time helping Terry to clean the apartment. I eventually showered, then sat down at my computer and wrote several pages of Malcolm and Amelia's story. I threw in the towel around 4:30pm and went to the grocery store, which was an utter riot, and then came home and worked on preparations for tomorrow's brunch. I made ambrosia (which is a surprisingly time consuming effort -- it took almost an hour), and then made the flour mix I need for my gluten free baking...

And then it was time to pick up Claudia (aka Santy Claude, aka Claude the Fraude), which is when the fun began. She and I were on the same page about our desire to go out into the evil city, and so we stayed home and got drunk quite safely and quietly. First we went to Safeway to get more citrus; then we came home so that I could make gluten-free scones. And then we had champagne cocktails -- first, elderflower liqueur and champagne, then gin and champagne. We took a break at midnight to go upstairs and celebrate on the deck, but when we came downstairs, Terry went to bed and Claude and I watched a National Geographic documentary about the apocalypse.

Since I have now confessed our dorkiness + apocalyptic natures, it's time to sleep. Goodnight@