Tuesday, July 31, 2012

fields of gold

[note: while I am desperately trying to avoid spoilers, I assume that if you're reading this after all coverage is done in the Pacific time zone, you already know what has happened. Don't read if you tivo'd tonight's coverage to watch later!]

I managed to avoid every single Olympics spoiler today, which proves the depths of my dedication to this task...I didn't check twitter, facebook, google plus, cnn, nytimes, yahoo mail, my phone news app, or anything else, which pretty much eliminated everything I do online. Of course, it helped that I accidentally slept until almost eleven, which has been increasingly unusual of late. But I think I really needed it after the past week, so I took it. Then I showered, realized I had no food in the house, and so went to a cafe and ate breakfast/lunch while working on Nick and Ellie for a couple of hours. Then I came home, worked some more, talked to the parents, went to the grocery store to stock up on groceries, and came home to indulge my obsessions...

First up was the tivo coverage from Saturday night's primetime events, since I'd avoided most of those spoilers as well - I had to watch them to know who got into the men's team gymnastics finals. Now I kinda wish I hadn't watched it, since I had high hopes for the US men going into tonight's coverage and...well, that didn't work out so well. But I got through Saturday's coverage just as Terry came home, and we ended up rewatching the end of last night's coverage since she'd gone to bed before gymnastics finished. Then it was on to tonight's primetime, which lived up to my expectations - great swimming and diving, a gymnastics scoring controversy (as usual, although I love that they now require a cash payment to accept a judging protest, which resulted in a great shot of the Japanese coach handing American dollars to the judges a few minutes before they changed the score and put the Japanese back on the podium), and some shots of Princes William and Harry (or, as my fave gossip blogger calls him, Prince Hot Ginge) in the audience. YAY.

I was thinking about getting up tomorrow and watching women's gymnastics streaming live, but I need to write like twenty pages tomorrow, so perhaps I'll pursue today's media blackout strategy and work until primetime instead. Either way, I'm super psyched. Goodnight!

Monday, July 30, 2012

a shredded leg that still bears the scar

I am beyond exhausted - I'm pretty sure that my inner introvert used every last shred of remaining social energy to hang out in the bar after last night's awards ceremony, and so this morning there was nothing left to get me back to San Francisco. Luckily I powered through on an unholy mixture of latte, diet mountain dew, diet coke, and earl grey tea, and I'm writing this from my bed, which I don't want to leave again anytime soon.

However, as I believe came across even though I was writing from my ipad the entire week to avoid paying the $13/night wireless fee at the hotel, I had an absolutely fabulous time at the conference. I think I left it feeling better than any of the others I've attended, with the possible exception of the year I won the Golden Heart -- and in some ways those experiences mirror each other. It's like those medieval circular labyrinths that you walk on to meditate -- I've reached a similar point in the cycle that I visited before, but I have new insight this time around. I have a similar feeling of promise and excitement and eagerness to tackle the next project, but this time it's tempered by the failures of not selling my previous two books traditionally, and yet also buoyed by the sheer number of well-known writers whom I spent some quality time with this week.

Long story short, I feel good about where things are, even if it's going to be a nailbiting photo finish to see if the writing earns me enough to prevent me from ever having to get a real job. I was out of the hotel by ten a.m. this morning, but the drive back took a surprisingly long time, since I5 construction/congestion was worse than it was on Monday, and it was also the Gilroy garlic festival, which means coming back up through Gilroy to see Heather was a mistake. But I made it to her house around 5:30, and she fed me supper while she went through the 40+ free books that I brought back so that she could read them. We also watched "First Position", a documentary about young ballerinas, which was interesting. Then I came home, found Terry and Terry's brother Tom holed up on the couch watching Olympics, and even though I was exhausted and had seen spoilers for two of the biggest outcomes tonight (because Tom Brokaw, that asshole, was discussing them on NBC Nightly News when I walked into Heather's house).

And now that I'm home, I really must sleep - it will be interesting to see if my extreme Olympics-related social media blackout helps me write as much as I plan to write this week. Goodnight!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

just say yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah

I'm flipping exhausted, but I had a v successful end to a very great conference. I woke up this morning, got ready, took care of some things, and had a quiet breakfast by myself in the hotel restaurant. Then I had rehearsals from 11:45 to 5, which all went really smoothly - they all ended on time or early, which is good. Then I had another quiet couple of hours - shower, nap (for like ten minutes), room service, and watching Olympics while I had the chance to. I got to see the medal ceremony for Vinokurov (sp?), the Kazakh biker whom I remember from many Tours de France ago, who planned to retire after this race and ended up winning gold. He was do emotional and so trying to hold it back that I basically cried too. Ha.

But contrary to what you might believe, that wasn't the highlight of my day (well...maybe). Instead, it was the awards ceremony, which the culmination of several months of work. And it all went off very smoothly and without any hitches, which was a tremendous relief - and it ended a minute early, and the music and videos were received really well. So yay to all that. I may do it again in a few years, but I'm looking forward to taking a break (and writing a bunch of books).

Post ceremony, Vivi and I went to her publisher party, where I had a baileys on the rocks, and then we went to the bar, where we had strawberry margaritas and flirted with our Greek waiter. And now, I'm all packed up and ready to leave tomorrow - I just need to get massive quantities of sleep so that I can survive the drive. Goodnight!

Friday, July 27, 2012

the world is not enough

YAY OLYMPICS!!!!!

Now that I've said the most important thing, I'll catch you up on the rest of my day. I spent the morning sitting in bits of workshops and trying to score as many free books as possible. Then I skipped the official lunch to have lunch on my own so that I would have a bit of alone time, which was totally a good call (and I forced myself to overcome my reticence and introduce myself to a dude from Amazon who happened to be in the bar). After lunch, I had rehearsals for the awards ceremony for three hours - I think it's going to go well tomorrow, but we shall see. I had to run out of the rehearsal right at five to meet with my freelance editor - mostly to get a chance to meet with her in person, but also to chat about the first part of Nick and Ellie's book. She hadn't had a chance to read every bit that I had sent her, but she had some awesome suggestions for things that I could fix - and, thank goodness, they weren't things that require substantial rewrites, but rather just clarifications of certain things, possible removal of a minor subplot, etc. And she said that she loved my voice and would have tried to buy this if she were still working for a publisher...so yay me. Now if Nick and Ellie will cooperate so that I can finish their damn book, I will be even happier...

After we met, I had twenty minutes to compose myself, and then I met up with a new writer who I had chatted with on the phone last week to have dinner. She was similarly eager to watch Olympics stuff, so we walked to Downtown Disney and had dinner and drinks at ESPN Zone while watching all opening ceremonies up to the start of the parade of nations. Unfortunately they weren't playing the audio of the ceremonies, so I'm going to have to rewatch, but it was fun to drink mai tais and try to guess what was going on. And now that the cauldron has been lit and the games have been opened, I need to sleep - I have rehearsals all afternoon, followed by the awards ceremony (which now looks rather pale and sad compared to the Olympics), followed by a party, followed by sleeping so I can leave as soon as possible on Sunday and make it home for the Olympics. Goodnight!

I feel my heart start beating to my favorite song

Today was utterly wonderful...and I think I would feel that way even if I didnt drink off and on for nine hours. I got up early and made it to two v good panels on digital publishing, including some market analysis (which another tech person and I snarkily laughed at after, since one exec was so proud that her company started doing market research two years ago, when they should have been doing it for decades). Then I sat with my SF chapter president and my friend Vivi for the keynote lunch (which was gluten free!) - the keynote was given by stephanie laurens, who is kind of a big deal, and she gave a talk that was v popular with the authors (and perhaps not so popular with her editors who have spent two decades helping to build her career, who were at the table next to me and were mostly stonily silent).

Post lunch, I took a break, then had a drink with my awards ceremony assistant chair, then met with my agent for an hour, which was great. Then I grabbed dinner with a friend, ran upstairs, changed from a daytime green dress to an evening green dress, and went to the VIP cocktail party, where I drank free wine in a suite and made great new friends with some other writers. Then I dragged Vivi to the bar to get some food in her while I had a mojito and ice cream, and then I hung out with some historical writers (and let Tessa Dare buy me a drink, which I truly didn't need). And then Vivi and I closed down the lobby. And now that I'm getting carpal tunnel from typing on my iPad, I really must go to bed - not sure how I can survive another two days of this, but I shall persevere. Goodnight!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

it's not living a lie if you're not living at all

Im way way too tired to blog tonight, particularly on zee iPad - while I had a truly and utterly fabulous day (or at least better than Kristen Stewart's day), I got up of my own volition at 6:45 (why?!), and had approximately 25min alone the entire rest of the day, which is not nearly enough for my hermity self. But I did a fantastic job of forcing myself outside my comfort zone and introducing myself, hanging out, etc., etc. And I will do so again tomorrow - but for now, I must sleep if I have any hope of recovering by morning. Goodnight!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

maybe we can find new ways to fall apart

Quick post from zee iPad - I have arrived safely at my romance conference and am having an awesome time so far. Coming most of the way yesterday was an excellent decision on my part - I was able to sleep in, then have a v leisurely morning coffee with Terry's mom before coming down to Anaheim. When I got here, I had chilequiles at a Mexican place nearby, then hung out in the lobby for a few hours and ran into people I know (either really or on twitter).

This evening was even better - I had arranged weeks ago to have dinner with my friend Stephanie Dray, who shares my agent. But she randomly also invited Sarah MacLean to join us, who is kind of a big deal in my genre, which was super awesome and thoughtful of her. So we had dinner at some random Italian place that I found on yelp, and it was quite lovely. When we got back to the hotel, I went with Sarah to the bar and had a mojito (my weakness), then came back upstairs and found that my roommate Vivi (who you should remember) had arrived, so we spent the past two hours gossiping. And now, I should really sleep so that I can get up at 7:15 for more conference stuff. Goodnight!

Monday, July 23, 2012

days of wine and roses

I'm slightly more intoxicated than I might have expected today -- this was supposed to be the quiet night before the madness of the conference, but I'll just have to hope that tomorrow is the quiet night instead. I made it down to LA in really good time today -- I had intended to leave around 9:30, and instead got on the road at 11:15 (oops). As I so smugly mentioned yesterday, I packed almost everything and had loaded my car already, and so thought all I would have to do today was roll out of bed, shower, and put my laptop in the car before heading off into the distance. Instead, even though I got up at eight, I kept remembering things I needed to do and emails I needed to send. I'm sure I wouldn't have had such a lackadaisical approach if I were flying instead of driving, but it all turned out totally fine.

So, I stopped at Philz on the way out of the city to caffeinate, then drove all the way to Harris Ranch before stopping again. I should have tried to hold out for In and Out at Kettleman City, but I just couldn't wait any longer. I also stopped just before the Grapevine with the intention of getting Starbucks, but the line was ridiculous, so I contented myself with an oh-so-trashy diet mountain dew before going over the pass to the great bowl-shaped dump that is Los Angeles.

I kid, I kid. And anyway, I'm staying with Terry's parents, who live near Pasadena, which is v. much like my beloved Palo Alto and v. unlike whatever you may picture of LA (either Hollywood or the Rodney King riots). I'm driving to Anaheim and the conference tomorrow, but I'm spending the night in Pasadena to a) socialize with the 'rents, b) save on hotel, and c) avoid having to drive through LA at rush hour. I arrived right at six p.m. and gave Terry's mom a tasty bottle of chardonnay, which we immediately opened and had a glass of (yay). When Terry's dad got home, they took me out for dinner, and I have to give two thumbs up to the choice -- it was a steakhouse, which meant I got prime rib AND a baked potato AND an amazing salad, which is a recipe for happiness. And Terry's dad and I split a bottle of pinot noir, so I left both full and happy. And even if they had taken me to Taco Bell (which I will never turn my nose up to), I would have had a good time - I probably know Terry's parents better than any friend's parents (other than Katie, but then, I grew up with her), so we had a v. lovely meal and an entertaining conversation.

Now, though, even though it's only ten p.m., I think I may go to bed -- I need to be on when I get to the conference tomorrow, so sleep tonight would be smart. The conference doesn't start tomorrow, but I have plans to meet up with various people and have dinner plans with a fellow author, so I should at least be awake for them. Goodnight!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

i see the light, touch the light, we're together now

I was actually packed for my trip tomorrow before noon today, which must be some kind of record. I wanted to pack early so that I could do my nails at some point without wrecking them by schlepping things downstairs, so I got up at eight, packed, loaded the car, etc. And then I spent the rest of the day taking care of a variety of tings -- grooming (fingernails, toenails, hair tinsel), writing (barely), talking to parents (extensively), etc.

I will certainly be blogging from Anaheim, but there is a decent chance that most of the blogging will happen on zee romance blog -- stay tuned. And now I'm going to go to bed (or read for a bit, or something) so that I can get out of town at a reasonable hour tomorrow. Goodnight!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

until forever comes, you'll find us chasing the sun

Perhaps I should have packed for RWA today, but I don't leave until Monday, and that feels like it's forever from now. Instead, I spent most of the day banging my head against Nick and Ellie, and most of the evening playing with spreadsheets while watching tv. The scene I'm writing is actually lovely, but it's so emotional and so fraught with tension that it's slow going (and I may or may not have had to get a tape measure out to, ahem, research whether their respective heights made something possible). So despite working some this morning and more this afternoon, I think I only got four pages - but they were a good four pages, so I'll take it.

I woke up a bit later than I have been recently, but since I limited myself to two vodka cranberries last night, I felt totally fine. And I didn't have to con Terry into taking me to retrieve my car; she read my blog before I got up and offered it freely, which was nice of her. So after she worked out and showered and all that (and I guzzled coffee and wrote), we went to Morning Due and ate/worked for a few hours. Then she dropped me off at my car, we came home, and I spent the evening making a detailed spreadsheet to reconcile all my payments from my agent with all the sales reports from the various vendors selling my books. It's something I've been meaning to do for ages so that I can see at a glance how many books I've sold where (even if it's two months behind, since the official reports are sixty days after the close of the business month). So I did that while watching a bunch of Big Bang Theory with Terry. We also tried to watch "Lonesome Dove", but after twenty minutes of both of us repeatedly saying "I don't remember this part at all," we finally figured out that Tivo was wrong and that this was instead "The Outsider", a Western starring Naomi Watts as an Amish frontier woman whose husband is killed by bad ranchers, and who falls into a forbidden courtship with a mysterious gunslinger. Maybe the Amish should have been a tipoff, and I certainly was sad there was no Gus or Blue Duck (although I'm glad I didn't have to see the cottonmouth scene again).

sssanyway, I also got a lovely series of texts (followed by a phone call when we realized that texting was silly) from Heather (aka dear respected madam); I'd foisted the first hundred pages of Nick and Ellie on her earlier in the week, and she texted/called to tell me she loved it. Thank you, Jesus -- as you all know, I hate writing beginnings, and this book is giving me fits because it's harder than what I've written before, and Nick and Ellie are so crazy, etc., etc. I'm still waiting to hear back from my editor, but I can't express how relieved I was to find out that someone liked it, even if I still have a lot of work to do to finish the whole thing.

So yay to that. And now I should go to sleep; I want to finish the scene I'm working on tomorrow, and I need to pack and reload my car and take care of all the other little last minute things that I need to do before driving to RWA on Monday. Goodnight!

let me ride that donkey

Nick and Ellie didn't cooperate today - I could daydream the scene I was writing, and I have the overall bones of it (no pun intended, even though it is a sex scene), but the words were flowing in a v. tortuous, slow way that gave me no joy. Hopefully tomorrow will be better on that front. But I did at least get a couple of pages out, and I took care of some business tings, and I went on a walk to run a bunch of errands (returning tops to the Gap, returning a book to Books Inc that I'd bought last week and later realized I already had in audiobook format, cashing a check, picking up alterations, etc). I need to start thinking about what I'm taking to my romance conference, since it's in two days, but I feel less urgency than usual since I'm driving there and so can just keep throwing stuff in my trunk rather than having to plan ahead so everything fits in a single bag.

Anyway, I finally gave in to the inevitable, put on real clothing, and went out in the wide city of sin to have dinner with John and Jess. A perusal of the blog revealed that I haven't seen them since April, which is astonishing; I was gone the entire month of May, though, and I've spent the last two months only hanging out when someone else made a plan and forced me into it, since I'm theoretically trying to stay hermity and productive. However, three months is too long, so we had sushi at a little place near them (delish), followed by drinks at a bar near them (the dive bar that we ended up at after the more popular bars down the street proved too popular). John eventually gave me a ride home, which was v. nice of him; I'll have to take a bus or taxi or con my roommate into a ride back there to pick up my car tomorrow, but that's a penalty I'm willing to pay for a lovely evening.

Now, though, I should really sleep; I want to at least finish this scene before I go to RWA, and there are a lot of other tings I need to do before then as well. Goodnight!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

half remembered dream

I'm sleepy; I blame Chandlord and the wine she plied me with, or perhaps the four miles I walked today. I did a couple of hours of work this morning, and then took the bus down to SoMa to get my eyebrows waxed so that I don't look like Granddad when I go to my romance conference next week. I'm cutting back on eyebrow waxing (even though the real reason I go there is to get my eyebrows tinted, since they're going white - but I have bangs, so surely I don't need to care?), but I do want to look slightly feminine for my conference, so waxing was necessary. Post wax, I walked home (2.7mi, plus a detour to my dry cleaner to pick up a dress and a top), which was a good endeavor even if my feet now hurt. I took a break in the middle to stop for a couple of hours and write at Leland Tea, which was a v. nice, productive break in my trudge back to the Marina.

When I got home, I took care of some emails and other tings, and was going to write some more, but I inadvertently distracted myself by asking Chandlord if she wanted some of this blueberry cake I'd made, since otherwise I would eat it all. She offered to trade me some of my cake for some of her guacamole that she'd made for our book club, which was canceled two days ago. So I went to her house, gave her cake, and took two arugula/mushroom/black bean/feta tacos, which were totally delicious. Then we walked down to a wine bar and had a glass of wine each (adding 1+ miles to today's walking). After we parted ways, I came home and read the rest of the book I was reading yesterday ("Mysteries of the Middle Ages", which I ended up liking but not loving). And now, I'm either going to read a bit more or go to sleep - and I think sleep is going to win. Goodnight!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

my sign is vital, my hands are cold

Today was lovely and oddly productive, although productive in ways that aren't immediately useful to me. I woke up before my alarm, showered, and spent some quality time answering emails about the conference and preparing for this afternoon's class in Berkeley. Class went v. well; we were talking about self publishing, which I could talk about for days, so that was interesting. I'm actually really sad that the class is already over - it was five sessions, but I'm missing next week's since I was already booked for RWA, so I had to bid a fond farewell to the students this afternoon. It's always a little bizarre at the end of a class, since you've formed a connection with people and will likely never see them again - how strange.

After class, I came back to the west side (best side) of the bay, ate an early supper at Chipotle, then came home, cleaned the kitchen, and was going to write. But then I decided to screw the writing and read a book instead - I need to finish "Mysteries of the Middle Ages: The Rise of Feminism, Science and Art from the Cults of Catholic Europe" and return it to the library, so I read 250 pages or so of that tonight. It's not really what I was expecting, and I don't think I've gotten as much out of it for the non-gargoyle young adult book as I had hoped, but it's all still v. interesting (to me, if not to any of you). But now, I really should sleep; tomorrow I've vowed to stop obsessing over all the things I obsess over and just write all day, and I should rest up for the epic battle in which I will attempt to stop obsessing. Goodnight!

i think i'm gonna marry you

I was super productive today, but unfortunately I didn't write anything - instead, I was taking care of all the business/volunteer stuff that I'd neglected in my push to send my manuscript to my editor (and yesterday's talkfest, which ate into my work time). I finished the proposal for a workshop for a convention next year, and got some big name people to do it with me, so that was awesome. I spent the past five hours dealing with the last edits for the awards ceremony script and burning/ripping music to strip the DRM and make sure it would play for the show tech crew. I wrote a guest blog post that is going up on some site on Saturday. I looked at what I'm supposed to teach in class tomorrow and promptly decided to deal with it in the morning.

But the best two things were that I got a massage and baked a cake. The massage had slowly moved from luxury to necessity, since my neck is well and truly fucked, and it's been getting harder and harder to sit at my desk and work (or sit anywhere, really) since it hurts all the time. So I booked a 90-minute massage with someone I found on Yelp who happens to be a block and a half away from my apartment and also had great recommendations for her deep tissue work. And she was *awesome* - possibly the best massage I've ever had. And my neck didn't hurt for, like, two hours afterward, although I've promptly undone her efforts by spending the whole night at my desk. But hopefully this is a first step toward fixing it, and since I won't be sitting at my desk all next week while I'm at the conference, maybe everything will get better.

The second issue was the cake that I baked - it was a delicious disaster. I'm stressing over how to make gluten-free Olympic Rings Cakes (tm), and I thought I should do a trial run, so tonight I made the traditional blue ring - a blueberry cream cheese coffee cake (what Adit calls next level cake, since it's delish), although I left out the blue food coloring that I would use for the actual event. I substituted a gluten free vanilla cake mix that I bought at Whole Foods for the usual vanilla cake mix I would have used instead, but kept everything else the same. However, the baking times stymied me - there seemed to be no correlation at all between the baking times on the GF mix and the regular mix, even though theoretically there should have been some similar ratios for different types of pans, etc. And I was deathly afraid of overbaking it, since a gluten free cake could turn into something truly dry and dire if it's overbaked.

So I baked it for what I thought was a good approximation, checked it with a toothpick (apparently in the wrong part of the cake, as I discovered to my horror moments later), and thought it was done. I took it out, flipped it onto a wire cooling rack with a cookie sheet underneath it, and poured the glaze on top (a simple, not too glaze-y mix of blueberry juice and powdered sugar). However, the cake slowly seemed to be deflating - and upon further investigation, a bunch of uncooked cake batter was falling out of the middle of the ring and oozing through the cake rack. Damn. So I tipped the cake back into the pan (unevenly), scraped the cake ooze back into it, and baked it for another fifteen minutes. Despite that disaster, it actually tastes pretty good (although it's lopsided now) - so now that I have the cooking times down, I think the Gluten Free Olympic Rings Cakes will be a success! I will probably still make funfetti, though - I can't sacrifice funfetti, or I might as well die.

And now I must go to bed so that I can get up and go to the dirty east bay tomorrow -- goodnight!

Monday, July 16, 2012

no words, no talk, we'll go dreaming

I'm flipping exhausted - ridiculously, unnecessarily tired, and I think it's because I've burned out the word processing centers in my brain, and without words I totally lose my shit. Yes, I'm that crazy.

Today was lovely, really, but it was alllllll talllllkkkkkinnngggggg, which I haven't done in ages because I am a hermit and have been trying to focus on Nick and Ellie. I think my jaw is tired, even. And my neck hurts like someone stepped on it with a stiletto, so it's probably a good thing I'm getting a massage tomorrow. The day started with a 9:30am call with the younger sister of someone I didn't know at my old company who happened to see the flyer for my Authors@Google talk and asked if I'd be willing to talk to his sister about romance writing since she's attending the RWA convention for the first time this year. Yes, a tenuous connection at best - but I remember being young and having dreams, and I wanted to help her to realize hers. Or, feed off her youth like the Evil Queen in Snow White and the Huntsman. Either way.

Our conversation was lovely, though, and we'll likely get together for dinner or something during the conference, so that's nice. After talking to her, I made some coffee and took care of a couple of hours of romance career stuff - namely developing this Regency gaming hell workshop idea for a conference I'm attending next year, since the proposals are due tomorrow. That's actually going well, and I've lined up a surprisingly high-powered cast of supporting characters, so yay. Then I left my lovely fog-ridden neighborhood and drove to the south bay, where I had lunch at my favorite cafe with two of my favorite writer friends, Becky and Christine. We caught up on all sorts of life stuff over an hour and a half or so, but then Becky had to go to work (boo). At that point, I was going to go to the library or a coffee shop or something and feign productivity...

...but instead Chris offered to buy me a drink as congratulations for all my book stuff, which turned into us spending three hours at the Nut House, where I nursed a vodka cranberry and a Diet Coke (consecutive, not concurrent) while we discussed self-publishing, the writing life, etc., etc. She's going to Portugal with her husband this week - lucky bitch. So it was good to catch up, since I hadn't seen either Chris or Becky since before I went to Iowa.

Post Nut House, I went to Mountain View and had my semi-regular Friendship Renewal Dinner (tm) with Tolu, Jane, Joann, and Sarah (a rare five-person Friendship Renewal, since we usually lose somebody - usually Sarah). We had sushi, which I had been craving...and I suppose it was good to see them too, although all I really needed was some tasty eel and a bowl of agedashi tofu. I kid, I kid. We had a lot to catch up on, or at least I did, since I hadn't seen them since Iowa either, and I hadn't seen Sarah in even longer. So we hung out for quite some time, and then I gave Sarah a ride back to the evil city, which prolonged both the fun times and the talking.

And now I'm all talked out. Poor Terry got the briefest hello-how-are-you I've given her in quite some time, since the thought of talking any more made me a little ill. Then I came upstairs, sent some emails, and then proceeded to write this unexpectedly long blog post - I guess I'm not out of words after all. Sigh. Goodnight!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

forth eorlingas

Leaving my phone on my desk instead of taking it to bed with me was surprisingly v. effective -- rather shockingly so, actually. I woke up at eight, laid in bed thinking about Nick and Ellie for a bit, and then was so desperate to check my email that I got out of bed. Once I was out of bed (and saw that I had no interesting emails, of course), I was up for the day -- so I put on some clothes, put in my contacts, and wandered downstairs to make coffee. This shocked Terry, who is used to seeing me at a more civilized hour of ten or eleven on weekends, and so she asked if I was okay before immediately discovering that I was in full-blown crazy writer mode and wisely deciding to leave me to my own devices.

So I was at my desk and writing by nine a.m., which is utterly crazy. And I wrote pretty much straight until noon or one, when I took a break and went downstairs for cottage cheese. Terry saw me again then, and verified again that I was crazy (she can tell when I've been writing a lot because I answer in monosyllables, having burned out all my word processing synapses). Then I tried to write some more, but it was slower going. I went to Starbucks at some point to refuel, but my mocha made me sleepy, so I painted my toenails (I know that isn't a real cause-and-effect relationship) and called my parents, who graciously put up with ninety minutes of me whining about my life decisions.

After my whining was done, I spent the rest of the evening doing some more editing, with a weird break to eat some pizza and watch some "Dawson's Creek" with Terry (her doing, not mine, although I'm glad that I unintentionally got to see the scene that spawned the Dawson Crying meme, since it was hilarious). I finally, finally, FINALLY finished editing/completely rewriting the first 130 pages so that I could send them to my editor, since I want some feedback before I go too much farther with the rewrites and she had said I could use her to give feedback on the partial. So now I shall be sick with dread that she'll say I have to rewrite it all, but also moving forward tentatively/hopefully with the next phase of writing/rewriting. Luckily the last two-thirds always goes significantly faster than the first third, and I think the first third is in good shape, so perhaps the end of the Ellie/Nick tunnel is drawing nigh.

And now I really must sleep -- goodnight!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

the songmaker says it ain't so bad

I've nothing of interest to share tonight. However, I have a new goal - I need to get an alarm clock so that I can stop sleeping with my phone, so that I stop waking up in the morning and spending an hour reading stuff online before getting out of bed. Or perhaps, since I only have to set an alarm once a week or so, I should just sleep with my phone on the nights when I need an alarm clock, and ignore clocks on all other nights.

Clearly if I'm obsessing over this, the writing is not going well.

Happily, though, I finally powered through the scene that has been giving me fits, even if it did take all day of sitting at my desk hating myself. I started the morning with a call with another romance writer, though, so that was fun. And I took a break in the afternoon to go get measured for a bridesmaid dress (another opportunity to hate myself, for entirely different reasons). The seamstress, who is hemming two pairs of jeans and altering a dress that I love but that has never quite fit properly in addition to taking my measurements so that I could call the bridal salon, thanked me for being short because it keeps her in business. Tanks.

Anyway, I finally called it quits around 7:30, when I reached the end of that scene. Then I ate leftover pasta and drank leftover wine while talking to Terry for a couple of hours, which was a nice break. And now I'm going to go to bed (WITHOUT MY PHONE), and maybe read or write in my journal for a bit. Or maybe I'll just go to bed and sleep the sleep of the just. Goodnight!

Friday, July 13, 2012

i dream of gardens in the desert sand

Today was mostly frustrating. I would like to say that Ellie and Nick aren't cooperating, but what really wasn't cooperating were my endlessly churning thoughts on what to do next and how much to sacrifice/give up to keep writing vs. when my tolerance for risk will be exhausted. As I still have no answer to that question, today may have been a wasted exercise. But I did get some writing done, and I had a breakthrough on Ellie/Nick's development in a microsecond while watching "So You Think You Can Dance" with Terry, so that's a win!

I actually got up around eight this morning, which is pure craziness, although I messed around online for a bit before showering, throwing my sheets in the laundry, and making breakfast (eggs and oatmeal and coffee). Then the cleaning lady showed up, which was great because I wanted her to show up and annoying because she should have been here yesterday (but apparently forgot her key) and so interrupted some prime writing time rather than coming when I wasn't in the apartment. Boo. So I vacated and walked down Chestnut, stopping at a cafe to do some writing for awhile. After the cafe, I stopped at the Gap and bought some jeans (because I like the way they fit, even if they do seem to wear out abnormally fast), then stopped at the Marina library and was tempted to check out all sorts of books on art and world history (for the non-gargoyle young adult book) before sternly reminding myself that I'm supposed to be writing Ellie and Nick, and anyway, if I'm going to research, I should be reading about the East India Company and 19th century painters.

sssanyway, when I got home, I remade my bed, thought about writing, and instead procrastinated and procrastinated some more. Eventually I made supper - gluten free pasta and a Mario Batali sauce mixed with hamburger, all of which had been sitting in the cupboard or the freezer for months. It wasn't quite as satisfying as the pizza I'd wanted to order, but it was still pretty tasty, substantially cheaper, and faster than waiting for Friday night delivery. I also opened a bottle of wine, since I was in one of those rare moods where I feel like drinking alone. Luckily Terry showed up before I finished my glass, so I didn't drink alone even though she didn't join me in imbibing. We watched tv together, I brainstormed Ellie and Nick while watching (yay non-obvious multitasking), and now I should sleep so that I can try to write everything I brainstormed tomorrow. Goodnight!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

holding grudges over love is ancient artifacts

I'm way too tired to be voluble tonight, so allow me to hit only the highlights. I had lunch with Gyre today, which was made more exciting by the fact that his team (and all of sales) moved buildings for the first time since 2007, so I had a totally new space to explore/enjoy/mock. They're deeper in the bowels of Mountain View, which would suck from a commuting standpoint, but the space itself is lovely enough. And it was good to see Gyre as well, even if we spent most of lunch dissecting my life choices and critiquing what I've done so far and what I should do next. Ha.

After lunch, I went to Target (yes, that's a highlight), and then met up for coffee with Steph, who was in town from Washington, D.C. I hadn't seen her in quite some time, so I'm glad we were able to get together and catch up. Then I went to Books Inc (originally to use the bathroom, as I was waiting in line at the cafe for the bathroom there - at minute four I heard water run for a minute and so knocked on the door, at minute six I heard a third flush, at minute seven I yelled through the door asking if the person was okay, to which I got a v. belated affirmative, and at minute eight me and the other dude in line agreed that we would go our separate ways and not wait for the bathroom, since clearly whatever was going on in there was apocalyptic in nature), used the bathroom at Books Inc, and then bought a book on the Middle Ages since I do want to get back to my non-gargoyle young adult book someday.

Eventually, it was time for my third social activity - dinner with Heather (aka dear respected madam) and Durand, which was totally lovely. We hung out for 2.5 hours, which was long enough to catch up (but never long enough total), and then I came back to the evil city, wanted to crawl into bed, and instead messed around online until now. But now I really am going to bed; in an ultimate #firstworldproblem, the cleaning lady failed to come today as usual, which means I need to get up tomorrow since she'll probably show up at nine, which is super annoying since I had planned to sleep in tomorrow. Ah, well, I should get up and write anyway. Goodnight!

i'm never gonna leave this bed

I'm bitterly tired...was bitterly tired at five, and should have just taken a nap or read a book or something, but instead I forced myself to power through. I had to teach at Berkeley this afternoon, which always throws off my schedule (if you can say 'always' about something that has happened three times and will only happen once more) - getting up and around and out the door in time to catch a bus and a BART and make copies on campus before going to class is a slight struggle, especially after a night of debauchery like last night. Ugh - no wonder I feel like death.

But class was very good, and I am really enjoying it - I must pitch a continuing studies class sooner rather than later. After class, I came home, cleaned up my room, stared at the wall for awhile, and eventually settled in to do some stuff for the awards ceremony (aborted) and answer email (of which I have scads and hordes, so if you're waiting on a personal email, you'll have to keep waiting). And now that it's basically one a.m., I should probably sleep. But while my love for San Francisco has subsided back into grudging appreciation in the wake of my hangover, my love for writing/publishing remains undimmed. Now if Nick and Ellie would just cooperate...

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

it takes my pain away

If there is an app that would send me a text at, say, six p.m. and remind me that I vowed never to drink again, I would download it and install it on every device in my possession. Alas, though, I failed to remember this crucial vow...but more on that in a moment.

Today was mostly really productive; I got up at eight (shocker), messed around on the internet, made some eggs and coffee, and worked for several hours, with a break for lunch and multiple tiny breaks to check my sales rankings (as usual). Around two p.m., I discovered that I'd missed a call from my mother, so I called her back while taking a walk -- I ended up walking for about forty-five minutes, which was a good way to clear my head and get some fresh air (which is, strangely, sadly lacking at my desk).

After my walk, I came home, procrastinated, showered, procrastinated some more, wrote another page, and took a nap. Then I wrote until Terry came home, at which point I was promptly distracted, and I had a glass of wine with her while eating leftover chili and watching Aaron Sorkin's latest exercise in self-indulgence (aka "The Newsroom"). I was supposed to go out tonight, but I was well on the way towards bailing, since I was already in my pajamas (which I put on after showering at four p.m.) and feeling like I desperately needed to chain myself to my desk for another three or four hours.

But Chandlord knows me well, and she called to verify tonight's plans, and once she had me on the phone I didn't think to back down. So I put on real people clothes, swiped some bronzer on my pale and hermity cheeks, and went to Burritt Room (down in Union Square) to meet up with her. It wasn't just her, though - we were going out in honor of Chris and Priyanka, our two exciting new friends from last summer's German wedding. They were in town for a couple of days with Priyanka's brother Nikhil, and so we had drinks and food and general merriment for several hours. This may be the only time I have ever hung out in San Francisco in a group where a majority of people have been to Centerville, Iowa -- I suppose times when Katie or [censored] were out here and we were with one other person might count, but still. Priyanka and Nikhil grew up there, Priyanka for less time (the last two years of high school, although we graduated the same year and never met each other), and Nikhil for most of his formative years since he's six years younger than her. So, that was bizarre and amusing.

More amusing was that I had planned to have one drink and peace out, but it was so fun to see them again that I kept forgetting. So I had three cocktails at Burritt (two Strawberry Macaroons, which were delicious and tasted like strawberry soda, and one something else that involved egg white and gin and other deliciousness), and we ended up eating a lot (polenta, fries, dungeness crab tart, salmon, prosciutto, etc). Then we went to Big, home of last weekend's merriment, where I had one more cocktail - I asked for something not so alcoholic, and they delivered in the form of some amazing concoction made with wines, vermouths, etc. (still alcoholic, though). I left them around one, when they were still going strong, so that I could take a cab home and try to recover before it's time to get up and go to Berkeley in the morning.

But I must say (and yes, I'm tipsy if I'm saying this) that San Francisco is a wonderful city, despite all the weird people and overpriced drinks and fifty-five degree summer days. And I'm glad I'm here, even if the thought of trying to make a living as a full-time writer without any stock options to fall back on is enough to give me (multiple) ulcers. But I've just gotta have faith that I'll get there -- and if I don't get there, at least the bars are great and the drinks are strong. Goodnight!

Monday, July 09, 2012

before you came into my life i missed you so bad

Today was v., v. writerly - if you think I'm a strange combination of Ernest Hemingway and a cougar. I slept late, which seems impossible since the fire alarm between me and Terry's rooms was apparently chirping since five a.m., but my ability to sleep is legendary. So when I finally rolled out of bed at an embarrassing hour, I checked my email, took care of some writerly tings, and then went to Safeway to buy a new battery for the alarm and some groceries for my tummy. I also went to Philz on Van Ness, since I was run out of the Philz in Palo Alto by an overly-chatty barista (I mean, I would go back there, I just can't anticipate getting any work done) and got a coffee + a pound of coffee beans to sustain myself through the next round of fierce writing/edits.

When I got home, I changed the battery (successfully, albeit semi-deafeningly), trimmed my bangs, showered, and took care of some more writerly tings. Then I took a taxi (because I am such a princess) to a cafe, where I met up with my co-teacher for this class I'm teaching at Berkeley so that we could plan the next two lessons. That mission accomplished, I took a bus (because I like to find out how the masses live - and they live crazily, judging by the guy who was ranting loudly to himself for fifteen blocks or so) up Fillmore and spent a couple of hours at the Grove, where I nursed a diet coke and wrote a few pages of Ellie and Nick's book. This is a crucial scene where he's an asshole (don't women love assholes? sales records would say yes), and since I'm about as conflict-avoidant as a person can be without being a total doormat, it's kind of tough for me to write this. But it's going okay (knock on wood), so I'm glad I made some progress.

Post Grove, I met up with Terry and Lauren (aka Subz) for an early dinner at Dosa, where I had two cocktails (remember my vow never to drink again? me neither) and some curry, and we caught up on all the many things that have happened to us since we saw each other twenty-four hours ago (answer: nothing). Then we went across the street and saw "Magic Mike", which I was required by all the laws of romance writerdom to see or else I would be kicked out of the sisterhood and forced to go write inspirational Christian romance instead. And I must say, I wish there had been more stripping and less tawdry drug-centered secondary plot. And I must also say, I wasted far too much of my youth trying to pause a VHS tape of "A Time To Kill" on exactly the moment when Matthew McConaughey sits down on the remnants of his blown-up front porch and trying to verify whether there was a hole in the crotch of his jeans, since he shows almost all the goods in HD up on the big screen in this one. My, how far I've come from my sad and misspent youth.

sssanyway, the movie was entertaining, even if I roll my eyes at all the women acting like innocent little girls, shrieking and blushing over things like "Magic Mike" and "50 Shades of Grey" - while some part of me is pleased that we may be reaching a cultural turning point and starting to objectify men (yum), there's another part of me that feels like this is all just a little ridiculous.

sssanyway again, we had fun, and now I should go to sleep and pray that I wake up sans hangover so that I can finish this scene and send the first third of the book off to my editor. Wish me luck (parenthetically, if you desire - apparently parentheses exceed even my love for the beloved em-dash tonight) - goodnight!

Sunday, July 08, 2012

with fingernails that shine like justice

I should really start these posts with something more interesting than "I didn't write as much as I wanted today," shouldn't I? Part of it was happenstance; my two cocktails last night were the very picture of restraint, but I still woke up feeling surly and sick. Not as sick as the aftermath of my failed triple margarita challenge at Latin America Club, but still not happy. So I laid around in bed, then showered, made some oatmeal and coffee, and wrote for a couple of hours in the early afternoon. Ellie and Nick are being little bitches and not doing exactly what I tell them, and while I think I could have forced them to get on with things (things being undressing each other), I had plans this afternoon and had to abandon them. But before my plans, I talked to my mother, which threw off her schedule since I was three hours earlier in calling her than I usually am on Sundays. She took it in stride, though, and it was good to catch up - and tentatively plan my next trip home, which will likely be at the end of summer when I need to detox from the Olympics and all the food coloring my Olympics commemorations entail.

I was good and didn't bail on a social activity today (even though I wanted to be good-er and finish this section I'm struggling with). Instead, I met up with Lauren (aka Subz, a name she hates) and Terry at the Fillmore Jazz Festival. They closed off multiple blocks of Fillmore and put up food tents, beer gardens, and outdoor stages, with a bunch of different jazz performances happening up and down Fillmore. We spent the first hour or so nursing drinks in a beer garden and catching up on life, since I hadn't seen Lauren since pre-RomCon (which means pre-Chocolate Mangasm, an event that all my friends seem to want to hear about). Then we wandered down the street, ate some kettle corn, and listened to a particularly delightful female vocalist for a few songs. I also almost bought a red fascinator from a hat store, but it was hard to justify spending the money on it even though I have more use for a fascinator than anyone I know (not that I needed to tell you that).

As we were walking, we ran into some acquaintances (some guy from my old workplace whom I hadn't seen in years, although he's friends with Nathan), who ran into some more acquaintances, which turned into a v. fun impromptu street gathering. The music in the background made it all much more entertaining, since it's hard to be shy with strangers when there's a seductive beat going on underneath it all. So, that was all v. nice, but eventually we parted ways and Terry and I came home, where I made us some chili (yum). And then I was going to write, but I failed; instead, I took care of a few small tings and wrote some answers for an interview/forum chat I'm doing on some romance site tomorrow (this is my life). So now I'm going to sleep so that I can get up and participate in the chat and hopefully write like a million words of this book. Goodnight!

if you want it done right

Ugh. I did not intend to go out tonight, and I really shouldn't have -- I suppose it's theoretically acceptable to take a Saturday night off, but that doesn't make me feel any better given how tantalizingly close I am to being done with the portion of the book that I'm working on. At least I was happy with what I accomplished during the day -- I woke up, showered, did some editing, and was just making coffee when I saw I'd missed a text from Adit saying to call him because it was urgent. Of course this turned out to be a boldfaced lie, as I expected with 94% certainty when I called him, but I called him anyway like the fool I am -- and was immediately harassed into meeting up with him to get some work done.

This was harassment I gave into easily; I'm in hardcore writing/editing mode, which works well in coffeeshops, and Adit is one of the few people I can go to a coffeeshop and get legitimate work done with. So we spent several hours at Leland Tea, although I was late enough (due to printer issues) that he had to have some tea for one rather than doing tea for two/two for tea like we usually do. I needed to get out of there around 5:00, which dismayed him, so I brought him back to my place to do some more work -- but when I got home I discovered that Terry was back from LA (yay!). So I caught up with her, then we dumped Adit off at his car and picked up some salads for dinner.

After dinner, I started working again, but around 8:30 I gave into temptation and went out. Katrina and Chandlord were having drinks near Chandlord's place (the oh-so-lovely Tendernob area, aka the weird gentrifying-but-still-unappealing area between Tenderloin and Nob Hill, although closer to Union Square than Chandlord is), and I had said I would meet up with them at seven -- which turned out to be a boldfaced lie on my part. Adit feigns urgency where there is none, and I say I will leave the house when I won't -- we all know this. I was going to drive, and had even started my car when I decided to screw it and take a cab there, which turned out great even though I inadvertently went with neither enough cash nor my debit card. Tanks for floating me, friends!

The bar was super fun and the cocktails were excellent, We went to this place called Big, which is of course tiny. The bartenders there are cocktail artists, and so there is no menu and you would probably be kicked out if you tried to order a cosmo. Instead, for the folks back home in Iowa, this means that you tell the bartender some vague definition of what you like, and he makes something on the fly that he thinks you'll enjoy.

I scored big with my first one, in what may have been my favorite cocktail of the night -- I said I like citrus and rum, such as a Hemingway daiquiri, and he came back with some delightful thing that contained rum, lime, gooseberries, and some other tasty magic. My second drink was less delightful, but that was because I didn't say that I'm not particularly fond of whisky -- he gave me the berries that I asked for, but he made what he called a whisky/sherry cobbler, which was more alcohol than I bargained for. Chandlord had the other contender for best drink of the evening (which I'll concede to her, since it was both delicious and wildly different than anything I'd had before) - gin, muddled blueberries, apricot liqueur, walnut liqueur, and some other stuff I forget, all of which was winning.

sssanyway, we hung out there for a couple of hours, and at some point Adit and Priyanka showed up, since I'd mentioned these tentative plans whilst at Leland Tea. When we were done drinking, Katrina biked home, but Adit took Priyanka, me, Chandlord, and Chandlord's friend Kathy back to the Marina (yay home neighborhood) to have a late supper at Delarosa. I haven't been there, even though it's not super far from us -- but the main drag of Chestnut is just far enough away that Terry and I tend not to walk there. It's an Italian place with a fun ambience, and the food was excellent -- I had some meatballs that were fantastic, and a polenta that was good but too filling for what I needed. I also succumbed to gluten temptation and ate a bit of the burrata mozzarella pizza with spicy marinara that they ordered, and it was worth whatever repercussions I suffer. And then Adit dropped me off at home, and now I must sleep so that I can write tomorrow -- I swear I will send this manuscript to my editor if it kills me. Goodnight!

Saturday, July 07, 2012

but i've gotta let it go

I'm exhausted, which means I got nothing done tonight - yes, I realize that theoretically I should probably take Friday night off, but that phrase is not computing in my head. I slept something less than six hours last night, which is never good for me, but I happened to wake up an hour and a half before my alarm and see an email that I needed to respond to with a phone call. Since I am v. bad on the phone in the morning, I took the time to wake up, brush my teeth, put in my contacts, and make some tea before calling the person back. And it all turned out good - it's a well-known (in the industry) book blogger/reporter/general connector of people who hosts a reader event in Milwaukee, and my publicist had suggested that I try to get into it as an author. I'd emailed last night, she asked me to call her this morning, and it turns out that I'm invited - so yay to that. It's not until next spring, so it's nothing urgent for me, but she wanted to lock down the last slots before putting her site up next week.

Basically my whole promotion strategy is to pretend that I'm a big deal until I am a big deal, and it seems to be working -- HEIRESS is now #77 in the entire Nook store, which is pretty incredible. I have no idea what that means in terms of units sold since my agent is off for the weekend, and it's obviously a much smaller number dollar-wise than it might have been since it's only $0.99 -- but the goal is attracting new readers and stimulating interest in future books in the series, so hopefully that works. And I will happily celebrate being in the top one hundred books on Nook for as long as it lasts!

Anyway, after the call, I took care of a bunch of stuff for the awards ceremony, answered a few other emails, and drove down to the south bay to run errands. Yes, ridiculous. I had to go to Home Depot to buy a collapsible hand truck to haul around all the thirty-pound boxes of excerpt booklets that have been the bane of my existence. Then I grabbed lunch, went to the post office and mailed six boxes of those books (thus making them the bane of the postal workers' existences) plus a couple of other giveaways, exchanged $25 of loose change for an Amazon giftcard at a Coinstar machine, and took my car to the carwash to try to get the egg off it from the unjust egging it received in Menlo Park on the Fourth of July (verdict: my paint job may never be the same - may be time to file a claim). Then I went to Stanford library and checked out a bunch of books on 19th century painters, and another bunch of books on the East India Company. I was all excited to start reading them tonight, too, but by the time I got home all I wanted to do was sleep. So I crawled into bed, but since it was still slightly light out, I forced myself to stay up - and I read an entire romance novel (of course).

But now, I really should go to sleep - I need to write tomorrow, and I plan to avoid all distractions until I'm done. Goodnight!

Friday, July 06, 2012

foundations of stone

I was v. productive today, at the cost of my neck - I probably should have left the house or something. Or gotten out of bed before ten a.m. - I laid around way too late. Anyway, my accomplishments feel quite...accomplish-y. I did a thorough cleaning and reorganizing of my room, which felt long overdue since I had piles of books and papers everywhere and it was starting to impact my ability to focus (or maybe I was procrastinating - unclear). So now everything is organized and neat, and hopefully it will stay that way while I slog through this draft.

Then I procrastinated for awhile, checking rankings and the like - HEIRESS is #2 in Regency romance on B&N, and is slowly creeping up, although the last slots to overtake #1 are likely impossible to bridge. I'm at like 132 overall in the Nook store right now and the other book is at 22...which means it either needs to drop like a rock, or I somehow have to surpass the other 100 books between us (which includes books like, say, THE HUNGER GAMES and a whole shitload of James Patterson and George R.R. Martin). Yes, I'm obsessed. I was taken down a notch by someone who gave it a one-star review on Goodreads, but since that person gave one of my favorite books ever (SUNSHINE by Robin McKinley) a one-star review because "she uses the f-word", I have a feeling she's not my target reader.

When I finally stopped procrastinating, I wrote four pages of Nick and Ellie, then slogged through my email inboxes, then took care of one of the big remaining tasks for the awards ceremony (writing all the presenter intros), which I had been putting off. And now, I should really sleep - tomorrow includes fun things like going to the post office and trying to finish this first 100 pages so I can send it to my editor, and I need to sleep (and get my neck to stop hurting). Goodnight!

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

back to the start

Today was mostly lovely, even if I didn't write nearly as much as I had intended. When I woke up this morning, I considered backing out of my social commitments for the day so that I could write -- and I even wrote three pages or so before noon, which never happens for me. But then I decided to be a good friend (and to save myself from the anger of hearing the entire Marina neighborhood engage in raucous day drinking while I was slaving away at my desk) and went to both parties I was supposed to go to -- Heather and Salim's barbecue in San Jose, and Chris and Connie's barbecue in Menlo Park.

Those of you who know anything about the geography of the bay area know that this means I had to drive an hour+ to get to Heather and Salim's, where it was approximately thirty degrees warmer than the city. I rolled in around 1:30, but the meat wasn't ready until four, so I spent some quality time hanging out with dear respected madam and their friends. I need to see Heather again for a proper catch-up v. soon, but I had a good time seeing people, and the food was absolutely delicious.

After that barbecue, I swung by Chris and Connie's, where I ended up lingering for a couple of hours and closing out the party since I was about an hour and a half later arriving than I had planned to be. I hadn't seen them since before I went to Iowa, so we had a lot to catch up on (over watermelon mojitos, which were amazingly tasty). I left their place around eight, which was much later than I had planned to leave the south bay - I was expecting bad traffic and had intended to come home around five, but both parties went way longer than I had anticipated (which was good, since I had fun!). Luckily traffic was remarkably light, so I made it home in good time. I'm going to have to leave the city again sometime soon to take my car to a carwash, though - when I left Chris's, I discovered that someone had egged my car, which was particularly disgusting given that it immediately cooked onto the car in the heat of the south bay. And there's eggshells stuck inside the housing of my side view mirror, which is super annoying. Boo.

Anyway, I came home, watched a bit of fireworks from my roof, read part of an absolutely terrible book that I couldn't finish, and am now going to go to bed. More writing tomorrow -- luckily I think I'm hitting a groove and understand the story better now, so hopefully I'll have a bit of smooth sailing until I hit another wall. Goodnight!

now you're just somebody that i used to know

Sorry about last night's blog post; it got eaten by blogger, a fact that I didn't know until Terry sent me an email this afternoon asking if I was alive. Ha. Yes, I am alive, albeit exhausted and so deeply entrenched into my writing world that I'm not sure I can come out for the activities I'm supposed to do tomorrow.

First things first, though. I woke up this morning and took care of some tings before heading down to Palo Alto to train with Alyssa (you may remember her) -- I'm not sure what to do about my fitness regimen, exactly, since I don't want to continue paying for personal training but also haven't figure out other things I like to do that are closer to home. And I desperately needed some stretching exercises, since my neck is better but still touchy, so she helped a bit with that. After working out with her, I did some treadmill while reading a book, then showered, then had a late lunch at a cafe before heading to Stanford library. Unfortunately, the library closed at five today, and so I only had a couple of hours to work there, but I got a lot done and am really happy with how the beginning of the book is coming together.

After getting unceremoniously booted from the library, I came home, and I had some revelations on the drive. I procrastinated for quite awhile when I got home, but when I eventually sat down to write again, I poured out a whole bunch of notes that may have solved the remaining lingering problems with the book - so that was a relief. So much of a relief that I took the rest of the night off and finished the book I was reading at the gym. But now I must sleep so that I can write all those lovely ideas in the morning - goodnight!

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

in december drinking horchata

Editor's note....BOO. I actually wrote a post last night and Blogger ate it. So you can read this half-post that it saved but didn't make live. I'm sure you missed nothing at the end other than me saying goodnight. Sorry!

Kisses,
Sara

**********************

I need to go to bed immediately - I was quite productive today, so that's nice (I suppose). I wrote six or seven pages and printed off the first 120 pages of my manuscript, then edited the first 80 pages - so I'm getting to the point where the first third feels a bit more finalized, even though I always hate the first third and am likely to keep rewriting it until the bitter end. It's so tricky to set up a book well, and I'm struggling with this one because there's so much history between the hero and heroine that has to be alluded to and/or ignored in the intro.

But I guess I'm getting there, so that's good. I also answered a bunch of emails that came in over night and took care of some stuff for the awards ceremony, and made chicken with the intention of having a salad for dinner tonight (and instead had chips because I was stressed and craving salt)

Monday, July 02, 2012

manic monday

First, apologies for not blogging last night; I wanted to blog, but my internet was frozen when I made my attempt, and I was in no mood to blog laboriously from my phone instead. Suffice it to say, though, that it was a blame it on the alcohol kind of night - I had dinner with Adit and Priyanka at Radish, which was delish (and surprisingly meaty for a restaurant named after a vegetable; I had a barbecue pork sandwich on a gluten-free bun, which was awesome). And we split a nice bottle of malbec, which would have been just right for me, since I've barely drank anything since Mexico and am happy to keep it that way so that I can be productive and writerly (without being an Ernest Hemingway kind of writer)...

...but things went sideways, as they usually do when I'm with Adit, and he and I abandoned Priyanka to meet up with one of his friends for a drink at the Latin American Club. He told me that the place is known for its margaritas, but I believe 'infamous' would be a better word than 'famous' - it turns out that a margarita there is served in a pint glass and is approximately 80% tequila, with a bit of triple sec and a lime wedge for looks. We had one round while talking about the damn kids these days, how technology is moving too fast to keep up, and whether we're going to hit a singularity - and then Adit bought another round, which seemed like a good idea at the time (as it always does). By the time I made it through a third of the glass, I knew I had to stop, and so we vacated and I took a cab home.

And then I woke up this morning with the worst hangover I've had in months, and a skinned elbow that I don't remember skinning. I guess a pint of cheap tequila on top of two glasses of wine will do that to you. I got out of bed at nine, shocking Terry, and laid on the couch for twenty minutes before the spins became too much for me and I decided to sleep through the next couple of hours of pain. I woke up again at noon to discover that Terry had left for LA (goodbye roommate!), and that my hangover had progressed to mere surliness rather than dire awfulness.

I spent the rest of the afternoon recovering, and I took a taxi back to Adit's to pick up my car and do a bit of writing at a cafe near there. Then I came home, talked to my parents, procrastinated, and eventually settled into to make progress on my to do list - and worked nonstop for the past six hours. I'm not all the way to inbox zero, which is particularly difficult since I have three active email accounts and two more that I lurk on, but I crossed a ton of pesky stuff off my to-do list. The goal was to clean up enough stuff that I could better focus on Nick and Ellie tomorrow, and so far so good.

But now I really need to go to sleep - I'm not used to staying up this late, and I need to get up and get cracking on the writing. Goodnight!