Friday, August 31, 2012

pumped up kicks

I didn't intend to stay up this late, but I read a social media book and was so pumped up over the mistakes it contained that I was too annoyed to sleep. Also, I had to answer a bunch of comments on the guest blog that I did today, and since I don't really enjoy answering comments, I kept procrastinating by reading online news coverage in between each comment. Counterproductive, I know. The rest of my day was pretty counterproductive too; I woke up at ten, alternated between commenting and reading other stuff until 12:30, showered, ate lunch, and talked to my mom for a few hours. Then, I was thinking about writing (not very hard) when my dad invited me to go into town with him (always a fun excursion). Post-town, it was time for supper (ham and beans in honor of Katie's baby), then Republican convention coverage. And now that I've updated you on the very basic-est of basics, I'm going to go to bed; if I don't blog tomorrow saying I wrote at least a scene of Nick and Ellie's book, please shoot me. Goodnight!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

no blog for you!

I'm sleepy and burned all my words on writing a guest blog post for a romance site...so you get nothing tonight, other than to express extreme surprise and delight at the fact that my mother made guacamole tonight. Times they are a'changing. And while I was driving about the countryside today I may have had the final break I need on Nick and Ellie's story...I shall find out tomorrow whether that is true. Goodnight!

all your mental armor drags me down

My head is hurting from spending the last eleven hours on my laptop, but oddly my neck isn't...this may be more proof that the actual culprit for my neck issues is my bed. Not that I particularly want to buy a new bed since I'm pursuing this starving artist lifestyle (ha), but my neck pain has really subsided since coming to Iowa, just as it subsided when I went to LA. Or maybe I'm allergic to the Bay Area. Either way.

sssanyway, today was utterly lowkey and hermity; I spent some quality time having a late lunch with the 'rents (at home, so don't get excited - not that you would have regardless of where I ate lunch, unless I had some amazingly gruesome story of slaughtering and eating one of the miniature cows). Then I got out my laptop with the intention of writing, but instead got sucked into a ridiculously long project of my own making. One of the blocks I've hit with Ellie and Nick is that I don't know what, exactly, happened to them ten years ago and when, exactly, it happened. Since I have to add some of that backstory into the beginning of the book, I've been stressing about it. But I need to keep track of it better than I've kept track of plots for the last couple of books, since this Muses universe is expanding and I need to know where everyone else was ten years ago too in case they overlapped with Nick and Ellie's early exploits.

So, I downloaded some fancy schmancy timeline software and started tracking tings. And I ended up putting in the entire plot of HEIRESS and half the plot of SCOTSMEN, and all the birth dates for all the major and minor characters so that the timeline can tell my automatically how old everyone is when something happens. This will, I believe, be super helpful as time goes on, particularly since I can track *everything* (like, which of my characters were at Eton together in their youth and when they overlapped there; when various people were in mourning after various deaths; when chicks were pregnant, etc.). And it may not have been utterly crucial to do it all now (I know I'm procrastinating), but I did figure out the timeline for the crucial spring when Ellie and Nick almost got married and instead parted ways, so that was work well worth doing.

And now I desperately need to sleep...goodnight!

Monday, August 27, 2012

yippee yi oh ki yay

I accomplished absolutely nothing of value or interest today. Part of that was because I stayed up until almost four a.m., which meant I slept until noon, and then was groggy and drowsy all afternoon. So, I'm going to go to bed as soon as I finish this, at the v. early hour of one a.m., so that I may accomplish something more meaningful tomorrow.

However, I did succeed in leaving the house (always a challenge for me), and I went to the round barn with my mom to meet up with our neighbor (Lorena) to sell her some round barn t-shirts. We ended up talking to her for almost an hour, which was lovely, as usual. And then we came home, where I did a bit of thinking about Nick and Ellie (I'm in all-out stew mode right now, and I think I'm reaching the point where the logjam is about to break free and the rest of the story will rush forth, but I'm gradually getting aware of my own process enough to know that this is how it works, even if that awareness doesn't translate into self-forgiveness). Eventually it was time for supper (hamburgers and sweet corn and salad), and then I made no pretense of working while watching television. I eventually got my laptop thinking I'd answer email, but I hate email, so I mostly wasted time instead. And now, having finished wasting time, I'm going to go to sleep - and experiment with not going online tomorrow when I wake up (hahahaha) in an effort to get some writing done. Goodnight!

see the sunlight, we ain't stopping

It's rather odd, but I end up being almost nocturnal when I come to Iowa...last night I stayed up until after two, and now it's suddenly three a.m. I know better than to start updating my website at midnight, but I started anyway, which is why I'm now here, bleary-eyed and tired. But I'm glad I did it; I needed to update some stuff anyway, and I'm trying to optimize the design on my own so that I don't have to drop several thousand dollars on a professional website (which I was considering doing, but none of them really impress me any more than what I can do on my own unless I truly spend a lot of money).

Anyway, the rest of my day was good; I got up sometime before noon (barely), hung out with my mom, took a shower, hung out some more, and read about a variety of scandals in publishing (including authors who are paying for reviews...which just makes it harder for everyone else to have any credibility). I also did some serious brainstorming for Nick and Ellie; I'm considering giving Nick five new siblings and am debating whether this is brilliant or a terrible, terrible idea. As I typed that I had a realization for why it might be terrible, so I'm going to sleep on it before I make any rash decisions...

Okay, that's all I've got - I need to sleep, particularly since I really need to stop brainstorming and just forge ahead with this writing business. Goodnight!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

ride all night and we ride all day

I should have gone to bed two hours ago...but I also should have written twenty pages today, and that didn't happen either, to no one's surprise. I was up and around by ten a.m. today, which was a minor miracle, and I showered and did my makeup and all those other necessary things so that I could have lunch with Aunt Becky (who was down from the city) and my grandmother. Gram was v. surprised that I was home and continued to be surprised every five minutes throughout our lunch, but Aunt B and I caught up while we ate, and I'm sure I'll get to see Gram again a few more times while I'm home. Then, Aunt B dropped me off at home, and I spent the last twelve hours engaged in various forms of work, research, twitter, and procrastination.

I did take a couple of breaks, though; my sister and my youngest niece came over to pick something up, so I hung out with them for awhile. And my mom made supper, of course - tonight was spaghetti squash, which was pretty tasty (and gluten free, yay). I also typed up several pages of Nick and Ellie, read half a book on the richest East India Company merchant, did some networking on twitter, responded to emails, etc. I'm trying to avoid the temptation to give Nick a whole passel of brothers and a global trading empire, but we'll see if I succeed.

And now, I should really go to bed - but for those of you who lived in Loro, Happy Sean Connery Birthday! Goodnight!

Friday, August 24, 2012

offer up your best defense

I'm sorry that I didn't blog last night. Actually, scratch that - I'm not sorry at all. sssanyway, yesterday was v. lazy since I was still acclimating to being back in Iowa (and slept until approximately noon). But, I did see my dad's baby peacocks, some of his cows, and his fancy new automatic watering system that is leaps and bounds above the system he had going to water the cows the last time I was home. And we went for a drive and picked up some tomatoes from someone nearby, and then saw one of his business associates (and they talked about corn yields in a language that I found inexplicable, although I did understand immediately that it's unheard of to be harvesting corn in August, but with the drought they might as well do it now).

Today was somewhat less lazy; I woke up at like 9:30, and while I didn't write any actual scenes, I made a lot of notes on all the scenes that are coming next. I also got three of my email inboxes down to zero; I haven't touched my personal inbox in days, but I'm at least making progress with the romance world. And I hung out with the parents; we had steak for supper, which is always delightful.

And with that utterly uninteresting update, it's time for bed -- goodnight!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

rumors follow everywhere you go

I had a v. eventful day...I woke up at 5:45, snoozed for a bit, and then got ready and was out the door by 6:45 to go to the airport. Check-in was smooth, I grabbed an earl grey tea for the plane, and I boarded early so I could stow my stuff and start reading this awesome book I checked out from Stanford (MONSOON TRADERS, about the East India Company - what else, right?). But just before the plane took off, the flight attendant told the guy sitting next to me he couldn't have his laptop in his lap since we were sitting in the bulkhead row, and so she put it up in the overhead bin. Then she lifted my book, told me it was too heavy, and took it away from me and put it overhead as well. WTF?! So I was reduced to doing the crossword puzzle until the seatbelt sign went off, since I couldn't get my book down. And yet the fact that I was holding twenty ounces of potentially-boiling liquid wasn't a concern at all. And btdubs, the book wasn't really that big - it was a hardcover, but it was skinny enough that I read the whole thing between SF and Iowa, even with that inconvenience and with the nap I took on the second plane. Grr.

But, the entertainment system on my side of the plane wasn't working and so I got a voucher, which sort of makes up for tings since I wouldn't have used the entertainment system anyway, so it feels like I won (?). When I got to Denver, I left the security of the airport and met up with Katie, who came out to the airport to have lunch with me since I had a 3.5hr layover. She had her baby three weeks ago, and it appears that the baby has supplanted me in her affections - but the baby is adorable, so I can understand her affections. It was lovely to see Katie and to meet Anne; Katie picked me up and we had lunch at Ruby Tuesday's, which Anne slept almost all the way through. And then Katie took me back to the airport just in time for me to go back through security (which takes forever in Denver), and I got to my gate just as they were starting to board. My flight to Des Moines was utterly uneventful (and I got to keep my book) - and I was upgraded to first class, so I got wine in a real glass and coffee in a real mug, and it was all delightful.

My parents picked me up (yay for parents), and we had dinner in Des Moines, which took awhile since there was a fifteen-minute wait for a table (unheard of! but it's Restaurant Week in Des Moines, so I guess they were busier than usual). So I got my first steak of the trip, and we discussed food and low-carb and all sorts of related topics. Then we drove home, with a stop at the grocery store in Indianola to stock up on produce, the kefir yogurt I've started making smoothies with, and gluten-free bread. And then we talked in the kitchen until 12:30, which was super late for them and was even making me a bit exhausted. But when I came downstairs, I decided to unpack so that I wouldn't have to do it tomorrow...and then I had to read up on the latest developments with the Prince Harry naked photos (no developments)...and now I really should go to bed so that I can get up before noon tomorrow (unlikely, given the time change). Goodnight!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

it takes my pain away

I must go to bed immediately - I'm leaving for Iowa tomorrow morning, and while my flight is at the not-so-inhumane hour of 8:30am, it's still not exactly humane in my book. Anything that requires me getting up before eight is unwelcome, and getting up at 5:45 is particularly unwelcome. But, I'm all packed up, I have my clothes laid out, etc., and so all that remains is sleeping, showering, drying my hair (maybe), and making some sort of gluten-free sandwich or some other tings with whatever is left in the fridge after my efforts to clear it out today. Yay.

Today was v. busy in my efforts to get ready to go - I answered email, took a quick shower, and then sped down to the glorious south bay to return my library books at Stanford, pick up two more books, mail a bunch of letters and packages (all business related, so none of you get anything fun), check my mail (where I found a delightful package of stuff from someone in Australia whom I had sent my first two books to - yay), buy some fancy-pants coffee beans to take home with me, etc. Then I sped back to the evil city to meet up with Tammy (aka Tammmmmmeh), an activity I normally would have blown off the day before a trip had I seen her more recently than many months ago. We had tea at Samovar, which was out of everything we wanted, and caught up, etc. Then I dragged her to Nordstrom, where I was v. bad and bought a handbag; it's less bad since it was almost free since I needed to use up a whole passel of rewards points before they expired. Do you hear the note of rationalization in my voice?

And now, after having cleaned out the fridge, taken out the trash, packed, repacked, etc., I need to sleep. Hopefully I can write on the plane tomorrow - while today was all errands, it somehow unlocked a vast aquifer of creativity which I intend to tap like a motherfucker until it runs dry and leaves only a desolate wasteland behind. In less vulgar terms, I came up with several key plot points, backstory realizations, etc. which I think may have fixed some of the last bits that I'm struggling with in terms of the plot and character motivations, and we'll see whether those realizations hold up to the sunlight. Goodnight!

in my dreams i'm dying all the time

Since I'm leaving for Iowa on Wednesday, I'm in a frenzy of preparations - some obvious, some less so. The obvious ones involved doing laundry, packing (I know, who would have guessed I would have packed today?), picking up a prescription, eating some of my leftovers (including whipping up an entirely impromptu mushroom/arugula/goat cheese scramble, which was way tastier than anything else I could make with a random hodgepodge of leftovers). And I also wrote three pages or so of Nick and Ellie; I was really hating what I was writing and thought it was all drivel, and so stopped, but when I reread it later I thought it was great - sometimes I hate the creative process.

But I spent the last six hours or so reading and taking notes from two different books about the East India Company - one was the rest of that book about London warehouse workers that I was so enamored with a few nights ago, and another was called "Glorious Sahibs", which seemed to be a rather romanticized account of a few British players in India during the Regency/Georgian era. It was really interesting and a quick read, but since he didn't cite sources and had a tone that sometimes verged on trashy sensationalism (if you can sensationalize the diplomatic dealings of the East India Company vs. the Marathas, Sikhs, Mughals, Mysore, Hyderabad, etc.), I think I need to treat it as an interesting set of anecdotes and read more if there are things I want to verify.

This may not have been strictly necessary, but I need to firm up my grasp on what Nick might have been up to while he was in India all those years, and now was as good a time as ever. This also means I can take these books back to the library tomorrow and get two more that my research turned up as contenders of interest - nothing like a little light reading about the East India Company on the plane, right? But now, I really should go to bed if I have any hope of going down to Stanford, going to the post office, and running other necessary errands before Iowa. Goodnight!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

she blinded me with science

I've nothing at all worth saying tonight; I didn't feel quite right today, and so I spent the day nursing my would-be cold with tea and coffee and orange juice and curry, all of which seemed to help just a bit. And I also tried to make myself feel better by concentrating on my rapidly swelling to-do list rather than writing; I've been ignoring email for weeks (months) and letting everything else pile up too, to the point that it's hard to be productive on anything when I feel like everything is falling apart.

I finally took a break tonight, and I'm v. sorry to report that I took it by watching 'Twilight' with Terry - it really is fabulously bad, and I couldn't pull away (a sign of how tired I am, since that would normally send me straight back to my room to work). Then I watched the last half of 'Wall-e' - and since it was on a double feature on the station that played it, I watched the entire thing again. And now, properly zoned out, and still feeling just a little off, I'm going to get some sleep and hope that tomorrow brings enough energy to clear out the rest of my inboxes, do the pressing things on my to-do list, and write Nick and Ellie's next scene. A girl can dream, right? Goodnight!

Friday, August 17, 2012

despite all my rage i am still just a rat in a cage

I woke up this morning feeling better than I deserved, although I had not slept particularly well; the combination of alcohol and an unfamiliar bed (although not that unfamiliar, since I've stayed over at Heather and Salim's several times) is always enough to make me sleep poorly. But I woke up at 8:15, showered, put on yesterday's clothes, and then went with Heather as she left for work so that she could drop me off at my car. We had a lovely conversation on the way to work, which I shall not repeat here, and then I got in my car, thought about getting breakfast, and instead got a coffee at Philz to keep me awake for the drive back to the evil city.

When I got here, I put on something cleaner and went down the street to buy brunch, since I was starving and didn't feel like cooking. Then I came home, grabbed my car, and went to the grocery store to stock up on a few tings so that I can eat between now and my trip to Iowa next week. When I got home, I thought about being productive, but then my mother called and we ended up talking for an hour. Then, I gave into temptation and napped for an hour like a boss.

By that time it was five p.m., and about three minutes after I woke up, Terry came home from work. I chatted with her for awhile, and messed around on my laptop while she and her sister watched part of "So You Think You Can Dance" before going out to do something fun. I stayed in like the hermit I am, made the most awesomely delicious five minute supper ever (arugula, fresh heirloom tomato, fresh burrata mozzarella, and some sliced roast beef sandwich meat - I was going to make a pork chop, but I need to brine it and I'd forgotten to do it earlier). YUM. I also opened a bottle of wine to go with it, and so fueled by tasty overpriced cheese and a glass and a half of wine, I forced myself to write four pages of Nick and Ellie. And now that I'm satisfied that I'm not a complete loser, I'm going to go to bed and attempt to repeat the feat tomorrow, only with three times and much writing and no alcohol and no naps. Goodnight!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

let it rain over me

I am not where I intended to be tonight - on Thursdays, I can typically be found in my own bed, but instead I'm in Heather and Salim's guest room, after an unfortunate encounters with several margaritas. Ha.

First things first. Today was South Bay Fun Day, which meant that I got up, showered, dried my hair, and vacated the house by ten a.m. to run errands and work at Stanford library. The first errand was at the Apple store at Stanford Shopping Center; my laptop battery started throwing a 'service battery' warning, and I decided I should get it checked out. After twenty minutes of waiting for my appointment, a fairly surly dude helped me, but I forgave him for being surly when he said that replacing the battery (normally $129 + $30 labor even though it took them <10mins) was free because it was covered under my warranty. I laughed internally at that, since my AppleCare plan expires tomorrow (ha!), but I took it, and now I have a lovely new battery that should last another three years. That makes me happy, since I was *thisclose* to saying that if the battery cost anything to replace I should just buy the 11" MacBook Air - yes, I realize that's not a cost savings.

So after my battery got fixed, I grabbed lunch at my fave cafe in the south bay, then went to the post office, then went to a shoe store to return a pair of shoes that I ordered online. I bonded with the sales clerks, but unfortunately they didn't have anything in my size that I wanted, or else I would have bought something from them. The return was ridiculous, since their system was calculating the return sales tax incorrectly, so I think I was out about $0.10 (although when I asked if they had any candy to give me, they offered me some dog treats - clearly they were trying to make it up to me). Then I went to Stanford library, where I spent four hours researching the Regency, British travelers in foreign lands, etc.

My evening plan was to have dinner with Heather (aka dear respected madam), and I dragged her to Fiesta Del Mar. Before we even got seated, I went *off* about a bad review I got on HEIRESS this morning, which basically said that my historical knowledge was terrible and that the whole thing was unbelievable. If you've spent more than three seconds with me, you know that I hate to be told that I'm wrong, particularly when I'm oh-so-right, and so I was pretty much livid all day. There's nothing I can do about it, since it's the reviewer's right to be snarky and there's no way that I or anyone else can address it without making the situation worse, but suffice it to say that I did my research and there's nothing I can do to combat the 'Romancelandia' version of history (which is not real history, as much as readers who've read hundreds of romances would like to believe it is). Ugh. I'm still angry. sssanyway, I was going to stick to diet coke, but I ended up having a margarita...and then my favorite waiter (who loooooves me) brought me a special blend margarita that was omgthebestthingever, and then Heather ordered one after she tasted mine, and then I had another. And long story short, I got drunk and almost weepy and so when Salim came to pick Heather up, I had to go home with them. Ha.

So when we got to their place, I sobered up just enough that they plied me with a gin and tonic, and we talked about weddings and construction and watched 'Always Sunny in Philadelphia'. And now I should sleep; I have to get up at eight so that dear respected madam can take me back to my car when she goes to work, and then I have to decide whether to a) do the drive of shame home or b) go to the mall, put on makeup in sephora, buy some underwear, and go to the library. I'm too old for this shit, but there are days (like when reviewers claim I don't know history) that it feels good. Goodnight!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

let me give your heart a break

I didn't write today; after typing up fifteen pages of handwritten writing that I did yesterday, and not feeling quite right all day (not sure if I'm getting sick, or if it's allergies, or if it's some helpful hypochondria trying to keep me from writing), I didn't really feel like tackling the next scene.

So instead, I indulged in an orgy of research, which I could easily continue forever because I'm just that much of a dork. I'm reading this book on East India Company warehouse workers in London from 1800-1858, and it's all ridiculously interesting (to me, not to you). Beyond just learning about the East India Company's domestic operations, there are tons of fascinating tidbits that shine some light on broader social issues of the time, like how many people were employed, what they made, what the construction of massive warehouses in the City of London area did to the so-called neighborhood, what goods were being imported, etc. It's so good that I ended up resurrecting an old database that I'd started long ago and abandoned so that I could type up my notes from the book in a v. fluid, searchable format, since the book has to go back to Stanford library at some point. Resurrecting the database makes me want to read the dozens of half-read/unopened research books on my shelves, which I suppose is a good thing since any fiction I read these days seems to make me incredibly surly.

Now, though, I need to go to bed; I've got plans tomorrow, including a trip to the Apple Store to fix my laptop battery and other various and sundry errands, so I should get some sleep. Goodnight!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

it'll make a million for you overnight

Today was nothing, and I mean nothing, but writing. Oh, and naptaking, and a relatively small amount of procrastinating. But I forced my way through two scenes and approximately twelve pages (eight handwritten, but as I'm using the tiniest college-ruled lines in a fairly large notebook, the typed version should be longer), so score to that. But it was a hard, brutal slog; I wrote at my desk, in the bathtub, on the roof in the fog, at my desk again, and in my bed in an attempt to keep myself awake and stimulated enough to keep writing rather than stopping every time I felt like I could go no further. And it worked - not sure it will work again tomorrow, but I certainly feel better about the book than I did yesterday.

And I feel better about life than I did yesterday, too; I'm no longer quite so annoyed with everyone and everything, so perhaps tomorrow I can safely venture out of my hermitville and, you know, get some coffee or interact with strangers or something. Nothing too wild and crazy. But the writing is the most important thing, so if I can venture out and be productive, great; if I must do my weird peregrinations through the apartment in search of varying places to work, then I'll do that instead. Goodnight!

start anew when your heart is an empty room

I wasn't in the mood to blog last night, and I'm not particularly in the mood to blog tonight, but I suspected there might be a mutiny of all hands (aka my mother) if I skipped for a second night in a row. Suffice it to say that I am in an utterly foul and wretched mood -- not for any particular reason that I can discern, even though Nick and Ellie's continued recalcitrance is grating on my last nerve. I spent several hours this morning procrastinating to avoid this guest blog post that I had to write; I really must stop agreeing to do them, since I think they sell v. few books and I hate writing them. Then, I ate lunch (comfort food: tuna salad sandwich made with miracle whip, on toasted gluten free bread), messed around a bit, and took Terry (who was working from home for the day) to pick up her car from the mechanic. Then, knowing that I needed a change of scene, I went to a cafe and nursed some tea while writing for a couple of hours.

So I'm happy with the progress I made on Nick and Ellie today, even if it's never, ever enough (yes, I see the conflict inherent in this sentence and recognize it's probably why I'm angry and sometimes get ulcers). When I got home, I wrote a bit more, then went downstairs and heated up some of my leftover chili. I ate it sullenly at the dining room table, thinking of everything and nothing, and then hung out in the dining room for another hour while Terry cooked and ate her own supper. Then I came upstairs, knew I was too unsettled to write (Samovar would say I have monkey mind and try to sell me some overpriced lapsang souchong to cure it), and so decided to read a book instead. But of course I hated it, too; my reading has brought me little joy lately, either because I'm choosing the wrong stuff or because I'm in a harshly critical mood about everything and everyone and it would take a work of surpassing brilliance to make me forget to hate on it.

Anyway, the end. My rages don't last very long, so with any luck tomorrow will be much brighter (but I wouldn't count on it; I always fall into weird eddies and doldrums of emotions when I'm in the throes of the middle/end of a book, so this is kind of to be expected). Goodnight!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

poetry of defiance

I'm beyond tired; why did I think that, after getting up at 7:30 this morning (and not sleeping particularly well last night), I should then stay up until two a.m. reading a book? Stupid. But that's how I roll, as we all know. I had my romance writer meeting this morning, and it went v. well; my freelance editor was a successful speaker, and I had a v. lovely, v. long lunch with the group after the meeting. Then, the speaker and I made our slow progress back across the bay bridge and I dropped her off at the Ferry Building to meet up with a friend of hers; the editor is a former New Yorker and was more than happy to take herself on the BART to the airport rather than using me to take her tonight, which was more than welcome to me.

So since I didn't have to take her to the airport, I came home, hung out with Terry, and ended up drinking three daiquiris, eating leftover homemade curry, and watching the Olympics/reading all night. You'll notice there was no writing in that statement, but I need to read occasionally or I forget why I love books and why I struggle so valiantly (whinily) to write them. The Olympics tonight were v. odd, though; they opened with a full HOUR of Tom Brokaw doing a full-on documentary about the beginning of World War II, the Battle of Britain, the Blitz, etc. It was really a fantastic bit of television, but other than mentioning that the first American to die in combat in WWII (a fighter pilot who volunteered for Britain) was a two-time Olympic gold medalist in bobsled in 1928 and 1932, and to mention that for most of the current athletes WWII is just a bunch of black and white documentaries, the piece really seemed to have nothing at all to do with the Olympics. So it was bizarre that it existed, and bizarre that Terry and I both wrote honors theses on WWII and so could sit there and drink too many daiquiris while debating Hitler's strategy. Ha.

After that, the Olympics paled in comparison, although men's diving was v. exciting. And while I kept an eye on track and field, I also read a book, which I really should have stopped reading; it was awful, but the story was just interesting enough that I kept reading because I kept hoping it would be better. And so now, fueled with the fact that other mediocre writers get published and have massive success, I'm going to bed -- goodnight!

Friday, August 10, 2012

every day i'm shuffling

Today was lovely - while I can't say that Nick and Ellie are cooperating, precisely, I did manage to wring six pages out of them tonight, which is six more pages than I expected to wring given that I had plans this afternoon. I spent the morning showering, eating, and procrastinating before driving to the airport to pick up my freelance editor, who is speaking to my romance chapter tomorrow. We then hung out for a couple of hours at Samovar in Yerba Buena, which was super fun since a) I adore Samovar no matter who I go with, and b) she's been in the industry forever, so she is both insightful and full of entertaining gossip. Yay.

She was hanging out with a friend later this afternoon/evening, so I dropped her off at her hotel and came home, where I felt super sleepy and so ate some stale cake (I know, bad decision making). Finally I decided to wake myself by going to Philz and getting a coffee + half a pound of coffee beans, since I was out and needed the jolt to feed my addiction. Properly caffeinated, I came home, wrote, ate leftover curry, and wrote some more before throwing in the towel and reading a bit of a writing book that my editor recommended.

And now, even though I'm not done writing this book (hahahahahahaha sob), I am going to go to bed; I have to get up at 7:30 to get ready for zee romance meeting, which is cruel and unusual punishment. Goodnight!

deep beneath the cover of another perfect wonder

I would whine about Nick and Ellie, but I'm sure you're tired of hearing about it. Perhaps not as tired as I am of living through it, but I'll grant you, my loyal readers, some stake in this drama. I did abandon my house this morning to do some writing at Morning Due, and I did some more writing at home this afternoon, netting about five pages (not bad for me, not good when I want to be writing twenty pages).

And I might have written all night like I originally planned to, but we'll never know because Terry came home from work and I succumbed to temptation and went out for wine and an early dinner with her instead. It was gorgeous in the city today, so we sat at an outside table at Des Amis and split a small carafe of wine, and then I had steak frites, which I adore (although in this case the frites were better than the steak; it was just a bit too done for my liking, but still delicious enough that I didn't want to wait to send it back). When we came home I was too happy to force myself back into the writing, and so I watched many hours of Olympics coverage instead.

Tomorrow's another day, and I hope to do some writing in the morning, since I'm spending the afternoon picking up my freelance editor from the airport and then taking her around the city. No, I'm not important enough that she's flying up to see me. But I arranged for her to give this month's program at my romance chapter meeting on Saturday, and I'm getting additional benefit since I get to hang out with her. So I should probably go to bed so that I can write tomorrow so that I can feel mildly successful rather than pissed off about Nick and Ellie when I pick her up. Goodnight!

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

we're gonna play in the dark til it's golden again

I hate this book. Hate it. I mean, not really - but today was completely unpleasant. I need to make a decision about this killer business, but after much wailing and gnashing of teeth (and writing in my journal and eating cake and taking a nap, and cleaning out the pump filter in the washing machine - a true sign of procrastination), I decided to go for a walk. So I went to the grocery store, bought some produce, then went to Starbucks and wrote for an hour or so. I decided to just write the next scene without deciding about the killer, which is probably the right strategy - I know I just have to keep writing, find out 100 pages later that I was wrong, and rewrite it, but that doesn't mean knowing that the next few days will be all for naught is any easier to bear.

sssanyway, when I got home, I used my produce to make supper - an attempt at thai green curry, using curry paste, light coconut milk, chicken, carrot, potato, green beans, and fish sauce. It turned out really well, actually; I overcooked it slightly, after thinking I'd undercooked it, and I think next time I'll leave out the chicken broth it called for since it ended up being too thin, but it was tasty, just the right amount of spice for me, and really easy to make. Good thing I like it, since I'll be eating leftovers for the next couple of days. And then I watched Olympics with Terry (of course) and probably made one too many jhokes about beach volleyball for her liking. And now I think I shall go to bed, and hope that Nick and Ellie stop being little bitches and cooperate with me tomorrow. Goodnight!

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

Today was lovely, but I did no writing - I did, however, decide to maybe keep the old killer, so let's hope that decision still stands when I wake up tomorrow. I got up at 8:30, which was early enough to shower but not early enough to eat breakfast before the complex's water got shut off. Then I went to Palo Alto to check my mail and mail some giveaways, and then I went to my old place of work to have lunch with Gyre, who was in fine form.

After lunch, I went to Saratoga (which I never go to, as it is even farther south) to have coffee with a romance writer from Australia who finaled for the golden heart the same years that I did - she came to Anaheim for the conference, stayed with her dad in LA for a bit, then flew up here to see two concerts at Saratoga's Mountain Winery tonight and tomorrow night - Chris Isaak and Duran Duran. Since she was coming in around midday today and had nothing to do, we got together for coffee, and then I drove her up to the winery just to show her how to get there, since she was nervous about driving on the wrong side of the road on an unfamiliar, windy mountain path - possibly with good reason, since it was super steep and super curvy. But that's why the venue is so cool, so hopefully she made it back up there later tonight.

I finally left Saratoga around 4:30, and had to deal with traffic on the way home, but I made it in time to eat some leftover spaghetti while watching women's indoor volleyball with Terry. Lauren (aka Subz) came over and watched a couple of hours of primetime with us, which was fun, and when she left and Terry went to bed, I continued to watch until the women's floor routine was done (yay). But then I turned off the tv and took care of some tings, thus missing the men's gymnastics - I'll have to watch them in the morning. But for now, I must sleep - goodnight!

Monday, August 06, 2012

i'm gonna make this place your home

Nick and Ellie are still being assholes - I had successfully avoided distractions, cleared my mind, started writing, and was going great guns plotting out the next two or three scenes today when suddenly, out of NOWHERE, I realized that maybe the person who is trying to kill Nick is actually someone other than the person who I thought was the murderer for the past year. WTF?! That threw me for a complete loop - I mean, how can the villain be someone other than who I had planned, given that I plotted the damn thing and am in complete control of their destinies? Writing is a strange thing, I tell you.

So I spent the whole afternoon stewing over this development, writing out bits and pieces of possible plot to support the new killer, and continuing to debate whether the new killer was the right killer or whether s/he was just a shiny new toy killer who must, regretfully, be returned when I realize the older model is stronger/better/more logical. I'm stymied. So I finally left the house and went for a walk, which helped to clear my head a bit, but unfortunately when my head was clear it refused to be uncleared by going back to writing. So I spent the evening making pasta (yum), then watching some Olympics. I'm not done with tonight's coverage, but I need to sleep; apparently the water in the complex is getting shut off at nine tomorrow, which means I actually need to get up at eight if I want to shower/eat breakfast/etc. Boo. I hope that I dream about whoever the real killer is so I can move forward...it may be time to try the Aaron Sorkin method and score some coke. Or maybe I can continue to get buy on my unholy mix of Philz coffee and diet mountain dew. Goodnight!

blow me one last kiss

While I wasn't hungover, precisely, I was pretty much useless today. I slept until sometime after ten, when I awoke to the smell of smoke and the sound of men being stupid. The window above my bed (which I can't see out without standing on the bed, so the view doesn't matter) looks out over the garage/carport area of the apartment complex behind us, and some dudes were back there attempting to get some sort of homemade grilling apparatus going. Needless to say, I was displeased. But, awake, I forced myself downstairs and finished cleaning up from the party, which took v. little time since I'd taken care of almost everything yesterday. Then I enjoyed a sandwich with some of the last bits of leftover deli meat (yum), contemplated life, and then attempted to write.

But I didn't attempt very hard, which meant I accomplished nothing. All this laser determination and focus that I'm seeing from Olympic athletes is not rubbing off on me. However, tomorrow is another day, one in which I will have no traces of hangover, and I'm excited to see where Nick and Ellie take me next. I typed up everything I wrote two days ago, mourned the fact that I somehow wrote a thirty-page sex scene that I will probably need to cut back, and am now moving on to the next segment of the book.

Today, though, I took a nap. Then I talked to zee parents for an hour and a half. Then I read part of a research book: "Jane Austen's Town and Country Style," which is interesting, but I lost interest when the Olympics came on and the book had a too-long segment on architectural philosophies. The Olympics made me slightly sad tonight, since most of the people whom I wanted to see win gold did not win gold (including Cassidy Krug, whom I actually took a continuing studies class with; she was in medal contention in diving, but it didn't end up going her way). The Olympics giveth, the Olympics taketh away.

And now I really should sleep; I'm going to power through as much manuscript as possible this week, so wish me luck. Goodnight!

Sunday, August 05, 2012

settle down, it'll all be clear

YAY OLYMPICS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So today was my Olympic Rings Cakes party, and it was a smashing success. It all came together beautifully; baking four of the five cakes yesterday no doubt helped, as did buying stuff for nice sandwiches rather than attempting to make supper. By the time the first guests showed up, everything was basically in place and done and lovely (and my hair was tinseled with the Olympics colors) - perhaps I'll post pictures tomorrow, but tonight I'm too tired to figure out zee technology.

However, I was delighted with both the quantity and quality of the attendees - approximately thirty people showed up, which was approximately enough to eat half the cake I baked. We officially cut the cake at eight p.m., but people started showing up two or three hours before that and stayed until after midnight, so that's quite a showing. And there was much watching of Olympics, much rejoicing over eating cake rather than training for decades for small, fleeting bits of glory, and much drinking of rum and other beverages. I made a giant pitcher of mojitos (which were utterly delish), and a vat and a half of mai tais (involving six cups of rum - I usually don't measure mixed drinks using my 4-cup pyrex measuring cup, but it was quite helpful for this party). Once the food coloring started pouring, shit got real, although we only did one shot this year (and that one was diluted - more like half a shot) - a rum/club soda shot with a squeeze of lime and a bit of salt, dyed light blue like the ocean, with one single drop of black food coloring diffusing through it, which was called the Deepwater Horizon. Not yummy, but certainly entertaining enough to deserve a medal.

Speaking of medals, I had twelve or so that I gave out whimsically and capriciously - for such things as arriving first (Felicia), parking the farthest away (Oniel), knowing an Olympian (Chandlord), wearing all five Olympics colors (Adit - who else?), saying that if we can't be Russia we might as well be out of the volleyball competition (Tom), etc. It is entertaining to watch people get mildly competitive over something with no rules and no tangible monetary value - but I'm sure I would have been striving for a medal had I not been the equivalent of the IOC (and like the IOC, I allowed myself to be seduced by my own power and ended up giving myself a medal, yay).

As I said, the last group left around 12:30, and I might have been tempted to go with them - but I was quite happy at my current state of inebriation, and since I'm on deadline and need to write furiously tomorrow (and all next week), I decided to be a good girl and stay home so that I wouldn't die. After they left, I ended up cleaning the apartment - perhaps I should have just gone to bed, but I was just drunk enough to not mind cleaning, and not tired yet, so I put everything away. I need to run the dishwasher in the morning, wash a few handwash only things, and scrub down the counters (after I buy paper towels, since I made a rookie mistake and forgot to buy more before the party) - but cleanup was super easy, and now I don't have to dread getting out of bed and facing the kitchen in the morning.

So beyond cleaning, I really can't recount how delightful of an evening I had - and I didn't even really get all that drunk, despite the vat of delicious mai tais, because I was just so darned excited for zee party that I kept forgetting to drink my beverages. I'm already planning for my Sochi 2014 party - I believe borscht is a requirement, and I'll have to do vodka drinks instead of rum drinks (not that rum is really a British drink, but Britain does still have Jamaica as part of the commonwealth, and there was a lot of rum drunk by the British navy, so I'm making a tenuous connection there). Anyway, it will be super fun - so save the date for February 15, 2014. Goodnight!

Friday, August 03, 2012

i think i've finally had enough, i think i maybe think too much

I'm super tired, but preparations for my grand Olympics party are proceeding exactly according to plan. I got up this morning, took care of stuff around the house, and then forced myself to go to a cafe and write for two hours (and finally, finally finish that Nick and Ellie scene that has been driving me nuts), since I can't completely ignore the fact that I'm supposed to be finishing this book while I'm obsessed with the Olympics. Then I went to a party supply store to get a plastic tablecloth to protect Terry's table from the depredations of drunks with food coloring, and then I went to Safeway to stock up on dry goods and mixers.

By the time I got home, it was approximately three p.m. And then I engaged in a baking death march and made four of the five cakes between 3:30pm and 7:30pm. I made lemon cake, chocolate cake, red velvet cake, and blueberry cream cheese cake - and they're all gluten free, which I'm super excited about. The lemon cake is the same recipe as what my mom and aunt make, but I used a gluten free white cake mix (modified per their lemon cake instructions by adding lemon zest and lemon extract). The blueberry cake is the one I experimented with a couple of weeks ago, but I baked it the proper length of time this time. The chocolate cake used a gluten free chocolate cake mix, and while I don't know exactly how it turned out, the batter was lovely. It's frosted with a homemade chocolate ganache, so if nothing else, the frosting will taste great.

The biggest challenge was the red velvet cake, which was a total experiment...I used the gluten free flour mix that I make from scratch using a recipe from the cookbook my parents gave me (involving brown rice flour, sorghum flour, corn starch, potato starch, potato flour, and xantham gum), and we'll see whether it's any good. And I made a homemade cream cheese frosting (dyed red, por supuesto), which turned out really well. I may have overbaked the cake, but we shall see...and anyway, I don't love red velvet cake, so if it sucks, I won't miss it.

But I was more than ready to take a break from baking by 7:30, so I left the house and met up with Terry for Mexican food in San Bruno. We hadn't really caught up since my conference, so roommate dinner was a good thing. Then we came home, I frosted the chocolate cake, unloaded the dishwasher, and washed up the last couple of pans (not hard, since I washed up after every cake, so the kitchen is still sparkling). You'll notice that I did not watch the Olympics -- I know, shocker. But I really need to sleep if I'm going to survive my party, and if I'm really good I may try to squeeze some writing in beforehand...we shall see. Goodnight!

i will turn your face to alabaster

I should have gone to bed two hours ago, but I started watching Olympics coverage v. late (after ten p.m.) since I had plans tonight (a measure of my affection for the people I had plans with, since I didn't cancel on them). And since tonight was the women's all around gymnastics final + several important swimming races, I didn't want to put it off until tomorrow, particularly since I don't have time to watch tomorrow in addition to all the other preparations I have to make.

But today was good, even if it was mostly about getting ready for my massive Olympics party on Saturday. And by 'massive' I mean I have a lot of baking to do - I think there will be a v. good turnout, but we're all getting old, so while I expect I will do some shots of dubious provenance and spend Sunday regretting all my life decisions, I also don't expect this to be particularly rowdy. sssanyway, I spent the morning unpacking from my conference last week, doing laundry, etc. Then I spent the afternoon working on Nick and Ellie before throwing in the towel and working on my grocery list/preparation plan for the party. Nothing is hard, but baking five cakes requires some planning, and I don't want to forget stuff at the store and have to go back.

So I made my list, then decided to clean out the pantry so I have room for the stuff I'm buying. And then I made chocolate chip chewies with a gluten free flour blend - not that I need to bake anything else, but one of the cakes (red velvet) would be best if I baked it from scratch, and I wanted to test my flour mix on something I know how to make so that I could tell whether/how it was off. And I must say that the chewies turned out fantastically - there's just the slightest difference (some sort of grainier/nuttier taste), but I don't think anyone could tell they were gluten free. Yay!

After baking, I went to Whole Foods to pick up gluten free cake mixes, then went to BevMo to pick up rum, vodka, orgeat, gin, etc. Then I went to Chandlord's for what was supposed to be book club, but I think we're on summer break - this was going to be a watch-a-movie book club, but we didn't even bother to watch the movie. Instead, we hung out and wished Lauren a day-late happy birthday, and Chandlord made an awesome salad and some awesome homemade pasta sauce, and it was all v. lowkey and lovely. And then I came home and pounded through several hours of Olympics coverage - I know, you're so impressed.

And now I really need to sleep - I have to write, go grocery shopping, and bake at least three cakes tomorrow, so wish me luck. Goodnight!

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

lacrimae

I'm blogging while watching the last few minutes of gymnastics so that I can go to bed as soon as coverage is over - it's rather interesting to try to guess what will happen based on what they save for last, and right now I'm guessing that Danell Leyva gets some sort of medal even though it was looking bleak several hours ago when they started gymnastics coverage. And they're actually showing six of the final routines, rather than just him, so whatever happens has gotta be interesting. I'm guessing either a) bronze or b) scoring controversy (yay!!).

Anyway, the rest of my day was quiet but productive...I wrote all afternoon, which was slow going, but what I wrote seems good, so I'm happy about that. And I avoided all spoilers, but the Olympics tonight have felt kinda slow - probably because they've been showing a ton of swimming and putting off this gymnastics stuff until the very end - bastards. And now I'm going to post, shut down, finish watching, and go to bed - goodnight!

skyfall

Another day, another successful media blackout. I slept ridiculously late (probably because I didn't go to bed until 2:30am), but I won't let myself regret it because this afternoon I started to feel like I might be getting sick...so I immediately pounded some orange juice and hoped for the best.

But beyond that, today was all Olympics. I spent most of the afternoon watching tivo'd coverage from late last night/early this morning, which was mostly team equestrian, which I ADORED. The commentators were particularly good - not annoying, but the female commentator was also a bit catty about how the riders looked, so that entertained me. And I got to see lots of shots of my beloved Prince Harry (aka Prince Hot Ginge), who had turned out to support his cousin Zara as she rode for Great Britain (obvi). I took a break after that to leave the house briefly and run an errand, and then I came back and attempted to work on Nick and Ellie. I'm still a bit stymied with what I'm changing, but I think I've got it more figured out, so hopefully I can move forward tomorrow.

Tonight was all about primetime Olympics coverage, which unfortunately doesn't start until eight p.m. and lasts until midnight. But I watched it all, and was v. pleased with the results - and especially pleased that it felt like old Cold War times, since women's gymnastics came down to the US, Russia, and Romania (yay nostalgia). Then I worked on Nick and Ellie some more, caught up on social media, watched the new James Bond trailer (awesome), found out that 'The Hobbit' is going to be three movies (theoretically awesome, although I don't see how that's possible), and am now going back into media blackout in preparation for tomorrow. Goodnight!