Sunday, September 30, 2012

i wear my sunglasses at night so i can, so i can keep track of the visions in my eyes

Today was both successful and not at all successful. Not successful because I wrote nothing, but once you get beyond my shocking (or not so shocking) lack of productivity, I had an awesome day. I started off with brunch down the street, since I was starving at the unusually early hour of ten a.m. and had no food in the house. Then, I unpacked everything and did some laundry before showering and then running over to John's - I was looking for some PhD regalia for a party I was going to tonight, and he offered to loan me his. This was a mistake, as we both realized immediately, and a mistake we probably should have thought of earlier, since he's 6'5" and so even his hood dragged on the ground when I wore it, let alone the robe. Ha. The regalia may not have worked, but we spent a couple of hours catching up, which was v. nice since I have barely seen him over the past few months since I've been out of town so much.

Post catch-up, I came home, did a bit of work, took a nap, and then wrote my speech for tonight's party. The party was a 'graduation' for the team I managed four years ago, and about half of the fifty original members showed up. I had to drink some courage in the form of v. potent sangria (plus a mandatory shot of fernet during one of the other toasts), but they had asked me to give the 'commencement speech', which seemed to go well (I may have pulled Prom King out of my purse at once point - Prom King is my anatomically-correct newborn doll which Gram Holder gave me many years ago and has been a mainstay of my room since senior year of college). It was so awesome to catch up with the people who came and find out what they've been up to in the two years since I left the Goog, and I'm glad that I came back from NYC and rallied in order to go.

So, that was great. I then skipped out on the post-party bar experience and came home (using the most inept cab driver ever; he didn't know where Gough was, which is ridiculous considering it's one of the main arteries in the city). And now the jet lag is kicking in and I should really get some sleep - goodnight!

Friday, September 28, 2012

the day the music died

I need to sleep immediately, so I will share with you only the barest of facts - I had breakfast with Claude before she went back to New Haven, then I showered and packed, then I had lunch with Ritu and bid her a fond farewell before she went back to work, then I went to JFK, then I spent six hours on a plane, then I had tv time with Terry. And now I desperately need to sleep; I'm going to spend tomorrow getting caught up on tings, and then I need to write a book next week, so don't expect any grand coherence on my part over the next few days. Goodnight!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

i saw satan laughing with delight

This is one of those nights when I vow never to drink again, but the memories of this night will be lovely enough that I will promptly forget that vow in an attempt to reclaim them. Today was utterly wonderful, after it got started; I spent the first couple of hours wrestling with the iBookstore, which was not wonderful, but once I stopped messing with that, everything started looking up. I had lunch at Chipotle (don't tell Ritu), and then I took the subway to Grand Central Station, where I met Claudia (aka Claude, aka Claude the Fraude, aka Santy Claud, aka The Devil), who was gracious enough to come into the evil city for the afternoon. Of course the afternoon turned into her needing to crash on Ritu'a couch...but I digress.

We started off tame, with coffee near Ritu's apartment. Then we wandered twenty blocks south toward the place where we'd agreed to meet Ritu for drinks/dinner, and we had a glass of wine and a bellini each at a subpar wine bar with above average people watching. Around six p.m. we adjourned to the Mermaid Inn, which has an oyster happy hour, and Ritu met us there. Ritu confined herself to a dozen oysters, but Claude and I had sixteen each - delicious. We also had tasty tequila beverages and a v. lovely, entertaining conversation.

Then we adjourned to the trashier part of the evening - 50%-off sushi at some nearby dive-y sushi bar, which helped to fill the voids that oysters could not fill. Properly fueled, Claude and Ritu vetoed my suggestion to continue descending the seafood ladder (apparently Long John Silver's is beneath them - I KNOW). Instead, we went to two different speakeasies -- the first, Gin Palace, serves only gin-based drinks, while the second, Death and Co., serves a variety of liquors (not death - confusing, right?). My drink at Gin Palace had cinnamon in it and was the best of the night, but our new best friend Fletcher (the door guy at Death and Co.) hooked us up with a table and called to let me know it was ready, so we only had to wait twenty minutes for it instead of the two hours he quoted to the party who showed up right before he seated us. Score! I had a drink with fennel b/c I'm an idiot, followed by an adult alcoholic version of an Orange Julius, and now I'm quite happy (and soon to be quite headachy). Ritu had left us after the first drink at Death and Co since she had to work tomorrow, but now it's time for me and Claude to sleep as well so that Ritu can go to work, Claude can take the train of shame, and I can pack up and head for the airport tomorrow afternoon. Goodnight!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

but there's nothing to grasp so i let go

I continue to live like there's no tomorrow (at least for my liver)...although I slept eight hours last night and took a nap this afternoon, so I feel human despite my mild buzz. Ritu had to go to work this morning, but I stayed asleep until after she left (shocking, since I managed to sleep through her getting ready even though she lives in a studio the size of my bedroom). Then I took care of some romance tings, showered, and went over to the meatpacking district (which no longer has anything to do with meatpacking; it's more fancy restaurants, clubs, and fashion) to have a friendship renewal lunch with the original Jen Lui. We went to Pastis, a french place with some truly awesome food, and caught up over soup and scallops before wandering around Chelsea Market for a bit.

After we parted ways, I came back to Ritu's to beat an incipient rainstorm, repacked my stuff, and took a nap. Then, I met up with Ritu at Flute, a 'champagne speakeasy' that had a $25 all-you-can-drink happy hour from six to eight. We had six glasses each, bringing our average down to $4/glass, which was respectable (even if the waitress did say we would hate her when we awoke in the morning with champagne headaches). It wasn't just plain champagne; we cycled through bellinis, kir royale, and straight champagne, and the glasses were small enough that we were happy but not dying by the end of it. Also at the end of it, we met up with Jessica, Lauren (aka Subz)'s friend from business school whom I met at Lauren's bachelorette a few weekends ago. The three of us had some v. spicy thai food and generally hung out before it was time to part ways.

And now, I should sleep; tomorrow's my last full day in NYC, and I have grand plans to write a lot for the first time in over a week and then get together with Claudia (aka Claude), who is coming down from New Haven to hang out one last time. Goodnight!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

i've wasted my nights, you turned out the lights

The fun continues unabated...I missed the first half hour of the conference this morning since I slept slightly too late, but I forgave myself with absolutely no remorse (if anything, I wished I'd slept another half hour, since the presentation I did make it for wasn't that interesting). But the conference today was generally good, and made better since I snuck out for lunch and had belgian food down the street from the conference (sans gluten), where I alternated between making a massive list of all my marketing ideas for the next few months and reading an ebook that was tangentially mentioned during the conference about decluttering/getting rid of unnecessary things/habits/etc. Weird, I know. I learned quite a bit at the conference, I think - or at least learned where I need to do some more research, and where I'm clearly ahead of the curve. But I have a *lot* of work to do the next few months (years, decades), so while I'm eager to have fun the next couple of days, I'm also eager to get back to San Francisco and go into hermit mode for October.

But no hermiting today; instead, I came to Ritu's, where I was here approximately ten minutes before she got home from work. We hung out here for a bit, and then had dinner at Northern Spy, a new American (in the sense that the cuisine is new, not the restaurant) in the area known as Alphabet City, which is way more hipster/gentrified than it was a couple of decades ago. The food was *awesome* - everything I wanted the food to be yesterday, and I enjoyed every single bite of it. We had a cheese platter, and then she had some awesome lamb and I had some v. awesome chicken with a bit of gnocchi and a lot of vegetables - probably the best chicken I've had in months. She had three glasses of wine, but I limited myself to two (pity), and we talked about death a lot, which is always super fun. And I'm 99.999% sure that Malcolm Gladwell was at the table next to us (about 36" away - the tables were so close together that they had to be pulled out to get out), which was bizarre and entertaining.

Post Northern Spy, we stopped at a bar down the street and ill-advisedly had three jello shots each before coming home and watching 'Bridesmaids', since Ritu was horrified that I had never seen it. And now that I'm both amused and horribly depressed, it's time for bed - goodnight!

Monday, September 24, 2012

city never sleeps, better slip you an ambien

Augghhh no words left. Today was awesome, but I'm going to bed ninety minutes later than I had planned or desired, as usually seems to happen when I leave my hermity ways and venture out to see other people. My conference was good, albeit a bit low on calories (lunch was a sandwich, pasta salad, a cookie, and potato chips, so I ate some v. bad roast beef that I peeled off the bread and had the potato chips later) and also a bit low on energy by the end (see: lack of calories). I learned some stuff, though, and my head is spinning with all the tings I want to do/explore/think about, so that's good since that's what I came here for.

Post conference, I came back to my hotel, hung out for a little bit, and then met up with Ritu and took the subway to Brooklyn, where we met up with Priyanka and Chris (of German wedding fame) and also Bill (also of German wedding fame, although four of the five of us (everyone but Chris) are from Iowa). But the meeting up process was longer than dinner, since Chris and Bill were both running extremely late -- so we started with drinks, then had one appetizer, then had another appetizer, and so dinner ran from 7:30 to 11. By the time I got back to my hotel it was midnight, and I spent the last half hour taking care of tings. Still, though, I suppose they were worth the lost sleep; we played MASH (the silly/wonderful game we used to play to find out what our futures were, since there's now an iphone app for it) and were generally v. silly. And now, I must sleep; I have to check out of the hotel in the morning, make it to my conference by nine a.m., and hope that everything isn't hosed up by the UN General Assembly tomorrow - there are advantages to hermitville, since there is never any traffic in my apartment. Goodnight!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

we run the night

I'm back in NYC, and while I'm excited for my conference (and, after that, some major writing productivity), it was v. sad to say goodbye to the New Haven contingent. We had more fun today before it was time to auf wiedersehen my way to the train station; equally importantly, I slept over eight hours last night (which also helped me to have fun - I have become old and decrepit and can't survive on multiple nights of less than 6hrs of sleep). Zach, Maggie and I met up with Claudia, Ritu and Bill somewhere in New Haven or its general vicinity for brunch at Bella's, where we were promised a long wait and commensurately delicious food. This was true on both counts; the saddest point was when, around minute forty-five of our wait, we were told our table was ready...only to discover, to our dawning horror, that we had been mistaken for a group of five and that we had to wait another twenty minutes. Sad. But the food was *awesome*, and I ate almost every bite of my bayou omelette (shrimp, andouille sausage, cheese, etc.). And Ritu and I bonded over our shared love of sour cream, which we both asked for and which we were both mocked for by the rest of the party (Ritu moreso, since she ate it with her fork by itself when she was too full to finish her burrito).

Post brunch, we wandered around for fifteen minutes or so, and then Claude and I dropped Ritu and Bill off at the train station so that they could return to NYC at a more reasonable hour. I spent the rest of the afternoon hanging out at Zach and Maggie's; Maggie and Claude had to finish reading the book club book (Maggie successfully, Claudia less so), and so I kept Zach company while he prepped the book club food and I flipped through the New York Review of Books in a completely desultory style. I'm hopeful that he and Maggie (and Claudia, obvi, although she's a bit further away from finishing her program) will end up on the west coast again, even if I am dreaming of running away on a steamer ship and sailing the world**.

Anyway, Zach made fresh spring rolls, which involved a hideous amount of chopping of vegetables, and then I took the credit by upstaging him in the rolling of said spring rolls (mostly because I didn't make the 'burrito fallacy', as he called it, of overstuffing them). Book club was fun, albeit more serious and less drunken than the San Francisco book club - we read CLOUD ATLAS (as you've probably read here a bajillion times) and I really, really enjoyed it. Zach also played the movie trailer, which made me even more super psyched. And then I said my farewells, Claude took me to the train station, I made it to New York, and I checked into my hotel with only minimal drama and only one dude hitting on me in the elevator. And now, I really must sleep; my conference is tomorrow, and I somehow have to be awake/professional/coherent/able to comprehend the speech patterns of people who have never met Adit, all of which will be difficult. Goodnight!

**speaking of running away and sailing the world, happy birthday and many grand felicitations to Walter (aka Harold, aka the Talbotross)!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

german german

I'm way too tired to blog, and it's clear that my neck is aggravated mostly by typing on my laptop - which may be a problem since I have a lot of typing to do to finish Nick and Ellie's book (which is becoming increasingly imperative now that I, like, have fans and stuff - weird). But I had a fantastic day - I'm so glad that I came to Yale/New Haven to see Claude/Zach/Maggie in their natural habitat (although perhaps its wrong to call this their natural habitat, since they all seem intent on leaving as soon as they are able).

We were v. lazy this morning, but I still got less than six hours of sleep since I accidentally stayed up until three a.m. Zach, Maggie and I met up with Claudia, Ritu and Bill at a coffee shop that served gluten free wraps (subpar) and gluten free cookies (amazeballs), and then we did an unofficial walking tour of campus. We went into the rare books library, which was super cool - the exterior walls have translucent alabaster to allow some light to filter through without harming the manuscripts, and if the fire alarms go off, you have limited time to exit before the building seals itself and fills up with argon to prevent fire from damaging the books. Awesome.

We also saw a lot of the old campus, saw just a tiny bit of the Center for British Art (where I bought myself a Christmas ornament - the first time I've ever bought myself one without buying my mom one, but I didn't think she would appreciate an ornament of Admiral Lord Nelson, the hero/martyr of the Battle of Trafalgar during the Napoleonic Wars), wandered around the science areas, and stopped in at Zach's lab, where we watched him check to see which of his microscopic worms had died overnight. Then Claude drove us up to the top of East Rock to look out over New Haven before we returned to Zach and Maggie's to make dinner.

I had to take a brief siesta at this point, but rallied in time to help (sort of) while Maggie and Zach made swiss chard, a sort of ratatouille of vegetables, a v. yummy baked polenta, and flattened chicken (also yummy). We all ate supper, then scurried back to campus to see a cabaret we had tickets for - "Fatal Eggs", based on a Bulgakov novella. The play was great, and made even better by being able to drink wine while watching it, but I really enjoyed it a lot. We grabbed some froyo after (frozen yogurt for you non-Stanford peeps), went to Claude's, and were going to watch 'Sahara', but instead got trapped into watching part of 'Battle Royale' before Z/M and I were too tired to continue.

And now I'm going to bed - more fun is expected tomorrow, and then I'm taking a train back to NYC and need to buckle down and get some shit done. But this has been a v. lovely break in my usual routine, and I'm glad I've gotten to spend some quality time with the Yale contingent. Goodnight!

Friday, September 21, 2012

light my candle

I am beyond tired, but I've had a v. lovely day! I awoke in Ritu's bed, vacated it, showered, and was mostly dressed by the time she got home from work. Then, I kept her awake in a nefarious attempt to make her as loopy as possible by taking her out for breakfast to the diner down the street, which was all sorts of fun. Then we came home, I grabbed my laptop and notebook and other supplies, and she went to sleep while I wandered out into the city to get some work done. I ended up at a tea place, where I had a v. terrible earl grey tea (I think they put vanilla into it, which I'm pretty sure Earl Grey would not have approved of), which I nursed for several hours while procrastinating and trying to figure out how to structure the next scene and what information I need to impart.

I got hungry at some point, so I wandered around and had lunch at some Thai place, which was pretty tasty. Then I had half an hour to kill, so I tried to go to Starbucks, but the seats were all taken, so I bought a bottle of water and sat in the park across from Ritu's building. It turns out the park is a playground and adults aren't supposed to be there without kids, but I must have looked unthreatening because no one harassed me, and I actually wrote a couple of pages of zee romance novel while sitting on a bench.

At that point, it was time to go wake Ritu up. Her boyfriend Bill (whom she met at the glorious German wedding we went to last summer) got into town this afternoon and was already there, but it took quite some doing to rouse Ritu and get her showered/dressed/packed. And by 'some doing' I mean I heckled her for an hour and a half. We eventually got ready, got to Grand Central, got on a train, and spent a couple of hours hanging out on zee train before arriving in New Haven, home of Yale University, and more importantly home to some of my v. favorite people, Claudia (aka Claud, aka Claude the Fraude), Zach (aka Stinkubus), and Maggie (aka...she's too sweet to be aka anything). They've all been here forever, but it's the first time I've made it up to New Haven, which is v., v. exciting....

...and we had a totally lovely, awesome evening. Claudia picked us up at the train station and brought us to Zach and Maggie's, where we had pizza ordered in (there was a gluten free version for Claude, which was delightful, but I was bad and tried the New Haven classic pizzas, which were also delightful but probably unwise). Zach made us drinks (first a gin martini, then a gin/elderflower concoction, then whatever whisky/rye/bourbon we wanted), Maggie made a salad, and later Maggie gave us bourbon vanilla ice cream with a caramel/ground cherry sauce. Yum yum. We laughed ridiculously hard, reminisced excessively, and probably made Bill doubt his decision to be part of the madness, but it was all quite entertaining. And now, I'm exhausted, and I must go to bed before staying up this late ruins all the good work I've done trying to get adjusted to the time change. Goodnight!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

the broken places

I had a fabulous day, but now I'm utterly wiped out and in desperate need of sleep. My grand plan last night to get drunk and fall asleep early was foiled by the fact that I don't sleep well when I've been drinking or when I'm sleeping somewhere other than my bed - oops. Also, I tried to go to sleep at the equivalent of eight p.m. in California, so it just wasn't happening. I slept v. fitfully all night, woke up at 7:30 (aka 4:30 in California), and knew that I was in for a v. messed up day...

But I showered, dressed, dolled myself up, and was good to go when Ritu returned from her overnight shift at the hospital. She had picked up breakfast for us, so we ate and caught up until it was time for me to leave for my train and for her to go to bed. I made it to my train with five minutes to spare (and with a latte in hand as fuel against my inevitable descent into decrepit exhaustion) and managed to score a seat on the river side of the train. And by river side I mean that for the entirety of the two-hour train ride that I took up north to see my agent, the train ran alongside the banks of the Hudson River. It was quite possibly the most gorgeous thing ever; so gorgeous that it made me want to abandon the west coast and move to a small town in upstate New York. Or a small town anywhere; I'm actually not really a fan of cities, a realization I have repeatedly and then choose to ignore when I remember that cities are home to mojitos and the country is home to Miller Lite.

sssanyway, I got to the town where my agent and I were meeting around 12:30, and we had a v. lovely afternoon. She bought me lunch at an awesome Italian restaurant, where we both had gluten-free pasta and white wine, and then we had ice cream down the street (where I had peppermint chip, which tasted so much like the peppermint ice cream we always got from the Schwan man at Christmas when I was a kid, at which point my agent and I discussed how we can't talk to anyone else about the Schwan man because no one knows what/who he is). Agent lady had been afraid that we would have to stop hanging out at that point since she had been expecting some calls, but her work load was lighter than she expected, so she drove me the thirty minutes out to her office so that I could see where she works and say hi to her assistant. And the office was *amazing* - on a gravel road, in a house that looks sort of like a converted barn, with acres and acres of rolling hills and woodlands with a view of the Catskills in the distance. I'm so freaking jealous. And the assistant was smart enough to put my books on display as though they're always front and center, even though I know better - but it was sweet anyway.

And then she drove me back to the train, I nursed a tea in the hopes that it would wake me up (failure), and then I spent two hours alternating between dozing and looking out at the countryside on the way back to New York. I had intended to write on the train today, but I got absolutely nothing done beyond drooling over the scenery. When I got back, I spent half an hour talking to Ritu, who then left for her overnight shift; then I ignored all her suggestions of cool places to eat and grabbed food at Chipotle, since it was three blocks away, reliably gluten free, and wouldn't require me to make any decisions or interact with anybody or try to look put together. And now, after having done a wee bit of work, I'm going to go to bed and hope that my attempts at sleep are rewarded tonight - goodnight!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

as long as you love me

Today was, by turns, frustrating and fantastic. Frustrating because I went to all that trouble sending out a nicely formatted, spellchecked email to my fan mailing list (and y'all know how much I hate email, since some of you have been waiting years for replies) announcing that Heiress was free on Amazon - only for Amazon to raise the price overnight, before most people would have opened it. The shame, it burns. Also frustrating because the speaker I lined up for the November romance meeting turned her nose up at the $50 honorarium and demanded $500, which I have no intention of giving her, but now I need to scramble to find a speaker. I discovered all of this when I woke up at 6:30 for my flight, which was not particularly welcome news.

But, Terry took me to the airport, I had breakfast at Gordon Biersch before boarding, and my flight was entirely uneventful. Also, I was in the bulkhead row, aisle seat, and there was actually a seat between me and the window guy - when does that ever happen? So I daydreamed about Caro and Westbrook (no, you don't need to know those names, unless you read Heiress; they are secondary characters whom I have a novella idea for, and I had written a little of it in Mexico a lifetime ago, so I need to think about them and figure out the plot). And then I finished CLOUD ATLAS, which I really, really enjoyed. And then I landed in Newark, grabbed my bag, found the train, successfully took the train to Manhattan, found a cab, and made it to Ritu's place...

...where I snuck into her building just as she was leaving for work. I rode back down the elevator with her, she ran off to her job, I came back up and stowed my stuff (and checked email and Amazon rankings, etc.), and then had a two-hour dinner at a sushi place she recommended. I will not comment on the fact that she recommended it for their two-for-one drinks rather than their sushi, but as it turns out, their sushi was great and their two-for-one drinks were as advertised. So I had two (v. full) glasses of wine and some supper (I have no desire to move to New York, but having restaurants be open until at least eleven is v. welcome) while reading the first 20% of RIVETED, the latest release by my favorite steampunk romance writer Meljean Brook. I will claim the wine as a business expense, since I need it to fall asleep now (it's 11:22 here, but that's only 8:22 in California, and I have grand plans to get up at 7:30) so that I can make it to lunch with my agent tomorrow.

But the fantastic news is that my pricing snafu and extreme embarrassment was rewarded rather than punished - while I got a couple of sad emails from fans, my little jaunt to the top of the free 'bestseller' list translated into paid bestseller success - and Heiress is currently the #1 paid Regency romance in the entire Kindle store! It's also the #6 historical romance and ~#200 in the entire Kindle store - so that's pretty awesome. Granted, it's $0.99, so that's small potatoes - but a much bigger pile of small potatoes than the small pile of big potatoes I was selling before. And with that dubious effort in potato math, I shall leave you - goodnight!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

i had a heart then, but the queen has been overthrown

I must go to bed immediately; I'm leaving for New York in the morning, and I should probably sleep even though I'm like a little kid at Christmas over both what's ahead and what has happened. And what has happened is this - Heiress went free yesterday on Kindle, and today it climbed up to #20 on the entire Kindle store (free list) and #2 in historical romance. I have no idea how many downloads that is or how long this will last, but as a loss leader that will hopefully hook people on the entire series, I'm excited to see that it's getting some great traction. So, fingers crossed that the buzz continues and that it leads people to pick up the next book - we shall see, we shall see.

The rest of the day was consumed by packing, running errands, and obsessively checking the Kindle lists, as is my wont. My trip is like ten days, which is too long to cram into a carry-on (particularly since I want to look stylish while I'm there) - and with the way my neck has been hurting, I didn't want to overpack anything I'm carrying. But I did get everything into my roll aboard size bag, if I can still count it as that after expanding it by three inches, although I'm planning to check it since I can no longer fit it into a bin. I know, you're SO FASCINATED by this paragraph!!! It's no wonder I'm a bestseller!!!


sob. sssanyway, I'm excited for my trip, and for all the people I will see, and for all the stuff I hope to learn at my conference. And now I really must sleep - 6:30am is even earlier when the earliest one has gotten up in recent memory is 9:30 or 10. Goodnight!

hey i heard you are a wild one

I'm in exhausted start-up mode, which is what I need to be in, but that doesn't make me less tired. I didn't blog last night because I went to bed at two a.m. after having used all my words on other tasks, and I was falling asleep over proofreading the first half of Nick and Ellie and couldn't keep my eyes open any longer. But between yesterday and this morning, I managed to write 4000-ish words (15-17 pages), which replaced two early scenes entirely, and was able to get the first half of Nick and Ellie to my agent by around noon today. So that's good news; it's a relief to be done with that part, even if I still have the second half to whip into shape (sob).

After finishing that, I took a shower, loaded myself up (er, I mean I loaded my car, not that I drank excessively), and drove down to the south bay. I was supposed to have dinner with dear respected madam, who canceled on me; she'd said to tell her if I still ended up coming down, but I left here much later than intended (two p.m.) and had enough tasks to accomplish that dinner wasn't really in the cards. I had a v. belated lunch at Chipotle, stood in a half-hour line at the post office to mail some of those $*%$*)(^ excerpt booklets that have been a thorn in my side for three months, and then went to Stanford library, where I spent three hours taking notes from some books that I needed to return. The freshmen arrive tomorrow, so campus was humming with anticipation -- or, for the summer staff and people like me, humming with surliness, since the lovely peace and relative solitude of Stanford in summer will come to an abrupt, unavoidable halt tomorrow. Boo.

I wrapped up my work around eight, grabbed food at Starbucks on campus, and drove home, where I found Terry in absolute bliss because network tv is back to original programming. She went to bed sometime after ten, but I stayed up until now working on an email to my reader mailing list (which may not go out until Wednesday) and debating whether to run a contest in conjunction with the newsletter (part of why the email may not go out until Wednesday).

The big news on the book front is that, in a strategic decision to create a loss leader that will hopefully induce people to buy my second book, we tricked Amazon into making 'Heiress Without a Cause' free on Kindle. It's also free on Google Play, if you're more into that (or if you have a reader that is epub compatible, since you can put Google Play books on Nooks, Kobos, etc). It switched over to free sometime this afternoon (long story short, but you can't set the price to free on Amazon unless you sign an exclusivity deal with them, but they aggressively try to price-match other vendors, so if you set the book to free elsewhere, they may eventually set it free themselves. I've heard of this taking weeks for some people, since Amazon doesn't want to encourage people to bypass their exclusivity system - but for some reason they picked it up for me in less than a week). And it's already in the top 40-ish free downloads for historical romance, and top 600 overall in the entire Kindle store. I'm still a little torn over whether to give away content for free, and whether this devalues my work in the long run - but the play right now is to get more loyal readers who will buy Scotsmen, and Marquess, and everything after that, so hopefully it works.

So if you were cheap and didn't buy my book at some point in the last nine months, now's your chance to get it free on Kindle (or the Kindle app for phone/ipad/computer). I'll even indulge your laziness even further and give you the download link here. You're welcome. And share it with your friends - the more people who read it, the happier I am.

And now, after that shameless descent into crass commercialism (is it crass commercialism if you're not making money?), I must sleep - goodnight!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

tell the truth, you never wanted me

Today was a v. lazy day, as happens when I'm a) hungover and b) my neck is hurting. I woke up around ten, hung out with Terry for a bit, and then hung out with our friend Lisa (a survivor of my 'hell' floor in Mirlo many lifetimes ago), who was in town with her tiny daughter and her still-incubating second child for the weekend. Chandlord called me up at some point and asked what I was up to; since I missed seeing her for my birthday, I readily agreed to hang out, and so she walked here while I showered. We ended up going to a cafe I've been meaning to try, but as it turns out it has a fantastic decor and absolutely no food that I can eat. So I had a banana and a bite of a gluten free cookie that I promptly abandoned while Chandlord and I caught up on life and everything else.

When we got back to my place, I gave her a ride to her next destination, picked up my dry cleaning, went out to grab some real food, and then came home and attempted to work. But my neck was really starting to hurt, and so I tried taking a nap to fix it. That didn't work at all, and I couldn't stomach the idea of driving (which seems to make the neck worse), and so I canceled on a dinner party I was supposed to go to in the south bay (which made me feel super guilty, but my guilt wasn't strong enough to outweigh the pain in my neck). So I spent the night reading a book - CLOUD ATLAS, which I'm reading for the book club I'm crashing at Yale next weekend. I'm really loving it, so much so that it's making me despair of my romance career and dream of all the literary fiction I could have written instead if I'd become an 'artist' instead of a shameless hack. Not that I could write anything like this, but I'm in awe enough that I want to. I'm far from finished, but I'm reading it more slowly than I usually read, and I need to go to bed if I have any hope of being useful tomorrow. Wish me luck with that - I could use it. Goodnight!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

whispers at the bus stop

Happy birthday, Terry! It's been quite the week of celebrations; Lauren's bachelorette was on Saturday, my birthday was on Tuesday, and Terry's birthday was today - which means that for the past few days, I've followed a pattern of "Day 1: drinking, Day 2: recovering, Day 3: preparing for next drinks". I'm kind of ready for a break (or at least my liver is), but since I'm traveling next week, it's unclear whether I'll get one.

sssanyway, I spent today preparing for tonight's festivities; Terry had invited some of her friends for a dinner party, and I quietly staged a coup and offered to cook the main and the dessert so that she didn't have to do so much on her birthday (especially since she would be coming home from the office today, further cutting into her prep time). So, I spent the morning working, then went to the grocery store to pick up some things the other grocery store didn't have last night, and then came home and spent the afternoon cooking. I made creme brulee (YUM - I've gotten quite good at this, although I still need to perfect my torching technique), and I also made chicken bouillabaise (also yum). I also got to play with my new food processor that my parents got me for my birthday; the short version is that I think I'm in love with it, but I shouldn't have made my first test recipe be a mayonnaise, since mayonnaise is somewhat tricky anyway and I never did get it to emulsify. C'est la vie and all that.

But the dinner party was super fun; two of Terry's friends from b-school came, as well as one of her coworkers (whom I knew I loved when I met her a few months ago and she was similarly obsessed with the Olympics) and Lauren (aka Subz, whom you've met here before). Terry's sister also came, although she came only for the pre-dinner stuff (odd), so there were six of us for dinner, and it was quite delightful. Terry used her fancy china, and she also made crab dip and put out cheese for appetizers, and then made shrimp caesar salad for the first course. And we continued Lauren's tradition of asking about reflections on the previous year and goals for the following year, which yielded some v. interesting conversation (helped along by several bottles of wine).

And now everyone is gone and the kitchen is in some mild semblance of order (mostly meaning that the dishes are stacked for washing at some later day), and I need to sleep so that I can start my recovery period as quickly as possible. Goodnight!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

just get back up when it knocks you down

I'm super tired; staying up until two a.m. last night totally threw off my whole day, even though I'm glad I finished what I finished. So I lazed about this morning, then lazed about some more, and finally dragged myself out of bed at eleven because I was starving and needed to eat something. Then I was supposed to write, but I was feeling extreme lethargy and malaise, and I caught myself wasting time on the internet...

...so I abruptly and without forethought left my apartment, grabbed the next bus, and went to Samovar. I just needed to get out of the house and out of my own thought patterns, and Samovar did the trick. I didn't do any writing, but I did do some post-birthday reflection and considered what it is that I do with my time and what I should do with my time to make myself happier/more productive/etc (hint: not all of it is writing). And then I took the bus home and worked for a couple of hours before Terry showed up. We had grand plans to go grocery shopping together (fancy, I know), so we accomplished that mission and then watched some of "The Voice" before it was time to break up and go our separate ways. And now I believe I shall go to bed; I have a lot of plans for tomorrow and I would rather not spend the whole day feeling groggy. Goodnight!

tonight i'm gonna marry you

I'm all out of words, folks, so this really needs to be brief - and also I can barely see, since my eyes are tired of looking at a screen. Poor, poor me. Today got off to a really slow start, since I was hungover from last night, and so I had huevos rancheros in an attempt to recover. Then, I tried to write at home, but it wasn't happening at all (although I'm proud of myself for reading CLOUD ATLAS for forty-five minute or so rather than just mindlessly surfing the internet). Finally, even though I hadn't intended to go south, I packed up my bag on a whim and went to the south bay, where I worked for three hours at Stanford library. I'm glad I went, even though it seemed silly; I wrote about six pages of a scene that had been completely stymying me, so that was worth it. Then I came home and spent another four hours on my laptop writing up the synopses and blurbs and descriptions, etc., for all four books in my series so that my agent has that stuff -- synopses are pretty much my least favorite thing ever, but I'm glad I stopped being scared/procrastinatory and finished them.

And now I must sleep; I doubt I'll get up particularly early since it's suddenly ten a.m., but I have grand plans for the manuscript tomorrow and I want to give myself at least some shot at accomplishing them. Goodnight!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

i've been crying, i've been crying, i've been dying over you

Happy birthday to me! Also, happy national day of mourning! While the whole 9/11 thing has gotten easier than it was a few years ago (note that most of the coverage this year seemed to be of the "are we commemorating enough?" variety, not "omg we must recount everything that happened that day" variety), I was still pretty depressed about it this morning. Or maybe I was depressed about Nick and Ellie; they're going well, but I tend to expect perfection, and they're not perfect yet.

sssanyway. My plans during the day were mildly awry; I wanted to have brunch somewhere else since my kitchen was dirty and I didn't want to cook, but the restaurant I usually go to down the street is closed on Tuesdays (a fact I remembered after I threw on clothes and walked down the block), and nowhere else within a couple of blocks is easy for gluten-free enjoyment. So I came back and ate here, after cleaning the kitchen; the melodramatic version is that I ate tuna fish out of a can, but the less melodramatic version is that I made tuna salad and then made open-faced sandwiches with toasted gluten free bread. Yum. Then I worked for six hours, with a couple of breaks to talk to the 'rents and my sister, plus two trips to the corner store to get Diet Mountain Dew (necessary) and half and half (useless, since it turns out my coffee is no good; yes, I'm a coffee snob now).

The writing is what it is, and I won't concentrate on it now. Around 6:15, I threw in the towel, dolled myself up, and grabbed a taxi to the downtown/Union Square/Financial District area, where I had plans to have a girls' night dinner followed by post-dinner drinks, all at the Burritt Room/Tavern. Due to various scheduling difficulties, people couldn't all come at the same time, so I had dinner with Lauren (aka Subz), Katrina, and Terry in the main dining area of Burritt Tavern. I'd requested a booth, which was awesome; we had little curtains to divide us from the dining room, which was fun even though it probably made us even more prone to be forgotten by the staff. I had an utterly lovely time, and the food was to die for (one of the best salads I've had in recent memory, with endive/arugula/grape/goat cheese, plus an amazing salmon dish that included a corn puree, a creme fraiche, and some great veggies, and a sorbet/gelato dessert). But the service was admittedly pretty terrible; I liked our waiter, but the wait between courses was crazy, and more unacceptably, the wait to have dishes cleared was way too long. And the other waitress spilled quite a bit of wine while trying to pour it. Oops.

That said, though, the food was awesome, and since we were in no rush and the venue felt quite private, it was perfect for the sharing of confidences (which is what dinner devolved into, since my friends, and Lauren in particular, like to ask for reflections on the past year and thoughts on the coming year -- all of which made it patently obvious that I'm too hard on myself, since I only came up with criticisms and took approximately five minutes to mention that I'd published two books this year). And then we adjourned with our desserts to the bar area outside the restaurant, where we met up with John, Jess, Adit, Priyanka, and Nathan.

So, between two hours of dinner and two and a half hours of cocktails, I feel like I've well and truly celebrated my birthday; as with every birthday since 2001, I started off pretty depressed, which was then made up for by enjoying some quality time with friends. Two and a half glasses of tempranillo and three cocktails (Singapore Spice, Strawberry Macaroon, and some gin/egg white/raspberry concoction whose name escapes me) was probably enough to make me enjoy anything, but I'd prefer to believe that my friends were responsible. When we finally adjourned, John and Jess dropped me off at home, and now I must sleep so that (fingers crossed) my hangover is bearable tomorrow and I accomplish what I need to get done. To all of you who sent me birthday wishes today - thank you! Goodnight!

Monday, September 10, 2012

gangnam style

Apologies for not blogging last night - I didn't feel like it, and since I didn't really leave the house (other than for a long breakfast/brunch of huevos rancheros to attempt to make myself feel human again after my excessive drinking on Saturday night), there was nothing of interest to report. There's nothing much of interest to report tonight, either, but I don't want to face a mutiny of all hands if I fail to blog multiple nights in a row.

So, today I got up relatively early (8am-ish), showered, etc, and then spent too much time thinking about where to do dinner for my birthday. Then I drove south, grabbed some lunch, and went to Stanford library, where I worked quite diligently and productively for almost five hours. Then I spent some more time considering dinner options, and then I packed up my stuff and went to Mountain View, where I renewed my friendship with Joann, Jane, and Lizzie, who is in town from Seattle. We had sushi at a new sushi place in Mountain View, and it was good to catch up with all of them. Then I came home, talked to Terry for a bit, reread the edits I made this afternoon, and am now falling asleep on my keyboard. So rather than rallying and trying to write more tonight, I'm going to go to bed and rally/write tomorrow. Goodnight!

Sunday, September 09, 2012

as long as you love me

YAY FOR LAUREN'S BACHELORETTE.

That should serve as a disclaimer for my relative level of sobriety.

So, today was quite eventful. I had my monthly romance writer meeting; I should have skipped it, since I had bachelorette related activities this afternoon and desperately need to write, but I'm an officer in the chapter, so I felt compelled to go. The speaker (a retired forensics investigator) was quite good, so I'm glad I went, but getting up at 7:45 was unwelcome given how late I've stayed up. I skipped lunch with the chapter and came straight home, but I was still late for the beginning of the bachelorette, since it had a 1920s theme and I attempted to put waves in my hair (to mixed results, since I have no talent at all for hair styling).

But the bachelorette was totally fun; I got a manicure at the salon we went to first (Gloss and Glam at 15th and Noe; I would totally go back), and put on my makeup there, and sewed a v. quick and dirty fix on the hole in my dress (since the dresses I intended to wear both need to be dry cleaned - oops). Dinner was at Chez Spencer, which was to-die-for delicious; we did a tasting menu that included wine with the appetizer and main courses (which may have prevented me from ordering two cocktails had I realized I would also have two glasses of wine). Then, we went to Bourbon and Branch, where I had two more cocktails while we solved the murder mystery game we were playing (I learned early in the night that I was going to be the victim, hence my excessive drinking, only to find out that I turned into the investigator, which was extremely unexpected). Then, Lauren, her sister Devon, her business school friend Jessica, and I rallied and went to Beauty Bar to go dancing while everyone else dispersed. But I only stayed rallied for thirty minutes, at which point I grabbed a cab home and had a lovely conversation with a nice Eritrean man about San Francisco, politics, etc. And now I really must sleep so that I can accomplish something tomorrow - goodnight!

Saturday, September 08, 2012

the first cut is the deepest

I must go to bed immediately; thanks to my ridiculously late evening last night, I didn't get up until after ten a.m. today, and I was fairly unproductive and somewhat distracted most of the afternoon. I finally made myself leave the house and go to the post office to mail some stuff to a couple of writers who needed swag for giveaways, which took way too long since the line was ridiculous - but it was good to get outside for awhile, and I came back rejuvenated and ready to go. So I wrote for a bit, and then ate some leftover pizza while spending over an hour reading my 'Oxford Dictionary of English Christian Names' (as one does on a Friday night). I'd named Nick's brother Marcus as a placeholder, but it's too close to Malcolm (the hero of my last book)...and I'd named Ellie's maid Dorcas as a placeholder, but Dorcas doesn't sound particularly sexy (and I have a great idea for a novella about her). So, I need to rename them both. And I also need to figure out whether Dorcas (whatever her name is) is a lady's maid or a paid companion, and what her background therefore must be depending on the distinction in her role.

But I allowed myself to be distracted tonight; Katrina texted me to see if I wanted to grab a drink, and while I usually would have said no and tried to be good, I haven't seen anyone since getting home a couple of nights ago, so I thought it would be fun to hang out. And it was quite lovely - we met up in North Beach, a neighborhood I v. rarely go to even though it took me less than 15mins by bus. North Beach is also known as Little Italy, and it's full of Italian restaurants, tourists, and seedy stripclubs. But Katrina wanted to try this bar tucked into an alley off Columbus and Broadway, and it was *awesome* - mostly because we immediately scored a small table right by an open window, and so we were able to catch up for a couple of hours in comfort. I had a cocktail with absinthe, egg white, cream, strawberry/thyme, and seltzer, which was odd but pretty tasty, and we split some fries, and we got sufficiently caught up so that we won't have to try to force catching-up time into tomorrow's bachelorette party. And I successfully limited myself to one cocktail, even though I really wanted another one.

And then Katrina and I walked back toward my place via the Broadway tunnel (crazy) before parting ways so that I could walk the remaining four blocks by myself. Once here, I spent a bit of time writing down notes about Dorcas's character, since I think my subconscious made some decisions for me (thanks, absinthe!). And now I really must sleep; I have to go to Berkeley in the morning for my romance meeting, and then Lauren's bachelorette is tomorrow night, so expect a v. drunken post (or no post at all) as a result. Goodnight!

Friday, September 07, 2012

no love

I should have gone to bed ages ago, but I was attempting to catch up on email - a somewhat futile endeavor, although I answered about half the emails that have been hanging over me. Today was mostly productive, luckily; I woke up around 8:30, got dressed, took care of some tings, and was out the door by ten a.m. to go to the glorious south bay. I had brunch at one of my favorite cafes, and then went to Stanford library to work on Nick and Ellie...

...and then discovered that Stanford now has a guest wireless network, which I promptly wasted two hours on. Oops. Things improved when I went back to my car and locked my laptop in the trunk, working on Nick and Ellie via the hard copy I'd printed out at home. While Stanford's guest wireless network is a blessing and a curse, they've added something that is all blessing - a gorgeous Starbucks in the student union. Since that's right by the parking lot, I hung out there for four hours rather than going back to the library, and I got a substantial amount of serious editing done. I need to continue that pace and quality tomorrow, but I'm happy with what I did. Then I came home, lounged on the couch, watched Clinton's speech from last night on YouTube, and then procrastinated for a couple of hours before answering email. And now I really need to go to bed; tomorrow's my only fully-unscheduled day of the weekend, and since I owe this portion of the manuscript to my agent on Monday, I need to hustle. Goodnight!

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

this is berk

How am I so exhausted when it's only 11pm in California, which is 1am in Iowa, which is earlier than I've gone to bed at any point in the last two weeks? Perhaps it's because I haven't had any caffeine in the past nine hours, whereas in Iowa I live on iced tea until midnight...

Hmm, I think I just answered my own question. sssanyway, I am back in California (obvi), after a mostly uneventful trip. I woke up this morning at eight (another reason why I'm probably tired), showered, finished packing, and had breakfast with the parents (sausages, a fried egg, a bit of bacon, my last slice of gluten-free bread, and, oddly, a few potato chips with the french onion dip that I can only get in Iowa). Then, they took me to Des Moines, escorted me into the airport, and we went through our usual goodbye waving ritual at the escalator before I disappeared into the bowels of the airport. My flight to Denver was awesome; it landed early, and more importantly I got upgraded to first class, where I was quite comfy as I worked on Nick and Ellie for a couple of hours. The woman next to me kept clearing her throat/making odd mouth noises the entire time, which got a bit tiresome, but I thought it was preferable to screaming children...

...and then, on my flight to SFO, there were two screaming children right behind me, one of whom occasionally kicked my seat. UGH. And I was in economy (not even economy plus) with the peasants, so double ugh. And forty minutes before landing, I made the mistake of asking the woman next to me if she wanted out (since she was making gestures like she wanted to), and instead got trapped into a long conversation with her(can you call it a conversation if you're just making one-word interruptions in a monologue?). I actually had quite a bit of sympathy for her while hearing her life story, but there came a point where my neck hurt and I was starting to feel nauseous from not facing straight ahead, and you can only listen to someone's unrelenting tale of woe so long before you want to put them out of their misery.

Yes, I'm a horrible person, but we all know that, so moving on. I got home, unpacked, did a load of laundry, washed dishes and ran the dishwasher, took a shower, ordered a pizza (gluten free), and watched an episode of Project Runway. And now, I'm desperate for sleep, so I'm going to go to bed, and hope that tomorrow is both productive and less full of odd strangers. Goodnight!

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

guess she gave you things i didn't give to you

I must go to bed; I'm leaving for California tomorrow, and I still have a few things to do in the morning before taking off. It's been a lovely interlude in the country; I didn't write a whole book like I'd hoped to, but since I knew that was unrealistic, I'm not particularly dismayed. I do have a Monday deadline, though, at least for the first half of the book, so I'm going to buckle down as soon as I get on the plane and continue to be buckled down until Monday (with the exception of a break for a bachelorette party Saturday night...which will no doubt stretch into Sunday being partially wasted, unless I can keep my hangover in check).

Today was mostly lazy and mostly spent in preparation for my trip; I had lunch with the parents at a restaurant in town, went into the newspaper office to renew my subscription since it expired quite some time ago, and then packed my suitcase and did a bit of research. Then, we had supper, I watched some fine CBS programming (NCIS and NCIS:LA, both of which I'd already seen), and then watched coverage of the DNC, which saddened and enraged me because, after having watched the RNC last week and the start of the DNC this week, it seems to me that the majority of the talking points, personal anecdotes, appeals to the middle class, etc., etc. are identical on both sides. And yet, from what I see on Twitter/Facebook, most people blindly trash the speakers from the party they dislike and wildly adore the speakers from the party they support. And that's what makes me so angry - that we seem to be beyond the point where debates and conventions and platforms matter, beyond the point where anyone's mind is changed during the course of a campaign.

But unless you live in a handful of states (Iowa, Colorado, Ohio, etc), it doesn't matter whether your mind can be changed, because the candidates are no longer engaging you except in an attempt to fundraise from you so they can spend that money in the battleground states. Maybe I'm so pissed off because I've seen nothing but political ads for two weeks - Iowa only has six electoral votes, and yet Obama, Romney, and Paul have all been here multiple times since I've been home, and Obama/Biden and their wives are coming Friday night (right before the Iowa/Iowa State game, which could cost them votes if they hose up traffic around the stadium). When elections consistently, repeatedly come down to 2-3% of the vote in 3 or 4 states...something is off.

Okay, end rant. I must go to bed, and in the morning I'll return to California, which is so safely Democrat in the presidential race that the only political campaigning I'll see is people asking me if I want to spend $35k to have dinner with [insert candidate here, almost always Obama]. Spoiler: the answer is no. Goodnight!

Monday, September 03, 2012

some call me nicki and some call me roman

In thirty-six hours I will be on a plane back to California, where I have two weeks to write as much as possible before my next jaunt around the country. In preparation for that two-week writing extravaganza (only a true hermit would consider two weeks of writing an 'extravaganza'), I printed off the entire manuscript that I have so far and spent some quality time inputting my editor's notes/suggestions (not many - she loved it, and my writing is usually pretty clean anyway). And tonight, I read through the entire thing, making notes where I thought I should add/change/remove something, and then freewriting several pages in my notebook about various plot threads and what I need to do about them. The good news is that the first half is in excellent shape; there are two scenes I want to cut and replace with other scenes, but compared to my usual dire rewrites, that's a walk in the proverbial park.

The bad news, though, is that I'm not already done with the book, but I'll survive. I spent the rest of the day hanging out with family and resenting their intrusion on my would-be hermitville; [censored] left for [censored] this afternoon, and my sister and her youngest daughter came over for a couple of hours, bearing a new jar of sweet pickles for me to take back to California. I also spent some quality time eating supper with the parents and watching some fine CBS programming, and I also drank some overpriced looseleaf tea to start preparing my body for my California yuppy life. And now that I've read my manuscript and worn out my brainstorming brain cells for the night, I must sleep. Goodnight!

i just can't get enough

Nothing to report, as usual, but my small town life is quickly winding towards its inevitable conclusion. I spent the day being utterly lazy, without even attempting to work; even though I went to bed early last night (if one a.m. can be considered early), I couldn't sleep (v. rare for me - happens less than once a month), and so I laid awake until 2:30 contemplating life. So when I finally dragged myself out of bed and up the stairs, it was closer to noon than I had planned for it to be. But I made myself some scrumptious scrambled eggs, and my dad made me some even more scrumptious sausage on the grill (he and my mother, in their newfound excitement for breakfast, have started firing up the grill in the morning as well as in the evening and eating grilled sausage, which is awesome). And he and I went to a neighbor's to pick their tomatoes while they were gone, but unfortunately nearly all the tomatoes had been ravished by a variety of insects - how sad.

I spent the rest of the afternoon talking to various members of the family, including [censored], who came home from town to report that [censored]. For supper we had steak, baby potatoes, and green beans (yum), and then I watched "The Good Wife" with the 'rents. And then, rather than just watching "The Mentalist", I started reading a book - Meredith Duran's DUKE OF SHADOWS, which is partially set in British India during the 1857 uprising, and partially in London a few years later. And I do hope that no one thinks I copied this book when writing Nick and Ellie's story, since the heroine is a painter and the hero was involved in India - but I doubt they would, since both the hero and the heroine in DUKE OF SHADOWS were in India, and they went through some pretty horrific stuff, while Nick and Ellie are angry at each other for reasons that have nothing to do with graphic scenes of carnage. But the book was lovely, and I finished it tonight (with a break to talk to [censored]). And now I really must sleep so that I can accomplish something tomorrow (where my only accomplishment may be getting out of bed before noon). Goodnight!

Saturday, September 01, 2012

i'm mr. brightside

I did nothing of note today; thanks to the sun-blocking powers of my eye mask I slept until noon, and then I spent some quality time doing some promotional activities (today: starting a two-day contest on Facebook/my website offering to give away a couple of other authors' books). Then I hung out with the fam for a bit, who don't get my fashion sense (what, you don't layer a floral nightgown over plaid pajama bottoms and cover it with a sporty hoodie?). After I showered, ate some leftover fajitas, and made some overpriced (but delicious) Philz coffee, I dragged [censored] to see our grandmother, although it may be unfair to say that I dragged [censored] since he was the one who ended up [censored].

Anyway, Gram was in good spirits, as usual, so that was nice. Then, we came home, I spent an hour theoretically answering email (which I didn't do any of, as those of you who are owed emails know), and then ate supper (bratwurst, hot dogs, baked beans, wilted lettuce (which is wilted with a hot dressing, not by age)). After supper, I watched two "48 Hours: Mystery" episodes with my mom, who fell asleep during the second one, which was definitely not a mystery at all. And then I came downstairs, thought about the book for a bit, and started daydreaming about England. And now I should really go to sleep - goodnight!

extreme ways

Technically, per last night's directive, you need to shoot me; I didn't write a full scene for Nick and Ellie. However, I did write a couple of pages, and I did several hours' worth of research to definitively settle on the location of Nick's estate (I'm going to sleep on it, but I think he's chilling in Surrey, approximately twenty miles outside of London). I still need to decide exactly where Ellie was living when they first met, but I think I'm almost there.

Anyway, today was otherwise v. quiet; I spent some quality time writing out on the back patio, despite the winds from the remnants of Hurricane Isaac. I also took a nap, which was lovely. My mom made a low carb gluten-free pizza substitute for supper, which sounds awful but was amazingly delicious (almost like a breakfast pizza casserole). And [censored] came home from [censored] for the weekend (I'll give you a hint - he's in Oklahoma, not prison), so I spent a couple of hours talking to him when he got here. And now, after having spent two more hours poring over maps of England and descriptions of various aristocratic houses, I must sleep - goodnight!