Thursday, November 29, 2012

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

back to plan b

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

she's deceiving me, she cuts my security

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

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

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

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

Monday, November 26, 2012

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, November 25, 2012

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

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

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

Saturday, November 24, 2012

dream until your dream come true

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, November 22, 2012

look into my eyes, you can see the flames

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

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

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

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, November 19, 2012

that dog won't hunt

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

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

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

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

Sunday, November 18, 2012

making love out of nothing at all

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, November 16, 2012

we run the night

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

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

stripping down to dirty socks

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

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

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

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

black hole sun

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

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

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

we'll go dreaming

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

Monday, November 12, 2012

my heart has started to separate

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

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

a beauty and the beat

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

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

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

Saturday, November 10, 2012

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

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

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

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

Friday, November 09, 2012

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, November 08, 2012

it's not a homeless life for me

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

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

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

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

the king of wishful thinking

I have to say that I am not excited about getting on a plane tomorrow - perhaps I would be, but given that I have barely recovered from Lauren and Nathan's wedding, I'm not super psyched about spending a second weekend in hyped up extrovert mode. And yet I find that I must do exactly that; I think this reader conference will be really good, both because I will meet other readers and because I hope to spend some time hanging out with other authors. Still, given that I'm behind on Nick and Ellie, I want to spend a weekend talking to people about as much as I want to stab myself in the face with a butter knife.

But, c'est la vie. I'm all packed up and ready to go, with two suitcases (mostly full of books) and grand plans to write on the plane. The suitcases are so full of books that I could have easily done just a carry-on if I didn't have any books, but this is the life of a traveling writer/salesman. Beyond the packing, the rest of my day was good; I took care of stuff around the house this morning and spent the afternoon running errands (including returning the shoes I had planned to wear at Lauren's wedding and promptly blowing the refund on unmentionables). When I got home, Terry was already here, and so we watched 'The Daily Show' and discussed life while she forced me to ice the knee that I mysteriously injured at the wedding. And now, alas, I should sleep. My flight is at 10:30am, which is positively civilized compared to 5:30am, but since I have to drive to the airport during rush hour, I should probably get some sleep so I can get up early. Goodnight!

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

everybody's looking for something

I need to go to bed immediately; unusually for me, I spent the entire afternoon/evening/night on the couch watching tv (election coverage), and since I accomplished nothing today other than voting, I must get up earlyish so I can accomplish a lot tomorrow. So, no profound comments from me tonight (are there ever?) - goodnight!

Monday, November 05, 2012

love can mend your life but love can break your heart

I was utterly useless today, which I think I needed - clearly I needed it, since I don't feel any of the usual crushing guilt over the fact that I got nothing done. Terry needed a ride to pick up her car from the mechanic this morning, so I got up at 7:30 to take her, and then stopped at Whole Foods on the way back (I have never been in that place at 8am - it was v. strange) to get some groceries so that I can sustain myself for the next couple of days. But when I got home, I promptly went back to bed, and I slept/dosed/daydreamed/messed around online until almost noon. Then I made breakfast/lunch, considered working, and instead did absolutely nothing.

But I did do one thing - I went out for a drink with Katrina and Chandlord, since they had left the wedding before the afterparty on Saturday and weren't able to make it to brunch yesterday since they needed to get back to the city. I was excited to see them, but I was even more excited that the bar had free hot dogs, and I ate two of them (sans bun, which meant I had to hold the hot dogs with a napkin). Yum. And I suppose my friends were good too. Then I came home, watched a bit of tv with Terry, tired of watching tv, and came upstairs to mess around some more and unpack my suitcase so that I can pack it for Dallas. And now, hopefully, the last brooding remnants of my hangover are gone and I can get a lot of stuff done tomorrow. Goodnight!

Sunday, November 04, 2012

don't masquerade with the guy in shades, oh no

The wedding yesterday was fabulous...my hangover today was not so fabulous. Thank goodness for the end of daylight saving time - while I'm sad that I won't see my sun friend as much for the next few months, the extra hour this morning saved my life.

I was actually doing surprisingly well this morning. I woke up around eight and decided to eat something in hopes of settling my stomach, so I had eggs with John and Jess in the game room. The game room was last night's scene of the crime - I had organized an impromptu afterparty for a few people after the reception, with the help of the wedding coordinator, who I had befriended earlier and who was more than happy to help me procure alcohol and cabs for people, etc. But by the time we had breakfast, some magical persons had cleaned everything up as though nothing improper had ever happened there. The scrapes on my arms and legs tell a different story (one in which someone, at some point, tossed me into a bush). Still, the whole wedding day was awesome, and well worth the hangover I had already planned to have today.

However, while I was still feeling quite chipper this morning, my usual hangover trend happened, and by the time I loaded my car and reached town for brunch, I had reached the bitter, regret-filled hatred portion of my hangover. Terry knows this part of my hangover well, since it's when I usually stomp around looking for coffee before muttering something mean-spirited and retreating to my room until I'm more fit to be seen. It hit with a particular vengeance this morning - I'm reminded that I'm becoming more of an introvert as I age, since I really enjoy hanging out and having fun, but it costs me more energy than I get from it, and after 60+ hours of nonstop wedding socializing, by this morning I was all tapped out. And it probably didn't help that when we got to brunch, there were more people there than they anticipated, so we were going to have to wait ages for a table...

...so a few of us (John, Jess, Anthony, Dormain, and two people whose names I never bothered to verify, since I was beyond caring, but the guy had very, very nice teeth) hatched a plan, said goodbye to the appropriate people, and went across the street to a lovely French restaurant, where we had a fantastic lunch on their beautiful patio. I ordered a 14oz ribeye with fries, since I realized I barely ate yesterday and meat tends to cure what ails me better than just about anything else (and it was one of the only things on the menu that was gluten free). John seemed to be in about the same mood as I was, so we sat at one end of the table being surly while the guy with the nice teeth and the girl told their life stories, which I mostly ignored. At some point, Dan (a dude I attempted to befriend at the wedding, although he may have been scared off by discussions of sperm whales) showed up, since he saw us as he was headed back to his car from the official brunch, so he hung out for a bit and I foisted some wine and beer on him from the stash that the wedding coordinator had put in my trunk. And then I bid an insincere goodbye to my friends (nice teeth dude had disappeared at this point, so it was less insincere than it could have been), got in my car, and had three hours of blessed solitude while I drove back to the evil city.

I had to make a stop at Lauren and Nathan's house as soon as I got into town, since the wedding presents, a few decorations, the unopened alcohol, and the cake topper had been foisted upon me. I would have waited until tomorrow, but the cake needed to go in the freezer, so I hauled stuff into their house and then finally made it home around 4pm. Upon arriving here, Terry took one look at my face and knew what stage I had reached in my hangover (still bitter, more regret, less hatred, better able to verbalize but still likely to say mean things) and helped me carry the rest of the stuff up from my car. Then I talked to my parents (who probably think I had an awful time at the wedding - they should have talked to me yesterday, when I was all happy and weepy at the wedding and then excited and eager to have fun at the reception), and then Terry ordered pizza and we debriefed on all the wedding action and watched some tv. And now I really, really, really need to sleep - I'm no longer bitter or particularly regret-filled, but I will be if I don't sleep tonight. Goodnight!

it's a nice day for a white wedding

Lauren and Nathan are married! Really, that's all the detail you need. I am beyond thrilled for them, and had such an awesome day getting ready and celebrating with them. Actually, I woke up at five a.m. because I was so excited (or hungover, not clear), and I didnt really sleep after that. Oops. Anyway, I had a lovely time getting ready - I'm low maintenance, but compared to the other bridesmaids I'm like a makeup addict, so the hair and makeup artists had fun with me. Beyond that, I'm so happy that I got to hang out with Lauren while she prepared - it was so awesome, and she looked beautiful. And when she started to panic five minutes before the ceremony and all the new mothers on her bridal party (since all the bridesmaids other than me had babies under a year old) were just panicking as well, I calmly did what I'm trained to do - I found a bottle of tequila and some limes, and Lauren, her sister, and I had small shots before progressing to the future.

Anyway, the wedding was beyond awesome. The tables were gorgeous, the food was wonderful, and I got to sit by the people who have my love and yet spurn it (aka Vidya and kafria$. And the reception and band were awesome, and I had a small afterparty that resulted in jessica getting body checked, but that's the price you pay, rights? nd now I have to vote - good luck!

[editors note from the next morning: I never go back and fix typos, so I will let the last paragraph go unchanged despite it being a trainwreck, but in my defense I was typing on my iPad while falling asleep, and it autocorrected me in some strange ways. Not really sure how Katrina became kafria$, but maybe I'll start calling her that all the time]

Saturday, November 03, 2012

but i won't stop until that boy is mine

I need to go to bed right now - I need to get up in eight hours to get ready for this wedding that I'm in (have you heard about it?), so sleep is vital if I'm going to look great in the photos without presenting too much of a challenge to the makeup artist (although if she's an artiste, she's surely up for it). Today was a lovely celebration of Lauren and Nathan (mostly Lauren) - I hung out with Lauren this morning and made her some eggs using whatever I scrounged up in her kitchen, and then we went down to Carmel-by-the-Sea (see previous post) for a lunch hosted by her grandmother (whom they all call Beauty) for the bridesmaids and immediate female relatives. It was totally lovely, and the food was to die for, which seems to be a theme at this wedding.

Post lunch, Lauren, Devon (her twin), and I went for manis and pedis before heading back to the ranch (which sounds waaaaay more rustic than it is) for rehearsal. After we were properly rehearsed, we went into Carmel Valley (see previous post) for the rehearsal dinner, which was v fitting with the vibe for this weekend - a fabulously gorgeous venue and a casual but delicious food offering. They had a taco truck (which doesn't do justice to how delicious the tacos were - I should have had ten of them), and the brought out hot chocolate and churros to finish it off. And my toast went quite well, if I do say so myself - I achieved the optimal alcohol:coherency ratio and was able to say what I wanted to say, so yay.

Post dinner, we adjourned to a wine tasting room across the street for welcome reception for everyone who was already in town, where I reunited with Terry after a v traumatic 32 hours apart. And I continued my quest to meet everyone at the wedding - I should have gotten them to stamp a card for me or something. We shut the place down (sorry, liver, and sorry face, which has to try to not look puffy in the photos tomorrow) at 10:30ish, and then John, Jess, and I played dice in the game room at the ranch (again, not rustic) and caught up since I've been a total hermit for days (weeks, months). But now, sleep. And tomorrow, if all goes well, Lauren and Nathan will get married - and, since I introduced them, they will owe me forever. Yay to indebtedness! Goodnight!

Thursday, November 01, 2012

show me a garden that's bursting into life

I am in Carmel Valley, which is not to be confused with Carmel-by-the-Sea for reasons that should be obvious to anyone with a moderate grasp of the English language. I spent the morning getting ready and eating a subpar breakfast, but I left all of that behind me and drove down here this afternoon, with a brief but crucial stop in Gilroy to procure clear deodorant and a venti-sized vat of caffeine.

Properly fueled, I made it down to Carmel Valley around 3:45 and checked into my room, which is gorgeous and close as one can possibly be to the wedding venue (the ceremony is approximately a thirty second walk from my door). I hung out and made some notes about Nick and Ellie from the musings I mused on the way down, and then hung out with Lauren's mom and sister while waiting for Lauren and Nathan to come back from their massage. Suffice it to say that the venue is gorgeous, the wedding party is entertaining, and I think this is going to be a super fun break from my recent hermitville.

But the fun started tonight with a dinner for Lauren and Nathan's families to meet each other - or perhaps it was for them to meet me, since I was the only person there who both a) wasn't related to anyone else in attendance and b) didn't work at the restaurant. But it was really fun to meet all of them - and there were a lot of them, since Nathan's mom came from a family of ten and Lauren's parents have several siblings each (and Lauren has three siblings as well; Nathan's sisters weren't in town yet). I sat right in the thick of the action, across from Lauren and her siblings and next to her dad, who I think I could have gotten well and truly sloshed with had I not (prudently) volunteered to drive. I say prudently because I can't turn down free wine unless I'm driving, but I had already sternly warned myself to save my epic hangover for Sunday morning, since I have responsibilities tomorrow and can't look obviously hungover in the wedding photos on Saturday. I have so much restraint, I know.

sssanyway, the families are lovely, and since it takes me several rounds of meeting people before I remember their names, I'm glad I got some practice tonight. And now I really need to sleep - it seems like everyone in the world gets up earlier than I do these days, so I can't loaf around in my pajamas until noon tomorrow. Life is hard. Goodnight!

i can feel it coming in the air tonight

Must go to bed...I'm leaving for Carmel sometime tomorrow, which means that I need to get up in the morning and get dressed sometime before six p.m. (which may or may not be when I showered today...although since I put on new sweatpants after showering, I'm not really sure what that grooming accomplished). But I did everything today that I needed to do: write ten pages and pack my suitcase. And I had dinner with Terry, which was lovely. And I did several New York Times crosswords, which is my latest procrastinatory addiction (I've taken a break from my newfound love of knitting).

And...that's all. Sorry, I'm boring. But this weekend promises to be less boring, if only because I will have some alcohol and that always brings out the best in my blogging. That's a depressing thought, and I hope it's not actually true. But we shall find out this weekend - for now, it's time for bed!