Saturday, June 30, 2012

we found love in a hopeless place

Not enough writing happened today, and yet I feel like I worked all day - and not just because my neck and shoulders feel like I was out pulling a plow like a peasant. I spent the day taking care of a wide variety of promo stuff - mostly getting a contest ready to go for my romance website and prepping an email to send out to my reader mailing list (now scheduled for tomorrow morning) to spur interest in the recently-discounted first book in my series. Promo is all v. important, of course, particularly if I want this experiment to be successful - but tomorrow I'm going to have to ignore promo no matter how appealing it is and rewrite Ellie's first scene whether I want to or not.

But the work that I did do was all necessary, and I feel good about it, so there. I also went to the pharmacy to refill a prescription, then went to UPS to pick up some shoes that they failed to deliver to me (verdict: they're closer to orthotics than anything I've bought before, but given that my back is falling apart, perhaps it's time; they're cute, but they might be a wee bit too big, so we'll see). I also made some chili for supper so that I'm all stocked up for a marathon writing weekend - Terry knew without being told what I'm up to this weekend, since she saw the twelve-pack of Diet Mountain Dew that I smuggled upstairs past the judging eyes of my Whole Foods-ish neighbors. And we watched last night's men's gymnastics trials; since it's not the official start of the Olympics yet, she's still allowed to fast forward through the bulk of the color commentary, but she knows, to her deep and abiding horror, that I'm going to make her sit through every last bit of it during the Olympics themselves. Poor thing.

And now I must go to sleep - goodnight!

Friday, June 29, 2012

show me why you deserve to have it all

I'm watching Olympic trials, even though I should either be writing or sleeping...the disease has already started.

However, I was productive today, until I came home and turned on the trials. I gathered my tings this morning and drove down to Palo Alto, where I ran a couple of errands, had lunch, and mailed a bunch of giveaway books. Then I went to Stanford library and wrote for four hours; I only got 2100 words (8.5pgs), but I'm really happy with what I got, even though it was like pulling eye teeth to start and I ended up rewriting the first 600 words of it. Then I came home, talked to Terry, and was going to write another scene, but I turned on the trials........

Oh, and HEIRESS is back into the rankings on Barnes and Noble - we dropped the price to $0.99 for a limited time to spark sales and experiment with some pricing strategies. So if you haven't picked it up yet, it's super cheap on Kindle and Nook for the next week or two - enjoy! And now, I really should go to bed; my neck is a total disaster, but at least when I sleep I don't feel it (or think about my book, which is probably stressing me enough to destroy my neck). Goodnight!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

cathedrals in my heart

My internet just froze, so I'm typing this on my phone - which basically means this is all you get. My class at Berkeley went very well, and on the way home I was lured to the Ferry Building to have a drink and snacky snacks with Vidya. Post Ferry Building I should have written all night, but instead I came home and ended up watching tv with Terry and her friend Annie, who was lovely (and knew the way to my heart, since she once decorated her braces with Olympic colored rubber bands).

But tomorrow I must tonight I am going to bed. Goodnight!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

seven nation army

Today was mostly no good from a productivity standpoint. I suppose that's not being entirely fair to myself; I spent almost an hour on the phone with my agent (nothing exciting, just discussing pricing strategies, whether to shop my next book to publishers, etc.), I brainstormed some more about the inevitable rewrite of the beginning of Nick and Ellie's book, I cleaned the kitchen and stocked up on groceries, I spent some time prepping for tomorrow's class at Berkeley (which took longer than it should have, since I was looking for short short stories for the class to read), and I sent some important emails. But you will notice that writing was not really on that list. Instead, I ate pizza and watched tv with Terry, since she's out of town the rest of this week and most of next week, which meant this was our only chance to debrief about the chocolate mangasm.

But I set an aggressive deadline for myself, and I reiterated it by requesting a deadline for getting part of the manuscript to my freelance editor, so progress will happen. Since I'm incapable of working without a deadline (not entirely true, but still), I figured I should give myself one. Hey, I wrote my 80-page honors thesis from scratch in three days; surely I can rewrite the first 100 pages of a book in five days. Hahahahahaha. Goodnight!

Monday, June 25, 2012

scarecrow dreams

I made it back from Denver today, but it was not at all a smooth journey. First things first, though; I woke up around 7:45 to bid a fond farewell to Katie and James, who had to go to work well before I needed to leave for the airport. After they left, I went back to bed and slept/dozed for another hour, then got up, showered, packed, took care of some pressing emails, and decided to go to the airport early so that I could eat something before my flight. Smart plan, right?

Except it's not so smart when you end up sitting in the Denver airport for six hours. Oops. I got there at 1:30pm for a 3:40pm flight, which is not all that over-aggressive given how long their security lines sometimes are. But this line wasn't bad at all, so I got to the terminal, grabbed a jamba juice and some iced coffee, answered some more email, and then got to my gate approximately five minutes before boarding -- and approximately five minutes before they abruptly canceled the flight. Luckily I pay for a TripIt Pro membership (it's like $50/yr for a pro membership, which is worth it on days like today when things go wrong), and so I got an email on my phone saying the flight was canceled before it showed up on the board or the gate agent said anything. So I quietly and quickly vacated the boarding area and sped down the concourse to the nearest bank of United kiosks; there wasn't an agent there, but I picked up the phone and connected with a United ticket agent, who immediately rebooked me for a flight out later that evening. I was rebooked by the time the first main wave of people started showing up, so I felt super lucky about that - yay!

Or boo, since that flight was supposed to leave at 5:25 and instead was delayed until 7:40. I still took it, though, since it was a direct flight and I got an exit-row aisle, and it looked like everything was getting delayed anyway. I found out much later that United had five different Airbuses go out of commission this morning, and having mechanical problems on that many planes screwed up their entire schedule all over the west coast/mountain areas. But many people were having worse days than I was, and I wasn't really annoyed at all. Instead, I had Mexican food, inadvertently got totally soused (I forget that two margaritas in Denver's altitude feels like four margaritas at sea level), and worked on Nick and Ellie at the airport and again when I finally boarded the plane. That was a bit awkward, since the guy next to me appeared to be working on a lecture or thesis or something on Christianity, including mentions of how decadent and awful our society is for treating sex so casually - needless to say, I did not regale him with tales of the Chocolate Mangasm from this past weekend.

And now that I'm home and in my own bed, I must go to sleep - I need to write, write, and nothing but write this week, and the slog starts in the morning. Goodnight!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

talking 'bout the ghetto

I had a lovely day in Denver/Boulder today, and I am sad about the prospect of leaving Katie and James tomorrow and returning to San Francisco, where I need to write hundreds of pages in the next few weeks to make my deadline for Ellie and Nick's book. That's how I roll, so it shouldn't be much of a surprise, but I'm still not looking forward to the brutality of the slog I'm about to embark upon.

However, slogging is for tomorrow; today was for hanging out with friends. I slept until 9:30, showered, finished packing, and checked out of the hotel around 11 so that I could meet up with Katie and James for brunch/lunch. We ended up going to some Argentinean place that they had been wanting to try, and I must say that it was fantastic; I was jealous of the empanadas that they seemed to enjoy, but I had some bacon wrapped figs that were utterly delicious. And the place made a gluten free pizza crust that was exceedingly good - possibly the best one I've had at a restaurant, since it's a bit doughier than the v. thin Patxis gluten free crust that I've been eating a lot of recently. Also, the toppings were more interesting, and it was all v. tasty. And we had gelato to finish off the meal, which was utterly unnecessary and decadent, but v. good.

After our leisurely lunch, we were debating options and ended up driving to Boulder so that I could see it, since we tend to spend most of my trips eating rather than doing anything sightseeing-wise. Boulder seems to be a really cool town (much cooler/less ghetto than was implied by the classic DJ Lurch song "The Ghetto"), and it was fun to drive there and spend an hour or so wandering around downtown. I went into a great bookstore and was exceedingly miffed that they didn't have a romance section (seriously, it pisses me off that independent bookstores will stock plenty of mystery and scifi and are somehow too good to stock romance, even though romance readers read more books on average than any other genre, read beyond the romance genre too, and account for 54% of US book sales - it's no wonder independent bookstores are in trouble). But I supported them despite my anger and bought a mystery novel, and Katie bought a children's book, and so they failed to learn anything. Sigh.

Then we wandered through a cute jewelry store, went to a coffee shop to continue fueling me and James's caffeine addictions, and drove back to Denver, where James and I both realized that we were highly overcaffeinated and twitchy (oops). So we took the evening easy, watching tv, talking, and eating takeout Thai food. Yum. And now, I should go to sleep; I don't need to leave their house for the airport until around noon, but I'm getting up early to say goodbye to them, and I need to start slogging immediately upon their departure. Goodnight!

when you see my face, i hope it gives you hell

I'm exhausted and need to go to bed immediately, even though I haven't blogged on zee romance blog either - but today was a long day, and I need to sleep if I'm going to have fun with Katie tomorrow. I dragged myself out of bed in time to do a couple of events this morning, and then I had lunch with my friend Maire (pronounced Moira) who was a Golden Heart winner last year. Then, I came back to my room with the intention of writing (although I napped instead), then went to Starbucks, then went to a Q&A with some famous historical authors (where I figured out what's currently blocking me, so hopefully I can write a few chapters v. quickly before I get blocked again).

I had dinner with a book blogger/reviewer and her husband, which was super nice, and then came back to the hotel for the book signing. I had no books to sign since I'd already given away everything I'd brought with me, but I talked to people who came by and actually had someone say that she'd read my book already and loved it, so that was v. nice. Then Katie showed up, and we went to the Chocolate Mangasm party, which was so over the top (in a way that is totally not my scene) that I can't even really put it into words. Perhaps tomorrow I'll write a romance blog post about it and put up some pictures, but for now let's just say that I think I'm having an allergic reaction to whatever bargain-basement bulk-quantity lube they put on our hands during one even (no comment), and that I won a prize for best faking of an orgasm (double no comment).

Post party, Katie and I went up to someone's room for an afterparty, and then talked for a little bit before she went home. I'm staying in the hotel tonight (in retrospect if I do this again I would just stay with her, since it's only 20mins away when there's no traffic), but I'm relocating to their place in the morning so that we can hang out and possibly let me get some writing done. Goodnight!

Friday, June 22, 2012

this one is for the boys in the polos

I'm super tired and my neck hurts, so I'm going to go to bed v. shortly. I should be out having fun with other convention goers, but I'm stressing about Nick and Ellie and didn't feel like attending a Monte Carlo theme party, so I stayed in and wrote instead. Today was mostly fun, though; I met some of my favorite authors, met a bunch of readers whom I hopefully hooked on the premise for my series, gave out some swag, bought some awesome fudge, etc., etc.

You can read more details on zee romance blog if you're so inclined. I'm trying to get serious about writing there more often (I know I've said that at least a dozen times), and I think the only way it's going to work for me is if I write sort of a cleaned up version of this blog for that blog -- more of a stream of consciousness what happened to me today type thing, rather than coming up with topics on fashion, lifestyles, history, etc. That means this blog may get sparser, even if I still write in it every night and use this one as my outlet for blame-it-on-the-alcohol type posts. I'm not going to abandon this one entirely, of course; I'm only six posts away from 2500 posts, which is both frightening and much too long of a streak to break.

Anyway, now I need to sleep so that I can participate in stuff tomorrow -- goodnight!

i'm wide awake

That's a lie - I'm actually desperately exhausted and need to go to sleep immediately if I'm going to make it to the hotel for the keynote kickoff of the conference tomorrow morning. Suffice it to say that I had an excellent, albeit lowkey, first day in Denver; Terry was kind enough to take me to the airport at 5:30am, and I successfully checked two 50lb bags for a four-day trip (in my defense, at least 55lb of that was books, excerpt books, trading cards, bookmarks, candy, etc. to be given away). When I got to Denver, I got my car, went to the hotel to scope it out, had lunch and then worked at Starbucks for a couple of hours, went back to the hotel and stuffed conference goody bags as a random favor since I had time to kill and they were way behind, and then escaped Romancelandia to see Katie and James.

We went out for dinner, which was lovely, and then hung out afterward, which continued to be lovely. Since everything we talked about was prefaced with "Don't tell anybody, but...", consider the topic closed. And now I'm sleeping in their guest room, although I will relocate to the hotel for the next two nights to be closer to the action.

But now, I really must sleep; if you want more details, check out zee romance blog (linked above), since I wrote up some stuff there about the cover model photo shoot that I crashed. Goodnight!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

falling to pieces

I should really go to bed immediately; my flight for Denver leaves in nine hours, so I should probably get some sleep. Happily, I'm all packed, which is a minor miracle given that I had a super hectic day - I had my first class in Berkeley, and I was running around trying to get things finished before that. The class went really well, though, so I'm thrilled with that - the kids all seemed really interesting, and the exercises and things were good, so I'm happy.

And now, even though this post is super disjointed, I'm going to get off the laptop and finish the last little things I need to take care of before leaving. RomCon awaits - goodnight!

i'm cursed with second sight

Damn - I almost forgot to blog tonight, and I really don't have time to craft something coherent. Today was an adventure, which involved absolutely no writing and a lot of futility, more's the pity. I'm scrambling to get ready to go to Denver for RomCon on Thursday, and so today was filled with a combination of errands and other to-do list items that I somehow decided to prioritize.

However, I spent the middle of the day going to Berkeley...and I took a bus and the BART to get there, which is pretty much a sign of the apocalypse for me since I'm not in love with public transport. But my first class is tomorrow, and I wanted to make sure I knew where everything was today since I can't be late tomorrow...and when I started investigating the parking situation online, I found that the parking situation is so dismal that even I reconsidered taking my car there. So I took the bus downtown, then took the BART to Berkeley - and the BART situation was totally fine, even if the bus to downtown takes way too long over some of the steepest hills in the city, which made me slightly carsick. Once I got to Berkeley (not sure I'm allowed to ssss when they're employing me), I met the woman coordinating the program, signed some forms, found my classroom, etc., and then promptly left Berkeley and came back to the evil city. The class should be fun, though, and it's not until 1pm, so I think I can make it.

After I got back, I spent some time catching up on email, then went to Flax art supply to buy some little organza bag thingies for giveaways that I'm doing at RomCon (Ghiradelli chocolates, and a few of the bags will have stickers offering a free download of HEIRESS so I know how many people actually open the stuff and ever look inside). Then I went to a cafe and ate an early supper while teaching myself how to format ebooks. Between the time I spent reading about formatting on BART and the time I spent playing around with it tonight, I probably spent six or seven hours on it today -- which really should not be the priority, given that I have to pack and write a book and teach a class tomorrow. C'est la vie, though - and now I really must sleep. Goodnight!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

the drop dead dream, the chosen one

In some ways today was v. productive - I cleared tons of stuff off my to-do list, including some particularly annoying errands related to the post office. And my video went live on YouTube, which is good...and I got a ton of comments on a guest blog that I did, and was really impressed by how that blog drove traffic to my facebook page. And I got a couple of nice reviews, and my books were featured on Netgalley's homepage and newsletter, which reaches thousands and thousands of reviewers, so that's all super positive.

However, I only wrote two pages, which isn't enough. But I reread everything I've written so far, which took an hour, and I'm less in despair about it than I thought I would be. Fingers crossed and trying not to jinx myself, but I may only have to rewrite the first scene and add a scene or two in between others rather than rewriting the whole thing...which I will totally take. So I'm going to keep going from where I'm at rather than starting again from the beginning, and hope for the best. (insert maniacal laughter here)

Unfortunately for my writing, the next week is ridiculous; I have to go to Berkeley tomorrow to make sure I understand where my classroom is and pick up some paperwork, and I have to teach on Wednesday, and I leave for Denver early Thursday morning. I haven't packed or done half the things I intended to do before I should really sleep if I'm going to get up and accomplish stuff tomorrow. Goodnight!

Monday, June 18, 2012

calling, calling, calling me home

I'm super sleepy, so I need to go to bed immediately - today was a long but v. productive day, unless you think that my productivity needs to involve putting words on the page (which, actually, is a good guess on your part...I should be writing with every waking moment I have). But I got up absurdly early since my fucking neighbor decided to use what sounded like a shop vac on something in the carport behind my bedroom window at 7:15am - who does that?! So, when I accepted that my sleep was stymied, I got up, showered, made some coffee, and worked until it was time to meet up with someone for brunch.

I don't think I mentioned, but my other piece of good news recently was that I was asked to co-teach a class to high schoolers on writing for publication; the class is at Berkeley (sssssssss), and the irony of going to work for the enemy is certainly not lost on me. But the other teacher and I needed to sort out the syllabus and discuss our plan of attack, since the first class is on Wednesday, and so we met up for a v. long working brunch at Chow to plow through some stuff. I'm really excited to do some teaching, so even though I really don't have time for it given my other deadlines, it was too good of an opportunity (and highlight for my resume, if I want to do more teaching) to pass up.

Post meeting, I got home around 3:30, and then Terry and I filmed the last little bit of stuff for my next romance writer video. Then I talked to my parents (Happy Father's Day, Daddy!), and then I started editing the video so that I could get it up as soon as possible. I took a break, though, to have dinner with Terry and Lauren (aka Subz, aka Zubisubz) at Nettie's Crab Shack, which is down the street from my apartment. I'd never been there, but the food was awesome; I had their salmon special (perhaps an unwitting homage to my parents, who were having salmon tonight), which would have been really healthy if I hadn't had a piece of pizza before, or a glass of wine at dinner, or a serving of soft-serve swirl ice cream after. Oops. But it was great to see Lauren and catch up on all the stuff in her life, and I'm really glad that I had a bit of socializing after a week of mostly hermity activities.

After dinner, I came home and came straight upstairs to finish editing the video. I was successful, so I plan to share it broadly tomorrow - but you can get a sneak peek now here: And now that I've burned out my eyes with iMovie, I must sleep at once - goodnight!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

i don't mind if you don't mind

The less said about Nick and Ellie, the better. That leaves v. little else to talk about, though...hmm. I woke up this morning, showered, made a hamburger for breakfast (odd choice, I know, but I had to use that package of hamburger before it went bad and it's too hot for the chili I intended to make), and then loaded up on coffee and drove to Oakland (hiss) to pick up those excerpt booklets that I spent so much time designing a couple of weeks ago. This project continues to be a complete annoyance; we ordered it to have me pick them up to save us $200 on the initial shipping costs, but now I have to split everything up and mail it to the other people who participated. It turns out that 2500 booklets = 17 boxes, each weighing at least 25lbs - ew. But the booklets look nice, and I think they'll be a great giveaway, so here's hoping it's worth all the annoyance I've suffered as a result.

After I got back from Oakland, I ignored Terry's blandishments about the lovely weather and forced myself to do some work. Unfortunately, I'm still up against the wall on Nick and Ellie; I think I had some breakthroughs this afternoon, but all the words I wrote were more exploratory than actual story. So, I finally threw in the towel, got drunk, and watched the US Open. Okay, I didn't get drunk - I had two mojitos (I've learned to make a v. good mojito, if I do say so myself), but it was still enough to be nice and buzzed. Then, Terry and I filmed 2/3s of the script for my next "Sh*t Romance Writers Say" video, which I'm hoping to get out before I go to my romance convention in Denver next week. And then I did a bit of brainstorming/work until now, but I really should go to sleep or something so that I can accomplish lots of stuff tomorrow. Goodnight!

back in the ussr

So, I have tentative permission to share the news that I was so cryptic about a couple of weeks ago - I'm still not broadcasting it amongst the writing communities I'm part of, since the contract hasn't been signed, but my agent said it was okay to share. We sold Russian rights to my first book!!! That means it will be translated into Russian (and likely retitled), and will come out in paperback there in the next 12-18 months. It wasn't for a lot of money, so I'm not quite at the point where I can run away and buy a dacha on the Black Sea, but obviously it's quite exciting (and somehow perfect/surreal that my first 'traditional' print deal is in Russian, not English).

So yay to that. If I didn't have that news to share, this would be an utterly sad and depressing blog. My neck still hurts, I have a smashing headache, and I also had stomach problems all afternoon/evening, which made me a v. unhappy camper. It's not lost on me that it's probably at least half related to the stress of Nick and Ellie's book, since I've hit a bit of a wall with them -- and I don't have time to hit walls. Bleh.

I wrote a bit, but I didn't hit my word goal before I ultimately decided that today was fruitless and I'd be better off taking a break and hitting it again in the morning. So I started to read a book...a different book than the one I started to read yesterday, but I'm not really enchanted by it either, which is a shame since I was actually looking forward to this one. I also watched a bit of the US Open with Terry, and then we watched some "Say Yes To The Dress" (always guaranteed to either make you feel totally wonderful or completely miserable about your life decisions), and then watched a movie: "Saving Grace", starring a younger Craig Ferguson, about a woman whose husband commits suicide and leaves her massively in debt, and Craig helps her grow pot to pay off her debt. It was all v. charming and entertaining, and I do love Craig, so I'm glad I watched it.

But now, I must go to sleep; I have to write a million pages and also run an errand in Oakland tomorrow, so I should really get off the laptop. Goodnight!

Friday, June 15, 2012

he's the one i'm leaving you for

Today was a v. meh day, even though on the surface of it things were great. Everything was slightly off, though, as though 5% of everything had to be bad in order for the rest of it to go forward as normal...which was v. odd, since I couldn't quite put my finger on my malaise.

Actually, I can put my finger on neck is killing me, which made everything else worse. I woke up this morning, showered, and was out the door by 9:45 to grab breakfast, since I had nothing in the house to cook. However, I went to the cafe on Union Street that I'd vowed never to go to again, which was my first mistake; their huevos rancheros are really good, which is why I went back, but the service is generally terrible, and today was no exception. However, I wrote a couple of pages while I waited for stuff, so it wasn't all lost. Then I ran an errand where I was surrounded by screaming children, since that's what Union Street is at ten a.m. on weekdays (well, screaming children and their yoga moms have to compete with underemployed marina kids drinking mimosas - I love my neighborhood).

But, I escaped the Marina and drove to the other side of the city to visit the Legion of Honor. They were putting on an exhibit called "Cult of Beauty", all about the Aesthetic movement in Victorian Britain, and it ends on Sunday, so I wanted to go before I missed it. It was well worth seeing; the Victorian period is after the time in which I write, but I have a vague idea for a Victorian series, so this was good inspiration. I wandered around, listened to the audio guide, and took copious notes...which is approximately when my neck started hurting, since I was schlepping around my usual gigantic bag, carrying the audio guide around my neck, and trying to brace my notebook against my arm whilst writing in it. I've been having trouble with my neck off and on for months anyway, and this definitely aggravated it, which aggravated me to no end.

After the exhibit, all I really wanted was tea and scones, but I can't eat scones because of my fucking gluten intolerance. So I had the tea (which was excellent) with some thai coconut curry (which was tolerable), and wrote another page in the garden outside the museum. However, I exchanged some texts that put me in a lousy mood, made more lousy because service all the way out at Legion of Honor (which is on a bluff overlooking the Pacific) was pretty sketchy and so my battery was rapidly dying in its vain attempts to find signal. So I came home, took a nap in hopes of making my neck feel better (verdict: failure), and relocated to the roof, where I wrote another couple of pages.

However, trying to write a sex scene when the idea of sex makes your neck hurt more really isn't all that appealing, so I gave up and started to read a book. But I should have chosen a different book; this one is about the Fae (aka fairies, but evil fairies, not cute little winged things), and I've never read a book about the Fae that I've liked. Terry came home and rescued me, so we talked and ordered takeout and watched tv, and she let me bitch about the Fae and my neck and the cafe and children, and everything else, and we watched the finale of "Mad Men" (and John Slattery aka Roger Sterling may have fixed what's wrong with my sex scene). And now that I've both overshared and overcomplained, and made my neck worse by typing, I'm going to bed -- goodnight!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012're the one

Today was lovely, bittersweet, and productive all at once. I got up surprisingly early (7:30) and so got through all my procrastination by 9:30, which is odd for me. Then I ate some oatmeal, took care of some business-type things, showered, etc., etc. and drove downtown, where I had a late lunch at Andale in the mall food court, then sat at Peet's for half an hour and wrote. The reason for my trip downtown was that I had a haircut and eyebrow wax scheduled -- the eyebrow wax was utterly necessary, since I was in Iowa and thus let them go, and was afraid to tweeze them for fear of incurring my waxer's wrath (she might...wax wrathful? ha).

As it turns out, though, it's a good thing I went in when I did; my usual stylist, whom I have seen for close to four years (first in Palo Alto and then up here), gave her notice last week and is moving back to the midwest on Sunday :( :( Yes, I gave that the ultra rare double frowny face. I'm not usually loyal to stylist types; she's the first one I ever went to twice. But she gives a great haircut, and more importantly I loved her; she grew up in Wisconsin and is only four years older than me, so we usually have all sorts of common ground. She's decided to move back to Minneapolis to be closer to her family and also drastically improve her standard of living -- and the similarities in our paths between the midwest and San Francisco were not lost on me. So, we said our goodbyes, and she introduced me to her roommate/fellow stylist in hopes that I would continue on with her...but we shall see.

After getting my hair cut (and she did a lovely final job), I went to Samovar and got hyped up on two masala chais while writing five pages of Ellie and Nick. They were on the verge of getting it on in Ellie's studio when I left them hanging; I'd promised myself that if I wrote five pages before six p.m., I'd go see a movie, since I hadn't seen one in ages. So I went to the Metreon and saw "Moonrise Kingdom", by my beloved Wes Anderson. It was just as odd and quirky as all his movies are, and I loved it more the longer I watched it. So, that was a lovely break -- I really should go see more movies (and see them during the day, rather than paying full price at night).

Post movie, I came home and should have written, but I procrastinated until now. So now I shall reread what I wrote today, make some notes about the upcoming scene (not that I need notes -- it all played, mildly pornographically, in my head (and you're welcome for the tmi)), and then get some sleep so that I can hit it hard (no pun intended) tomorrow. Goodnight!

this is inconvenient

The internet is being ridiculously slow, so I'm checking in from my phone just so you know I'm alive before going to bed as I should.

I wrote 10.75 handwritten pages today - the goal was 10, and at 11pm I was at 9 and was going to quit, but I have to stop slacking if I want a draft by the end of the month. I also went to Morning Due, bought some pens and mailing supplies, and reorganized our storage unit, so I feel pretty productive. And I went to Roam twice, once by myself because I was craving meat for supper, and once with Terry and her brother since they asked me to come with them. And now that I've given you far more time with my thumbs than you deserve, I'm going to bed. Goodnight!

Monday, June 11, 2012

you'll be wrapped around my finger

I need to get off my laptop; I should have tried writing longhand today, but typing is faster, so I kept trying to make progress on my laptop when I would have been better off abandoning it. I wrote four pages, which isn't terrible -- but it's terrible if you're trying to write a book in the next month. Ha.

Anyway, I wasn't entirely unproductive; I exchanged some emails with my agent, wrote a guest blog post for someone, made myself a new Tumblr blog (, spent quite a bit of time looking at stock photography for the cover I need to get made for Prudence's book, and started researching how to make and edit ebooks so that I can take over that process myself rather than paying someone to do it. This isn't theoretically necessary until I actually finish Ellie and Nick, but I want to go back and update the original files for HEIRESS and SCOTSMEN to include buy links to each other, better links to my website and newsletter, etc., and if I want to make those updates regularly, I should just bite the bullet and learn formatting.

So, that's all v. boring to you. Sorry. I'm going to go to bed, and focus on writing rather than marketing tomorrow -- goodnight!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

my love for you went viral

Today was lovely, but as I was plied with vodka and champagne at noon, I was hungover at seven, surly at nine, and now v. sleepy. But yay for having friends so that I could get into such trouble with other people rather than all on my own, right?

I managed to make it out of bed in time to shower before driving over to Oakland (ssss) to pick up Sherry and take her to the Oakland airport. I must say (shh, don't tell anyone) that she was probably the most fun guest to host, and I was actually sad to see her go. And she gave me an Amazon giftcard for all my troubles, which was super thoughtful of her, and which I will now use to buy the book she just released last month. But duty called on the other side of the bridge, so I drove back into the city, and went to the Marina Safeway (which has been known for its meat-market scene since the '60s, and unfortunately I don't mean the quality of their butcher section). I was far underdressed for that Safeway, since I was wearing my "Kiss Me I'm Iowish" tshirt and some running pants and everyone else was wearing cute sundresses or shorts in honor of today's unseasonably gorgeous weather. The guys in front of me in the line were still friendly and/or drunk enough to chat me up, but I clearly wasn't going to the same scene they were going to, since they had two bottles of v. cheap champagne and a 24-pack of Coors Light. Not that I should really judge, given where the rest of my day went, but still.

sssanyway, I came home, put on a dress, cleaned up my room, and helped Terry finish the setting up for the brunch she was making -- it was book club day, and it was Terry's turn to host, but since I live here I obvi wasn't going to just watch her finish everything. She made a really awesome spread (great potatoes w/vegetables, a caesar salad, and grilled shrimp, all separated out to accomodate the various dietary restrictions of everyone in the group), and I contributed some fancy water (water infused with raspberries and mint in two of my several pitchers). Chandlord arrived first, followed eventually by Katrina and Lauren, and that's when the plying with vodka (unexpected) and champagne (totally expected) began. So that was v. fun, and I loved/appreciated the intent behind the vodka even if the results tonight were less than stellar.

We ate brunch up on the roof deck, which was gorgeous even though it became too hot for all of us (we are now all confined to places that consistently stay between 55 and 70 degrees). Chandlord had to leave early to go to a dance, which was particularly unfortunate since she'd actually read the book, so that was sad. But the rest of us discussed our thoughts and grievances; we read Mary Jo Putney's THE RAKE, a Regency romance which was written like twenty years ago. On the whole I really enjoyed it, although I had some grievances that I'm sure I only had because I've been analyzing romances too much recently.

After everyone left, I eventually returned to the roof deck and talked to [censored] and then my father, who continues to be on the mend but sounds good on the phone. Then I took care of some tings, and then I talked to my mother, which was entertaining particularly since I let slip tings I didn't intend to let slip (see: vodka). Terry and I watched some tv after that, and then I worked on Nick and Ellie for about an hour, and now I'm going to go to bed early since I'm sure the burning sun will wake me up long before I'm usually ready to in the morning. Goodnight!

i'm out here without a shield

Today was a v. long, v. romancey day. The monthly romance meeting was this morning, and since I was responsible for retrieving the speaker from her hotel and taking her to the meeting, I had to get up at 7:15. Bleh. But I was actually on time, which is always a mild shock for me (even though I'm usually not more than five minutes late). The meeting was fun, as usual, and Sherry's program was v. excellent. After, I had lunch with her, my friend Grace, and several other writers, which was utterly delightful (and informative, as always, since this business is both slow as molasses and moving at lightning speed).

After the meeting/lunch, I had intended to come home and write, but instead I succumbed to the temptation of a beautiful day and the desire to hang out with fun writers. So I went with Sherry and two other multi-pubbed historical writers to have v. decadent hot chocolate at a chocolaterie in Berkeley. We sat in the sun for a couple of hours and talked shop, which is quite exciting and invigorating to me, particularly when the shop-talkers are well informed and successful in a variety of different ways -- so if it's the blind leading the blind, as this whole industry is right now, perhaps they're only legally blind rather than totally blind and dumb/deaf to boot. When I finally got home, it was six p.m., so I hung out with Terry and watched some YouTube videos, then ordered a pizza, then read an entire book. Yay for sloth.

But now I must go to bed, since I have to get up at 7:45 if I'm going to retrieve Sherry in time to take her to the airport. Two notes, though: I did do a bit of thinking about my book, and I've figured out how I will inevitably scrap everything I have and rewrite it, which is almost a relief since I was waiting for that dawning horror and it dawned slightly less horribly since I was expecting it with the amused pleasure of an old friend rather than the dread of the apocalypse. And two: I will share the good news I alluded to most cruelly early this week when I get permission to share it. Don't get too excited, even though I am still v. pleased with myself. Goodnight!

Saturday, June 09, 2012

i guess you better go and get your armor

I didn't write a damn word today, but that's not entirely a bad thing -- it's mostly a bad thing, but I'm not going to dwell on it. And I did spend a lot of quality time in the car thinking about Nick and Ellie and how to structure their story, and all the messy and bitter and desperate emotions at play beneath the plot, so that's good. But the whole day was focused on other romance activities; I got up at ten, discovered the internet was down, quickly checked my email on my ipad, and then thought I'd read a few pages of a book. And that inevitably resulted in me reading in bed, not eating, not moving, until I finished the book at 1:45. Oops. The book was "Private Arrangements" by Sherry Thomas, who is speaking to our romance chapter this weekend, and I'd had it on my kindle for three years and never read it. So I thought I would read a few pages just in case I needed to say something about her stuff, but I got sucked in and read the whole thing in one go. I'd been avoiding it because it also has a lovers-turned-to-enemies who reunite after ten years plot (sound familar?), but I ended up really enjoying it.

But when I was finally done, I was starving and running late. So I made a gluten-free peanut butter and jelly sandwich, took a quick shower, and drove over to Oakland so that I wouldn't be late to pick Sherry up. I thought I would work at a Starbucks for an hour beforehand, but traffic wasn't very good, so there wasn't time. So instead I sat in the cell waiting lot and brainstormed for a bit, then went into the airport and picked Sherry up. It took us an hour to get from Oakland to Emeryville (boo, hiss), but we survived, and I really enjoyed spending time with her, so that was totally fine. When we got to Emeryville, we had a three-hour dinner (delish: I had prime rib and some awesome desserts) with the chapter president, whom I really like, and the three of us had a great time. Then I dropped Sherry off at her hotel, came home, said hi to Terry, and now need to go to bed so that I can get up at 7:15 and make it to the meeting, where I will need to be in sociable mode for several hours rather than getting any writing done. Sadness. But I expect the workshop will be great, so at least there's that. Goodnight!

Friday, June 08, 2012

the diamond queen

Today was utterly uneventful. I made my word count (2089 words = 8 pages) despite much weeping and gnashing of teeth, but since there were a couple of days that I didn't make my word count, I'm slowly falling behind the pace...I'll have to pick it up tomorrow and next week. I also did a couple of loads of laundry, took care of some tings, made a delicious salad for lunch, worked on the script for my next romance video, and thought a bit about the next phase of Ellie and Nick's story (and realized I still don't really know what he looks like, which is kind of embarrassing).

When Terry got home, though, I pretty much abandoned productivity to watch tv. I'd taped approximately 30 hours of BBC America's jubilee coverage last weekend, and so we watched the last two hours of a BBC documentary called "The Diamond Queen", which was totally awesome and ridiculous. The combo of the jubilee + the London Olympics is like the best gift I could get, and I intend to watch a *lot* of BBC this summer. It counts as research, right? After Terry went to bed, I fell down a Wikipedia wormhole about the royal family (again, counts as research), and now I really must sleep - I need to get my writing done early tomorrow because this weekend is the monthly romance writers meeting, which means I'll spend a lot of time doing stuff for that. Goodnight!

Thursday, June 07, 2012

i'm never gonna leave this bed

Today was both lovely and incredibly annoying. I went down to my old place of employment to have lunch with Gyre, and it was great to catch up with him (lovely part number one); as with just about everyone else, I hadn't seen him since before I went to Mexico/Iowa, so we had a lot to talk about. After spending an hour and a half with him, I think called Heather (aka dear respected madam) and spent an hour and a half with her. By that time, it was 2:45, and I desperately needed to get some stuff done. So I went to the post office to mail ten giveaway books from a contest I ran, then went to the carwash since my car was filthy, then went to my usual south bay cafe to work for awhile. Unfortunately, I may have burned it as a place I can go; as you all know, I'm friendly even in the awkwardest situations, and in this case I've gotten way too friendly with one of the baristas, who seems to think it's okay to talk to me any time he doesn't have a customer at his station (which, today, was all too often). Since the tables are about four feet from the counter, it's easy for him to talk over the counter to me -- and while I think the guy is nice enough, I wasn't in the mood today, and it was really distracting, but there's no good way to tell him that I want some quiet time. Ugh.

So anyway, after I finished the thing that I absolutely had to have internet for, I left and grabbed supper at Chipotle. Then I was going to go to Stanford Library, but I was feeling tired, so instead I drove home and worked until now. And now I must sleep so that I can write in the morning -- goodnight!

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

all night doctors

I didn't hit my wordcount goal today, but I broke 1000, so I don't feel too bad. I plan to hole up at Stanford library tomorrow and write until the cows come home, so hopefully I'll catch up on the words I missed.

Generally, the day was uneventful. I spent the morning taking care of some busy-work, and also ate breakfast (eggs and oatmeal) and made a cilantro lime vinaigrette that I've been meaning to try (verdict: not quite what I was looking for, but pretty tasty). Then I read the voting information for the California primary and walked over to my polling place to vote -- turnout looked really sparse, which was unfortunate, but at least I did my civic duty even if I didn't care about any of the issues or primary races. Then I walked to Fort Mason and worked for a bit in the empty cafe next to the Friends of SF Public Library used book store -- they're finally putting in a new cafe there, which is great news, but that meant that it currently smells funky and was a little too noisy (due to construction) for productivity. So I browsed the books quickly and showed significant restraint by only picking up two: a history book about the Barbary Coast pirates during the Renaissance, and Julia Quinn's latest book (not sure how it made it there this quickly, nor how it survived the Inquisition that seems to destroy all romance books on sight -- I haven't found a romance section there, and I'm admittedly a little ashamed to ask).

When I got home, I made a late lunch/early supper (a salad with the dressing I made earlier) and took care of some more work. Then I wrote until Terry came home, and we promptly watched last night's Daily Show, since Jon Stewart had some funny commentary about the Diamond Jubilee. Then we watched an hour of the approximately 18hrs of footage I tivo'd over the weekend, which was hysterically wonderful because the reporter (some dude for BBC America) who made this documentary about Queen Elizabeth was so fantastically dramatic and v., v. British. Then I came upstairs, spent some quality time readying envelopes with book giveaways to mail tomorrow, and wrote a bit more. And now I must sleep -- Ellie and Nick continue to be dark messes, but I'm rolling with it. Goodnight!

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

from russia with love

I woke up this morning to some fabulous news, which I unfortunately can't share with you yet (haha, suckers). It was fabulous enough to get me to make a phone call at 7:30am, but not so fabulous that I wasn't able to go back to sleep -- so I slept until ten, then got up and called my parents (who were in fine form, it seems). Then I putzed around, showered, made myself look somewhat presentable, and went to Morning Due to work (since I needed to eat and write and still didn't have any food in the house). At Morning Due, I had a lovely chat with the cashier, who was glad that I wasn't dead after my long sojourn in Iowa (isn't it odd to see the same people repeatedly at coffee shops, and then suddenly never see them again?). I also had a great breakfast for lunch, and did a bit of writing for Nick and Ellie.

But when it was time to move my car, I vacated the neighborhood and came home, with a stop at Safeway to stock up on groceries for my ongoing hermitage. Then I came home, cleaned out the fridge, put away the groceries, came upstairs, and proceeded to work from approximately 3:30pm until now. The first task was finally, finally finishing that excerpt booklet and uploading it to the printer, which seemed to go well -- we'll see when I get the proof. Then, I alternated between writing and procrastinating, with a break for supper; I bought some frozen gluten free bread, which was totally delicious even though the slices are approximately 3"x3" and a loaf costs like $5. But for bread that doesn't make my stomach hurt, it was worth I toasted two slices and made myself a peanut butter and strawberry jam sandwich with a glass of milk, which was like the dinner of champions after not having had a peanut butter sandwich in eight months or so. Yum.

I continued to write longhand because it's the only thing that works, even if I did check twitter on my phone occasionally -- and I got 2115 words, which I will totally take. This scene took a weird left turn and a highwayman got killed, which I totally did not see coming. I'm a little worried that this book is going to be way, way dark compared to the first two; Ellie and Nick both have a lot more personal demons than any of my other characters, and I stupidly already publicized it with a killer in their midst, so I can't really tone back the darkness of the external plot to leaven the darkness of their emotional arcs. But I'm going to try my damnedest not to dwell over the beginning and just keep going to see where I end up; I have six weeks to write this draft, and I can't write a draft in six weeks if I rewrite the first half four or five times.

After I hit my wordcount, I designed and ordered some swag for the conferences I have coming up (sticky notes! fun!), and also set up a new Goodreads ad to see if I can spike sales for SCOTSMEN. And now, I think I shall go to bed -- goodnight!

Monday, June 04, 2012

no one else can save me now but you

I need to get away from my laptop immediately - I've been sitting here for the past seven hours, which is not really pleasant. It's particularly unpleasant because I didn't write again today; instead, I spent that time working on that stupid promo ting and then sending a few emails related to my other romance volunteer activities, all of which were quite pressing.

But first things first. I woke up in Heather and Salim's guest room at eight a.m., and I intended to go back to sleep, but I checked my email (never a good idea) and ended up working for an hour and a half. Then I went downstairs to find my lovely hosts, who were up and about, and they encouraged me to get dressed so we could go out for dim sum. I knew this was a bad idea, since Claude had told me ages ago that dim sum is really difficult for gluten-free, but I hadn't had dim sum in many months, and I thought I could avoid the gluten. Foolish. Salim and I ate a ton of dim sum (Heather doesn't like the stuff, so she had cereal before we left and a couple of barbecue pork buns while we were there), and while I tried to stick with rice noodles and bean curds, etc., I'm sure I ingested gluten because I had a headache/stomachache/general malaise the rest of the afternoon. But it was fun to hang out with them, and I'm glad I went down for the sleepover even if I have barely been home.

I was going to go to the library and write this afternoon, but my rebellious stomach wouldn't let me, so I came home and took a nap instead. Then I talked to my parents in our usual Sunday ritual, although they didn't have much to report since I just saw them on Thursday (although my dad did lease a miniature bull, which is exciting). And then I was going to work on this promo ting for an hour or so before writing -- and ended up spending five hours on it. The main issue is that I'm an extreme perfectionist, but I'm also a novice with this design software, and that's a dangerously time-consuming combination. The project is making an excerpt booklet with six other romance writers (one of whom is a big name) that we can give out at conferences for the rest of the year, which is a great idea -- but it's taken me way, way longer than I thought it would when I naively volunteered to format it. I'll be glad to be part of it once the memories of formatting it wear off, but right now I want to stab my laptop in the face.

Anyway, it's basically done now -- we're waiting on one cover from some chick's publisher, and then I can be done with it (until I have to pick up 2500 copies of this booklet in Oakland in a couple of weeks, but that's another story). And now I really need to go to bed; I've decided to write 4000 words tomorrow and 4000 on Tuesday to make up for the weekend, so I should get some sleep. Goodnight!

Sunday, June 03, 2012

on the upside of a downward spiral

I'm not in my own bed; I'm at Heather (aka dear respected madam) and Salim's house, after a v. lovely, v. laidback evening of hanging out. I worked all day today, but I didn't write a single word for the Ellie and Nick Death March, which means I have to write four thousand words tomorrow. I woke up not feeling well at all, so I went back to bed and slept until ten. Then I got up, messed around on the internet, showered, packed up my stuff, ate some peanut butter, and drove down to the glorious south bay, since I intended to work at Stanford library until it was time for the sleepover.

First, though, I needed lunch, so I went to Mike's Cafe (in one of my old Palo Alto neighborhoods) and went through my to-do lists and my plans for June while eating a tasty breakfast casserole. Then I went to Philz down the street, since I needed to work on this stupid promo ting that has taken 20+ hours of my time this past week, and I needed internet to do it. I thought I needed to spend another hour on it today, but I ended up spending three hours on it - ugh. By the time I finished, it was almost five, so I spent half an hour answering email instead of trying to go the library to write. But I'm spending all day at the library tomorrow, so I plan to catch up on the words I should have written today.

After I answered a few emails, I packed up my stuff and drove to Heather and Salim's. It was supposed to be a bigger sleepover, including Durand, Lauren and Jenni, but they all bailed at various points in the past couple of weeks, so it ended up being just me and them. That was still wonderful, though; Heather and I spent some quality time talking about life, work, and romance novels, and Salim made us steak, corn, and zucchini (and asparagus, which I turned my nose up at). We had been hanging out inside, but I got distracted by the tv (Heather was watching "American History X", which I've never seen, but which looked super brutal), so we went outside and hung out in the backyard and enjoyed the weird, offkey crooning of their neighbor on the other side of the fence.

While we ate supper, though, we came back inside and ended up watching the last third of "The Two Towers", which only served to give me ample opportunity to embarrass myself by sharing trivia that proved how dorky I am. We also watched "The Ricky Gervais Show", which was awesome, and the end of "Beauty and the Beast", which is always welcome. Then I did some more work on the excerpt book while we flipped through the channels, and now I'm going to bed so that I can get up and have brunch with them tomorrow before heading off to the library. Goodnight!

Saturday, June 02, 2012

when i am with you, i feel a little brave

The first day of the Nick and Ellie Death March went according to plan; I plan to finish a rough draft of their book by the end of June, which means 2000 words per day, every day. I got 2011 words today, which I will totally take. To make it official, I contacted the freelance editor I hired for SCOTSMEN (actually, she emailed me today, which was perfect timing) and told her I'd get her a draft by July 15 -- it will be rougher than the almost-finished draft I sent her of the previous book, but I think she could provide a lot of insight that would help me during the revision process. And I'll need all the insight I can get, particularly since this book makes more extensive use of flashbacks (Nick and Ellie were lovers a decade before the book starts) and also has a suspense/murder subplot, which I've never written. Ugh. Next time I won't try two completely new techniques at once (ha -- you know that's not a promise I'll keep).

So anyway, May turned into a total vacation (if vacation is the right word; not sure my dad feels like it's a vacation), and June must be a death march to compensate. So I got up this morning (at 9:30; I'm not turning over every new leaf), unpacked and did some laundry, showered, etc., before going to Morning Due to work/eat/work. I wrote longhand since that seems to work for me, but I had to take a longer break than I expected to talk to a potential speaker for the SF romance chapter; I thought it would take a few minutes, but it ended up taking half an hour, which made me surly even though he was a nice guy who will put on a good program. When my second two-hour parking spot was done, I came home and worked some more. Terry got home at some point, and we reunited and caught up over dinner at Tortilla Heights, where we got the pitcher of margaritas in honor of happy hour, but I sipped mine and conned her into drinking almost all of it. Ha. Then we came home, watched two episodes of Craig from the week he was in Scotland (awesome), and then some So You Think You Can Dance while I worked on my laptop. I should have gone out, but I'm tired and feeling hermity, so no parties for me!

And now I should go to bed; I'm going to a sleepover tomorrow night, so I need to get my 2000 words in early. Goodnight!

Friday, June 01, 2012

why are you so quiet

I'm back in San Francisco, after two utterly uneventful flights and a brief layover in Denver (which I will be returning to in three weeks for a romance conference). Today was long but ultimately successful; I woke up from a nightmare and then had to send a bunch of emails related to annoying promotional tings before considering the problem of my unpacked suitcase. However, at 11:45 the family said that if I were dressed (which I wasn't), we would go to lunch in Millerton (population -7, but they have a good restaurant). So I took a v. fast shower, and then drove my parents and [censored] to lunch, which was also an opportunity to bid a fond farewell to my dad's truck. When we got there, my father got one of the last servings of their fried chicken special, my mom got the hot beef sandwich (I've never seen hot beef here -- it's shredded beef and gravy over mashed potatoes, on top of white bread), [censored] got [censored], and I had a cheeseburger sans bun that was delicious.

Post lunch, we came home and I shoved everything into a suitcase (which ended up being exactly 1.5lbs under the weight limit, yay). Then, I bid a fond farewell to the parents (and to one of the Clells, who happened to stop by to see my dad), and [censored] took me to the airport. In appreciation for services rendered, I bought [censored] supper, which may have been overkill since it was only 4hrs after lunch, but I needed to eat something before getting on the plane. When we were done, [censored] took me to the airport and verified that my bag was within the weight limit before making the long solo trek back to southern Iowa. Meanwhile, my two flights passed without incident, although I did a bit of brainstorming on the non-gargoyle young adult series and had a key revelation that made me v. happy.

And now I must sleep the sleep of the just in my own bed -- goodnight!