Tuesday, April 30, 2013

but a cover up won't let it show

I stayed up way later than I intended, and I'm not sure I'm ready for tomorrow...but I got through all the stuff I desperately needed to get done for work, so I suppose that's something. I'm off the day job for the next three days, and instead doing stuff for the night job - I'll be at Romantic Times in Kansas City, where I will be schmoozing with readers and writers and spying on what other organizations are doing in the selfpub space. Basically, it all sounds right up my alley.

But yesterday and today were a mad scramble to get my day job life in order, while still spending some quality time with the parents. They will have to go on without me for the next few days as I go to KC, but I'll see them again this weekend...and I'm hoping that I can take Sunday off from all my jobs, but we shall see. Goodnight!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

smoke on the water

I shouldn't still be up - I should have tried to be more efficient with the things I needed to get done tonight so that I could have gone to bed two hours ago. But I'm in Iowa, catching up with my parents and catching up on some fine CBS programming (the season finale of 'The Good Wife' was particularly enjoyable), and I didn't sleep much last night, so I suppose productivity was too much to be expected of me.

This morning's travel was totally smooth and utterly uneventful, with two half-empty flights that were both on time, and a layover in Minneapolis between them that gave me enough time to eat a tasty breakfast. The only downer was that both flights were so short that I couldn't really pull out my laptop and write, but I suppose that's okay. When I got into Des Moines, I got my rental car and ran over to Aunt B's, since I had shipped some books to her for the conference I'm going to on Wednesday so that they wouldn't get smoky at my parents' house. We had lunch at one of her favorite Mexican restaurants, which I really liked even if it was sans margarita because a) I had to drive and b) even I don't drink at noon on a Sunday (well, unless it's mimosas, or white wine, or...who am I kidding).

Then I came home, arriving in time to sit on the back porch for a couple of hours and discuss the mini cows. My dad and I went in to town to see my grandmother, who as v. v. surprised to see me (in her defense, they hadn't told her I was coming, but she probably wouldn't have remembered anyway). She's in good health and spirits, though, so at least there's that. Then we came home, had supper (ribeyes and baked potatoes, supper of champions) and watched CBS (naturally). And eventually I came downstairs, freshened up, and then took care of one quick (or should have been quick) email for the day job + finalizing the handout for the workshop I'm part of later this week.

And now, I really must sleep; I'm working from home for the day job tomorrow, so I need to get up at a reasonable hour and get cracking. Goodnight!

Saturday, April 27, 2013

we are never ever ever getting back together

I should have gone to sleep ages ago. Yes, it's only 10pm, which is only 8pm in California, but I have to get up at 4:30am, which is going to come way too soon. Ugh.

However, today was awesome. I got all dolled up in an orange dress (don't tell my mother, since she hates orange) and had just enough time for breakfast before going into the event to get my stuff set up. I was sharing a table with Jade Lee, who writes a bunch of historical/fantasy/erotica under a couple of different names and is a nonstop laugh riot. We had five readers sitting with us, two of whom I met at RomCon last year, so it was fun to reconnect with them. And the event itself was great - very well organized, decent enough food, and a good keynote from James Rollins (a bit odd, since he was one of the only guys there and the only male author, but still very funny). I also sold 80% of my books at the signing - it's less impressive if I tell you it was four out of the five Barnes and Noble ordered to sell there, since five was not a particularly large or encouraging order, but still, selling four books to total strangers at $12.99 apiece made me pretty happy.

After, I hung out with Sabrina Jeffries for awhile, then had a drink with some other authors/readers (Cherry Adair and Carla Neggers were the authors, if you read those subgenres), and then pled exhaustion and came back to my room. I wanted to go to sleep immediately, but I was too hungry to sleep, so I took my laptop down to the restaurant and wrote three fast-draft pages of Alex and Prudence's intro while eating a steak and nursing a diet coke. Then I came upstairs, repacked my stuff, and spent the last couple of hours working on a handout for a workshop I'm giving at this romance conference I'm going to next week.

And now, I must sleep. But I'm super psyched about writing, and I'm looking forward to this conference next week...and I'm wondering how I'm going to concentrate on the day job for the two days that I'm working from home in between. Dilemmas, dilemmas. Goodnight!

Friday, April 26, 2013

tonight i'm gonna hold you so close

I have to say, this balance between having a day job and having this thing on the side is not really a balance at all. Or rather, it's a balance between those two things, without any time for this third thing called 'my life', in which I have friends and can take time off, etc. Today, I burned a day job vacation day (thank goodness I went back at my old tenure and get 25 days a year, or I wouldn't survive) and spent the entire day traveling for what was supposed to be an easy four-hour direct flight. Terry took me to the airport, leaving our place at eight a.m., and dropped me off in time to navigate the extremely long Southwest line to check my bags. Then, I got through security, had a relatively terrible breakfast, grabbed a latte, and got to my gate just as we were supposed to board - and just as they announced we were delayed from 10:20 to 11:55. Reason? FAA furloughs, apparently, since everything out of our terminal was delayed by the same ninety-ish minutes. Ugh.

So I sat around and answered day job emails until it was time to get on the plane again. The flight itself was uneventful, and I read a bit, slept a bit, and daydreamed a bit. Then I got to Milwaukee, claimed my bags, took the hotel shuttle, and was immediately in Sara Ramsey mode...I was late, but I made it in time for tonight's author Q&A, so I got to introduce myself and talk a bit about my books, which was fun. Then I hung out in the bar and forced myself to be social and outgoing even though it's not my favorite thing to do; I chatted up James Rollins's publicist, then ended up hanging out with some other historical romance authors and having drinks/dinner with them, which was fun, informative, inspiring, etc. Eloisa James was one of them, and I've interacted with her several times before, but I'm always amazed by how much *stuff* she accomplishes and how savvy she is with her promo. I also talked to Sabrina Jeffries, whom I had met v. briefly once before; she's a lovely woman, and it was fun to get to know her a bit better.

But now I need to stop being fangirl-y and get ready for tomorrow. I have no expectations for the event beyond hope that I'll sit with some fun readers. And I also hope that I can spend some quality time writing tomorrow night, beyond the other stuff I need to get done - both books are now beckoning seductively to me, and I need to write as much as possible whenever I can if I'm going to write two books this year. Yes, I'm putting that goal out there, and yes, it's stupid and terrifying and stupid again. Whatever. I know Rome wasn't built in a day, but I can't build the career I want writing a book a year, so I'm going to have to suck it up. And on that cheerful note, it's time for bed!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

song plays, nice one

I'm leaving for Milwaukee in less than twelve hours, so I suppose I should go to bed. But, I'm all packed up with two suitcases that weigh about 95lbs total...so I think I'm ready for the weekend. Good thing I'm flying Southwest...and good thing some of that weight is approximately twenty books that I plan to give away while I'm traveling.

The rest of the day was utterly unremarkable, so I shall spare you the remarks. Instead, I shall get as much sleep as possible (currently looking at eight hours if I go to bed right now...a new pre-trip record) and you can spend the day hoping that my travels will make me more interesting again. Goodnight!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

she keeps moet and chandon in her pretty cabinet

No time to blog - in thirty-six hours I'll be on a plane bound for Milwaukee, and I have more than a million things to do before that happens. Today was good, albeit slightly crazed; I worked from home in the morning, had meetings all afternoon, then returned something to Anthropologie and had dinner at Joanie's while working on Alex and Prudence for an hour or so. They are getting more ridiculous by the day, so perhaps I will kill my career in its infancy rather than dragging it out for another dozen books before revealing my true craziness. Then I came home, talked to Terry, and did an hour of desultory and not-so-efficient work for the day job.

And now, I must sleep - tomorrow is going to come much too soon. Goodnight!

i know more of the stars and sea

Super sleepy...I intended to write tonight, but sadly I spent time playing around with metadata instead, since I want to see if there are things I can do to improve my books' discoverability on Amazon (and then possibly apply those changes to other sites). Also, I'm in the process of moving my books to my account from my agent's account, which has been messier than I anticipated and has resulted in my books being off Amazon for at least a day (in Heiress's case, even longer - it's still not back up). Sad, since they were getting discovered more recently, but hopefully they'll bounce back.

Which I suppose is another story I should share with you - I didn't mention it because I was still in denial and wasn't sure what to do, but my agent and I are parting ways. Sadly, it has nothing to do with the success of our partnership (we had just talked a month ago about continuing to partner on my next series), and everything to do with personal issues on her end that are causing her to resign from agenting. Boo. I'm sad for her, of course, and I'm also sad for myself, since I love her and had intended to work with her for many years to come.

The good news, though, is that I'm not as panicked as I would have been if I lost my agent five years ago - with self-publishing, and the success of my efforts so far, I feel pretty confident I could keep doing what I'm doing with some success (although writing faster would help). I still want to have an agent for things like foreign rights sales, and because I want to try to get a traditional distribution deal for the next series so that my books are more widely available in print...but it's not a do-or-die thing.

So I need to make some decisions around whether to stay with an agent at the current agency, or whether to break up with them and start querying other agents/agencies. That's a wee bit nervewracking since there's the whole bird-in-hand thing vs. the grass-is-greener thing (which I guess is kind of the same thing, although perhaps in this case the grass really *is* greener). But I don't have to decide today, or tomorrow, or next week, so I should probably stop thinking about it.

Beyond business stuff, my day job was good; I drove today, which was so much better than the shuttle even though it meant I could do nothing beyond stare at the car ahead of me. But I was able to do that with the window down, while singing '80s ballads, and I wasn't carsick when I arrived, so I think that's a win. After work, I met up with Terry for dinner in Palo Alto, and on the way home I stopped at Philz for the first time in months (the barista was so happy to see that I'm still alive that he gave me my coffee for free). And now, after my war against metadata, I must sleep - goodnight!

Monday, April 22, 2013

all your love is just a dream

Isn't it sad that I have to go to work tomorrow? No? You don't pity me? How unfortunate.

Work today was great, though; I just continue to hate on the shuttle. But once I got to work, it was all really good. Then I came home, scurried around picking stuff up, and baked some gluten-free chocolate chip scones that were ready just when my friend Theresa showed up. You haven't seen her name before, but now that she's been to my house I feel she deserves a proper name on zee blog. She's the current president of my local romance chapter, and we had been planning for ages to get together and watch Oprah's interview of JK Rowling that I still had saved on my tivo from a couple of years ago. So, she came over, I gave her the tour, and we watched the interview (with breaks in between to discuss the ridiculousness of some of it + eat scones). She discovered that Terry loves 'Vampire Diaries', so I may have lost her to my roommate, but otherwise it was all good. And Katie, the queen of my heart, texted me during this to tell me I need to get over my Napoleon fetish - which just gave me a chance to regale Theresa with fun facts about Sir Sidney Smith (aka my dream boyfriend).

Theresa left around nine, and I was tempted to go to bed straightaway, but I came upstairs and thought about writing instead. And instead, I messed around on the internet, which was a mistake since there's nothing good to be found on the internet. But now I shall sleep, and hope that tomorrow is as productive as it needs to be - goodnight!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

and when the daylight comes i'll have to go

Today was a lovely end to a lovely weekend. I did the one thing I absolutely had to do - I designed a postcard-sized handout to give out at my writing events this summer, containing the covers of all three of my current books + short descriptions of each. I kind of think this kind of printed material is next to useless when it comes to marketing, and the ROI isn't there, but at the same time I need *something* that I can hand out to people when they want to hear about my books. So, I designed it, and ordered it, and all is well with the world.

The rest of the day was kind of a drunken debacle, truth be told. Terry conned me into making Hemingway daiquiris this afternoon, since she had grapefruits that needed to be used, and I ended up making two of them for each of us while we talked about marketing and life. Then, I talked to my parents, who seemed to be in good spirits (or at least were pretending to be) despite not having had as many spirits as I had had. When I hung up, I checked my phone since I'd missed a couple of calls, saw a text from Adit saying 'we're coming over', and immediately heard the downstairs door open and Terry greet someone. This proved to be Adit and Priyanka, who made the bold move of coming over to work without verifying whether I was actually here. But I was here, so we worked and taunted each other for an hour or so...

But I couldn't have dinner with them, since Terry and I already had plans to see Lauren (aka Subz). So, they dropped us off down on Chestnut, which was v. nice of them, and then Terry/Lauren/I had dinner (and I had two glasses of wine to match Lauren, although she hadn't matched me earlier and clearly didn't show up at dinner already two drinks in). Dinner was great, the company was even better, and I felt v. pleased with this last-minute spurt of socializing before the start of my work week (boo). But now, I should sleep if I'm going to get on a shuttle tomorrow -- goodnight!

britannia rule the waves

Today was nearly perfect. I can't say it was completely perfect, because clearly you, Dear Reader, were not part of it. But if I can ignore that sad and woeful fact, then the rest of it was awesome. I didn't set an alarm, but I still woke up at eight; since that meant I slept for ten hours, I suppose that's still successful even if I'm sad that I'm reverting to grown-up ways. I messed around online for a bit, took a shower, and repaired to Caffe Union for breakfast. Then I walked down to the marina and watched the boats for quite some time in a totally desultory manner. Then I spent a couple of hours at Fort Mason, brainstorming Alex and Prudence, and coming up with some ideas for the adventure I intend for them to have together (an adventure no doubt made totally crazy because of my current reading material...but that's a story for another paragraph).

I took a break from writing to get a massage, one that I had desperately needed for way too long. I'd been to this therapist once before, and remember finding her breathing technique slightly odd, but she works miracles with the human body, so I already set up another appointment for three weeks out. My back and shoulders are a total mess, and that's not going to get better with all of my 'going to work' and 'sitting on a bus'. But I left in a state of total, blissed-out relief, which felt deliriously wonderful...

...so instead of working as intended, I spent the rest of the afternoon lying in bed and reading NAPOLEON IN EGYPT. omg, I love it. I won't regale you with all the tales I subjected Terry to, but suffice it to say that there were a lot of total characters who were either allies or enemies of Napoleon during this time, and the author did a fantastic job weaving all those anecdotes into the overall narrative. I ended up finishing the book tonight, after watching last week's episode of 'Project Runway' with Terry, and now I'm tempted to keep reading about Egypt rather than doing any of the other things on my plate.

But that's a decision for another time - now, I must sleep. Goodnight!

Friday, April 19, 2013

take a sad song and make it better

Way too tired to blog...or perhaps it's the two glasses of sauvignon blanc that I had at dinner that is making me too tired to blog. Today was good, though; the commute was relatively smooth, and made even better by reading a chapter in which Nelson completely fucked over Napoleon by blowing up his flagship in which most of his money (including treasures seized from the Knights of Malta) was stored. Yes, being thrilled by someone beating Napoleon two hundred years ago is an embarrassing thing.

Work was good; I'm now officially managing people again (or, at least, it's been announced, and it will happen as soon as the changes take effect on an HR level), but please rest assured that my recent research into Napoleon's career is solely for my romance novels and not because I intend to manage as some sort of wannabe demigod who intends to be the next Alexander the Great. Although, the idea of that does have promise...I wonder if my team is ready to march toward the Ganges? I probably need to do some team building before that, or at least raise the funds to buy plane tickets instead...but it's no hill for a climber, as they say in southern Iowa.

I left work a little after three so that I could make it to the city in time for my bang trim and my brow waxing. Once I resembled a female of the species again, I ran a few errands downtown, then came home and went out for dinner with Terry. We went to Nettie's, so I got the fancy wine and fish tacos that I wanted last night, and that made me v. happy.

And now I'm going to go to bed and not set my alarm for the first time in a couple of weeks - wish me luck with that. Goodnight!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

i must've been a dreamer, and i must've been someone else

Things I hate: my commute. Seriously. I spent the morning commute feeling carsick and looking at Craigslist postings of apartments in Palo Alto. I thought I could handle commuting for a year or two, until I either quit, moved to Palo Alto, or made myself so indispensable that they let me work from SF...but it's only been three months and I already feel like murdering thousands of people or trying to get into some massive speculative stock trades that would cause the tech bubble to burst just so that there are fewer people on the road every day. Clearly I overestimated my ability to handle sitting on a bus for ten or fifteen hours a week.

However, things I love: NAPOLEON IN EGYPT. Tonight, in despair, I downloaded a nonfiction book since I was too enraged to sink into any romantic fiction. And reading NAPOLEON IN EGYPT felt vaguely productive, since it's research for Alex and Prudence (I didn't tell you that, since the whole thing could change and not involve Egypt at all). But the book is seriously awesome - Napoleon was both incredibly gifted and incredibly mad, believing himself to be destined to be the next Alexander the Great, and he had the drive and the determination to try to conquer Egypt in what was the greatest sea invasion in the entire world up to that time. Craziness. From the vague bits I know I'm pretty sure it ends in tears (for Napoleon, at least), but the journey is totally fascinating, and the writing is conversational enough to be immensely readable and enjoyable.

I had wanted to go to Nettie's Crab Shack and have fish tacos and a nice glass of wine, but I instead had a tuna salad sandwich and stole a glass of wine for Terry, so I suppose I had the sad, cheap version of what I really wanted. And the rest of my day was fine, I guess; work was fine, and I had a nice, quick lunch with Heather (aka dear respected madam), which helped. Now, though, I must sleep; I have to go to Mountain View tomorrow morning, but I need to come back early to get my bangs trimmed and my brows waxed, so hopefully the traffic doesn't turn me homicidal. Goodnight!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

walking on broken glass

I had so much that I intended to do tonight...but after my shuttle ride home took over two hours, I was in no mood for any of it. It's a shame, too; my day was actually pretty lovely until that happened. Of course, it took an hour and twenty minutes to get to work this morning, and spending 3.5 hours in traffic in a day makes me question all of my life decisions and why I'm part of this city/rat race/corporate world, etc. Not good, particularly since I actually enjoy the city/rat race/corporate world at least some of the time.

But my day was otherwise good; I had a bunch of meetings that were quite productive, and I had a lovely lunch break with John (where we accidentally sat down right next to someone we used to know in college, but we left without him seeing us (although that's debatable, since it became clear right at the end of our college experience that he had also noticed us all along and had possibly mocked us just as much as we had mocked him)). It all would have been totally great if I had gotten home at 6:30ish as I had planned. Instead, I got home at 7:30, then had a surly dinner at Roam (with a subpar glass of wine - but I wrote the first three lines of Prudence's book, so I suppose that's something). And then I tried to design a trading card for my new book, but I threw in the towel - although I really need to order something tomorrow if I'm going to get it in time to take to my event in Milwaukee next week. Damn. That's all going to have to wait, though; I desperately need to sleep if I'm going to be less surly tomorrow. Goodnight!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

every second of the night i live another life

Sadly, I must go to work early tomorrow. In some ways it's sad that I have to go to work at all...but not really. I actually really like my job, and I'm excited about it. I just wish that I could sleep for nine hours every night and still get everything done that I want to get done. But until my ambition decreases or my hourly productivity rate increases, I suppose that's not really physically possible.

Anyway, today was good; I worked from home a bit in the morning to avoid traffic, and got into the office around 10:30. Then I slogged all day; I only had two meetings, which was nice, so I was able to get some other stuff done. Then I met up with Terry at Fiesta del Mar for a roommate dinner; it was good to catch up, and, no offense to Terry, even better to drink a margarita and stuff myself silly with chips. Yes, my priorities are skewed, and yes, I know this is why I will die alone (but with a well-marinated liver).

I did no writing today, which is a shame - but my ideas are still exciting even in the light of day, so I'm planning to get some writing in tomorrow despite today's lapse. Or perhaps I won't write and instead will order my stupid postcards/bookmarks/business cards/swag/whatever. Ugh. On that note, it's time for bed - goodnight!

like the ceiling can't hold us

I meant to go to bed two hours ago. Yes, I'm old.

However, my best laid plans were overturned by a sudden burst of productivity on some hated tasks that I really needed to get out of the way. The day had started much too early, when I woke up at 6:15...but then I hit snooze one too many times, and by the time I left the house, it was 7:15 instead of 6:55. I had an 8:30 meeting, and theoretically I would have gotten to Mountain View in time...but I was going to be cutting it close, and I was tired, and the meeting I had was a training that was led out of the San Francisco office (which meant going there would put me in the same room as my director and the HR/training person). So, I abruptly turned left instead of going straight at the intersection of Bush and Gough, and I went to the SF office instead. That put me into the office at a little after 7:30, which was absurdly early, but that meant I was able to have breakfast and read email before the training. Miraculous.

The training was good, albeit long, and by the time I was done it was time for lunch (which I had with Katrina, which was lovely). Then I worked at the office for an hour, and then I came home because my battery was dying. Once home, I got myself organized and slogged some more. But by five p.m. I was beyond done, and I was tired, and sad and cranky over my twitter feed + the Boston Marathon bombings, and I realized that maybe part of my problem was that I hadn't had red meat in days. Yes, not having red meat is a real, bona fide problem for me.

So I grabbed my notebook, switched back out of my pajamas and into the dress I'd worn to work, and walked to Des Amis, where I had a thoroughly decadent and expensive solo dinner. I have absolutely no fear or shame when it comes to going to fancy restaurants by myself, and a burger from Roam just wasn't going to cut it. So I had a New York strip steak instead, with awesome french fries and a v. v. nice glass of zinfandel. I also talked a bit to the waiter, who has his MFA, so we talked a bit of writing shop.

And, the very big news is that I wrote three pages on a new book. Not Alex and Prudence, and not the gargoyles - the opening scene (which I'm sure I'll trash at some point) of the first book in this new series I've been brainstorming. And I love it so far! That may change in the morning, when I'm less full of red wine and redder meat, but it felt so, so good to write something new....

And then I came home and ruined that feeling by doing stupid promo-related tasks (all related to workshops I'm giving at various conferences this spring/summer). But they needed to get done, and finishing them hopefully staved off my ulcer friend for another day. Now, I must sleep; I have to go down to Mountain View tomorrow, so laziness can't be in my cards. Goodnight!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

and in a single moment it all implodes

I successfully spent less than thirty minutes on a laptop today, which was amazing...but not at all what I should have done, since I had intended to design new bookmarks today. Damn.

But I have no regrets. I woke up at 8:30 (okay, that's a regret), showered, and drove down to Mission Beach Cafe, where I was supposed to have brunch with Walter (aka the Talbotross), who was in town v. briefly. But the line was already super long, and so instead I picked him up and we came straight back here to have brunch at my favorite cafe (where I was correct in predicting that they would comment on the fact that Walter and I were wearing matchy-matchy red shirts by accident, since they're used to seeing me by myself and would do a double-take anyway when I walked in with a dude, let alone with a dude wearing the same color shirt as me). After brunch, we wandered down to Fort Mason, looked around the used bookstore there, and then sat on a bench by the water and watched some kid flailing about in an abortive attempt at learning how to windsurf (which didn't cease to be funny even after he fell in the water for the second time).

After that, though, I needed to work, and so I very sadly bid Walter a fond farewell. Then, I met up with Adit for a work date at Coffee Bar; Adit may be the only person I can work with effectively, even though we're working on totally different stuff and take breaks periodically to taunt each other. I was v. v. pleased with what I got done there; I didn't take my laptop, since I intended to design bookmarks tonight, but I did write six or seven pages of notes that includes a potential three-book arc for this new series idea I'm playing with. The arc felt good and the books felt like they could be really interesting, so I'm going to play around with it some more and see if any more character details or intriguing plot points come out.

I took a break to call my parents, and after that I didn't really want to get back into brainstorming, so I answered a couple of emails before Adit decided he needed to go. So I gave him a ride home with the intention of working there, but Priyanka was awake and getting ready to go to her night shift, so the three of us talked about publishing and serializing stories and whether I should build an online community around serialization, etc. Then Priyanka went to work and Adit and I had family time dinner at a totally fantastic Japanese restaurant at 18th and Mission. The food was fab and the family time even moreso, and now I'm extremely full, racing with writing ideas, and wondering how I'm going to get everything done that I need to get done in the rest of my life. And I'm also wishing I had already designed my bookmarks...but if I do it tomorrow night, I don't think it's too late to get them ordered. I just need to get on it asap...but since I have to be at work at 8:30 tomorrow, I think sleep is more important. Goodnight!

weeks pass in the blink of an eye

I'm too tired to blog...and I wanted to write tonight, but instead I self-medicated with Project Runway. But today was totally awesome, even if I did no writing. I had my romance writer meeting, which was super inspiring, and I was really, really impressed by the agent who spoke to our chapter. Good thing, since I took her across the bay bridge and back since she was staying in the city and the meeting was in Berkeley. So I stuck around for lunch, and then took her back to her hotel, and by the time I got home it was three p.m. So, it was a long day of romance stuff, but it was worth it.

When I got home, I had grand plans to be super productive, but instead I went out for some wine with Katrina, Chandlord, and Terry. We ended up sitting on the back patio at Arlequin, which was lovely, and some wine guy that Katrina and Vidya know gave us part of a bottle of wine that he and his wife couldn't finish before leaving. So, score to that, even though I couldn't drink it because I was driving. We all caught up on each others' lives, etc., and then parted ways sometime after six. Terry and I then ordered Indian food and caught up on Project Runway, which was almost too bad because this season has been a total shitshow and I don't like any of the designers. And now, I really need to sleep; I got tricked into a relatively early brunch tomorrow, which I'm looking forward to even though I deeply, deeply regret making any plans that require me to set an alarm. Goodnight!

Friday, April 12, 2013

they're more like tsunami tides in my eyes

It's a tragedy that I have to get up at 7:30 tomorrow just like it's a work day. But, it's my monthly romance writer meeting, and I'm driving the speaker to the meeting, so I can't be late. Not that I want to be late, and the speaker is super cool, so I'm looking forward to it. But still, the idea of lazing in bed until ten is super appealing.

And it's sentences like those that make me wonder whether I can ever have kids or be a functional adult. Granted, I sleep in less than I used to, and keep something a little closer to normal people hours...but only under duress. I was searching my laptop for something just now, and I stumbled across some blog posts from 2004 that I deleted when I restarted this blog in an attempt to be more positive and less passive-aggressive/angsty. And I only read a few of them, but they were all about getting off work, going and hanging out on campus, going to Pizza My Heart with Walter, and generally staying up until two or three or four or six a.m. What happened to me? I used to have plans almost every single night. But then key people (like Walter, and Claudia, and Ritu, and Tammy, and Pincubus, etc.) moved away, and I lost touch with some others, and I got old and tired, and probably most importantly I started aggressively pursuing publication and so started spending more free time writing instead of socializing. And I don't really regret that decision, but there are times when I miss all the ridiculous stuff I used to do...

But I digress. Today was mostly non-ridiculous. I went to work, slogged (sort of), and left at 2:30 so I could drive my car home. Traffic was awesome until it suddenly wasn't, and so what looked like a fifty-minute commute ended up taking an hour and a half. Boo. But I came home, cleaned up the kitchen, messed around with my latest romance idea for just a bit, and then took a nap (rather desultorily, and I didn't really fall asleep). Then I changed clothes, caught a bus, and went to the Financial District for dinner at Tadich Grill. Dinner was with tomorrow's guest speaker, her sister (and fellow business parter, who isn't speaking but came along to sightsee), and four members of the romance chapter. And it was totally fun and lovely, even if the waiter did kick us out of the table when we were done (I haven't been kicked out of a table in forever, and given that the entrees are thirty dollars I thought it was a little rude). Then, Theresa dropped me off at my place, and we spent half an hour parked outside gossiping about the publishing industry before she went home. And now, I should sleep; I do better with nine hours, and I can almost get it if I go to bed now. Yes, see the paragraph above about how I'm getting old, and then point this out to me the next time I say that I don't know why I'm not as social as I used to be. Goodnight!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

those distant bells

It's almost the weekend...a concept that means so much more now that a weekend day is tangibly different from a weekday day. Sucks.

But it doesn't *really* suck. I'm finally feeling like I'm getting up to speed on my job and that I have a clear sense of what my mandate is (if mandates exist in a place as chaotic as this one) - and I'm also feeling lucky that I was there for seven years before, which made this ramp-up way, way easier than if I was coming in blind. If I sound exhausted all the time, though, it's probably because I'm living and breathing publishing in a way that I never was before. Both my day job and my writing job require a lot of creativity and thinking about the industry and researching what's going on, and I love all of it, but every single day is like a race to see how much I can accomplish on all fronts. And this will either make me amazingly productive and position me to be a leader in the entire publishing world someday...or it will burn me out and force me to live as a hermit in the wilderness. Which would be hard, since I would rather die than live in the wilderness. Iowa I can handle; foraging in true wilderness (or stealing food from people in the neighborhood), not so much.

sssanyway. The day job was good today, even if I had to get there at 8:45. I slogged hard all day, with a break for lunch with Alaska Matthew (who remains Alaska-y). I stopped at six, and was going to brainstorm a new series for forty-five minutes before eating dinner on campus, but instead [censored] with [censored]. Then I grabbed dinner, caught a shuttle (I have a v. love/hate relationship with the shuttle), came home, talked to Terry, etc., etc.

And now, I should sleep. But I may spend another ten minutes brainstorming, if I can muster the energy; I came up with a great idea as I was falling asleep last night, and upon ruminating over it during my spare brain moments today I like it even more than I did then, so I shall continue to ponder. Goodnight!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

it's such a cold cold town

I'm once again going to go to bed at ten p.m. There are many times when I wish that I had the body clock of a normal human rather than a semi-nocturnal creature, and those times come with more frequency when I have a day job that requires some attempt at living on a normal human schedule. Granted, today I ignored that mandate; yes, I got up at 7:30, but I worked from home until eleven, which was a v. nice reprieve from the office. Then I drove down to Mountain View and slogged until 6:45, at which point I felt headachy and vaguely ill. So I grabbed dinner at work, took the shuttle home, and promptly felt even more ill because traffic was bad and the shuttle driver was worse, which made me carsick for the first time in a few weeks. Boo.

However, it's not all bad; work was good, and even though I was really tired when I got home, I forced myself to write for an hour. No new words were produced, but I came up with a possible new series idea that I'm v. intrigued by, so that's good news. Or bad news, if you just want me to be writing Prudence's story. But I've got other plans and dreams beyond Prudence, even though I intend to write her this year...but that's a story for another time. Goodnight!

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

the weight of love

I'm way too tired to blog, so I'm blogging from my phone so that I'm less likely to fall down an internet rabbit hole and surf for the next hour like a brain dead idiot. Or, in other words, like myself every night.

But today was good; I slogged hard, made progress in many areas of my life, and left at 5:30 to have dinner (and, more importantly, two margaritas) with dear respected madam. And then I took the shuttle home, talked to Terry, and am going to take the inhumane step of going to bed at 10:15 in the vain hope that I'll feel like a human being tomorrow. Goodnight!

Monday, April 08, 2013

these boots are gonna walk all over you

I didn't want to stare at a screen tonight. I wanted to play in my notebook...but sadly, I had to write another guest blog post, which is a task I really despise. Since I didn't get home until seven, the post wasn't done until nine - and then I spent the last hour unwinding by watching 'The Voice' rather than writing. Le sigh.

However, all is not lost; I did do a teensy bit of brainstorming on the shuttle on the way home. The rest of my day was fine as well - I spent it catching up on work stuff, and I also had lunch with Cari, one of my old coworkers who is also pursuing some writing ventures on the side.

Sorry this post is so boring. Maybe that's why I'm feeling so desperate to start writing again - clearly I am not expending any effort at all to make this either creative or engaging. Blergh. I think I'm struggling with whether to stay focused on Prudence and Alex or brainstorm and write something else while the idea for them is still percolating...and since I'm not a fast writer, and I now have a job again, figuring out how to prioritize my writing time becomes even more crucial.

But these questions can all wait for another day - I have to get up relatively early tomorrow, and I want to get some writing in at some point (difficult), so sleep is imperative. Goodnight!

Sunday, April 07, 2013

no sugar tonight

I've been staring at a screen all day, which is an unwelcome prelude to going to the work week. Vacation is sadly a distant memory - but I did a lot of stuff that has been taunting me on my to-do list, including several highly unpleasant tasks, so at least I feel better about myself even if I'm starting to feel a bit panicked about getting started on Alex and Prudence's story. I slept for ten hours, then ate some leftover pizza and did some foam rolling (I ordered a foam roller on my phone while sitting at a concert/party during my conference last week, because the pain in my back and the ringing in my ears reminded me that I'm getting too old for concerts/parties, and my back/shoulders have generally been a total mess from spending nine hours a day on a computer at work and five hours a day on a computer at home/on the shuttle). After rolling out my back, I walked to the grocery store to get milk and cream for my caffeinated beverages of choice before coming home and working all day/afternoon/evening.

Happily, I plowed through the rest of the stuff necessary to do my taxes, and my CPA immediately sent them back for me to sign so that she can file them (sadly, I owe money, but I guess that's good news since it means I made money on my writing last year! I'll take it!). I also wrote a guest blog post for Tuesday and answered a lot of emails (not every single email across all three accounts that I needed to answer, but I got closer). I need to just start answering emails when I read them on my phone - or, not read them on my phone so that I can read them fresh and reply to them on my computer. Whatever. Since my hatred of email appears to be terminal, I don't hold a lot of hope that I'll get better.

I also talked to my parents, as per usual, and hung out with Terry, who demanded that we have family time. Sadly, her version of family time involves the country music awards and 'Vampire Diaries' rather than Adit's '60 Minutes', but I survived it unscathed (and may have shamefully enjoyed bits of it). And now, I'm going to scribble in my notebook for a few minutes before going to sleep - it's not enough time spent away from a screen, but I suppose it's a start. Goodnight!

this is it, boys, this is war

I wasn't quite as productive as I had hoped today - but that's to be expected, since I needed sleep more than I needed to clear out my inbox (if you've been waiting two months for a reply to my email, you'll have to wait another day :(. Instead, I slept for ten hours, woke up, showered, had breakfast, came home, cleaned my desk, stared at my laptop in an uncomprehending fashion, and then took a nap. By this point, it was sometime around five p.m. Luckily, when I can give in to my semi-nocturnal, five p.m. is when I come alive again. So, I powered through a few emails, then spent several hours dealing with financial tasks. I had never finished organizing and prioritizing my receipts for my CPA, so I did that, which took forever. I also hadn't organized the last several months' worth of payments from my agent and various other bookselling sources, which means I didn't have an exact sense of how many books I've sold or how much money I've made. So, I took care of that as well - I need to come up with a better system, since it's cumbersome to manage three titles across seven sales platforms, but the spreadsheet I've got going is good enough for now.

Everyone else in the city seemed to be watching zee basketball, but I mostly ignored it in favor of listening to Pandora via the tv. However, Terry was out with Lauren (aka Subz) and Nathan for the Michigan game, so they came back to our place afterward to eat the pizza they'd asked me to order for them. In other words, I may be a total hermit, but sometimes the party comes to me!

And now, it's bedtime; tomorrow I have high hopes for my inbox (why do I hate email so much?), and I also need to write two guest blog posts and do a myriad of other tasks. So much for the vacation afterglow...goodnight!

Saturday, April 06, 2013

my heart breaks a little every time i hear your name

I accomplished basically nothing today. Really, getting out of bed should count for a lot - I'm so exhausted after my trip, and even after sleeping for nine hours I was still dragging. But I got up, checked work email, took a shower, checked email again, and then grabbed breakfast/lunch at the cafe down the street, where I sorted through and attempted to prioritize my massive to-do list. Then I came home, pretended to work, talked to Heather (aka dear respected madam) for awhile, and theoretically worked some more. But by four p.m. I was over it, and no one was online since it was a v. lazy Friday, so I threw in the towel and got a mani/pedi instead.

Upon feeling like a feminine lady rather than a rough-hoofed neanderthal, I came home, took a nap, and then went out for roommate dinner with Terry so that we could catch up on our respective lives over a pitcher of margaritas (plus an extra glass for me, since I ran dry just as we were getting to the good stuff). Then we came home, looked up names in my creepily accurate 'Secret Universe of Names' book, and watched an episode of 'The Voice'.

And now I must, must sleep - I want to be productive this weekend, and productivity starts with actually going to bed at some point. Goodnight!

Friday, April 05, 2013

to the doubts that complicate your mind

I finally made it home, and I'm so thrilled to be in my own bed. My third day in Vegas was mostly fun and mostly uneventful, and almost entirely confidential, so you'll just have to trust me. What's not confidential is that I used my lunch break to do some therapeutic shopping and have a steak and a glass of wine. And when the final session ended at four p.m., I met up with my friend Bethany from the Ann Arbor office (she also reads romance novels, which is v. lovely) for drinks and snacks at the Venetian. Then, I retrieved my luggage, changed, went to the airport earlier than I needed to, and then discovered that my flight was delayed by an hour. Boo. So, by the time I got home, it was 12:45am. Luckily, I used my corporate card to book a car service, since I wasn't going to take my chances on finding a cab in Oakland at 11:30, so getting home was pretty seamless.

But even though I'm glad to be home, the conference (and, of course, the time in Puerto Rico before that) was really fun, v. inspiring, and an awesome chance to reconnect with old friends. My new team probably thinks that I either a) skipped the sessions (like soem of them did, but I'm too diligent for that) or b) am a loner/loser/sad old person, since I didn't spend much time with them. And yes, I am old; I left last night's event early, and remarkably sober, because my ears were ringing from the noise. But I took the opportunity to hang out with all the old ads friends I haven't seen in ages and don't run into on campus anymore because we've gotten so big that their buildings are now miles away from mine. Today, I spent the morning session sitting with Gyre, which felt just like old times - it's moments like those where it feels like I never left. And when I got to the airport, I ran into a bunch of people who were also waiting for the same flight, so I spent a couple of hours talking to Jen, Danh, Brooks, Megan, etc. Jen and I ended up sitting together on the plane to Oakland, but I was tired enough that I tuned out of the conversation she was having across the aisle with Megan and slept for twenty minutes instead.

But twenty minutes wasn't enough, and I need to get a lot of sleep this weekend to compensate for my extreme sleep debt (and lowgrade liver failure). Goodnight!

Thursday, April 04, 2013

she's dancing with another man

Sadly, I can't tell you anything about what I did today. This is the price of returning to the man. Then again, perhaps that's good for you - I can't tell you the minutiae of my life, so you get a bit of a reprieve! But suffice it to say that I managed to stay up and awake and engaged all day, although I skipped the conference lunch (mostly gluten) to have a steak and write in my journal in an attempt to figure out whether the ideas buzzing in my head are just a resulte of drinking the delicious, delicious koolaid or whether they're really what I want to pursue with my life. I didn't get any break after, though, since the agenda ran way late (clearly I was not involved in planning it - jokers) and I had limited time to get ready before the evening activity. But I survived it, and now I need to sleep so that I can do most of it again tomorrow. Goodnight!

Wednesday, April 03, 2013


Today was totally lovely! It shouldn't have been; I was exceedingly jetlagged this morning, which is a shame. Also, I left the party I was at before midnight, and without getting drunk, so clearly I'm getting old (or smart? surely not that?). But the rest of the day was great. I had breakfast, talked to my mom, switched hotels, and then had a v. leisurely lunch with some friends (with wine, since I no longer know what it's like to eat without drinking alcohol) in the same open-air plaza where [censored] and I [censored] a couple of years ago. Then I talked to my dad, took a nap, changed into a flowy skirt, and met up with some friends for drinks, then dinner, then a party. And I ran into scads of people I know from days of yore, and it was all super fun.

Sadly I can't share pictures or any other details; the laws of confidentiality and common sense bind me to a more circumspect blog post, which sucks since I'm not used to censoring myself. Instead, I will leave you with the blog post I wrote during the 2005 ski trip; I'm infinitely more sober than I was that night, but the memories are just as fond (and also way clearer). Check it out here; goodnight!

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

don't wake me up

I'm in Vegas! Which, sadly, means I'm not in Vieques. It also, sadly, means that I have to work tomorrow. Granted, I don't have to get up super early, and my first official event isn't until four or five p.m., but I have a lot of catching up to do before that. And since I have to check out of the room that I just checked into in about ten hours, I really should sleep.

But first, my day, since you care so much. I spent a v. leisurely morning getting ready to leave, since I decided to prioritize a shower and packing for my twelve-hour travel adventure rather than cramming in a trip to the beach with Steph/Ritu/Bill. I'm glad I made that decision, since I hate being dirty when I get on a plane, but it sounds like they finally saw just a little bit of sun (and a whole shitload of sand crabs) on the beach, so I'm glad Ritu got at least one nice half-hour for her birthday. We packed up, bid a fond farewell to our rastafarian landlord, and went to the Vieques airport, where everything was v. leisurely. And by leisurely I mean we were able to eat lunch at a cafe (the only cafe) outside the airport (which the car rental guy claimed had been rated the best airport cafe in the Caribbean - it's possible, I suppose, although their score would go up if 'colorful staff' is a criterion). Also, there was no security of any kind. Also, I still don't love small planes.

But we made it back to San Juan in one piece, where we had to check our bags again and go through grown-up security rather than the non-security procedures on Vieques. We also parted ways with Steph; Ritu, Bill and I were on the same flight to Atlanta, but Steph was on a flight a few hours later on a different airline, so we said our sad goodbyes. I was almost sadder to say goodbye to Ritu and Bill before the flight, though, for entirely selfish reasons; they were in first class, and I was in what was supposed to be economy plus (not bad, but not first class). But at the gate, the agent moved me across the aisle to accommodate a family, which I wouldn't have minded at all, except it turns out that across the aisle was no longer economy plus. First world problem, I know, but I was super annoyed. Also annoying was that I intended to work all afternoon, but the wireless didn't really work on either flight, so I got nothing done.

However, I did finish THE AGE OF MIRACLES (amazing - postapocalyptic, starring a middle grade protagonist, but it's definitely an adult lit novel). I also did some journaling and some writing of zee secret non-gargoyle young adult book. I also slept. And I had a lovely interlude with Ritu and Bill in Atlanta; we had equally long layovers, so the three of us had dinner at a v. nice sushi place in Atlanta airport, and the two glasses of wine I had were a valiant but futile effort to dull the pain of saying goodbye to them. Then, we parted ways, and they headed for NYC while I headed for Vegas (and the New York New York hotel, oddly enough). I'm only here for one night; tomorrow, I move to a new hotel for my conference, and there I'm sure everything will be crazy once again. Now, though, I must sleep - goodnight!