Category Archives: Gin, Cheese & Other Necessities

Hashtag Blessed

 

I was nervous all day. I tried to convince my author group that I was probably going to die. (Spoiler: I did not die.)

The Beer Guy and I sat at home and had dinner before heading on over to the bookstore, and I spent the last 30 minutes before we left bouncing around our home, trying to practice reading without hyperventilating, and freaking out about the possibility that I would mispronounce “geas.” (My PSM’s sage advice: “It’s not ever really used so no one will know.” She also helped me figure out how to correctly pronounce it, because she is aces.)

My other pre-reading activity:

A glass of white while practicing reading.

At one point, it occurred to me that I read aloud almost every evening. Sure, maybe it’s to my five-year-old, but that counts, right? I decided to pretend I was reading to a bunch of children, and that actually really helped.

The Beer Guy and I got to the bookstore about 20 minutes before I was due to go on, and Elisa, who is one of the nicest humans in the world, helped me get set up and gave me more wine (and a bottle of water) to calm myself.

MY BOOKS! ON DISPLAY!

The room filled up with friends (thank you all so much), Elisa introduced me, and then it was go time. I’d picked out three selections. One from The Cardinal Gate to introduce Eleanor, and two from The Waning Moon.

It wasn’t until about 30 seconds into my reading that I realized that Eleanor swears like a motherfucking sailor. I mean, I knew she wasn’t avoiding the cursing, but until I had to read out loud in front of a roomful of people, I had no idea how many times she says fuck on a single page.

This is my “what? another motherfucking swear word?” face

I think it went well. I tripped over a couple words (but not geas!), but everyone laughed when they were supposed to laugh and no one fell asleep or wandered off. After I was done reading, there were questions. A fair few! And good questions!

My captive audience mingling while I was signing…

And then it was time for signing. I signed a dozen or so books, got to catch up with people I hadn’t seen in a while, and apparently had a great time.

A few of us headed down the street to celebrate me surviving my first public reading with pink champagne (courtesy The Beer Guy, who really knows me well), snacks, and excellent conversation. The five people who joined me are five of my favorite Portlanders (I have ten favorite Portlanders…only half could make it), and it was so nice to see them all together.

A regret I often have is that I don’t take enough pics of my friends when we gather together…

It was an amazing evening, and I’m so glad I did it! I am so lucky to have so many wonderful friends who gave up their time and money to come listen, ask questions, buy books, and spend time celebrating with me. One friend brought me the perfect tote bag:

So appropriate, because my uterus hates me AND my author group has termed itself the “illuterati”

My friend and fellow illuterati author Mel Sterling brought me flowers, gave me amazing advice, took some nice photos, and asked good questions.

At the end of last evening, I posted this on my Facebook author page:

And for everyone who insisted on photos and video – you have The Beer Guy to thank for that. He’s the one who uploaded everything to FB last night. He also calmed me down, carried all the heavy books, made the reservations for the post-signing drinks, and procured the bottle of champagne. There is no way I could’ve done any of this without him. I really am #blessedAF

Meh. And also blah. With a side of blech. (And way too much TMI)

I’ve been so, so good at staying dairy free. SO GOOD! And on those rare occasions when I’ve broken down and had a cheese item, I’ve doubled-up on the lactaid. The result? My stomach has been much more pleased with me the last few months.

Enter Saturday: I was out and about much of the day. I had a tattoo consult, and an eye doctor appointment, and other random stuff. I stopped for lunch at about one, and even though I texted the Beer Guy that I would cheerfully kill someone for a melted cheese food item, I had no intention of following through (with either the murder or the cheese).

Instead, I ordered a meat pasty. (I literally just typed “cheese pasty” and had to go delete. I am obsessed with cheese.) It was delicious. I felt a little off that evening, but attributed it to having skipped breakfast (mostly) and it being several hours since my 100% cheese-free lunch. The beer guy & I went out to eat, and I ordered my wrap sans dairy, but continued to feel not quite right.

The next morning (yesterday), I woke up and was miserable. I told the beer guy that I felt like I’d eaten cheese, but couldn’t figure out how that’d happened. After all, I’d been so careful. And then I looked up the menu for the place I’d gotten my pasty to prove how careful I was. Second listed ingredient on the menu item I ordered? FUCKING SWISS CHEESE. How I missed that when ordering is beyond me.

So yeah. Yesterday was a barrel of fun. It’s really depressing that cheese–the one food item to which I have devoted more time and energy (and money; I have a lot of cheese making apparati)–has betrayed me this way.

 

ANYWAY – finally my stomach ache went away, and I was all yay! AND THEN THERE WAS FURTHER BETRAYAL.

My left ovary tried to kill me. It was so evil that, after a vicodin, I decided it needed a name. I googled “evil name generator” and the first name on the list was Cat.

As you may or may not know, Cat is also the name of my PSM. Obviously, I texted her immediately to know I’d named my evil left ovary after her. (I’m not sure if she hasn’t responded because of the time difference or because she’s just backing away from our friendship slowly or because she hasn’t seen it yet.)

(I also texted her that I was planning on becoming a vicodin addict, which is probably no longer true as I had a really hard time falling asleep last night, but also couldn’t get out of bed to do anything else.)

So, long and extremely TMI story short – my body hates me and wants me to die. My left ovary is named Cat. Cheese is my best frenemy. I’m probably going to name my right ovary Xyla. The jury’s still out on what I’m going to name my uterus.

My goal for this week is to remain cheese free and be as active as Amy-ly possible, whilst also getting at least 12-15K words down. I need to finish this rewrite by the end of the month so The Ruby Blade can get to my editor in *gulp*   six weeks. That sounds like such a long time, but it really, really isn’t. (PS, if you would like to give me a great deal of money to stay home and write, I would appreciate it!)

Indian khanda sword…

Three Things Thursday: Too tired for anything but .gifs (hard g, duh)

1. You guys. I am so tired today. I didn’t stay up late last night and I stayed in bed longer today. Just tired.

WHHHHYYYY am I so sleepy?

How I felt 30 minutes ago

Current status

 

2. I’m still struggling to find balance in my new routine. I want to fit in exercise, writing, editing, spending time with the beer guy and the Bean, and keeping the house in the kind of shape that I wouldn’t be embarrassed if someone randomly dropped by. So far I am succeeding in doing exactly zero of those things.

Desired state of balance

Acceptable state of balance (still a little wobbly)

Current situation

 

3. It’s all a little crazy-making. Surprisingly, though, not the crazy making of having all the time in the world to write, edit, keep house, exercise, and spend time with my loved ones. I have some mild anxiety about my book schedule, but it’s not as all-consuming as the anxiety over the winter months was. (Partially because of the sun and partially because of the paycheck.) But still…

Me: 85% of the time

Legit question

Do not try to make me feel better this way…maybe just send a martini and a time machine.

 

Thank you, Harry! (Although, I’m a Ravenclaw…)

The day is getting right away from me…

This weekend was so busy and my week isn’t looking any less so!

Thursday evening, I did my best to take myself out. (Part of that included literally taking myself out.) I cut my right pinky on a pair of tongs while making dinner for the Beer Guy. Later, I broke a wine glass, and in an attempt to pick up the pieces, stabbed my right thumb with the broken stem of said glass. Later, after being bored to pieces, I talked the Beer Guy into taking me to karaoke. This was not my best decision to date. And then I fell down and sprained the shit out of my ankle, because that’s how I roll.

The "Most Interesting Man in the World" says, "I don't always roll a joint, but when I do, it's my ankle."

I went to the Rose City Romance Writer’s Spring Fling on Friday evening and most of the day Saturday. I’d headed over to meet up with some writers for a pre-conference happy hour, but I couldn’t find them (and didn’t look too hard, people are scary, yo!), but I did spend a very productive hour filling in my new planner, having a beer, and making plans.

A beer, a planner, and a week's worth of plans

The morning session on Saturday (on marketing) was fabulous, I met some great people, and handed out my new cards to just about everyone. I’ve gotten to the point where I can say I’m an author, talk about my book, and encourage people to look into it. I’ve really grown a lot in the last year! I also spent more money on books in two days than in the last few months. Autographed romance novels are a deductible expense, right?

Romance novels by Farrah Rochon and Cecilia Tan

Saturday evening, I had dinner with a friend in town for the weekend. I’d met her at the RT convention last spring, so it’s not surprising that our conversation was about 75% book and writing related.

gin and tonic

There was also a G&T. My first of…more than one…that evening

The Beer Guy had a friend in town this weekend, too, so we hit up karaoke Saturday night (and talked even MOAR books…turns out we have a mutual appreciation for a lot of the same paranormal books and authors).

karaoke screen

I swear the Beer Guy is in that photo behind the inconveniently placed pole

Yesterday was a lot more chill, but I still managed to get a lot done in terms of The Waning Moon (details Wednesday!).

Today is all about errands, little business things (finances, marketing plans, freelance business planning), and wasting spending a great deal of time on a PowerPoint (complete with charts!) that I will be presenting to the Beer Guy tonight. Ideally, all conversations would have an agenda, copious notes, line charts, and trend lines. I have been informed that it’s a little weird, but have decided that I can embrace being a little weird if it enables me to get my point across.

Powerpoint Slide that says "Death by Powerpoint" in blood with a zombie

I swear, it’s not as bad as all this!

I’ll have a book review up tomorrow, some writing updates Wednesday, and my “Letter to Alvie: Five Years” post on Friday. (Thursday will be a surprise for us both!)

 

40 Before 40 – Final Progress Report

I will be forty in 23 days. TWENTY-THREE. DAYS.

There are days that I feel old, but most of the time I have trouble reconciling the number forty with how I feel.

The last thirteen months have been some of the hardest of my life. Between separation, divorce, job loss, and no job found…it’s been stressful to say the least.

I didn’t get through my list of 40. Some of that is due to financial constraints (I shot my wad on the big one – going to Iceland) and some is due to the inability to do things because of depression and anxiety.

You know what, though? I don’t care. There were some stretch goals on there. I’m not going to rehash everything I didn’t do, but I’m going to show you what I did do.

  1. Attend a live concert
  2. Climb a tree
  3. Go to the local nude beach
  4. Go to the opera
  5. Sing a new song at karaoke
  6. Take a barre class
  7. Take a cooking class
  8. Funky hair color
  9. Try hot yoga
  10. Volunteer
  11. Do a fun thing with Bean every day of his summer vacation
  12. Rosé in the garden in July
  13. Make a cheese that needs to age 10 months and eat it on my 40th birthday
  14. [Redacted]
  15. Become passable in Swedish (I’m still doing lessons!)
  16. Develop a habit of meditation
  17. Get back into my DIY habits –bread, stock, cheese, jam, etc.
  18. Perfect the homemade pie crust.
  19. Take a good photo
  20. Try 12 new cheeses
  21. Drink a bottle of expensive champagne
  22. Get a stamp in my passport
  23. Meet three ‘in the computer friends’ in real life. (Still waiting on my PSM)
  24. Publish my first book – this should happen this month or very soon after depending on how long it takes me to format stuff. (If anyone is interested in an ARC, let me know!)

So – twenty-four of forty things. That’s not a great success rate, but I’m really happy about how much I managed to do even when I was so anxious I could barely leave the house. I don’t plan on hitting any of the missing 16 items in the next 23 days. My primary goals for February are to get my book out and find a goddamn job. Oh – and to turn 40. Of course.

Don’t worry – I have a whole list of things I’m planning on accomplishing in the next year (although maybe not 41 things…). Stay tuned for all the ways I’m going to be awesome next year.