In explanation of my birthday wishes

Hi there,

Long time no talk, and here we are coming up on my big 40th birthday milestone. I thought about having a big birthday bash, where I’d invite everyone I know and love and get to see each of you for a few seconds before seeing someone else I just had to say hi to. But that wouldn’t give me the in-depth conversation I really want. I need to see you for more than a few minutes. You see, the thing I value most these days is time – your time, my time, using time in the best way possible.

So, I’ve set aside some times for coffees/lunches, and if you want to help me celebrate my birthday, you can specify the name of the place/location you want to meet. Here’s how it works. You go to my Doodle, you decide on the date/time that works for you, and you enter the name of the restaurant or coffee shop and the crossroads for that date/time. Then you meet me there! Easy! But, there’s one more thing…

I want it to be a surprise, so make sure you enter the name of the place, NOT your name. Also, I’ll post all my updates about the coffee/lunch on Facebook and Twitter. As long as you follow me on one of those, you’ll know that I saw your entry and am planning to go there that day. I can also add updates if I’m running late, which if you know me, NEVER happens.

Also, I’m as picky as I ever was. So here’s a list of places I’ll meet you – I like to stay as close to downtown as possible (with a few exceptions) :).

Coffee shops:

  • La Grande Orange
  • Lola
  • Lux
  • Public Market (also doubles as lunch)
  • Tea & Toast at Desoto Market
  • Royal Coffee Bar at Biltmore Fashion in the Union


  • Azteca Bakery on 7th Ave.
  • America’s Taco Shop on 7th St. or 16th St., you decide
  • Cherry Blossom Noodle Cafe
  • Daily Dose on Highland
  • Fez
  • Flower Child on Central
  • Forno on 3rd Ave. and Roosevelt
  • NYPD on 7th Ave. and McDowell
  • Public Market
  • Snooze at Town and Country
  • Switch

That’s enough to get us started. I’ll add more times/options if needed.

Lastly, presents/gifts/things. Please don’t get me any! I have gotten rid of dozens of boxes of dust collectors, clothes, shoes, toys, collectibles, gadgets, gizmos, doohickeys over the last two years. All I want for my birthday is to spend time with my friends and family. I don’t want gifts! Please, no gifts. If this goes against your upbringing, peonies are my favorite flowers, I do like potted plants/flowers, I still like Starbucks for tea, and I still read. But remember, I don’t want gifts. Unless you decide to buy me a cute new Kate Spade. I’d accept that :)

If you’ve read to this point, you’ve done your due diligence, and here’s your reward:

Questions? Ask in the comments. I’ll make edits to this post if needed.

I’m very excited and looking forward to seeing anyone who wants to take the time out to see me–even if I haven’t seen you in 10 years, especially if I haven’t seen you in 10 years! This will be the best birthday of my life. Thank you for being a participant!


The NaNoWriMo Draft

As I continue plugging away at the rough draft of my novel, I’ve had to accept that even with a first round of edits, it’s unreadable. I still wouldn’t show it to my mother.

That’s because I’m working with a NaNoWriMo draft, which isn’t a true first draft. The style in which I wrote the novel was almost all physical – it is all plot. Every night, I forced myself to write without looking back. All my energy was concentrated on forward momentum. I wrote on, even when I couldn’t find my way in transitioning between scenes. This left a lot to fix, which is why I’m not surprised that during my first draft edit, I’ve added over 10k words and am struggling to reach the halfway point in the draft.

But it’s all a learning experience. I’m definitely fine tuning my writing process as a fiction writer, which is much different from my process as a technical writer. My NaNoWriMo draft was underwritten, and all my updates on this first edit are overwritten. I already know that I will edit out half of the content I’ve added. I’m overwriting to get all of the ideas and thoughts out. My second edit will be more about tightening the story up.

So, what have I learned from this experience?

First, I don’t think I’ll participate in NaNoWriMo again. It was a great experience, and I loved the challenge, but the approach doesn’t work for me.

Second, I’ve developed better discipline. Despite getting off track a few times, I have written more in the last 10 months than I’d written in the last few years. I have also written more consistently on a daily basis and have found my inner commitment that makes me want to continue this path. My issue is making and finding time to write. This will always be a struggle, and I will just have to deal with it. I’ve missed a day here and there over the last few weeks, but for the most part, I’ve written/edited at least a page per day.

Last, I can’t force myself to finish by a certain time. I need to relax. I need breaks. I need to look at it more like a job, working on the novel during the week but giving myself breathing space on the weekends to write for other mediums. Tonight, it’s a blog post. Tomorrow, it’s the outline for my next novel.

As long as I’m writing, I’m doing what I love. With discipline and the practice I got with my NaNoWriMo draft, I think I’ll eventually have something I can show my mother.

A good excuse for not writing

So, it’s been a while, and it may seem like I might have given up, but here’s the scoop. I was making steady progress with my rough draft when, well, things happened. But before I get to that…

My current status:

Currently editing page: 71

Current novel length: 200 pages and 61,577 words

At this rate, I’ll never finish, especially since I haven’t edited/written in almost two months and since I’m adding more pages than I’m really editing (already 25 pages more than I started with?). Crazy. It’ll still be a first draft when I’m done.

So what happened to all that drive?

Evening sickness, which is apparently more common than morning sickness. That’s right, we’re expecting baby #2. She/he comes in late November!

The good news is the evening sickness has finally subsided for the most part, but it was rough going for a couple of months. The worst was getting sick in a Starbucks bathroom one afternoon. One moment I felt fine, the next I wasn’t.

In other news, I’ve gotten a bit of reading in. Although I haven’t found any chick lit I liked nearly as much as Bridget Jones’ Diary, I’ve found a few decent reads that made me chuckle. I guess the best and brightest of chick lit didn’t start and end with Helen Fielding; it just seems that way sometimes. I’m at 24 books for the year and there were quite a few really good ones from the 2012 VNSA book spree (and only two Georgette Heyer in the mix!). I’d be happy if I got through another 12 books this year. I guess that’s my new and more realistic goal.

Day 10: An uphill battle

Just a quick update. I know I’m woefully behind. Easter and family kept me busy last weekend, and now I’m frantically trying to catch up, but my characters are having the longest dinner party in history and all I want to do is go back and edit out half the scenes. Anyway… my update:

Currently editing page: 52
Number of pages edited today: 12

Current novel length:  186 pages (see why I need to edit out some of the scenes?)

Goal for tomorrow: more than 3 pages, which seems to be my current average

At this rate, I’ll finish in 45 days. Ugh.