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!


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.

Googling for friends

There’s this great website that many people don’t know about. It sends a powerful statement, but be careful how you use it. I’ve used it with friends who’ve asked me dumb questions before, and I’ve been tempted to use it with people I’m working with (see my previous post, So, you want to be a technical writer) but have been able to avoid the temptation to use:

Let Me Google That For You

When someone asks you a lame question, plug the keyword(s) into Let Me Google That For You, and then send the lamer the return URL. They get the info they’re looking for and realize how lame it was for them to ask you. Perfect!

A rough draft, a pitch, and more

I’ve been silent lately. Mostly because I couldn’t justify spending time blogging when I had so many other things to do – mostly working on websites for clients and some writing.

In September, I was reading a lot of blogs from other writers, editors, book reviewers, etc. and saw recurring comments about how people always complain about not having time to read or write. I agree that it can be very hard to find the time to read/write, but really it’s about the motivation. I find it hard to motivate myself when an opening presents itself to me. There are times throughout the day that I feel motivated to write, but that’s usually the time my daughter wants me to read her a story or work on a puzzle. And let’s face it, my daughter is no competition for reading, writing, TV, friends, chocolate, tea, or any other distraction. She wins, hands down. So, I tend to tell myself I’ll write later. Sometimes I jot down a thought, but mostly I just try to remember the thought for later in the day. But then later in the day comes, and I’m exhausted. All I want to do is finish cleaning up and sit in front of the TV or read a book.

To this, some bloggers would say, get up early and write in the morning. I tried this for a while, but it backfired on me because my daughter has an uncanny ability to sense disturbances in the ether – she’d wake up when I woke up, no matter how quiet I tried to be.

Something hit me in September – there had to be more to life than working on a few projects and keeping up with my daughter. Although I enjoyed relaxing in front of the TV and reading at the end of the day, I felt guilty for not making time for my writing dreams. It weighed on me, so I decided to do something about it. I made a conscious effort to:

  • avoid facebook unless I needed to use it for work or something critical
  • stop spending time on my own blogs/sites/twitter
  • stop watching TV at the end of the day
  • ignore my RSS feeds
  • integrate internet browsing (reading mashable, techcrunch) with daytime activities, like reading an article while little J colors

Well, I’m happy to report this combination worked for me. I was able to keep up with projects and work on my outline throughout September and October, and it coincided perfectly with National Novel Writing Month, so on November 1st I started writing, and by November 30th, I had written a very rough draft, finishing at 50,074 words. When I say rough, I really mean rough. It needs a lot of work, but it has promise.

I did start editing the novel, but I hit a wall during December with holidays and family. I still haven’t picked up where I left off, but I feel hope and progress.

To help me get back into editing mode, I wrote and submitted a pitch for an online Pitchapalooza, offered to NaNoWriMo participants by The Book Doctors. I also bought The Essential Guide to Getting Your Book Published and am eager to start reading it.

So, after cutting extraneous, non-essential, time-sucking activities, I was able to:

  • concentrate on finishing client projects
  • finish an outline for my novel
  • write a rough draft of my novel
  • edit the first 20 pages of my novel
  • write and submit a pitch for my novel
  • lose five pounds (gotcha!)

I’m happy with the results so far, but I know I can’t slack and need to get back to the editing before another novel beckons to be outlined.

They call it BlackBerry Love

If a picture’s worth a thousand words, these should give you an idea of how much I love my BlackBerry:


Or maybe they just indicate how klutzy I’ve been or that my BlackBerry is one of little J’s favorite toys. A few bumps and bruises never hurt a cell phone, right?


I’ve been thinking of switching to an iPhone since it came out, but I’ve been reluctant to take the plunge, mostly because of the keyboard (and also that little problem with them not being available on Verizon until recently). There’s definitely something satisfying about clicking away on a BlackBerry, but the coolness factor of the iPhone is beginning to outweigh the BlackBerry love.

The problem I’ve always had with the iPhone is the “should I wait?” question. Should I wait until it’s available on Verizon (I did). Should I wait for them to work out the glitches (I have). Should I wait for the iPhone 5 (I’m not sure I can). The real question I need to ask myself at the moment is: will my trackball last?

We’ll see.

I feel the iPhone Love coming.