Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A Perfect Stay-Cation

Here's an insight into the glamorous life of an author.  Yeah, right!

Last week I took the whole week off from my day job as a paralegal.  I didn't join the multitudes traveling over Thanksgiving, but chose instead to stay home.  I did the same thing in 2009 and have now decided that an annual stay-cation is a must for my sanity.

The plan was to relax, see friends and get things done around the apartment.  Mission accomplished!

It took two days, but I managed to scrub all of the carpets and area rugs in my apartment.  It was WAY overdue and I was both pleased and appalled by the dirt that came out of the wall-to-wall. Not to mention the cat hair, even after I vacuumed twice.  I swear, the carpet is several shades lighter now.  The most difficult part of the whole endeavor was moving furniture out of the way. I swallowed quite a few ibuprofen over the course of the cleaning.

(BTW, I bought this little gem of a carpet cleaner, although don't be fooled by the words "steamer" or "power brush."  The "steam" comes from the fact that you fill it with very hot tap water.  The brush doesn't move. The "power" comes from your own muscles.  But, that said, I think it's the perfect little machine for apartment cleaning.)

When I wasn't cleaning the carpets, I was cleaning out old stuff and tossing it.  I finally got rid of the extra old rag-tag desk chair that my cat Raffi adored.  It was truly an eyesore and he'd torn it to bits. I took it down to the dumpster, then spent three days listening to him whine about it. I'm still waiting for his revenge attack. Just wait until I get rid of my equally ragged desk chair and replace it with one he can't shred.  Boy, then I'll be in for it.

I spent four of my nine days of stay-cation having lunch or brunch with friends.  This was the very best part of my time off.  I started my stay-cation celebrating friend Lori Tillman's birthday at Spaghettini in Seal Beach, where the food and service was fabulous. Lori, BTW, was the inspiration behind the character of Zee Washington in my Odelia Grey novels. Next up was lunch with a former boyfriend at Gulf Stream in Century City, where they have the best tuna burger anywhere. Wednesday found me in Pomona dishing the dirt at the Wood Ranch Grill with author pal Kate Thorton. We also celebrated the release of Kate's new collection of short stories, Inhuman Condition, and what better way to do that than by lunch, girl talk, and shopping! Last up was brunch on Sunday at a French cafe with long-time pal Miles Holliman.

In between all the carpet cleaning and food, I managed to do the final edits on two novels: Twice As Dead and Baited BloodTwice As Dead had already been edited, but I wasn't totally happy with it.  I asked my editor at Midnight Ink for another shot at it and she said sure, as long as I got it done before December 1st.  Now I'm very happy with the book. Baited Blood is the 2nd in my vampire mystery series and that absolutely hummed off the page and required very few edits.

I also did a lot of shopping during the week.  I needed a lot of stuff for the apartment and with the great sales going on, managed to get most everything.  Besides clothing, I bought a new alarm clock, a portable GPS (mine was stolen out of my car last month!) and a new computer.  Not to mention a carpet cleaner. See, a glamorous life.  And on top of this, I got my Christmas shopping done!  Yes, D-O-N-E!

Now it's back to the swing of things. I've just started work on Ghost on the Gallows, the 3rd book in my Ghost of Granny Apples mystery series.  The book is due February 1st, so I'm going to need to haul my heiny to get it done on time, but with all the editing of other books out of the way, it should be clear sailing. Outside of an occasional blog or two, my only writing mission is this book.

Oh yeah, and my paralegal job.  Not that I could forget about that.  It was tough yesterday getting back into the groove, but the dozens of e-mails and stacks of files on my desk let me know I was needed and missed.  It's going to be a very busy December at the firm. Glad I got my stay-cation in!

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