Weekend in Vieques

At last, the final wind-up of my week of work in San Juan – and our little weekend side-trip to Vieques.

Sapphire and Old San Juan

I had a little glass (okay, cup) of champagne at the pool bar after work yesterday, to celebrate the release of Sapphire. The pool area, with the ocean beyond. Lovely

Then we went into Old San Juan for dinner. Cats are protected there and lounge in every quiet stairway.

This passage was full of cats, though they’re not easy to pick out.

Requisite statue pic.

We ate at AquaViva. Love these lights.


I’m over at Word Whores today, talking about Release Day for Sapphire.

And today I’m headed to Puerto Rico for the day job, but I’ll at least try to post pictures here. Thanks to the magic of virtual scheduling, I’ll be on a number of blogs, etc., this week. The schedule is on the home page, should you feel like you want to find me.

Can’t imagine why you would.

I’d stick around here for the pretty pictures, if I were you.


Left Brain Overload

So, as I may or may not have mentioned, the day job is CRAZY right now.

As in, more work than can be humanly accomplished.

So, it’s taking a great deal of focus for me to get the work done. I’m getting through it, meeting my deadlines (so far), but I’m not getting anything else done. That is, no writing.

At work they’ve given me minions, lots of junior staff to help me. This is a great thing, except that I have to be able to tell them what needs doing. I can’t go off to some appointment and leave Mickey alone with all those broomsticks. Yeah, we all remembered what happened then. So, the upshot is, I have to be online early, because my minions are on the east coast. I have to deal with the emails that accumulated overnight. I’m digging into the day job by 7 am.

Now, long time blog followers will immediately see the problem here.

That’s right! This is totally fucking with my rituals!


Yes, I’m taking deep, cleansing breaths.

David suggested that I just flip my usual schedule. Instead of writing in the morning, then switching to day job, I’d do the reverse. I know a lot of people do this. I tried it yesterday. I worked at the day job from 7 to 4. And then I had nothing left. I could have worked more, but my creative side had fallen asleep. Or taken off for the beach. She’s probably drinking dirty martinis somewhere and lolling in the sun.

She’ll come back, David reassured me. When you have the room for her.

And that’s just it. The day job is sucking all my brains, like a zombie shuffling relentlessly forward. (That analogy is just for you, Sullivan.)

It’s interesting to me, when I find the limits of what I can balance.

At any rate, at least I’m not involved in the National Book Awards brouhaha. What an exceptionally poor series of decisions there. And poor Lauren. Here we all are already paranoid when we get awards that it’s a mistake. Then for her, it WAS!

May the attention and sales make up for the pain.

Like High School, Only Steve Madden

Nothing particularly special about this photo, except that I’m home now and this is how it looks this morning. Giving up lots of gratitude today.

I liked being in Philadelphia and Baltimore, though, seeing what people on the other side of the country are up to. If you follow me on Twitter at all, you would have seen me going on about the resurgence in 80s fashion. I know, I know – this is old news, I’m sure. I work from home in the New Mexico countryside without cable or satellite TV. I’m not exactly cutting-edge anything.

So the resurgence of the slouchy boot took me by surprise.

You know what I mean – the ankle- to calf-high soft leather or suede boot, lots of folds and wrinkles. The young women are wearing them with tight jeans and drapey shirts with *gasp* SHOULDER PADS, people! I don’t miss much of 80s fashion, but by golly, I miss my slouchy boots.

There might be one particular pair of purple suede slouchy boots from college I will always remember fondly.

At any rate, I announced my intentions on Twitter to acquire me some boots, possibly just like those ones I used to have. And one of my old high school friends, the AntiM, replied that she’d already bought some last year. (She is all kinds of cutting edge, even if she’s letting her blog starveĀ  death.) I, of course, asked what hers look like. She said, just like the ones SHE had in high school, only these are Steve Madden.

It is ever thus. We are nostalgic for our young selves, but no reason not to kick in a bit of an upgrade.

Designer Shoe Warehouse, here I come!

Showing Weakness

This is what sunset looks like when there’s fog on the beach. You can’t see the actual sunset, just the rosy orange evidence of it.

Now I’m in Philadelphia for a few days. The buildings are pretty. I imagine pictures of them will be forthcoming.

It’s always interesting to me to be on the east coast, especially down around the D.C. area. At least I notice it more there than in cities like Philadelphia. The competitiveness. Most of it from the white men.

I know, I know. I’m not supposed to say stuff like that.

But it’s like they’re all still shooting for herd buck. They talk about power. They play little mind games of withholding information and discuss retirement salaries like they’re analogous to another, more intimate masculine part. When I wonder about D.C. politics, I should remember these men, for whom the stock market is everything and their personal wealth takes precedence.

On Saturday, I took a walk on the beach after lunch. The fog kept everything soft and shimmery grey. I wore a sundress and walked barefooted in the surf, carrying my sandals. As I climbed the steps to the hotel deck, a woman bundled up in sweatshirts, with a little dog on her lap, asked me how it was out there, if it was cold.

I said no, It’s warm. It’s lovely. And I laughed, for the loveliness of it all.

And the guy next to her nodded and said, Yeah, see? That’s why I make sure never to laugh.

I realized he meant that I’d blown my lie by laughing. I contemplated the levels of that as I walked up to my room. That he thought I’d want to lie about such a thing. That laughter is a sign of weakness. And that he thinks about these things, even sitting on a hotel deck watching the surf, that you must govern your responses, in order to win interactions between people.

It exhausts me to contemplate it, frankly.

It would be interesting though, to have a character who makes sure never to laugh, who thinks this way.

Who loses all his money and ends up working as a clown in a three-penny circus.

Bwah ha ha ha ha!

Buffing Up

This is not how Baltimore looks this morning. No, Baltimore is moist and grey. I can’t see the rain, but people are going by with umbrellas. I’m missing my Santa Fe blue skies.

(Yeah, okay, we had a couple weeks of not so blue – here’s my photo contrasting with the same flowers against a stormy sky from a few days ago.)

So, as long-time blog-gobblers know, I’ve been a proponent of the 1K/day. It worked for me to try to write 1,000 words each day, which I do before I start the day job. On Twitter, someone started the #1K1hr, where write either 1,000 words or for an hour, whichever comes first. That’s kind of fun to do, because groups of people sprint together. However, I find that the time pressure interferes and I don’t enjoy the storytelling as much. Then this one gal had to start bragging about doing #2k1hr, saying that 1K is for wimps, which felt all competitive and awful to me.

There’s a reason I didn’t do team sports in school.

Um, besides the fact that I was a klutz and no one would have me. But, funny, no one ever yelled at me to read more books! Faster!

(Now I’m picturing the librarians like the football coaches, with track suits and whistles, veins bulging in their temples. “You’re just not putting effort into it, Kennedy! I want to see 100 pages in thirty minutes – now, go!”)

At any rate, I think I mentioned at some point here that I’ve changed my approach a bit, with drafting The Middle Princess. When I was in my long spell of revising, it naturally didn’t work for me to shoot for 1K and the then switch to the day job. So I was revising for two hours. That worked fine. And I did it long enough that working for two hours became a habit. (And habit becomes ritual which becomes sacred and then you’re golden.) So I started drafting for two hours. My goals are all set up (on spreadsheets) for 1K/day, but now, once I reach my 1K, I keep going until my two hours are up.

And wow.

I don’t want to jinx myself, but I’ve been amazingly productive. Like 10,000 to 12,000 words per week productive. Plus it feels good and not draining or exhausting. I’m at over 60K on Middle Princess and closing in on the Act II climax. I’m a week ahead of my self-imposed deadline.

Which is good, because I’m braced not to get anything much done while I’m on day job travel.

But, maybe that will change, too.


Off Into the Violet Skies

Anne Rice is always bragging on the violet skies of New Orleans. Well, Ms. Rice, I see your violet skies and raise you one. New Mexico totally wins.

I’m off to Baltimore this afternoon for the day job. I’ll be there all week, doing writing retreat at the beach over the weekend and in Philadelphia the following week. I’m hoping to see a few people while I’m in the area.

Meanwhile, Sapphire is up on Net Galley already! It’s also up on Amazon for pre-order and two people have added it to their to-read shelves on Goodreads. It’s all very exciting – and more than a little nervous-making. I’m not even sure I can define why. All this build-up gives me butterflies in the stomach. I’m sure once I walk out on stage, it’ll be fine. Right now I’m wondering if I’ll remember my lines.

Deep breaths.