Happy Birthday to Me!







‘Twas a beautiful day in Portland, sunny with a playful breeze. I headed downtown on the train to meet some book friends, because what better way to spend a birthday day than hanging out with book friends?

Delilah MarvelleWe started out at Powell’s City of Books (because what better way to spend a birthday day than hanging out with book friends at Powell’s?) and found most of a shelf devoted to writer friend Delilah Marvelle, including her new release. Since Delilah like most of our writer friends are at the Romance Writers of America national conference — and we are NOT there — we decided to drown our sorrows at Cacao.

Cacao-drinking-chocolateWe ordered a flight of drinking chocolates: dark chocolate, cinnamon chocolate and spicy chocolate. (Because what better way to spend a birthday day than hanging out with book friends drinking melted chocolate bars?)

If you haven’t had a drinking chocolate, be very, very careful. You have to build up your strength for such an endeavor. Novice chocolate consumers might be knocked into permanent loopiness. Luckily, we romance writers/readers are experienced chocolate consumers so we just got giggly and made the Cacao pusherman take our pix. We look a little flushed, don’t we?


Pictured from left:

Lily Santana

Melia Alexander

The Birthday Girl!

newspapersTo walk off our chocolate, we headed over to Cargo, an import shop that is a sensual delight perfect for loopy romance writers. There is incense, wild colors, pretty fans, and gorgeous fabrics. I bought myself a birthday present of old Lebanese newspapers. I’m going to rip them up and make decoupage beads, I think. I like the decorative font and frayed, yellowed paper.

I also got my hair cut, but I’m not sure how I feel about it yet, so I’ll wait to post pix of that part of my birthday adventure.

Tonight, I will eat birthday cake and contemplate the next year. Who do I want to be at my next birthday?

Since I was at Powell’s, I of course had to buy some books (because what better way etc?) and I figured, hey, I’ll do a giveaway from my birthday. I’ll be pulling a name from my mailing list, so sign up in you haven’t yet. I’ll pull at winner after I get back from Authors After Dark and maybe there’ll be some New Orleans goodies too!

Happy Birthday to me!


Goal setting: a conundrum

I have an Excel spreadsheet for my writing goals.  It is mildly OCD.  I’ve posted screenshots of it and links to it before but I won’t bore you with the specifics again.  I’m more interested in the general today.

How do you manage your goals?

See, I have a dropdeadline coming up.  To meet that deadline, I gave myself a rough-draft deadline somewhat before so I can rest a day or two, get some feedback, and then revise before sending.

I know how to manage my hard deadlines: I meet them.

But soft deadlines, like the ones I set for myself, are… well, by definition, softer.  And squishier. 

Here’s my question: If you set shorter-term, softer goals for yourself, when you exceed those goals, do you reset your next-session soft goal to reflect the forward motion?  Or do you allow yourself that overachievement as breathing room relaxation?

Here’s my worry: Some people say “Oh, I easily achieve my goals and then I’m so inspired I just keep going!  Would you like to see the needlepoint wall hanging I completed of my plot notes with the romance arc depicted in gold thread?”  I am not one of those people.  When I meet my goal, I take a break and eat brownies.  I’m afraid that if I constantly push my goalline, I’ll flame out.

But maybe I’m being too easy on myself.  Maybe I could do more if I just pushed a little harder.  Or a lot harder.

So I’m curious, how do you manage your goals?  How much do you ask of yourself?  How much is too much?