Daily Tao ☯ 5.31.17

I write to you from my favorite place—an airplane seat. And actually my favorite of all seats, the A seat in the exit row with no seat in front of me. I’m on Southwest, for those of you who are like, what? There are seats like that? Oh yes, padawan. Oh, yes.

So here I am, legs stretched out, laptop in lap, the LIE TO ME soundtrack playing on my headphones… it’s perfect. (Many thanks to the lovely barely 5 feet tall lady in front of me who was going to take it, then saw me looming behind her and said, “You probably need that.” Bless you, madam!)

So, warning… true confessions ahead. 

I never like to admit any sort of weakness, it’s an Italian thing, I think, but today I realized I am utterly frazzled. It’s was almost 10:30 am, I’d been putting out fires all morning, the phone was ringing, I was having massive outfits for New York packing regret. I stalked into the kitchen and said to Randy — now you see why I can’t get anything done around here. He just smiled and calmly continued his own work while I swanned in and out. I had a grumpy call with a contractor, then huffed back upstairs, unpacked my bag and repacked it with all new clothes, stomped around, fretted and realized… Wow. You are a wreck, sister. And I asked myself what was really wrong.

I do these checkins every so often, whether I’m happy or sad, settled or frachetty. Sometimes I look at the calendar and have that “Ah” realization. But others times… especially the days when I’m feeling this level of out of control, I have to take stock and see what’s really going on. Hormones are a great crutch, but they aren’t the sole issue.

I looked back at the past few weeks, at my normal schedule, and realized it’s been shot to hell. Writing? Not nearly enough. Yoga? Nope. Walking? Some. Listening to music? Not really.  Golf? No. Reading? More there, happily. But everything I am accomplishing is being sandwiched between minor freakouts.  

I hate the term busy, but right now, it’s the only word I can use. I’m transitioning from one novel to another, have a big (surprise) project going on in the background, and am several months into remodeling a couple of rooms in my house. Lots of incredible things are happening with LIE TO ME. I’ve been on the road almost all month. The Predators are in the Stanley Cup. And the world is a really, really weird place.  

My deep work time has been encroached upon. I’m out of my habit. 

And I had that Ah moment. There it is. The OCD control freak doesn’t have control, and has let her discipline slide. And that triggers major anxiety. And anxiety triggers chaos. So it was clearly time for a little chemical help. Ativan on board, I was able to really take a look around (ahem, limited view, aka plane) and figure out exactly what was wrong.

Writing is a muscle. You must exercise it regularly or it atrophies. But you can go too far. I’ve been keeping that muscle flexed all the time. Which isn’t good for the muscle either, is it? 

I’m sort of ridiculous. I always think I’m a superhuman who can just move seamlessly from project to project without any sort of glitch, like opening the door ahead and closing the one behind me. As if my brain would allow for that sort of finality on a project. LOL.

One of these days, I’m going to build a month into the schedule to allow me to take a couple of weeks off between projects. I’m maybe not being fair to my muse trying to wring words out of her when she’s been working so hard for months, and dealing with life.

I think that’s why I normally get sick when I finish a book. It’s my body saying OK, now it’s time to chill for a few. But this time, when I got sick, I had to power through for a week of meetings in New York. I haven’t had that break, and I needed it. 

So. After BEA, I will be doing a massive reset on the schedule, the habit, and all that attendant jazz. Because I absolutely adore this life. I adore that I’m sitting on a plane, flying to a book conference, where I get to schmooze with a bunch of wicked smart people about books and stories, then fly home to write them. I am so, so lucky. And as crazy as it gets sometimes, it's the perfect life for me.

But the words are what matters. The words are what connects me to you. Without them, our contract goes away. And I will never let that happen.

Sweet dreams!


Daily Tao ☯ 5.12.17

Home again, home again, jiggity jig! And let me tell you, I have a couple of very happy cats who’ve been alternately running around in joyful leaps or purring on my lap. Always nice to be wanted, right?

So New York was a monstrous success all the way around. Catherine and I pulled together a solid story and characters for THE BLOOD CABAL. Next week I will take everything we did and put it into a cohesive narrative so we can get this puppy outlined fully. We have the first 6 chapters already set, and wow, this one is so cool! 

Thursday was full from start to finish. Several hours of plotting with CC, then lunch with my publisher and editor at MIRA, which was a blast. I admit, I rather enjoy sitting in a dark wood paneled New York steakhouse plotting world domination. I had a lobster Cobb salad that was divine, too. We are all getting excited for LIE TO ME, and BEA is right around the corner!

I spent part of the afternoon reading a blurb book, then we met up with Catherine for dinner, which was a hoot. Mexican food in New York is interesting, to say the least. I asked for queso and the waiter was confused. Enough said. But the tacos were yummy!

And then we had second dinner with a dear friend who we haven’t seen in months, and that made the trip for us. A long walk back to the hotel, a little blood orange and lemon basil sorbet for dessert, and a well-earned glass of wine topped off a very pleasant evening. I stayed up half the night reading the book I was blurbing—I will absolutely share links when this one comes out. It’s great. 

The flight home was uneventful, happily, outside of the woman who spilled her double vodka on my bag (she was having a VERY bad day). Warm cuddles with the kitties more than made up for that. Tonight, it’s a quick supper party with friends, and then, my dears, I collapse. My doctor (who was my first call upon landing) kindly called in some antibiotics, so this sick puppy should be feeling better in no time. 

Sweet dreams! 

Daily Tao ☯ 5.10.17

Very late to the blog tonight, but here I am, stuffed full of Barolo and branzino, the most delightfully delicate pears wrapped in prosciutto, and incredible chocolate and coconut soufflés, courtesy of my lovely publishers at Gallery Books. They took Catherine and me to dinner tonight after jam packed afternoon—a couple of interviews, lots of great meetings and planning sessions, and a champagne social with the most adorable cupcakes ever! There is really nothing cooler than meeting the people who take our manuscripts and turn them into the gorgeous creations you pick up at the bookstore. Book making people are the best people, I say. They sure do know how to eat!

Had a fun dinner with my agent last night, as well. We had a celebrity sighting — the most divine Isabella Rossellini — which I took to be a sign, as Catherine and I had just named a major character in THE BLOOD CABAL Isabella. What are the odds?

More Blood Cabal work tomorrow, then another lunch, two dinners and one drinks date with friends… I’m going to waddle home at this rate, with no voice (I'm still husky, coughing and sneezing. Better, but not great. I love adrenaline.) An image, right?

I hope your day was advantageous. Sweet dreams, my dears!

Daily Tao ☯ 5.8.17

New York, New York! I love this place. The vibe, the people, the food… the moment I step out of the car in Manhattan I always feel so very alive.

Tomorrow starts the big brainstorm with Catherine for Book #5 of the Brit in the FBI series — THE BLOOD CABAL. I spent the weekend reading through a metric ton of research—I’ve been clipping stories and writing down ideas for a couple of months now. I made a lovely binder separated by topic to supplement my files in Evernote. (Hello, nerd!)

Nerds Unite! 

Nerds Unite! 

I’m a big fan of online research, but there’s something settling about having a print back up, just in case. There is a lot to learn in order to make this book work, and I’m sure some of what I’ve cooked up will be replaced by bigger, grander ideas. When CC and I get together and start working, we’re rather combustible. 

Trip up was just fine, though I’m still lacking in the voice arena. I have Chloraseptic, Halls, tea, cough medicine with codeine, and a massive bottle of water that’s being refilled constantly. I had to cancel my dinner plans tonight, which breaks my heart, but I’m afraid I might infect the world if I’m not careful. Caring is NOT sharing, am I right?

Hope you had a lovely day!

(Also, I've been hearing some of you are having problems commenting. If you are, please let Amy know so we can share the issue with Squarespace!)

Daily Tao ☯ 5.6.17

All hail silence! Yes, I've lost my voice. It's a super low grumble, and I can whisper without too much issue, but things aren't looking good in larynx land. I'm guzzling tea, keeping it warm and loose, but if you have any suggestions, I'm all ears. This seems to happen once a decade for me, and ALWAYS at the worst possible time. As a matter of fact, the last time was when I was heading to NYC for Thrillerfest, when THE COLD ROOM was nominated. I won and had to give a speech with no voice. Fun times!

Tons of deep research today, especially on the Voynich Manuscript. The ideas are coming fast and furious as the historical timeline reveals itself, and I'm excited to hash them out with Catherine on Tuesday. I'm really digging writing these books with a historical tie-in. Gives the adventure so much more texture! 

Hope your weekend is fun and peaceful!