All Diablo, All the Time

The past three days were an all Diablo weekend around here, and since I sent my romantic fantasy WIP off to my agent on Thursday (🎉🎉🎉), I didn’t have anything super pressing on my to-do list to distract from gaming fun.

Mr. M and I are playing together, and we generally play breadth-first rather than diving straight through the main story, so we’ve been picking up all the side quests and exploring the whole map before moving on, which means were like level 51 and only in Act III.

Unfortunately, it seems that World Tier 2 gear seems to be capped below level 50, and we can’t move to World Tier 3 without completing the main story, so that’s sad, since I mainly play Diablo for the shiny new loot. When all of that loot is consistently worse than what I currently have equipped, it’s not as fun.

Blizzard, surely you knew that your players liked to actually play the game, right? Not all of us are on a mission to get to end-game as fast as possible, but I guess we’ll be doing a dash through the rest of the main quest, then we’ll go back and pick up all the side quests in Tier 3. Boo!

Overall, we’re having a lot of fun, and I’m happy we bought the version with early access, since this week we have a lot of actual responsibilities that require us to leave the house, lol. I’ll be interested to see how they wrap up the story (no spoilers, please!), because right now I’m kind of on team You All Suck.

But at least it’s very pretty. :)

I hope you had a lovely weekend to kick off June! And in just fifteen days, Capture the Sun will be out in the world! 🎉

Restful Weekend

US folks, I hope you all had a nice holiday weekend, and for everyone else, I hope Monday wasn’t too bad. :) I finished writing my romantic fantasy on Saturday (at 106k words! 🎉), then promptly fell into a reading hole and didn’t move for the rest of the weekend.

I needed the break. I wrote 44k words this month, which is a lot for me. Last month I wrote 14k. But as my bff always says, “As time goes to zero, effort goes to infinity.”

She’s not wrong, and I did want to get this book done by the end of May, but I always write the second half of books faster than the first, because a lot of the early time is just figuring stuff out: how does the world work, what do these characters want, etc. By the time I’m in the final quarter, it’s usually a quick downhill slide to the end.

I still need to do another pass to make sure those last 44k words make sense, but I’m going to be very close to my self-imposed deadline, so that’s nice. Next, we’ll see if anyone wants to buy it, or if I end up going the self-pub route. There are pros and cons of each, so it’ll be an interesting decision, assuming any of the trad houses actually want it, lol.

I spent Saturday evening and all day Sunday and Monday blazing through like three books in a row in The New Protectorate series by Abigail Kelly. They’re available in KU, which I have right now, so it was super easy to binge them. Zero regrets, excellent use of my weekend. :)

If you’re looking for a sexy paranormal romance with interesting world-building and snarly, dangerous MMCs who are soft marshmallows for the smart, powerful FMCs, then this might be a series you’ll enjoy. All of the books are standalone couples with HEAs, but later books can have spoilers for world events in earlier books, so reading them in order is probably best. Enjoy!

While I was busy doing my best to imitate a sloth, Mr. M made smoked pork ribs that were delicious. I’m usually not a huge fan of ribs, but these turned out super good. We also watched the Dungeons & Dragons movie, which was surprisingly fun. Movies based on geeky IP can go either way—mostly terrible in the case of video game movies—so it was a refreshing change.

Now I need to shake off my sloth-like ways and buckle down for one last editing pass, then get ready for the release of Capture the Sun. How is it nearly June already???? 😱

The Taming of the Tea Cabinet

For the past six months or so, I’ve been working my way through the various teas we already own and forcing myself not to buy replacements. I have favorites, and if I buy more of them, they’re all I’ll drink.

And the tea cabinet desperately needed to be cleaned out. There’s a photo in this ancient post, that was taken at our previous house, six years ago, and some of the tea in that picture was still in the current cabinet.

Drastic measures had to be taken.

And while I’m absolutely aware of the sunk cost fallacy, I can’t throw away perfectly good tea that I paid money for, even if I would rather drink something else. Logic has no place here, lol.

I’ve made great progress, emptying four tins, several boxes, and—as of today—a tea sampler that had been in the cabinet for far too long, taking up too much space. Most of the teas have ranged from okay to delicious, but the sampler was on the bottom end of that scale. One tea tasted like alfalfa, and today’s green is very, very grassy. Delicious for some, but not my favorite.

Earl Gray was one of the surprise winners for me. I wasn’t sure I liked Earl Gray tea, but it turns out, I do! Paris, by Harney & Sons, was another favorite, which I already knew, but I finished off the last of our sachets as a reward for working through some of the other teas.

Today the heat index is going to be close to 100°F (~38°C), so the time for hot tea is rapidly drawing to a close. Luckily, a few of the teas I have left will make nice iced tea, so the tea taming train will continue for a while longer.

Even if Harney & Sons sent me an email today about a 20% off sale. Must stay strong, must stay strong… 😂

Do you have something you have too much of and can’t seem to get rid of?

Poppies, Ostriches, and Magic Castles

Southern California is in the middle of a wildflower superbloom, and because I was visiting my BFF last weekend, I got to see it!

California poppies were blooming in droves at the aptly named Poppy Preserve. The photos are great, and yet they still don’t do it justice. If you’re anywhere in the area, I suggest a visit!

A collage of three pictures featuring bright orange poppy flowers, along with smaller yellow flowers, blue skies, and wooden power poles

While we were exploring for the weekend, we found a tiny little roadside attraction called OstrichLand USA. And I don’t know about you, but I’m not driving past a place called OstrichLand without stopping to check it out.

For a mere $8, I was given bowl of food pellets and set loose to feed the resident ostriches and emus. This was far more fun than I expected, mostly because giant birds are hilarious all on their own. When they’re trying to use their ridiculous necks and beaks to steal your food bowl, it’s even better.

And they are ridiculous. They remind me more of velociraptors than chickens, because have you ever seen an ostrich’s foot? Nightmare fuel.

A male and female ostrich eating feed out of a bowl bolted to a dustpan

The fancy dinner I was talking about a while back also happened while we were in CA—a visit to the Magic Castle, the home of the Academy of Magical Arts. Yes, there’s a club for magicians, and I will always, always think of Gob on Arrested Development insisting he’s “an illusionist” not a magician.

To get in to the club, you have to be a member or know a member, but membership is expensive and, you know, for magicians, so that wasn’t an option for us. Instead, my BFF booked us into the on-site hotel and talked them into giving us tickets. Win!

The club is in a cool old house that was built in 1909, and the ambience is exactly what you would expect from a club for magicians—a little old school, a little glam, and a lot quirky. The strict dress code meant everyone was dressed up, so it was a fun vibe.

And the magicians at the Castle were incredible! We saw several short shows, including two close-up acts. For the second one, I was two feet from the magician, and I still have no idea how he did some of his sleight of hand, which is the best kind of magic.

It was hard to dress super fancy while traveling, since our bags were full of normal clothes, but Mr. M and I made a respectable showing. Honestly, he made a much better showing than I did, but such is life when your hair goes poof at the slightest drop of humidity or wind. 😂

Mr. M in a black suit, silver waistcoat, and maroon tie with me beside him in a shiny silver dress, with yellow walls behind us.

Now we’re home and I have to buckle down and make some words. The fantasy romance I’m working on crossed 53k while we were gone (it was a working vacation), and I have a slew of interviews and Q&As to do for Capture the Sun—which comes out two months from tomorrow. Ahhhhhh!

My publicist is talking to BookPeople about possibly doing an in-person event for the release, so if you’re local and you’d be interested in seeing my smiling face in person, drop me a comment and let me know! 💕

Rollercoaster Escape

Have you ever gotten stuck on a rollercoaster? I have, as of yesterday. It wasn’t particularly scary or dangerous, since we hadn’t even made it all the way out of the loading bay, but they still had to call maintenance to free us, which wasn’t particularly fun, either.

It was one of the coasters where your feet dangle, and something must’ve went wrong right after they released us, because we moved forward maybe twenty feet before they shut the thing down. Then they made announcements that we couldn’t hear while the shoulder harnesses gave us the hug of death—okay for less than a minute while riding, less okay for many minutes while waiting.

I don’t love being trapped, so my watch helpfully notified me that my heart rate had spiked even though I didn’t appear to be moving.

Thanks, watch.

Maybe ten or fifteen minutes later, a maintenance crew with a manual safety release gizmo and a stepladder showed up to help us escape one row at a time. It was interesting from a “how does this work?” perspective, but I could’ve lived without the knowledge, lol.

My bff wished we’d been farther along so we would’ve had to walk down the track, and as someone who is deathly afraid of heights, I might’ve tried to incinerate her with my Glare of Doom(tm). It didn’t work, which is good, because I love her when she’s not thinking about making me walk down a scary grating staircase in the sky.

The failure was a disappointing end to an otherwise super fun day, but at least I got a story out of it, I suppose. Now if someone is stuck in a rollercoaster in a future book, you know where the idea came from. :)