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! 💕

Vacations and Edits

It’s been quiet around here lately because we just got back from visiting Ms T, my BFF, for two weeks in southern California, which was absolutely lovely. Mr M and I worked during the week, then we did mini-vacations on the weekends. Ms T’s neighborhood had a pool, which meant we got to swim nearly every day after work, so that was awesome.

My magical fantasy romance is now over 18k words and sort of going in an unexpected direction, but I’m still having fun, so I’m rolling with it.

The first weekend in CA, we went to San Diego for a day at the zoo and beaches, then a day at the Miramar Air Show. I can’t remember the last time I went to an air show, but this one was fantastic! It probably helped that Ms T bought us the fancy tickets with reserved seats right in center field and food and a bar. Win win win!

The air show headliners were the Blue Angels, the Navy’s fancy flying group, and they must have nerves of steel, because they flew real close to each other. It was super impressive. Here’s an animated gif as an example. I made it from a video, and I’m not putting it on the page directly because the file is pretty big, but it’s worth the click. :)

Four jets crossing the frame toward each other against a blue sky.
Five jets flying side-by-side as they do a loop in a very blue sky.

Because I spent the day staring at the sky, I sunburned my lips. They are usually protected by the wide-brimmed hat I wear nearly everywhere outdoors, but looking up negated the hat’s shade. Remember to wear SPF lip gloss, future air show goers!

Last weekend, we went to Joshua Tree National Park. Deserts aren’t usually my thing, but it was beautiful. We did it all—sunset, stars, and sunrise—which made for a long but fun weekend. Ms T also convinced us to climb a mountain. It might have been a trail with almost 1000ft of vertical elevation gain, but it certainly felt like a mountain. 😂

A silhouetted joshua tree at dawn.
A silhouetted joshua tree at sunset.

Mr M and I took Monday off and went to check out the ocean. Despite all assurances to the contrary, it was freezing cold. Like literal* ice could’ve been floating in it. (*Okay okay, pedants, figurative ice.) We didn’t swim, but we did wade and sit on the beach and watch the surfers, most—but not all—of whom were wearing wetsuits. I salute you, brave wetsuitless surfers; you’re made of sterner stuff than I am.

A selfie of me and Mr M on Huntington Beach Pier with the ocean and the beach in the background.

Then, in an incredible stroke of good timing, edits for Capture the Sun landed in my inbox this morning. My editor absolutely loved it, so I’m relieved. I’ll be editing it for the next few weeks, then we’ll see what happens, because it’s almost time to think about what’s next and what that looks like.

But for now, to the editing cave!

NYC and #RWA19 Events This Week!

This week I’ll be in New York City for the RWA conference. I have three events scheduled and two of them are completely free and open to the public, so please come see me if you’re in the area!

Best-Selling Authors in Bryant Park: A Lotta Romance

Wednesday, July 24, 12:30–1:45 PM

Bryant Park
Free and open to the public! I think I can sign whatever you bring, but don’t hold me to it. If not, I’ll make time after the official signing.

RWA 2019 Avon Signing (Conference Badge Required)

Thursday, July 25, 2019, 3–4 PM

Westside Ballroom, New York Marriott Marquis
I have no idea what I’m signing. Could be PR, could be AB. Find out with me! :)

RWA 2019 Readers for Life Signing

Saturday, July 27, 2019, 3–5 PM

Westside Ballroom, New York Marriott Marquis
Free and open to the public! I’m signing PR. No outside books, but you’re welcome to come say hello and get a button/bookmark!

If you see me at the conference, please say hello! I’m a super introvert, so I’ll probably be hiding in a corner, but I love to chat if I don’t have to be the one to start the conversation. :)

I’ll be around all week and I’m happy to meet up to sign your books outside of the signing times. Twitter is the best place to keep track of me and to reach me. And please introduce yourself, even if we’ve met before. Names and faces are difficult for me, and with conference brain being crazy, I’ll be doing well to remember my own name.

Last year, I sat next to the lovely Tara Wyatt for the entire Avon signing, talked to her a bunch, and then reintroduced myself to her the next day like I’d never seen her before in my life. She was so nice about it, but it’s still one of those cringey things my brain likes to remind me of when I’m trying to fall asleep. So I promise you, if I’ve forgotten you (and I inevitably will), it’s not you, it’s 1000% me.

If you are planning to come to RWA or one of the signings, I made some Badass Space Princess buttons. Find me to snag one for yourself!

And if you’re not going to be in NYC this week, I hope you have an excellent week wherever you are! :)

Dear Evan Hansen

This past weekend, my best friend and I took a flash trip to New York City. We did an afternoon of touristy stuff, including Times Square, the Empire State Building, and the Rockefeller Christmas tree. We were not the only tourists in town, because holy moly there were a lot of people.

Saks Fifth Avenue

At one point we were in an unmoving mass of humanity stuck across the street from Saks. At least there were fun lights to look at while we were being slowly crushed to death by the mob.

Finally, one brave soul forged a path out and we followed like lemmings. Freedom!

A Camping Weekend

Today dawned cold and dreary, which makes me even happier that we spent the weekend at Enchanted Rock with sunny, 85°F weather. We almost didn’t go because the rain forecast was more than 50%, but my optimistic husband talked me into it, and I’m so glad he did. It sprinkled on us a few times, but mostly the weather was lovely.

Also, because it’s in the boonies, we didn’t have cell service, which meant a weekend away from being constantly connected. It was awesome. I am tethered to my phone as much as the next person, and there were a few times I would’ve liked to post a photo to social media, but overall, it was nice to disconnect.

Plus, look at this amazing campsite we snagged.