Thursday, July 31, 2014

San Antonio Part 2

Sorry I didn't finish up my post yesterday - it was crazy here at home.  Unfortunately, we learned we need to get our master bath shower completely redone.  Dry rot, mold, blah blah.  That will take the place of several things, first and foremost the cruise I'd put a deposit down on in November.  Sigh.

Anyway, Thursday night we finished up early and were back in the hotel room and in bed by 10 or 10:30.  I had a breakfast meeting set up with Anne Leslie Tuttle, Senior Editor of Harlequin Nocturne.  There were several other authors there and I wish I'd taken pictures.  I don't think I was awake enough.  And I'm horrible with names.  Some of the authors I knew, like Elle James.  But I met tons of new people.  Next to me was a woman who worked as a Hospice Nurse (aka Angel on Earth).  She had fascinating stories.  And I also met (going to Twitter to look up her name) Laura Kaye.  She had suffered a traumatic brain injury and when she recovered, she discovered she wanted to write (she'd never had the slightest interest before).  She became a bestselling author!  AND AND - it that's not enough - she decided she wanted to lose weight to help her migraines.  So she started eating clean and doing a workout video once a day.  Since April 1st, she's lost 31 pounds!  What an inspiration.  And she was so nice.  If she didn't live in Maryland, I'd hang out with her all the time!

And then I had a few hours to kill before a lunch meeting with Patience Smith, my editor and the Senior Editor for Harlequin Romantic Suspense.  I spent that time drinking coffee to given myself energy for the rest of what would be a very long day.

The lunch was at Boudro's (that's ok, have I mentioned I LOVE that place?).  Due to my overindulgence the night before, I opted for a healthy salmon and salad.

And here's a photo of me and Patience.  (I wish I'd thought to get one of me and AnneLeslie)

So, after that lunch I went back to the hotel.  Despite the coffee, I really needed a nap.  Really should have taken one.  But I didn't.  I changed and Lonnie and I walked around in the heat some more and had a beer.
We decided to go to the Rivercenter Mall (airconditioning!) and stopped at Hooters (I know, I know).  The pigeons were bold and obnoxious there. 

You could shoo them off, but they'd keep coming right back.  I started to think they'd been extras in a remake of Alfred Hitchcock's Birds.

Once back in the room, I got dressed for the big event - the Harlequin Party.

That night I met my friend and Harlequin Superromance Author Stephanie Doyle for dinner.  I haven't seen her (she lives in NJ) since the conference in 2009 and we had LOTS of catching up to do.

We went to Luciano's and had wonderful Italian food.  I had my favorite - Mussels Marinara.

And then it was on to the party.  Walking, in heels.  

But all was good.  The party was in full swing when we arrived.  There were desserts, a chocolate fountain, and of course the open bar.  People were dancing.  I had to have a couple of drinks to dance, but I did.

It was fun and amazing. Harlequin had jars of new footy socks for us to wear to dance so we didn't have to dance in heels or bare feet, even though some people went with the bare feet (not me, socks all the way!) Sorry for the dim photos, but the light was muted.

The dessert buffet.


The jars of footy socks.

More dancing.

It's Raining Men (always always played every year!)

I had SO much fun (and too much to drink).  This year, I didn't go to the hotel bar like I used to do in years past.  I went back to the hotel and got in around 1 am.  My Jawbone Up showed I'd walked over 22,000 steps that day!  (more actually, but after midnight the next 3300 rolled over to the next day).

Whew.  I slept in until nine a.m and reluctantly got up as I had one last meeting - an early lunch with my agent of 12 years, Lucienne Diver.  She chose Luciano's (the really good restaurants keep popping up!)

Here are the two of us posing in Luciano's.  

After that, we checked out early and headed home.  The hotel was lovely and was able to rent our room, so they credited me back for the night.  I was thrilled.  And exhausted.  Did I mention exhausted?  

It took me two full days to recover from all that.  

And then I learned about the shower.  2014 is the year of the home renovations, sadly.  We redid our pool early on, then our yard, and then our camper (remember those nasty mushrooms?  It's still in the shop).  And now our shower.  Sigh.  

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

San Antonio RWA Conference - A Recap

The National Romance Writers of America Conference was held in San Antonio this year.  I didn't actually register for the conference (I rarely go to workshops anymore.)  I went to meet with my editor and agent and see my friends.  Oh, and go to the Harlequin party.  I haven't been to RWA in 5 years (frowny face) and I seriously used to go every single year.   Ah well.

Lonnie and I drove down Thursday morning.  We didn't stay at the conference hotel - we chose to say at the historic Riverwalk Vista, a boutique hotel built in 1883 and beautifully restored.  They have a continental breakfast from 8-10 every morning,  a snack (lemonaide and cookies or scones) at 3, and then wine at 5.

Here's the hotel listed in Historic Hotels of America

Inside our room

 The interior was beautiful

And here's the exterior of the hotel.

It was a short walk from the conference and across the street from the riverwalk.  I had a view of a beautiful orange sculpture outside my window.

We got down there Thursday and our room wasn't ready yet (check in time is 3 and it was 1:30) so we headed to the river to have a bite to eat and a beer.  We stopped at an old favorite of mine - Mad Dog - an tried the Scotch Eggs.  Wonderful.  Amazing.  I will definitely try them again.

Since I didn't have any meetings until Friday, after lunch when our room got ready, we unpacked and then decided to explore the Riverwalk.  Since we've been there so many times, we know what we like.  We had reservations at Boudro's for Saturday night, but decided to cancel them and just go Thursday.

I'm glad we did.  There was no wait.  And it was absolutely wonderful.

My traditional Prickly Pear Margarita.

My appetizer - crab cakes.

Lonnie's appetizer - shrimp cocktail

Lonnie always gets this at Boudro's - blackened Prime Rib

I usually get coconut shrimp, but tonight I got the filet and lobster.  (We are celebrating my latest contract after all!)

And for dessert, we shared Louisiana Bread Pudding.

This is part one of my San Antonio post.  I'll do part two tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014


Whenever I'm going somewhere out of the ordinary, I usually make lists.  Because I tend to forget stuff.  This time, I've been so dang busy, I haven't had time to make lists.

For one thing, I'm nearing the end of the first draft of Shade of the Wolf.  It's due 8-15 and will be out January 2015, I believe.  I'm really liking where the book ended up going, though I'm having to make notes of various threads I need to tie up.  Once I get that finished, I can go back and edit.  And then turn it in!

Hair done, check.  Even though I was loving my red shade and sort of wish I'd just stuck with that.  I got blonde highlights put in and now my hair is really, really dry.  Blech.

Toenails done.  Dresses chosen.  Groceries bought (requested by my sitter.)

Still must pack.  Housecleaners are here cleaning, so my home will be nice and need for my house-sitter/dog-sitter.

I leave tomorrow.  The conference has already started and tonight is the big literacy signing, which I won't be attending.  But my Friday is packed full with meetings - editor breakfast, editor lunch, friend dinner, publisher party.  Saturday I have brunch with my agent, and then we have dinner reservations at our fav place (Boudro's).  It's going to fun.   I so can't wait.

Monday, July 21, 2014


This week (THIS.  WEEK.) is the National Romance Writer's of America conference.  The last time I attended one was in 2009 in Washington, D.C.

This one is in San Antonio, TX.  One of my favorite cities.  A place where Lonnie and I always have fun.

So I'm going.  Not for the entire thing - it starts with a massive Literacy Signing on Wednesday, which I'll have to miss.  We're going down on Thursday.  It's difficult when you have three dogs.  I found a house sitter and dog sitter who is coming to stay with my babies.

I have scheduled meetings - breakfast with the senior editor of one line that I write for, lunch with my editor, brunch with my agent, and dinner with a dear, good friend who I haven't seen for five years.  Plus there's THE party of the year - Harlequin's annual bash.  This involves desserts and drinking and dancing and lots of fun.

We also made reservations at our favorite restaurant - Boudro's.  The food is to die for.

And you can get a REALLY good margarita on the Riverwalk.

The last time we went was in 2012, so it's time.  I love San Antonio.  Work combined with pleasure.  Can't beat the combo.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Happy Early Birthday, Mac Macadoo

Yesterday, we celebrated my beautiful Liberty Belle's third birthday.  Tomorrow is my first Boxer dog Mac Macadoo's eight birthday.  I call him my gateway Boxer.

A little backstory.  After my precious Cody (Border Collie) died at the old age of nearly 15, Lonnie and I swore off big dogs.  We had our two Mini-Schnauzers Daisy and Mitchell, and two little dogs was just perfect for us.  Or so we thought.

Except it seemed everywhere I went, I'd meet a Boxer.  We went camping and a beautiful, friendly Boxer from the campsite behind us brought me his frisbee and then showered me with Boxer kisses.  I was enchanted.  I took one of my dogs to the vet, and there in the waiting room was another Boxer.  I was seeing them everywhere.  I wanted one, but still was not convinced.

So I did what I always do.  Research.  I purchased several books about Boxers and everything I read about them made me think they were my kind of dog.  Goofy, loving, kindhearted.  But big.  Did I mention we said no more big dogs?

One day I was reading about Boxers on the internet (I tend to obsess when I'm interested in something) and came across these pictures at at Boxer breeder in Oklahoma with puppies for sale.  This male pup was just about 8 weeks old and ready to go to his new home.  I just melted.

I knew Lonnie though, and I knew he'd say no.  After all, we had two dogs, little dogs.  We didn't need a big dog, did we?  My heart said we did.

So, as wives sometimes do to get their way, I lied.  I told him I'd paid a $200 non-refundable deposit.  He was furious, but he didn't want to lose that money, so he snarled "Fine."  I then quietly paid the deposit via paypal and we made arrangements with the breeder to go pick up our new puppy.  (Yes, I told Lonnie the truth eventually.)

Funny thing.  We drove up to Oklahoma - the breeder lived in Pryor which is about 10 hours away, but met us in McAlister, which is only 5.  As we pulled up to the agreed meeting spot, I got the rest of the money out of my purse and Lonnie got out to go talk to the guy.  The first thing I hear from Lonnie is "Oooooooh."  I think he fell in love with Macadoo on the spot.

Here he is on the way home.

We got him home and he wasn't any bigger than my Mini Schnauzers.  At first.

Even after reading all those books, nothing prepared me for the utter craziness of a Boxer puppy.  He was a handful, to put it mildly.  Luckily, I worked with him and trained him to heel and sit and down and wait.  The most difficult thing for him to learn was his recall.  I spent weeks working with him on that.  But finally, he would come when I called him.  He was so unruly that Lonnie swore we'd never have another Boxer (hah!)

Here he is at age one.  Such a beautiful boy.

He learned to swim - and loves it.  He was my high-diving Boxer.  (He doesn't do that anymore since he's older.)

He's even suffered the indignity of allowing me to dress him up for Halloween

 And wore reindeer antlers at Christmas (not happily!)

In the 8 years since, he has been a pure joy.  He's everything the books say Boxers are, except he's a bit reserved with strangers (unless they have a ball!)

He's gotten gray in the muzzle, and moves a bit more slowly, but he's still goofy and sweet.  We love him. We Adore him.  He will forever have a special place in our hearts.

Happy 8th Birthday, my sweet Macadoo.