~~ "She has so many aliases, you'd think she was a spy!" ~~

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Medical mystery

This past Wednesday night, my throat started to feel funny. Thursday, it hurt…by Thursday night, I was questioning whether I’d be able to go to California Dreamin’, the very first Southern California Romance Writers of America conference. Friday morning I ditched working out with my trainer (which would’ve been at 5:45 am), got up and 7 am, and started packing…still wondering whether I should go. In the end, I did.

My throat hurt like hell. I hoped I wasn’t infectious. I checked my temperature both Thursday night and Friday morning, and it was normal.

My friend and roomie Christine, whom I was carpooling to the conference with, said pffft, she wouldn’t miss the conference unless she was outright throwing up.

Alrighty then!

Despite feeling rather like poo, I had a wonderful time. Great workshops, great people. On the way there, Christine commented that she was craving Chinese, so I found a local place with good reviews on Yelp. It was 2.2 miles away. She said, that’s close enough, let’s walk.

Alrighty then.

Did I mention that the place was in a strip mall in the dodgy area of town?

The food turned out to be surprisingly decent – the chicken was all white meat, and the cabbage in the noodles was firm and tasted fresh. The orange sauce was tasty with a very slight kick. Two thumbs up for that.

Of course, then we had to walk back. And it was starting to get dark. And the cops had pulled someone over in our path – at least three cop cars…

I’d worn my Vibrams, but they were my everyday Vibrams, not the ones I have for working out. They’re older, and I don’t normally wear them for power walking. So I had blisters on the bottoms of my feet by the time we god back. We did stop in an AM/PM so I could by cough drops for my throat (they didn’t have lozenges, so I settled for cough drops) and Band-Aids. Christine bought cough medicine and Nyquil because she was getting over a cold. We were partying hard, I tell ya.

We drank maybe half a bottle of wine and went to bed early that night.

Saturday night she had dinner with her soon-to-be editor, so she was all abuzz. I’d picked up a burrito from Rubio’s across the street and eaten it in our room, since I felt like crap. My throat kept swelling so it was hard to swallow (no issues with breathing), and always felt like there was something caught in it. But then she came back from dinner and was all bouncy and we finished off the bottle of wine and opened the second bottle and finished that, and at 9:45 pm she said, “We need more wine.”

“We don’t have any more wine,” I pointed out. So I checked online when the bar closed.

That would be at 10 pm.

We were in our jammies.

So we threw on clothes and raced down and ordered a glass of wine each and some garlic parmesan fries (because with that much wine in us, we weren’t thinking “healthy,” we were thinking “sop up the booze”), and discovered people we knew were still there, including the gorgeous Kate Wood, so we moved over to that table, and we all talked and talked and we ordered a glass each more wine, and finally it was nearly 11 pm and the bar staff probably loathed us, so we paid and left. (Although they forgot to charge us for the second two glasses of wine, which we pointed out to them so they could fix the bill, so maybe they don’t loathe us completely.)

Funny thing: My throat didn’t hurt when I was drinking wine. WHY??? Both days, I had the misfortune to sneeze during a workshop, and it hurt so incredibly much that tears sprang to my eyes and it was all I could do not to cry our in pain.

Sunday was more workshops and lunch, and then a big book signing. I sold out of Waking the Witch, which had been ordered through Barnes & Noble, who admittedly didn’t order very many and I had people disappointed because they would have bought it, so phooey. I brought copies of three other books (two collections and a long short story), and they sold respectably. I still made way more on the others than Waking the Witch, so there was no benefit to going through B&N. Lesson learned.

Meanwhile, because I’d been walking funny due to the blisters on the bottom of my feet, my dressy shoes had rubbed a horrid blister on the back of one ankle. As in, a layer of skin had peeled off. (Sorry…)

And my throat hurt. And my ears hurt. Ugh.

Ken had come to the book signing (he’d been at an SCA event that weekend) and his mom came, too, which was fantastic! On the way home, though, I asked Ken to take me to an urgent care. Advil and cough drops and gargling with warm salt water weren’t helping; I needed bigger guns.

Apparently I was a medical mystery. If I had other symptoms (sniffles, coughing), it would be a virus. Nope, otherwise I felt great. If I had a fever, then it was probably strep. Nope – plus the in-house culture came back negative. So they took a culture to send out, and the doctor said to get proper lozenges and Aleve, and to gargle with salt water. Thanks. I have since learned that Aleve does nothing for me, and that spray stuff for sore throats? I can never seem to hit the back of my throat where it hurts. The lozenges help, but mostly just make my tongue numb.

Monday, I skipped my workout, and had a complete and utter stressy meltdown in the evening. Tuesday, I realized I was feeling better. Wednesday, I felt fantastic: I worked out, got a ton of stuff done. I still took Nyquil, though, because now I was coughing and feeling a wee tiny bit sniffly.

Today the doctor called. I have strep. Hellloooo, antibiotics. I’m contagious until 24 hours after I started taking them (which was 3:30 pm or so today), which means I was Patient Zero at the conference, and have potentially infected everyone else I’ve come into contact with. If you are one of those people, and you get sick, I am deeply, deeply sorry.

I’m taking tomorrow off from working out, too, so I don't infect my trainer (if I haven’t already, eep), but I should be fine after that.

Okay, back to work. I have some brain left….

Note: For the most part I'm staying off Facebook/Twitter/G+ due to deadlines and such, so if you need me, email or call or text, and apologies if it still takes forever to get back to you. Thanks.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Help! [Preposition] Her [Body Part]!

Okay, you wildly creative people, you, I need help.

I need an occupation, a title, and a cover image.

Ah, if only it were that simple. See, I need these things for the third of a series of erotic romantic novellas.

The first one, which is already on sale, is In Her Hands – the heroine is a sculptor and the hero is a model-turned-photographer. The opening scene was a finalist in the Brava Novella Contest a few years ago.

The second one, which I’ve started writing, is On Her Lips – the heroine is a torch singer and the hero is a 1940s-obsessed art gallery/club owner.

When all three are finished and published, I’m going to do an omnibus edition called From Her Heart (or maybe With Her Heart; haven’t decided yet).

The heroine of novella #3 originally was going to be a voice actor (as was the hero), but that made the title too close to On Her Lips (With Her Mouth? On Her Breath?) Plus, what would the cover art look like? (See below.)

I also considered making the heroine of novella #3 a tattoo artist and calling it Under Her Skin, but it’s not quite the same (technically, unless she’s tattooing herself, the title doesn’t exactly work). Since the first two titles are about what she does

Or maybe I’m overthinking it all. You tell me.

The other issue is the covers. Phaedra designed for me a smoking-hot cover for In Her Hands, but since I’m branding the Andrea Dale titles so they all have a similar feel, I’m looking at redoing it.

Here are the images I’m considering for the first two:

You can probably see how those create an added dilemma for novella #3: tattoo guns aren’t sexy, and finding one on a blue background has proved futile (although I could put one on a blue background. Still, though: Not sexy.). Of course, the cover image could relate to his artistic endeavors.

So not only do I need an artistic occupation that allows a title form of [Preposition] Her [Body Part], I need a striking single object that evokes one of the two characters’ artistic occupations for the cover. The occupation needs to be different from the others and use a different body part than the others.

(And you all thought writing was easy!)

The winner gets a free electronic and print copy of any of the three novellas, plus a thank you in the acknowledgments of the third novella. If there are multiple winners (say, one person comes up with the perfect occupation but I like someone else’s title better), they both get the prizes. Hell, I’m likely to give all of you the ebook just for playing!

And please leave your suggestions here rather than FB/Twitter/G+/email/etc., so I have them all in one place. Thanks, and have fun!