Caution: Long blog post coming up. Image-heavy too. And I apologize in advance for my camera’s totally inaccurate time stamps.
Everywhere I look, I see authors with other artistic talents. They can paint, draw, sew, knit, quilt, garden, graphic design, compose, play instruments, and whatnot. I play casual games and have nothing to show for it. (Well, lots of good memories with the kidlets but His Hawtness and I debate on whether that constitute as quality time. I say yes. *g*)
But ever since the shea butter episode, I’ve developed an obsession with hand-making beauty products. Not for myself, but as promo items. For RWA Orlando I did bath bombs. Facial scrubs for New Jersey RWA’s conference and RT Los Angeles. In between I also made solid lotion bars as belated Christmas presents.
By the beginning of the year I’d already decided to make lip butters for RWA. I’d really, really hoped that by June I’d have a cover for the first book in my 2012 trilogy, but since the release is still 11 months out, no. All the same, my enthusiasm remained undimmed. I love giving away good swag. I love doing repetitive chores, especially fresh from deadlines.
Here’s the lip butter chronicle, for Janine especially, starting with empty jars.
And now they are being filled.
Next the caps go on.
The above batch is for Courtney Milan. Next batch is for me.
This is the image I used:
My name appears a bit off center since I had to correct for the idiosyncracies of my printer.
And this is the bottom label:
I had a blast. Made 900 of them and took about 800 to NYC. They went really fast. And now I have to think what to do next year.
2) The conference
Even more fun and more exhausting than usual, since it is NYC.
I went to the Alexander McQueen exhibit, which is macabre and stunning. On my way back I passed this house on Fifth Avenue. I recognized it as the template I used for Camden’s New York townhouse in Private Arrangements. Like seeing an old friend.
This picture is from Random House’s offices, overlooking Central Park.
And here’s my roomie Shellee, also known as one third of Ivy Adams, author of The International Kissing Club, before the New York Public Library. Some chicks are born to pose. So jealous.
The trouble with RWA? Not enough time. I didn’t get to see enough of Meredith, of Kristan Higgins, or Julie James, of…The list goes on and on. I didn’t even get to see enough of my roommates!
But still it was a good one, I have to say.
HIS AT NIGHT won the RITA® for Best Historical Romance. It was such an incredibly tight category that I didn’t even bother prepare notes for a speech. The thrill was all the sweeter as His Hawtness flew in that afternoon to be with me. He’d been kicking himself for missing the RITA moment in Orlando. But I wasn’t so sure that it would be a good idea for him to come, since the chances of repeating was next to nil. But woot, he got his way and it was awesome.
We stayed in New York over the weekend and went all over Manhattan.
I love greenery on balconies, especially balconies overlooking Central Park.
Look at those spikes. So that’s how a Manhattan townhouse protects itself from cat burglars.
I wish my garbage can was half so pretty.
And of course, this.
I would not have gone had His Hawtness not wanted to see it. The Statue of Liberty is an over-familiar sight and I usually stay away from long lines crowded places. Besides, I stepped onto American soil not via New York but San Francisco, five thousand miles to the West and across a different ocean.
But I’m so glad we went. The moment Lady Liberty came into view, I had tears in my eyes. Unlike many immigrants into the country, I did not come to the United States to escape persecution or a life of hardship. I had a happy, safe childhood in China, surrounded by friends and a tightly knit neighborhood community.
But this is where I have made my home. This is where I vote in every election, big or small. This is the birthplace of my children. And I am part of the fabric of American life.
3) Foreign Covers
You didn’t think I was going to forget them, did you?
First up, Turkish Private Arrangements. I am so often a NYT bestseller overseas. Why not here too?
Google Translator tells me the title means Signed with Marriage. I can totally get behind it.
Spanish paperback edition of Delicious. I squeal every time there is food on a Delicious cover.
Italian Delicious. Love the pearls.
Russian Not Quite a Husband. Retitled Can Not Forget. Be still my heart, is that a streak of white I see in her hair?
And last, but definitely one that gave me a whole day of lols, German Not Quite a Husband, retitled Dangerous Passions.
When I saw the image this morning I immediately did a double take. Is it…? Yes it is. The stepback from Joanna Bourne’s The Spymaster’s Lady! I don’t know why but I’m still giggling.
(By the way, I had the great pleasure of sitting next to Jo at the RITAs, and more adorable and witty company I could not have hoped for.)
And this concludes the report on the first part of my summer.