In honor of Valentine’s Day (my favorite holiday, matched only by Halloween), I thought it would be fun to finally share some details about the romance novel I’m currently querying. Before You Called Me Baby is my mid-2019 NaNoWriMo U-Turn, a story so vivid in my mind that I set aside another project to embark on a whole new journey in a genre that I love, but had never written. It’s gone through multiple rewrites, edits, proofreads, and betas, and now we’re in the query trenches…
Yane has spent years pining for her best friend, James. Right when it looks like James noticed, his ex walks back into the picture. But with less than three months to put together an art show, or kiss her grad degree goodbye, the last thing Yane needs are messy feelings distracting her from her goal. Too bad life never goes as planned.
BEFORE YOU CALLED ME BABY is a slow burn, friends-to-lovers romance featuring a Cuban-American art student on the brink of graduation secretly pining for her best friend, who may or may not be back together with his ex.
Out of isolation now that my test results were negative. Back to the office and ready to catch up on all the work that I didn’t have the brain space for last week. It was a genuine struggle to be able to focus between the low-level migraine I was nursing and the sense of unease as I waited for my results, all while acting like everything was ok when interacting with people remotely.
My lymph nodes feel a little swollen after my flu shot, but otherwise no reaction beyond the initial arm soreness.
Started the day with a meeting. I cannot understand why anyone chooses to schedule meetings at 9am or 4pm (especially on a Friday). Those are terrible hours. No one wants to meet at those hours. Stop it, you’re a sadist.
Worked from home today because I had back to back meetings from 10 to 4:30 and I like the flexibility of being able to move around without needing to be locked in my office.
A day off to deal with mom stuff. The cats were not pleased, but it made for a nice change of pace. Spend the morning reading, then did some tidying and finished up with a few writing sprints. It was a nice reset.
off to work, off to take another test. The cycle continues.
Saturday – Sunday
Back to writing and a bout of intense dusting. I even wiped down the walls (an easy task I put off for way too long). Next week, I deep clean the bathroom…
Test came back negative, but the boy has been going through something that may or may not be the panini (I heard someone call it this and I love it). Waiting on his test, but he’s doing ok so far. He helped me deal with some of the cat drama on Thursday, but it was a limited exposure so I’m keeping my fingers crossed.
I’m starting to think that what I’m struggling with is the lack of change re: editing. At this stage in the process, I would normally be writing in public spaces (libraries, coffee shops, etc.) to give my brain a sense of space that I can associate with work, but every day is the same and every draft has been written inside the same four walls for the last year and a half. Maybe that’s why I’m struggling. It feels like I’m not making any progress because nothing changes. Rationally, I know that’s not true—I’m definitely making progress—but coming to this stage of the draft, where so much of the work is in the minutiae, it feels like it’s dragging along.
I might try music. This is not quiet sprint work.
Test came back negative but my anxious brain won’t let me stop wondering what if I tested too early. 😣
Test done. Hoping my results come in faster than the last time. My throat tightness feels better, but I’m not willing to chance it when I can wait for results. We’re too small of a department and too open to the public.
The place where I work has this absurd cybersecurity training program that happens every year. Well, this year the IT department made such a crap effort at sending out the initial message that I missed it. And so did everyone else in my department. Because it looked like a freakin spam message! Good job newsletter writer who buried the lead and did notevenincludea link to the training site(!). FFS. It’s due this week and I have a million other things to finish and no time for an hours-long training program that repeats the same information I had to learn last year.
Test finally arrived late at night. Negative! Yes! Two scares in as many weeks is two too many. Also, I’ve gotten somewhat used to working on certain types of projects in my office again and this week has dragged.
Reported my results so I can return to the office next week. As I write, my neighbor is pace-stomping across the other side of my bedroom and I want to hit something. He does this for HOURS and it drives me bonkers. I swear he’s wearing work boots while he does it because it’s beyond loud. This is the guy who also thinks it’s okay to deadlift and slam his weights down in a second story apartment, so I wouldn’t put it past him. (I often wonder at the state of their floors. While my place has terrible carpet, theirs has the original wood floors.)
Saturday – Sunday
A super productive weekend! It was a working weekend, which pushed me to make the most of the non-work hours. It’s like the pressure before a deadline, I often find my focus when time is limited. Not a procrastination thing, just a pack as much as I can thing… not sure which is worse TBH.
Anyhow, I cleaned my car and got it washed (after spending 💸 on maintenance work), got my flu shot, and started going through crutch words I’m culling out of the draft. All in all, a good weekend for life projects.
Back at the office, feeling like I didn’t get any time off because of my weekend shift (because I didn’t). I planned poorly and should’ve cleared my schedule this week, but no rest and all that. I’m taking a little extra time off during my WFH day this week to make up for it (and to rest my brain because, let’s face it, my work is purely cerebral).
Stormy day with a persistent migraine in my cervical neck area. Sigh. I’m definitely susceptible to the weather. Also, driving stress. It’s been an achy start to the week and I’m extra puffy from water retention because of the advil and the migraine itself. I hate it.
Mom’s test came back negative! 🥳
Worked from home today, which was the right choice because I did not feel well during my afternoon meeting. Hurray for Zoom. And the mute button.
Everything feels so unsettled at the moment; it’s getting harder to focus when so much of the future is in question. Honestly, at this point, I’m just waiting for the day I get covid because so little is in my control with our current political situation. And don’t get me started on the latest wave of attacks to women’s rights. Every headline is a real-life nightmare.
Did I spend most of my day in traffic? Yes. It was one of those days. Just lots of driving. And another covid test. 😞
Saturday – Sunday
Am I avoiding my latest look at the draft? Maybe. Or am I just burned out? Likely, both.
Saturday started with a lost dog adventure courtesy of the boy and ended with a semi-planned jaunt across county lines to buy black sugar milk tea mix at my favorite Korean market. It was a worthy effort to procrastinate. Tomorrow, I will face the damn draft once again.
On the bright side, it’s been cool enough to open the windows for the first time in months. At least there’s a silver lining to the very wet weather we’ve had this week.
Sunday. Still waiting. It’s highly unlikely that my results will be available until after the holiday, so I’ve been put on the quarantine list at work. My throat feels tight and has for a few days, which is how my mom’s infection started and my coworker’s too. I’m hoping I’m wrong, but this may be th one.
No writing yet. Taking care of housework and trying not to fixate on possible symptoms.
No diaries this week. My brain is fried and my body is drained of all energy. My mom and gran are improving, for which I am eternally grateful. Gran turned 90 on Saturday, while recovering from Covid. Mom’s test came back positive on the same day, but there was no doubt what her diagnosis would be.
My latest vlog covers the story. [see the description page for timestamps]
I’ve started posts for the last two weeks and given up. Things have been complicated lately. My cousins are doing better, but I’m not sure about my aunt. There are a lot of emotions tied to that side of the family and it’s never been a great relationship, hence, complicated. I’ve also been dealing with difficulties among my staff, which has been a challenge.
To top it off, my grandmother’s home health aide caught covid and my grandmother developed a mild fever two days after the aide started feeling sick. My mom hasn’t had any symptoms yet (knock on wood), but all my worries have come to a head and I can’t do anything to help them. I’m grateful that they were vaccinated as soon as it was available to them, but I’m upset that the one person they depend on never bothered to get vaccinated herself and put them (plus her other elderly clients) in danger.
wfh today. caught up on several tasks that required concentration and outlined points for a video series that I need to record for work. WFH days are not new for me, but I’ve learned to value the uninterrupted time that I can get when I’m away from my office. (I love my office, but there are a lot of distractions and it can get chatty)
Back to the office to record those videos. Goodness, I’m out of practice talking with my presenter voice. Recording the podcast used to take it out of me during the start of the pandemic, but my work voice is more “professional” (re: clearer and louder) and I don’t have the same break in conversation if I’m talking to myself for hours. Seriously, like 2 hours of recording and editing for what came out to roughly 15 minutes of content 😅.
Learned that my cousins caught Covid and their mom caught it for the second time. They’re the side of the family that refuses to get the vaccine. My feelings are very complex. There’s a part of me that wants to roll my eyes and say I told you so but I also don’t want anything to happen to them. There are a lot of emotions tied to this side of the family too. We were estranged for years and there are still a lot of tangled feelings around that.
The elder of the cousins ended up in the hospital with pneumonia. My mom called me in tears because the hospitals are closed to visitors and it hit her what that means for someone on the inside. It’s just one of the many tragedies of covid that so many died alone.
If you can get your vaccine, get the vaccine. My cousins are another statistic among the “young and unvaccinated” that are driving this current wave of infections.
wfh again today. It’s so hot though; I miss the cool air in my office. I told myself I would get some writing done today, but I’m having a rough time of it lately. This round of revisions is kicking my ass in terms of motivation and I’m starting to think it’s just burn out.
Saturday – Sunday
Feeling that low energy mood, but managed to get back to revisions. Baby steps. Stuck to the easy revisions instead of the energy-intensive ones… future me will hate me for it, but this is what I need right now.
I’ve been making some lifestyle changes lately. After a mild case of maximalism, I realize that it’s time to get back to a saver’s mindset and reevaluate what brings me joy and what I can go without. I’m going on a targeted No Buy for the next few months, starting with excess food spending (goodbye subscription box) and curbing my recent makeup and skincare binge (I really don’t need more makeup, it’s a sign of my dissatisfaction with life at the moment rather than a genuine need).
My summer of vet appointments is on a roll. All regular checkups minus the drama, so that’s a plus. I took the day off but it turned into a family day rather than a catch up on writing day. Let’s just say no writing has happened in days, though I did finish reading the draft and outlining revisions.
To work we go. I’m mostly alone in the office at the moment, which is great for my low-level anxiety re: covid.
Having a really hard time focusing this week. My PMS fatigue is at an all-time high, which is making it extra hard to focus on anything that requires solid concentration.
Had an encounter that left me shaken. Saw a guy fall off his bike next to a median (moped type thing). It happened as I was turning onto the road (it’s a side street), so I pulled up to help. He was down and on the floor when I stopped to ask if he was ok, but he proceeded to blame me for his fall. Unbelievable. He looked fine and I didn’t want to get into an argument, but way to treat someone who wanted to make sure you were ok. Of course, my anxious brain keeps fixating on this.
Hosted an hour-long training session at work and realized how long it’s been since I’ve used my “work voice” for an hour straight.
Saturday – Sunday
I managed to write! I set a very modest 5k word goal for Camp NaNo because I’m revising minor details and rewriting specific scenes at this stage, but even that seemed next to impossible until this weekend. TBH, I’m unlikely to reach that goal with my current list of revisions, but I rewrote two scenes and got up to a 1230 words, about 600 of which were brand new to the story. That feels like some sort of victory after the last two weeks. I’ve barely managed to focus on developing my outline for draft 4 and it’s been a struggle to sit down and get to work. Hoping this becomes the start of a productive streak. As always, my goals are modest, but an hour a day should see me through this draft without too much strain on my wellness.
Kat amps up for a summer of love, Gricel is won over by coffee, and Bee preps us for a princess tale. The lady nerds unearth a forgotten 90s gem, continue to be charmed by Brendan Fraser, and give a millennial classic the royal treatment.
Office time. Spent the morning updating my CV for work… I really should get better about regularly updating this thing, but I know I won’t. It’s a pain every year, but not a high priority. At least I keep a general list as I go, it’s just not pretty.
Tuesday, June 15
So I finally made an appointment to see a neurologist about my migraines. Don’t ask me why I waited this long, I have no real excuse. Just been tired of having to see so many doctors over the years, but I’m growing increasingly concerned about my brain health given my grandmother’s Alzheimer’s. I’m just scared that the migraines are affecting my brain… Anyhow, I have an appointment. In January. Sigh. It’s a step, at least. I’m on a waiting list for cancellations in the meantime.
Wednesday June 16 through today
also known as the days I was too distracted to track
I didn’t mean for it to happen, but with my draft off to betas and my autoreply on, I had the chance to go offline for the first time in… well… years. It wasn’t even planned. I took a day to read, walk, watch TV (let’s be real – it was YouTube and Netflix), and enjoy the little things. Then, one day became two, became three, became a week and a half away from my laptop. I signed on at the end of the second week to pay bills and meet to record the latest podcast episode, but otherwise, it was the perfect way to treat myself after years of writing on vacation or worrying about time away from writing.
Getting back to work felt different after being offline for so long. Almost like a fresh start.
Sadly, much of the weekend and week to date has been filled with updates about the Surfside condo collapse. The images are heartbreaking, yet I can’t look away. The chance that someone survived in the rubble is looking slimmer by the day, but officials say they still have hope because they’ve located air pockets in the rubble. It’s so tragic. It’s the sort of event that makes me value every second with my loved ones.
In which we revel in the combined hotness of the cast, give props to strong female leads while also wishing for stronger female supporting characters, and unanimously agree on the high enjoyment levels of the movie. All this and more as the Bluestockings discuss the 1999 film The Mummy.