And so we're deep into autumn, probably my most favorite time of the year. Summer and winter vie for second, while spring usually just pisses me off, can't really seem to make up its mind. Fall, with its leaves and crisp mornings and afternoons hazy with woodsmoke, makes me happy and productive.
This is my first fall in the new apartment, which means the 8th iteration of the living room floor plan. The problem? 3 doors, a wall heater and a fireplace--none of which I want to block--fighting for space with a large sofa and a big-ass TV. The way I had it set up was fine for summer, but it's a shame to not take full advantage of the working fireplace, so--new layout! Of course, I've been all over my #1 guilty pleasure (a.k.a., design blogs) to check out ideas, and found this gorgeous room:
Can you not picture hanging out in this room with friends, feet up as you enjoy a snifter of Mandarin Napoléon? I love the apothecary jars on the windowsill, and I'd be all over that idea like white on rice if it weren't for the Kody cat just looking for shit to break.
It's important to me to get things right, because I very happily hibernate at this time of year, and do as much writing as my little fingers can handle. My groceries for the next few weeks were delivered last night, half a tonne of firewood arrives Sunday, and I've got a new mug (oh, eBay, how I luvs ya!) that's just perfect for finishing this revisions, considering this ms takes place Christmas 2008, and some of the characters are New Yorkers:
Speaking of revisions, they're just cracking along. You get to a point (and by "you," I mean "me," though I know this happens to a lot of other writers) where you hate your manuscript and wonder what the hell you ever saw in it. But printing it out and working through it has made me fall in love all over again. I love my characters. Loooooove them! Even though a trusted and valued critique partner said she thinks the hero's a bit of a jerk and another character's too much of a saint. Normally, that would throw me into a tailspin but not this time. I'm writing in first person, and my heroine thinks...the hero's a bit of a jerk (even though he makes my heart beat a little faster every time I get to write him) and her friend's something of a saint. She's about to realize neither is true--and I'm having fun messing with her head.
But it's an interesting discussion, and one I kept in mind as I was reading a looked-forward to book this week. Fantastic premise by someone who's background gave him good insight into that world, but ultimately dissatisfying. I'd go as far as to say, if it weren't for the fact that a guy had written this book, it would have been written off as soap-operish melodrama (which PW didn't do, but Amazon reviewers definitely did). When the tough-guy (read: verging-on-sociopathic thug) "hero" said, "What's to become of us?" I started to laugh--couldn't have been funnier if he'd held the back of his hand to his forehead. What makes characters true to some readers, and laughable to others? Hard to tell--for every Amazon review giving this book 1 star, there were others giving it 5.
The good news is, all was not lost in my forays into the reading world, because of this:
Magic. Magic, magic, magic. Funny thing is, impossible things happen in this book, yet it's far more plausible and believable than the other book.
I'm leaving you with some autumny, harvesty goodness, which I'm going to have to make for myself this weekend, because Starbucks doesn't sell Pumpkin Spice Lattes here :( Enjoy!
Pumpkin Spice Latte
makes 1-2 servings
2 cups milk
2 tablespoons canned pumpkin OR 1 teaspoon of Torani Pumpkin Spice Syrup (your choice)
2 tablespoons sugar or sugar substitute - you can halve this amount
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1-2 shots espresso (about 1/4 cup of espresso or 1/2 cup of strong brewed coffee if you don't have an espresso machine.)
In a saucepan combine milk, pumpkin and sugar and cook on medium heat, stirring, until steaming. Remove from heat, stir in vanilla and spice, transfer to a blender and process for 15 seconds until foamy. If you don't have a blender, don't worry about it - just whisk the mixture really well with a wire whisk.
Pour into a large mug or two mugs. Add the espresso on top.
Optional: Top with whipped cream and sprinkle pumpkin pie spice, nutmeg, or cinnamon on top.