Wednesday, December 31, 2014

The Very Last 2014

People always ask me what I'm doing for New Year's Eve. Usually, my answer is the same: nothing. This isn't because I have the energy of an old lady, and like to go to bed at 10pm. More so, it's knowing that New Year's Eve is THE ultimate party night: counting down to 2015 in a room full of strangers does not sound appealing, especially when you're sure to run into a few traffic accidents on the way home (with no alternate routes. That's why I'm complaining).

Tonight is the perfect night to reflect on 2014 - that year full of big changes and surprises. The year that seemed as if it'd never end.

A few things happened on the way to 2015 that I hadn't been able to blog about until now. This is the perfect time to share them with you.

Doing Author Things

In 2014, the best news I could have ever hoped for arrived: my debut novel is being published!!! Even though I have indeed blogged about The Call, as well as posting the occasional smattering of photos on Instagram and Twitter, I haven't written about it much on this blog. Probably because the rounds of revisions, edits, and top-secret decisions I made regarding Love Fortunes and Other Disasters have kept me busy.

Facebook reminded me of some key 2014 moments, including one of the best moments (because boy does it ever feel good to finish a manuscript, first draft or fifth draft, haha!):

Not long after, I submitted my manuscript to Swoon Reads.... and the rest is history! 

Over the summer, I took a trip to see family in New York, and stopped by Swoon Headquarters to meet Jean Feiwel, my editor, Holly West, and the rest of the amazing staff over at Swoon Reads. It was an awe-inspiring experience, and I was shaking with nerves and excitement after taking the elevator to Swoon's floor. The second I saw the books, though, I felt at home. As you might expect from Macmillan, there were stacks and shelves of books everywhere, along with huge posters of beautiful covers. I felt like Charlie in Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory. 

Then it was time to get to work. Holly wrote about the experience from her point of view here - which is pretty cool to look back on, since in some ways, the trip to Swoon was a delightful blur. I loved getting to talk with Holly about my edit letter, and plan together how I would tackle the first round of edits. Totally worth it. I wish I could beam myself over for meetings. Alas. Maybe someone will create a teleporter in 2015.

With Love Fortunes in interior design, and a few more months before it hits bookstores, I had thought it would be too early for any authorly things to happen. But I was wrong. My coworkers always find new and creative ways to see if I happen to have a copy hidden up my sleeve (nope), and I'm starting to have a tagline when I'm introduced to new people ("And this is Kim, she's the author."). Once, when me and the 'rents were visiting my brother in Tallahassee, we took a trip to Thomasville, Georgia and I stepped into an adorable bookshop... and then things happened and this photo was taken:

I will never get used to it - it's just too magical! Bring it on, 2015!

Meeting Robert Irvine

I wasn't able to attend 2014's Disney's Food & Wine Festival. My disappointment only grew after realizing that I couldn't write a blog post about it this year. Even though the festival was extended, those weekends in the fall had been stuffed with dog-sitting, errands, and holding down the fort as we weathered a few big changes. By the time I made it to Disney, the booths had already been packed up. I almost cried when I saw them missing (because, yeah, I really thought I had booked that trip within the festival dates. Darn).

Despite that, a dream did still come true during the festival. My mom and I got to meet Robert Irvine.

We hadn't seen Robert since he last came to Disney World for the festival in 2011. So when it was announced that he would be there this year, I hoped that we could make it to see him. The stars aligned (it really felt that way, the way fall was going for us) and we were free to go! Mom and I got up early and drove to Epcot. The sky was dark, threatening rain, but it couldn't dampen our spirits (or Robert's cookbook that I kept in a Ziploc bag, mwahaha).

We went straight to the festival center and found out that the crowd for Robert was so large that Disney decided to hand out wristbands to the first hundred or so people, and no one else would be allowed to wait in line to meet him. The wristbands? Of course there were no more left.

Dejected, we grabbed some lunch before Robert was scheduled to give his demonstration. While dunking my french fries in barbecue sauce and staring out the window at the Electric Umbrella, an idea came to me.  I tweeted Robert about the situation... and then fangirled about ten minutes later when I saw his response:

After finishing lunch, we ran back to the festival center in the rain. We brought an umbrella with us, but Florida's famous sideways rain ignored the umbrella and soaked us anyway. 

The demonstration was so much fun to watch, especially since Robert's charisma shone through from the moment he stepped onto the stage. Since he wasn't under the pressure of turning around a failing restaurant or cooking by the clock, he cracked jokes, danced, and got the audience engaged in what he was cooking. His wife and one of his daughters were there to support him - very cool! Before we knew it, the hour was over, but Robert still stayed behind to answer questions before heading over to the signing area. 

Mom and I knew that getting to meet Robert would be near impossible due to the wristbands, but we decided to try anyway. A nice cast member roped off the wristband line and let us wait behind the rope, just in case Robert finished all the wristband people before his hour was up. That alone gave us hope. So we waited. Flipped through Robert's cookbook. And waited some more. Near the end of the hour, another cast member announced that they would now open the line up for the non-wristbanders, because Robert didn't want his fans to feel like he didn't want to see them (awww, right?).

So we waited a little more, and then this happened: 

Lemme tell you, meeting Robert Irvine was right up there on my top 2014 moments. I mean, usually I get nervous when meeting celebrities, or even Disney characters (don't even get me started about being tongue-tied around Prince Caspian, haha), but the minute it was our turn to see Robert, I felt at ease. Maybe because he's more awesome in person than on TV, if you can believe that, but also because he knew exactly who I was before I could say more than, "We made it!"

He recognized me from my Twitter profile photo. And, even more magical, remembered us from when we saw him at the festival center back in 2011! "You were standing in the same spot," he said, while signing the cookbook, "right over there."

If that's not magic, I don't know what is.

Being A Guest "Player Hater:" 

Since I'm admittedly scared of playing horror games - especially survivor horror games, where you're not allowed to take a swing that the hideous things chasing you - I've been watching a ton of Let's Play videos by various braver gamers. My favorite being theRadBrad, since he's manages to be funny without eclipsing the story lines (I really, really appreciate being given the chance to ponder a plot twist and read the picked up notes while watching, thank you).

That said, my brother Bill decided to try his hand at Let's Play by starting his own channel, lovably named the Player Haters. And, since he was coming home for the holidays, he thought that having is big sister play some games with him would be a fun.

And so we did.

We both have a long history with SkiFree, and quite frankly, I think we were both at our best before ye old holiday mass eating happened and we got sleepy.

I have to admit that getting a cartoon icon of my face was pretty epic. Do you think it looks like me? Enjoy the video (and if you haven't played SkiFree yet, maybe you should add that to your 2015 goals)!

1. Write more books.
2. Read everything unread on my bookshelves (and donate the books I don't want to keep)
3. Replay at least one Final Fantasy game
4. Schedule more trips to Jellyrolls, the dueling piano bar
5. Make more time for social things, like hanging out with friends
6. Keep up with exercising and healthy eating
7. Cook something without the aid of a microwave
8. Be braver. 

What are your goals for 2015? 

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Long time, no write! How are you doing? 

I've missed this blog. November flew by so quickly. NaNoWriMo tends to speed November up, but guys, it's already December. I can barely catch my breath.

The reason I'm able to write today is because of a cold. I woke up yesterday morning with a pounding headache and a sore throat. This morning, it was a stuffy nose and earache, due to a buildup of congestion.

Apparently, I am too old to have the common cold. Noooooo. I have to be plagued with extreme congestion every time, the kind that cannot be cured without vigilant meds.

Are you wondering what happened to my NaNoWriMo escapade? Swoon Reads asked me to share my end-of-the-month experience on its blog, so please enjoy all my The Nightmare Before Christmas references as I share how that went.

I have also finally made a Facebook Author page. I had been holding out on making one for a while, but once the final cover for LOVE FORTUNES AND OTHER DISASTERS was announced, I felt it was the right time. My Facebook page will probably be more focused on writing, but don't be surprised when Disney World sneaks in there sooner or later.

With my copyedits finished and LOVE FORTUNES in interior design, I've got a small break from Fallon and Sebastian's charming world. But the work doesn't stop there. More surprises are on the way. If you've been following my blog for a while, then you're familiar with the stories I've written in the past. You also know that I follow my crazy ideas anywhere, so writing something new is also a thing I do a lot. At the moment, I've got my hands in both new and old tales.

*reads that back* Hoooooo boy. Yeah. I got five stars on being vague, right there.

I'm beginning to think that being infuriatingly mysterious is part of my job description.  

At the end of the month, I'm going to put together a 2014 recap. I'm in sore need to share some great events and moments with you, but I think my medication is wearing off. I need more cough syrup. More decongestant. More naps.  

How's December going for you? Have you finished your shopping lists? Getting ready for vacation? Nursing a cold?