Goals for the Week of #RWA14

I haven’t been to a conference since 2007. I forgot how crazy-making it is! I’m not staying in the hotel, I’ll be driving in every day, and let me tell you, that’s stressful. I’m not sure where to park, because most nights I’ll be leaving after dark by myself. I’m not saying San Antonio isn’t safe, but walking into a parking garage on my own is a little daunting. I have nightmares about the book signing (my first)–getting the books there, leaving.  Thinking about asking for a ride down, and having Fred come to the signing, then take me home. Honestly, these are the things that keep me up at night.

  1. DON’T PANIC, especially about driving downtown
  2. Work on Boomtown book (2 pages a day. I think I can manage that!)
  3. Go to board meeting
  4. Enjoy book signing
  5. Carina Press breakfast
  6. iBooks party
  7. Meet with a representative from iBooks
  8. Nook meet and greet
  9. Enjoy Harlequin party
  10. Enjoy workshops
  11. Absorb the energy and inspiration
  12. Meet new people
  13. Enjoy time with friends I’ve not seen in years!

Goals the Week of Fred’s OTHER Vacation


This summer has been rough for me. I can’t get traction, and I realized I was using the wrong approach to the book I started around Father’s Day. So I STARTED OVER. I have about 10,000 words, but damn, that hurts. And it means I won’t finish a project this summer. I’d planned to finish THREE! Yup. Hurts.

Wish me luck making progress!

This week:

  1. Work on Boom Town book
  2. get eyebrows done
  3. get car detailed
  4. Color hair, maybe add some more pink
  5. Make new reservations for the Wet Noodle Posse dinner
  6. Go someplace with Fred
  7. Clean in earnest, since Trish will be here Saturday
  8. Make something fun
  9. Cook/exercise

Summer Nostalgia

Yesterday my mom, stepdad and I went on an adventure. I wanted to take my mom to some antique stores in Lockhart, and also eat barbecue, so my stepdad took us.

We started out stopping for doughnuts in Seguin. Now, when I was a little girl, we spent most of our summers at my grandparents’ place halfway between Seguin and San Marcos. We spent a lot of days going into Seguin to the public pool (no longer there), so Seguin has a lot of happy memories for me. The road leading into town from I-10 hasn’t changed much–the same Victorian houses, limestone church, pool supply store, the ice house where we used to stop and get the Sunday paper on the way home from church.

After we got the doughnuts, we stopped at an antique store in town and they had a TON of Nancy Drew books. Now, Nancy wasn’t my girl, Trixie Belden was, but I’d read Nancy now and then, and the sight of those yellow-spined books made me so happy.

We drove through Luling to get to Lockhart, and they had a public pool just like the one we used to go to in Seguin.

Back in those days, we’d go swimming and then go to the grocery store (and FREEZE) while my grandmother picked up a few things for dinner, and always a treat, like double-stuffed Oreos.

Then we’d go home and read (or I would, anyway) and relax.

Books are such a huge part of my summer memories. Every week the librarian at my elementary school would open the library, once a week, in the morning, so kids could come check out books. I looked forward to those trips so much! The school would be cool and dark, and I would wander around what felt like a huge library, and collect an armful of books, many of which I’d read over and over. Then I’d come home, pile them up on my desk, and sit on my bed and read.

I’ve gotten to read a lot the past few days and it takes me back to those good, relaxing summer days.

Goals the Week of Josh’s 23rd Birthday


23rd birthday. HOW do I have a kid that old? It’s one of the few normal weeks I have left, the halfway point of my summer. The year Josh was born, I went back to work when he was 5 weeks old. This year I’ll have 4 1/2 weeks after his birthday. This summer needs a do-over.

  1. Work on Boom Town book
  2. Throw Josh a birthday party. Wait until you see the cake.
  3. Shopping with Mom
  4. Lunch with teacher friends
  5. Get a haircut
  6. Make something fun
  7. Continue cleaning/decluttering
  8. clean/cook/exercise

Coming to #RWA14? Day Trips from San Antonio



One of the things my husband and I love to do is day trips. We head an hour or two out of town, poke around, then head back to sleep in our own bed. There are a lot of fun day trips to take from San Antonio. Here are some of our favorites:

1) The coast. Head south on 281 for a couple of hours and you end up in Corpus Christi. We like to head across the bridge and go to Mustang Beach.  We like to eat at Snoopy’s, just off the bridge on South Padre Island Drive.

2) Fredericksburg. It’s a sweet little town about an hour and a half north of San Antonio (take I-10 West and take a right at the sign and drive for another good while.) It’s a German settlement in the Hill Country, with lots of cute shops and a wonderful bakery along the main street. We like to eat at Wheeler’s or The Buffalo Nickel. My mom and I go every chance we get! Also, there are a lot of wineries in the area, and you can go on a tour. If you’re not up for a tour, there are at least three places on the main street that offer wine tasting. There are some microbreweries, too.

3) Austin. Traffic is bad, no matter what time you go, but there’s a lot to see–the capitol building, Sixth Street, Stubbs, Barton Creek, lots of places to hear music. We like to eat on South Congress, but parking is always premium, and be prepared to wait for a table.

4) Lockhart. You can get there either going east on I-10 or north on 35, then exiting and traveling a bit. Lockhart is known for its barbecue (we like Black’s) but the center of town has some cute little shops, too. Not nearly as many as Fredericksburg, though.

5) Shiner. To be fair, the only reason we went here was to tour the brewery, which was WAY smaller than I expected. The tour is free, less than half an hour (and it takes a good 90 minutes to get to Shiner), but you get 5 free beer samples. We went two days in a row.

6) Johnson City. This is the birthplace of LBJ, and you can tour his ranch. There are also little shops around, and wineries. Mostly I remember seeing longhorns out that way.

7) Bandera. They call it the Cowboy Capital, but then Pleasanton says it’s the Birthplace of the Cowboy. Who knows. Bandera has a few antique shops and a museum and barbecue. The Medina River runs near there, but the last time we went, it was dried up.

8) Bastrop. This is a town east of Austin, not too far from Lockhart. Be sure to visit Historic Bastrop, a collection of cute little shops. It’s smaller than Fredericksburg–at least the historic part is. It’s right on the Colorado River, so there are water activities, too. We went in January, so not a lot of that! Also, if you travel a bit to the north, you can see the damage from the largest forest fire in Texas. It was pretty stunning to me, since we don’t have a lot of fires in Texas!

9) New Braunfels. The oldest bakery in Texas lives here, and it’s goooooood. There are antique shops as well as Schlitterbahn, the ginormous water park, the Guadalupe River, on which people like to go tubing. We don’t usually eat here because our favorite place is the next town over.

10) Gruene. My favorite. If you’re my friend on Facebook, you know I’m almost always heading to Gruene. The town has changed a LOT since we started going there. It used to be a main street with little shops, a dance hall and a few restaurants, including The Gristmill, a giant restaurant overlooking the Guadalupe River. Now it has new shops, too, which I haven’t visited, lots of restaurants, though our favorite remains The Gristmill. It also has the oldest dancehall in Texas, which was in the movie Michael, and upon whose stage I have sung :)

Next week: Places you want to eat in San Antonio!

Coming to #RWA14? Some Places to Eat in San Antonio


In San Antonio, we LOVE food. You will NOT go hungry if you come to RWA. You might go broke trying all these different places, but not hungry.

On the river:

Casa Rio is the Mexican restaurant you see featured in so many San Antonio Riverwalk pictures, with the colorful umbrellas. Tourists like it.  It’s not too badly priced, between $10-$15 a plate.

Mexican Manhattan is one of my brother’s favorites. I’ve never been, but I’ve heard good things. Prices average around $15.

Dick’s Last Resort is a rowdy restaurant with barbecue and more. Most meals are between $15 and $20.

County Line Barbecue is good. I LOVE their cole slaw. It’s fairly casual, and between $15 and $20.

Saltgrass Steakhouse is my favorite steakhouse in San Antonio. I’ve not gone to the Riverwalk location, but whenever we go out for steak, it’s to Saltgrass. I like the prime rib. Prices between $15 to $30

In the mall:

Fogo de Chao is our special occasion restaurant, a Brazilian steakhouse where the waiters walk around with spits of meat and carve it off for you at the table. About $50 a person, and you might end up in a meat stupor. But it’s a nice treat.

There’s a food court in the mall as well, on the lower level, and a few restaurants like Tony Roma’s and Hooters.

A hop, skip and a jump away:

Shilo’s is a sandwich shop within walking distance on Commerce. My husband loves their reuben sandwiches. I love their homemade root beer. They’re also open for breakfast. I can’t find prices, and I haven’t been there in awhile, but it’s yummy.

Rainforest Cafe–If you’ve never been to one, it is fun, and atmospheric, but if you’ve been, well, it’s just like the others. Around $20 a person.

Rosario’s–my very favorite Mexican food restaurant. This is more than a hop away, though. It’s about a mile and a half away, down Alamo Street, and it is usually very busy, but so worth the wait! Parking is terrible, but food is good. I love love love the enchiladas suizas. So rich and tasty. Also, wonderful drinks. Around $15  a person.

Blue Star Brewery is a microbrewery in the King William area. It’s about 2 miles away, and doesn’t have a big menu, but has delicious beer and good food. About $15-$20 a person.

Guenther House is my favorite place for breakfast. I always take my out of town company for the delicious biscuits. It’s across the street from the Blue Star, in the home of the founder of Pioneer flour, so all of their food are flour based–biscuits and gravy, pancakes, waffles. My mom loves their pecan coffee, I love their biscuits. They have a small indoor seating area, and an outdoor area. Not many tables, though, and not really set up for large groups. Still, a definite stop to make!

The Tower of the Americas has a happy hour nightly, from 4:30-7, with drinks and appetizers. I believe if you say you’re going to the happy hour,  you don’t have to pay to go up in the tower. I’ll double check with that. Drinks are no more than $7.

Coming to #RWA14? Some Things to Do in San Antonio


San Antonio has so much to offer, lots of sightseeing to be done. I’m struggling right now, though, with my dad and stepmom coming in this weekend, trying to find something to do. They’ve been here at least a dozen times, you know, and we’ve done a lot of the major things.

Here’s some things you might want to try if you come to San Antonio for RWA.
Within walking distance
1) The Alamo. It’s RIGHT by the conference hotel. Be aware it’s smaller than you may expect. The complex was much larger at the time of the battle, extending across the street from where the Alamo sits. It’s likely to have a long line to get in, because, like I said, it’s not very big. But it doesn’t take long to go through.FREE
2) The Tower of the Americas. Ride up the elevator for a great view of the city. Warning: If you’ve been on the Space Needle, the view isn’t nearly as stunning, but you can see miles and miles of Texas. $15 a person, but free if you go to the restaurant. And the restaurant has an excellent happy hour.
3) The Institute of Texan Cultures. A museum dedicated to the history of Texas. When I was in college, I dressed up and showed people how to spin wool into yarn and how to weave. $8
4) The Riverwalk–lots of restaurants and bars, and you can ride the barges for about $8 a person. The tour is a good deal, because the guide will give you some San Antonio history.
5) La Villita–some little shops in an historic area of town
A little farther afield (but still downtown–you can take a streetcar for a very low price)
1) The King William district–stately old homes, many renovated. You can tour the Steves Homestead if you like.
2) El Mercado–a great place for souvenirs, many of them brought from Mexico.
3) The Buckhorn Saloon and Texas Ranger Museum. I haven’t been here since it moved, but my aunt and uncle went last year and enjoyed it.
Farther yet:
1) The Missions. The Alamo is technically not one of the missions, since it never operated as a church. Of the missions, San Jose is in the best shape, followed by Concepcion. San Jose is farther.
2) Sea World. Has a water park, but you have to pay extra.
3) Fiesta Texas. Has a water park. This is important because it will be HOT.
4) Splashtown–is a water park.
5) The Zoo. It is awesome. Also, it will be crowded.
6) The Botanical Gardens.
7) Sunken Gardens–right next to the zoo, free, lots of stairs. Not very big, but a nice way to spend a morning.
8) San Antonio Museum of Art–quite large, in a beautiful old brewery. Also, it’s on the San Antonio river, the not-crowded part.
9) Natural Bridge Caverns, which is a little out of town on the north side.
Have I got you interested yet?
Later this week: Day Trips and Places to Eat!

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