Well, my Christmas In July Writing Extravaganza is almost over (yay!). The Christmas Regency novella (a Diamonds of Welbourne Manor spin-off, watch for it next year!) is done and being hacked into shape, and my goal is to finish the Elizabethan Christmas “Undone” story before I leave for RWA on the 14th. (Maybe if I post this goal here, it will come true). But after trying to think about presents and carols and snow in the middle of 4th of July fireworks and 95 degree weather, my brain is tired. Or maybe just lazy. Either way, it’s hard to think of a good blog topic. So here, in no particular order, is a list of What I’ve Been Thinking About Lately (besides Christmas…)

1) TV. I have only very basic cable, so I am always late to TV show parties. Mad Men, Deadwood, etc–I had to wait for Netflix, but now I love them. And right now I am loving True Blood. What a crazy, wacked-out, fantastic show. It sort of reminds me of the sadly-departed Deadwood in that it has a similar dark, gritty atmosphere of weird humor mixed with the gore (even though the settings are very different). But now I have to wait for season 2. (Please tell me there is more Eric in season 2!!!)

2) Sports. I’m not much for sports usually, but there are 3 I enjoy–soccer, bicycling, and tennis. Lucky for me I’ve had 2 out of the 3 in the last week! The Tour de France started, and despite the return of Lance Armstrong (and the fact that he finished a surprising 3rd place after Monday’s stage 3, and has an entirely undiminished ego) my money is still on his Astana teammate Alberto Contador.

In tennis, of course, there was Wimbledon. Despite the fact that my true love (one of them, anyway) Rafa Nadal was not there, that Federer/Roddick match was a classic.

3) Books, of course! I’ve been reading Barbara Tuchman’s The Proud Tower: A Portrait of the World Before the War, 1890-1914 (thanks to Andrea Pickens’s excellent rec!). I’m only about 1/4 of the way through right now, but I have to say the first chapter, “The Patricians,” is an excellent portrait of the old aristocratic mindset and responsibilities and privileges. Dukes, earls, marquesses, etc simply did not look at the world like everyone else, and it’s a good thing to remember when creating such a hero. (And I loved the anecdote about the fiery 1st Marchioness of Salisbury, who was responsible for revitalizing the ancient Cecil line, which had gone downhill since Elizabethan times, and who hunted every day until her death at 85, despite being blind and having to be tied to her saddle. A groom would ride beside her, and shout out when she approached a fence, “Jump, dammit, my lady, jump!” And her beautiful daughter-in-law, the 2nd marchioness, had the Duke of Wellington as a devoted admirer. He gave her flags captured at Waterloo to hang in the entrance hall of Hatfield, and wore the coat of the Hatfield Hounds on campaign).

For fun, I’m reading a YA novel by Jacqueline Kolosov, The Red Queen’s Daughter, about Mary Seymour, daughter of Katherine Parr and a magician. (The real Mary probably died in infancy, after her mother’s death in childbirth, though no one knows for sure. In this story she grows up, finds her magic, and goes to the court of Queen Elizabeth). And I just finished our own Risky Carolyn’s My Forbidden Desire, which I stayed up until after 1 in the morning to finish (even though I had work the next day!). Go and read it right now!! (Though Carolyn tells me the next story is not the one I was hoping for, but that’s okay–for now).

4) The RWA conference! It’s impossible to pack light for this, but this year seems more ridiculous than ever. One costume (for the Beau Monde Soiree Wednesday night) along with all the accessories, plus 3 evening gowns, plus 4 day dresses, plus some casual stuff, plus shoes and bags and jewelry. My luggage is taking on Duchess of Windsor proportions here. But I can’t wait to be there!

And BTW, if you are going to RWA be sure and join us (the Riskies) for a drink on Saturday afternoon at 4ish, in harry’s Pub in the Marriott…

What are you thinking about today?