Dinner at a friend’s in Uruguay with my daughter Hayley
I hope your new year is off to a fabulous start! I’m in Uruguay as you may have heard me mention—and this year my husband and I will be here until the end of March. A long time, I know, but for me it’s like a wonderful author retreat. I’ve even hung a cool print of Edgar Allen Poe in my office to remind me to stay focused. Here’s how most days unfold for me.
The shot I keep of Poe in my office
6:30: Wake up to lots of birdsong (it’s so loud I never bother with an alarm).
6:30: Put in contact lenses so I can see, and then shower (confession: not every day!).
7:00: Meditate. Sometimes using Headspace for a guided meditation.
7:30-ish: Eat breakfast. I don’t love the yogurt here, but I mix it with toasted almonds and blueberries, and it works well enough that way.
7:50: Read news online, especially the New York Times.
8:20: Try to tear myself away from Times; fail; read ten more minutes.
8:30: Start writing. (I’m now working on a standalone for 2020 release).
9:10: Feel overwhelming urge to straighten items on desk. Force myself back to work
9:45: Repeat previous two lines on schedule over and over again.
2:30 ish: Research; answer emails; tackle social media; work on publicity (for my May 7 release, SUCH A PERFECT WIFE).
6:00: Read. (I always have a bunch of new books on my Kindle.) Bird watch.
8:00: It’s time for night sounds. After the monk parakeets (they’re the size of parrots) have tucked into their nests for the night, the great horned owls come out, hooting. Their babies do a little screech.
9:30: Eat dinner. I know, dinner happens late here. But it makes the days seem longer.
Not a thrilling schedule, is it, but I love how relaxed my life here is, and I’m pretty good about churning out pages when I’m in this location. Speaking of books, pre-orders really help an author so if you think you’ll want to read Such a Perfect Wife, it would be great if you pre-order now.
What I’m Reading:
Force of Nature
By Jane Harper
I ordered this police procedural without realizing it was set in Australia, a country I just traveled to in November. So it’s been a delicious find, not only because the book is a total page turner, but it’s also summoned lovely memories of gum trees and kangaroos. I’m thrilled to see the author has two more books, which I plan to start soon.
Will in the World: How Shakespeare Became Shakespeare
By Stephen Greenblatt
This is a book for anyone who loves Shakespeare, creativity, language, writing or just being alive in this crazy world. I bought this book years ago and lost track of it before I could crack it open. Then, in an interview, acclaimed mystery author James Lee Burke, father of the fabulous Alafair Burke, said it was his favorite book gift, and I ordered it for my Kindle. It is utterly enchanting.
What I’m Cooking:
When I’m in Uruguay, I always learn so much about cooking from our friend Maria Laura, who is amazing in the kitchen. Her awesome tomato sauce for penne involves nothing more than sautéing a little chopped garlic in olive oil, then adding diced fresh tomatoes (skins removed), and once those are heated through, adding a little cream and fresh basil. The cream adds such richness.
She’s also inspired me to think of brochettes as a dish to enjoy all year long, not just in grilling season. Though it’s actually summer here, she doesn’t bother with an outdoor grill for her brochettes. She simply uses a cast iron grill that goes over the burners on the stove. I also love how she includes slices of carrot for an extra pop of color.
Until next month,