1. Reading! I haven’t been reading much this week, but I did have a conversation about Game of Thrones with a guy at a party on Wednesday. That maybe says more about the kinds of people I hang around than anything else.

2. Writing I got first edits back on my next novel, Four Corners, this week. I also got a cover mock-up. This is one of those strange coincidences of timing, but as it happens, there is an image of a home plate on the cover, although I hasten to add that the characters in this novel are NOT professional baseball players, but rather former high school teammates. I would say baseball is an important motif in the novel (and I bet you can guess what the title refers to), but the novel is not about baseball in the same way Out in the Field is. But, man, two baseball-y books in the same year—that was just how the publishing calendar worked out, it wasn’t really a deliberate choice on my part. I guess we can call 2012 “The Year We Learned Kate Is Really, REALLY Obsessed with Baseball.”

Anyway, edits are going pretty well, but I’m the sort of writer masochist who likes revision time almost as much as I like writing the first draft. This has been a weird experience; I haven’t really looked at the manuscript closely since last fall, so I’m seeing it now with fresh eyes, and I’m having all these tiny epiphanies about the characters. It’s a little late in the game for that, but I think it says something about not rushing to publish; sometimes you just have to let things marinate for a while. It’s the difference between, “The character acts this way because he has to for plot reasons,” and “The character acts this way because he feels x, y, and z and has reasons.” There’s a scene in which the two main characters have a fight in the middle of the novel, and I feel like I finally just this week really understood what the fight is actually about. Is that a weird thing for a writer to say? I didn’t have to do more than add a paragraph to clarify things, but there are conscious and subconscious elements to the fight—you see what the characters are saying, but the fight is about something else entirely under the surface. I always knew that vaguely, but it wasn’t clear to me until a couple of days ago. (Good thing this is not published yet and I still have time to fix it.)

Also, I got a little teary when re-reading one scene this morning. I hadn’t remembered it being that affecting. I’m glad I still think it is.

But, of course, I’m also at the point of the production cycle when I start to worry. The stars of Four Corners, Jake and Adam, are both complicated characters, and both make mistakes and neither is likable all the time. Adam, especially, is kind of a dick at the beginning of the novel. He gets redeemed, which is the point. But is that going to turn off readers? These guys are soulmates and will never be happy without each other, is the thing, but I as writer have to do more work than just tell you that, and conveying why they like each other despite their flaws is the challenge of this particular book.

Still, I really love these characters. That’s also maybe a strange thing for a writer to say, because of course I do, but this book, I have feelings about it. A lot of them.

I think too much, maybe.

This is also the book I was working on last spring when the hard drive in my MacBook imploded. I’m considering dedicating the book to the cute, gothy Bradley Cooper look-alike at the Genius Bar who tried valiantly to rescue the novel from the burning data ashes.

3. Doing! The annual day on which I get showered with people posting on my Facebook wall (otherwise known as my birthday) happened earlier this week with little fanfare. I’m too busy right now to do much for it. (My dad called me the day after, and justified his missing my actual birthday by saying, “I didn’t want to call you last night because I figured you’d be out partying.” Right. You know what I did on the night of my birthday? I put in a late night at the day job.)

I’m going to go to my first RWA-NYC meeting tomorrow. I’ve been a member for more than a year and still haven’t actually made it to a meeting (usually they conflict with another regular thing I have).

Also, it’s supposed to get up to 100°F tomorrow in NYC. I finally got a window AC for my bedroom this year. Hooray!

4. Other! Here’s a pretty interesting article on the history of condoms. I read it and thought, “Wow, women in olden times probably got a lot of yeast infections.” (Seriously, though, linen? Sheep intestines? FISH BLADDERS? Yiiiikes.)

5. Also! My website went down for a couple of days thanks to an incompetent hacker who installed some spam code somehow; it did not display properly, so you got nothing instead of an advertisement, which I guess is something? It took me a while to figure out what was going on, so I took out the apps in the sidebar (for Goodreads, Facebook, and Twitter). So this seems like as good a time as any to streamline my website. That will be a weekend project.

No new reviews or anything this week that I’m aware of. So I turn things over to you:

I haven’t read a romance novel in a while. I would like to! What really awesome, mind-blowing, must-recommend-it-to-everyone books did you read in June?