Thursday, December 6, 2012

Entangled in Mistletoe--Winter Wonderland Giveaway!

Sometimes life is like a red hot single, constantly repeated on country music radio. Work ran long, the guy won't call, and your dog died.

Luckily you've got something to life your spirits! Christmas, and the Entangled Under the Mistletoe bloghop.

My name's Aleah Barley, and I've had a country music kind of day so I'm going to keep it short and sweet.

It's X-mas (for x-rated) and you have a chance to enter my winter wonderland raffle!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Hostess, a love story...

I have never eaten a Twinkie.

Or a Snoball.

Or a Ding-Dong.

In this age of American excess—where obesity is fast becoming the norm and cancer clusters crop up like dandelions—Twinkies, and other associated products, have become a symbol of a bygone age. When calories went uncounted and no one bothered to read the ingredients.

While other companies updated their classic recipes with varying degrees of success (new Coke anyone?) Twinkies have remained largely the same. Sold in crinkly packaging with a heart on the front. What little change has occurred has been in the form of product diversification (100 Calorie Twinkie Bites! The same chemically dependent formula—now smaller—with the calorie count on the bag!)

Twinkies are sold in gas stations, convenience shops, and grocery stores all over the country. Two to a pack, perfect for grade school friends pooling their allowance or a young couple lounging under the stars, contemplating life, death, and all the fun stuff in between.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Girly Girls

As those of you who know me are probably aware, I have never been a girly girl.

The clothes, the skills, even the vocabulary to discuss 'girliness' all passed me by during my formative years. I never learned how to put on makeup, throw together an outfit, or do my hair.

I can do a French braid, but I'm talking really do hair. Smooth and fluffy like all the other girls.

Recently, I've been making more of an effort. I am trying.

But I'm not there yet.

So, if I sometimes do the wrong thing... wear the wrong color... have frizzy hair... laugh too loud.

It's not that I don't care. It's just that I'm not there yet.

Blog Redux

It has been pointed out by the cutest guy at the third middle school I attended (yes, third) that I haven't posted in a while.

Thanks, Clinton, I have been busy.

I promise to post more in the future. I love you all, and I leave you with the certain knowledge that right now at this very moment I am sticking out my tongue at you.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Eat Healthier! Be a Better Person! And, More Boring!

I've been dieting recently, or making a lifestyle choice, or something...

And I've come to the conclusion that it's boring. Really boring.

Vegetables are something you eat while reading analyst reports on the widget market (anyone know what a widget really is?).

To really read a romance novel you need some mac and cheese, a pulled pork sandwich, and mashed sweet potatoes.

For serious.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Rustic Red Pepper Pesto

So, instead of writing (write, damn it!) I've been working on putting food away for the winter ala Laura Ingalls Wilder. She was a writer!

Today's task, Rustic Red Pepper Pesto.

It's 'rustic' because I don't have a food processor, which requires chopping by hand.

So, roasted red peppers (rubbed in olive oil and salt then stuck in the oven at 400 degrees for like half an hour)! Basil! Walnuts! Garlic! Salt and pepper!

Cut it up in small portions with a sharp knife, add some olive oil, party like rock stars!

Why aren't I giving you more specific directions? Because everybody likes their pesto a little bit different. Mine is garlic heavy and totally yummy.

Tip: I cut up the garlic, walnut, and basil first and mixed it all together. Then I added handfuls to chopped red peppers. That way I knew what was going on. I ended up with a little too much garlic, walnut, and basil mixture so I used some of yesterday's roast cherry tomatoes to make a roast cherry tomato and red pepper pesto to!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Five Tips For Writing On a Saturday Morning

1. Stop fantasizing about the farmers market. Go!

Wait--that won't help you get any writing done. Stop fantasizing about the farmers market. Go, and get back really fast!

2. Make sure you have plenty of coffee!

I failed the second step this morning. Drat. Must go out and get coffee, maybe they'll have it at the farmer's market.

3. Make sure you've done your dishes.

They're staring at me right now. They want me. They need me....
Never mind, this is a bad tip.

4. Make sure there wasn't a major political announcement before you got out of bed.

Paul Ryan? Really? Someone thought he'd be a good vice president? Whether or not the man's qualified, he's a lightning rod for controversy who caters to a base Romney already has! I feel like screaming at the television!


New 4. Don't turn on the television. Even if the political world is going crazy.

5. Write!

Put your fingers on the keyboard and write something, anything, even if it's just five whacky tips for writing on a Saturday morning!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Tangy Baked Nectarines with Greek Yogurt

Ok, here's my seriously yummy dessert for the day:

Nectarine cut in half, drizzled with honey, almonds, and bits of fresh ginger. Baked at 350 degrees for fifteen minutes. Served on a quarter cup of greek yogurt with a drizzle of honey.



Friday, July 27, 2012

Real Food Day 1

Okay, they say the best way to start a new eating regime is to tell people about it... so I'm going to overshare.

Ha ha! You think I eat breakfast?

Quinoa salad with apples and almonds

Corn tortilla and hummus

Corn tortilla, spinach, tomato, bell pepper, cheddar, greek yogurt, olive oil

Also, lots and lots of tea.

Maybe I'll have some more tea before going home to bed.

It has been pointed out to me that I'm not *really* giving up sugar because I'm not giving up fresh fruit. I have one thing to say to that: too bad, not gonna happen, never, nada, you'll pry my raspberries from my cold dead hands.

Olympic Ceremony FTW

Yes, I love everything about the olympics. I love the athletics, the togetherness, the trivia, and the spectacle.

No, I am not obsessed.

Yes, twitter kicked me off for writing too many tweets in too little time..........

But come on! It's the opening ceremony!

And the thing still hasn't been lit yet!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Food Challenge

As many of you have figured out, this blog isn't just about writing. It's about all the crazy stuff that's happened to me since I moved to Detroit!

As many of you also know, Detroit is a notorious food desert.

And, as all of those who actually know me know... I'm crazy for any food that's sugary, fried, sauteed in butter, and generally bad for you... so... I haven't been eating the best (unless by 'best' you mean world's best french fries and bernaise sauce at Cliff Bell's while listening to live music).

Which leads me to the challenge. My cousin Carmen--the best personal trainer in Reno, Nevada--is doing this thing called the '90 Day Challenge' where she proves she's a better--or at least healthier--person than me. She's inspired me to do something about my own fitness.

So, here's the deal: I'm going gluten free, sugar free, and processed meat free.

I'm not giving up coffee. I love coffee. I need coffee. Coffee's good for me. It prevents senility in women. I'm a woman. Ok, I'm only 23... so I'm probably not going senile anytime soon... but still. I'm also not giving up tea. Some things are just too important.

I'm going to concentrate on the finer things in life, like whole grains and whole foods. I'm not going to eat anything whose ingredients I don't know, don't understand, or can't pronounce.

And, while I'm doing it, I'm still going to have the energy to write kick ass novels about falling in love.

Tonight's Meal:

After getting home from work I made myself a snack of hummus, corn tortillas, greek yogurt, and salsa. Otherwise known as yum, double yum, unfortunately I was so busy 'yumming out' on snack it turned into dinner. Oops. At least I got some protein.

Dessert will be fresh raspberries and maybe some more greek yogurt. I'll either have tea or seltzer water.

Monday, July 16, 2012

What to do next?

I've decided to concentrate on romantic suspense for the moment (although I've got 50 shades of angels and demons kicking around my head) and I'm trying to decide whether to concentrate on

1) A more traditional mystery (a billionaire hedge fund manager asks a private investigator to pretend to be his girlfriend while protecting him from a mysterious enemy)
2) A madcap comedy of errors mystery (a woman finds a dead guy in the trunk of her car, and then her super hot paintball rival finds it too)
3) A more traditional romance with suspense elements (new girl in town, hot guy, light suspensiness, circus, think Welcome To Temptation with elephants).

At the moment, I'm just kind of between things and unsure of what to work on next, which is a part of the process I usually enjoy. But, I'm also at a work retreat in northern michigan in the most beautiful lodge you've ever seen with daily activities that end at four (instead of the usual six thirty) so if I know what to work on I could--theoretically--get a lot done.

Summertime in Northern Michigan

Okay, as a raging liberal I hate to admit I occasionally listen to Kid Rock (Detroit's favorite son). However, there is that one song that's been played on every radio station... ever... for the past year or so... about northern michigan.

Here I am in Northern Michigan, and I've got to say, 'Damn, it's beautiful.'

Seriously, you should be here with me, looking out at the lake and listening to the birdies. Okay, I'm mostly listening to the rain, but still...

Northern Michigan. It's a place.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Okay, Detroiters, should I join the YMCA or the Yacht Club?

Okay, so as someone who is younger than many other people it turns out that the Yacht Club would only cost me forty dollars a month. I don't know how much the YMCA costs in Detroit, but previous experience leads me to believe that it costs around forty dollars a month.

All I want is a pool, which the yacht club has.

The yacht club also has a dining room, which I might use, and social events, which I'd probably attend in an attempt to attend more social events of any kind.

The YMCA has exercise classes, which I might use.

Does anyone have personal experience with either of these things?

Detroit Needs A Writers Room

I've been bouncing from coffee shop to coffee shop all morning, trying to find a place to write that wasn't too loud, too crowded, or too pretentious. Or all three! (I'm looking at you Astro's Coffee!)

I can't concentrate. So, I've come to the conclusion that Detroit needs a writer's room, ala, everywhere else in the universe. Seriously, writer's rooms are a thing.

Space is cheap in Detroit. Any old warehouse/office building/castle will do! We just need a couple of desks, some dedicated internet, a great coffee maker, and an industrial printer.

Questions? Comments? Anyone want to do this with me?


Friday, June 22, 2012

So, Michigan...

What do people think about Detroit as a setting?


I've been doing polls around the internet, asking people what their favorite settings are. No one has mentioned Michigan. I know, shocking.

Anyone interested in reading about a couple meeting at Campus Martius for live music (like there was last night) or grabbing drinks at Grand Trunk.

I can't think of a more romantic setting than Cliff Belle's. 


Saturday, June 16, 2012

Pretty Amy Critique Giveaway--Or, I'm a sucker for a raffle

Okay Lisa Burstein's having a nifty giveaway (ctitiques, gift certificates, stuffed parrots) and one of the things you can do to "earn" entries is blog about it, which I'm doing.

Yeah. I'm a sucker for a raffle.

I bought ten tickets at the District 13 Michigan democrats caucus the other day. I could have won a flag, but I didn't. I could have spent the money on my own flag, but I didn't. I could have bought coffee, but instead I drank the stuff I had their. It was tragic.


Check out the Lisa Burstein thing:

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Reasons I love my new desk

I got an awesome desk on Monday. Woohoo! 
I got it from someone at work. She's not my boss, but she's someone's boss, and she's moving soon... so, she offered to sell me some furniture!

When we were talking about the furniture she described it as midcentury modern. I absolutely love midcentury modern, but this desk is not midcentury modern. I'd call it a midcentury craftsman knockoff, but it's made out of hardwood and it's small enough to fit in my apartment.

So, reasons I love my desk:

1. Hardwood.

2. It gives me a dedicated place to write. I will be more productive.

3. It will double (badly) as a table in my teeny-tiny apartment.

4. There are built in bookshelves on the back (hence the craftsman part). How cool is that?


5. The top is smooth and only about eighteen inches wide, so when my cat tries to stretch out on it he falls off. I had some stuff on top until about an hour ago. Since I cleared the top, he's fallen off three times.

I love my cat.

And, I really love this desk.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Land in Detroit

Ok, I've had some feedback on this whole 'threatening to buy a house thing.'

People think I'm joking.

They don't realize that I live in Detroit, where houses cost less than cars.


It's not the best neighborhood, but it's walking distance to work.

If you think it's a little small there's always:


Okay, those last two cost more than my car, but you get the idea.

Detroit, thoughts?

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Come live with me in Detroit

Friends, relations, nominal readers of my blog! I know you're all wondering why I've gathered you here today.

It's because I love this great city I live in (Detroit), and I think it could use some new blood.

So, here's the deal.

You agree to move here (because you love me), and I'll buy a house. You'll pay me small rent, I'll pay the mortgage. We'll all be happy.

Take me up on this offer.


I'll buy a house.

Thursday, June 7, 2012


It's a beautiful day outside. I wish I was out there. Instead, I'm in here... writing. Or, I'm supposed to be.


Sunday, June 3, 2012

Brunch in Detroit

Detroit is known for its rockin' music and rollin' cars.

It's also known for brunch. Most restaurants have one, from the Coney Islands (ask me what a coney island is, I dare you) to Cliff Belle's (an upscale jazz club). Unfortunately, there is a down side to brunch. It doesn't open until eleven (ten thirty if you're lucky). What's a girl to do if she's awake at eight o'clock on a Sunday morning?

Make her own damn breakfast.


Want brunch. Want it in the morning.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Check out Too Hot to Handle's SEXY New Cover!

Detroit: What to Say?

First off, this is a writing blog. Or a reading blog. Still not sure, but it's got books in the title.

On the other hand, the blog posts that have been viewed most often are all about Detroit. I live in Detroit. I love Detroit. I'm willing to talk about Detroit a lot. I can say things like: Slow's Barbecue, Wayne State University, United Auto Workers, Indian Village, Corktown, and Mexicantown. I can even say (gulp) People Mover.

But, while everyone's paying attention to my blog because they also love Detroit... they should totally check out my novel. Too Hot to Handle.

Sure, it's set in Los Angeles, but it's got cars in it! Detroit! Motor City! Cars! Read the book!

Now, a question for the audience: should I write a book set in Detroit?

I Want to Be Robert B Parker

Okay, I know that I'll never be Robert B Parker.

First of all, I'm not a dead guy from Boston.

On the other hand, I could write like Robert B Parker. Crisp clean prose, literary references, and addictive mysteries.


Thursday, May 31, 2012

Things to do in Detroit if your day truly sucks...

Okay, so my latest revisions of my latest manuscript were returned by my editor. With constructive criticism, but no 'Yay, it's awesome, I totally want it' sentence. Which makes me feel kind of bad, but I totally understand.

Or, I did understand until I got into the parking lot and discovered that some idiot had scraped up against my front bumper. On my brand new-to-me car.

Now I'm not okay with anything.


Luckily, I have fancy cheese, Seinfeld reruns on TV, and a cat the size of a hippopotumus to keep me company.

Any other suggestions?

Tuesday, May 29, 2012


Sorry I haven't posted in a while. I've been busy. I was a bridesmaid in a wedding, in a cave, on a mountain, in ohio, with no cell phone reception. Now I'm back! Woohoo! Detroit! Also, I have the day off work, and it's raining. Boo.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Crepes in Detroit!

So, today I decided to take myself out to breakfast someplace awesome.

Awesome in Detroit can be hard to find, unless you're looking for hunks of fatty meat torn out of iron boned elephants and burnt over an open fire, or amazing middle eastern food.

So here I am at 'Good Girls Go to Paris.'

So far, incredi-awe-mazing!

Friday, May 18, 2012


I love living in downtown Detroit!

There are freaking fireworks outside my window!

They've got to be less than five hundred feet away!

Holy moly!


Real fireworks!

I can't find my phone or else I'd take a picture!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Too Hot to Handle!

Too Hot to Handle--Buy it Now on Amazon!

Hey everyone! Giving the craziness that is online publishing it only makes sense that my book got to one platform before the others (coming later today), and given the obsession with which I kept looking for it... um... it only makes sense that I found it on Amazon before it was on B&N or even my publishers website.

Crickets chirping while I turn red with embarrasment.

In any case, here it is! Too Hot to Handle! Go buy it! Only, I don't want to seem pushy, so look at the super awesome cover, read the nifty blurb, and then... go buy it!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Best Muffler Place in Detroit

My car's exhaust system went wonky last week. By 'wonky' I mean entirely too loud for words.  It was the exhaust pipe, and there was no crossing my fingers and hoping it would go away.

I called the fancy auto shop over in Grosse Pointe. They claimed not to fix exhaust pipes. Which was less than helpful. They gave me the number of a muffler shop they recommend, but when I called that number no one answered... on a Saturday morning. Which was even less than less than helpful.

Enter the internet. I found a place with good reviews--multiple good reviews--and I called them up. I was like 'holler, I've got this problem. Do you think you can fix it?' and they were like 'Who knows, we rarely take the word of somebody's random friend, but it bring it down and we can take a look at it right now.' And I was like 'Sweet!' (In this creative retelling I'm clearly stuck in the nineties). So, I hopped in my car and drove up to Six Mile.

Mild digression, for those of you who don't know, Detroit has all these streets called 'miles' that are based on how many miles they are away from some park. Or something.

Six Mile looked pretty good to me. Cute, working class, well kept bungalows, and a nifty muffler place. I parked, went in, and the woman behind the counter's jaw dropped: 'You're not from this neighborhood, are you?'

Admittedly, it was Saturday and I was dressed in my Saturday clothes (yay, saturday!). Blue jeans, converses, a shiny blue LLBean backpack with the name 'Scarlett' embroidered on it (if you go to LLBean outlets you can get monogrammed stuff that people returned really really really cheap), and a wine red cut off t-shirt with a screen print of a dandelion on the front. Oh, and my ray-bans. My Saturday clothes totally blend in a Massachusetts college town, but Detroit's a different world.

After admitting (gulp) that I lived Downtown, I gave the woman the okay to fix my car and asked her if there was a place nearby where I could get coffee while I waited. 'Coffee?' Yep, it was Saturday morning and I'd gone to the muffler place before eating breakfast. Coffee was necessary. She stared at me, eyes wide, for a few minutes before finally admitting that there was a waffle shop down the street and a coney island next door.

Another mild digression, 'coney island' is Detroit for 'diner.' Except, diner's fluctuate in price and relative excellence. Coney islands are universally cheap and greasy.

Off I went, next door to the coney island. Cheap coffee, two eggs, and corned beef hash, all for under six bucks. I sat at the counter and talked to the regulars, old guys who used to work in auto plants. It was fun. I love talking to old guys in diners coney islands.

The muffler place did great work in less time than they'd estimated. I had a nifty breakfast. All in all, it was a pretty good Saturday morning (well, I had to pay for the car repair--which isn't cheap--but still).

I got back downtown and told a friend I'd gone up to six mile to get my car fixed. His jaw dropped. His eyes went wide. 'Six mile? How the hell did you find a muffler place on six mile?'

My Cat Has Crazy Pants

My cat has crazy pants, and I'm not talking about the denim jeans he's currently crouched on malevolently... staring at me... eating the pocket.

For those of you about to ask, I didn't leave anything in the pocket.

Still, those are not his crazy pants. My cat is part Maine Coon, a breed for being moody and enormous. He's also part Siamese, a breed known for being incredibly loud, moody, and too smart for their own good. Whoever let a Maine Coon and a Siamese breed should be forced to listen to a cat racing around their studio apartment at five in the morning...

Wearing his crazy pants.

Oh, wait, must go, it's one of his three minutes a day to be friendly and I don't want to miss it.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Writing and rewriting.

I'm feeling frustrated today. I've been working on my craft, doing the whole bit. And I feel like I'm not improving at the rate I would hope. Sigh.

I'm sure other people get the exact same frustration sometimes, which is why I am reaching out.

Comments? Questions? Suggestions?

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Today I Was A Grown Up

I got my car fixed today by a frabjous (shout out to Lewis Carrol) muffler place up at 6 Mile today. It made me feel so grown up, and then it made me feel so broke!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012


It's a beautiful day in downtown Detroit and I'm outside in the sunlight. On days like this you forget about the rain and the crime rate. The weather's great. The people are friendly and the sky is blue.

Seinfeld reruns

I was supposed to wrote last night. I really was. Instead, I watched seinfeld reruns and ate guacamole. It was awesome.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

This is becoming a regular feature! Manuscript roundup!

1. Too Hot to Handle is coming out in May. Too Hot to Handle is coming out in May! Too Hot to Handle is coming out in May! Make room on your Nook, Kindle, or IPad because Too Hot to Handle is coming out in May!

2. Pop Star has been edited and resubmitted. Yay! Progress on my part!

3. I'm in the process of editing my Las Vegas suspensiness!

4. Billionaire's Baby Surprise is done! Finished! Finito! Everybody has personal goals. They have professional goals. Their political and professional goals clash. Drums sound. Horns play. (Okay, I'm making up that nonsense about the drums and the horns). It ends with big gestures on everyone's part, and the band plays. (Again, there is no band at the end of the BBS).

5. Stuff.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The Geographic Necessity that is Detroit.

When I say that I live in Detroit, I mean inside the city limits, wayne county, I can use the giant scoreboard from Comerica park as a nightlight.

So, I'm being pretty freaking geographically specific when I use the word 'Detroit.' For instance, I do not mean Royal Oak, Dearborn, Novi, Troy, Grosse Pointe (Grosse Pointe Park, Grosse Pointe Woods, Grosse Pointe Pain-In-The-Butt), or Toledo.

I am willing to consider the inclusion of Hamtramck and Highland Park into my concept of Detroit because, well, duh, but other than that... if you can catch a Smart bus at any time of day then you should probably start telling people you live in south eastern Michigan.

Not Detroit.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Cajun Food

Ok, boys and girls, I've found my new favorite takeout place. Halfway between my work and my home. Cajun food. It's not the best cajun food in the world, but--let's be clear--I live in Detroit. Which means that it's the best cajun food for eight hours.

The only other great ethnic food I've been able to find around here is middle eastern. Best middle eastern food ever.

Have you ever seen the rain...

Seriously, it's raining in Detroit.

I've been cold and wet for two straight days, and I can't wear my new cute shoes.


Wednesday, April 25, 2012


Last night was supposed to be the night I got within striking distance of done on my current WIP. Instead I went out with a friend and had too much fun.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Idea Round Up

Ah ha! I'm actually writing for once. Writer's block officially over!

Having said that, writer's block will once again descend from the shadows like an antique monster preparing to suck my brain out through my ears and devour it.

Since I'm actually writing, I'm also getting ideas for new novels. Here they are in brief:

1. A road trip, sexual wish list, friends to lovers, good time romp.

2. Two sequels to a manuscript I'm currently editing for resubmission. A series on small town mystery and some hell-raising sisters. (But not literally, it's not fantasy. Although that would also be cool. 'Hell-raising sisters').

3. A sequel to the Billionaire's Baby Surprise. A traditional secretary dating the boss. He asks her to help him find a wife, so he can be made a partner at work. Etc. Etc. Etc.

Questions? Comments? Laughter?

Bite me.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Life, Liberty, and a Resonably Priced Laptop

Ode to a computer

There once was a laptop from mac
Used often with writing attack
Its beauty supreme
Made it a queen
That beautiful laptop from mac.

Shut up people who say 'supreme' and 'queen' don't rhyme. It's called consonance.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Forty Five Thousand Words!

I made it to Forty five thousand words today on the BBS. Usually I write much faster than this, but I've been working on other things, rewriting, etc. Also, real work... sigh... still, forty five thousand words! Plus, I've got chapters plotted all the way to the end so I KNOW WHAT IS GOING TO HAPPEN.

For those of you named Ruth (you know who you are) there is intentionality, growth, and archy-ness. Everybody has a goal. There is WOE. Also, great personal sacrifice.


Ok, so it's a very traditional romance of the surprise pregnancy/sleeping with someone you're working with genre, but traditional does not mean bad. It's all fast paced (hopefully), clever (hopefully), and funny (god, I hope).

My next landmark is fifty thousand words, and if the plan is right (please, oh please) then the end goal should be somewhere in sight at around fifty eight thousand words. (Wedding scene or baby scene? Or are both of those too pat?)

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Indian Food in Detroit

Ok, people, here's the rundown.

I love Indian food. It's my favorite kind of ethnic food--unless we're counting tidewater ethnic in which case it's blue crabs and Old Bay.

You can't get Indian food in Detroit. As far as I can tell, you can't really get Indian food anywhere in the Detroit metro area. You can get Indian food in Windsor. Canada. Yes it's just across the river. I could swim there. But it's also another country... and I hear that a strong undertow means that I shouldn't be swimming across the river.

I do have an enhanced driver's license. I could go to Canada anytime I want, but does it make sense to travel internationally because I want Indian food?

Better question, does it make sense to travel internationally for Indian Food if you're not traveling to INDIA?

Canada. Really?

Saturday, April 14, 2012

My Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

I'm having a bad day. A very bad day. A no good, very bad day.

With apologies to Judith Vorst and Alexander, I'm having a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.

I had to work all day, but I liked that. There were donuts, lots of people, and free pizza for lunch. Unfortunately, after lunch I was going to cut out early to do my taxes... and discovered that I'd lost my keys. A helpful person told me that they'd seen someone throwing them away... so then I went through every trash can in the building.

And found my keys underneath all the donuts and free pizza.

When I finally left work... not early... I drove back to town. I was going to stop at a coffee shop on the way home, but I couldn't find a spot. I finally found a spot. But maybe it was illegal, so after walking into the coffee shop I walked back out and got back in my car. I then went to the second coffee shop on my list of coffee shops to try out.

It wasn't the atmosphere I wanted, but I bought coffee anyway.

I then went to get tacos. They were good tacos, but I hit the world's largest pothole on the way out. World's largest.

Now I'm home. It's seven o'clock, and I still haven't done my taxes. I'm not going to do my taxes. I'm going to sit here and mope while my cat licks taco juice off my fingers.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Finally Wrote Something!

Damn straight. I've been editing stuff so much, I haven't actually had time to write anything. This morning I hit forty two thousand words on the Billionaire's Baby Surprise! Woo hoo!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

What's low on the ends and high in the middle?

Ohio. Or, a pot smoking show chorus.

I'm in the Ohio countryside. There are fields. And cows. And occasionally you can see--

Hey look a tree!

Hotel Rooms

A king sized bed that someone else is going to make.

Cable on television that I don't have to pay for.

Free WiFi (someone finally gets it!)

And a continental breakfast waiting for me downstairs.


Monday, April 9, 2012

Manuscript Roundup!

1. Final edits done (maybe done?) on Too Hot to Handle

(Let me pause for a little woo hoo!)

Woo Hoo!

2. Editing plan done on manuscript to Dead Sexy, waiting for feedback.

3. Editing done and manuscript resubmitted to Indulgence.

4. I'm working on The Billionaire's Baby Surprise! Yay me! I've been so busy recently that I haven't written anything. Wrote six hundred words this morning.

(Get ready for another woo hoo!)

Woo Hoo!

5. Plus... I bought a car. I know that this news is in no way related to manuscripts. I don't care. It's exciting. A car! It's shiny. A 2005 Pontiac Vibe. Manual Transmission.

(Can we all do it together now?)

Woo Hoo!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Writers Conferences

In an attempt to have a social experience--any social experience--I just went to RWA's website and looked up writers' conferences.

There's one upcoming in Chicago, great speakers, looks like fun, sold out.

What about the one in Michigan? I'd have to decide by tomorrow in order to make the registration date, and it's on a golf course. I'm not getting the all inclusive vibe from a golf course. What can I say? I'm allergic to putting greens.

Maybe I'm trying to schedule stuff too soon. Forget April. It's a lost month. Forget May. They're all really far away or happening the same weekend that I'm supposed to be a bridesmaid. What about June?

There's a conference in June! In Wisconsin! Wisconsin's just the next state over.

For those of you who don't know, here's a short geography lesson. There's a big--freaking--lake in between Michigan and Wisconsin. Some people might even call it a Great Lake. Stupid shifting of tectonic plates combined with glacial erosion.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

New Word vs. Old Word

Word up, dude!

What's with Microsoft and Google? They keep updating their software (word and gmail) in ways that are supposed to make them more user friendly but just result in pissing me off. I liked old gmail. I love old word. I refuse to update from a perfectly user friendly program to a version with big dumb icons that are supposed to be intuitive.

News flash: They're not intuitive.

Words are intuitive. Reading is intuitive. Big dumb icons just add to the confusion.

And that's what I'm not getting New Word. (In this case 'New Word' is any word post 2007.) That is all. The end.

That's Right Folks! I Have A Car!

Okay, people. I know I haven't posted in a while. I've been busy.

I bought a car. A real car. A shiny car. A 2005 Pontiac Vibe. Silver. Manual transmission.

I drove my car. I've put a hundred miles on my Vibe since I bought it Thursday. (Wow, my friend's right. That does sound dirty.) I drove around the dealership practicing the manual transmission. I drove home. I drove to Ikea last night, and I drove back.

Ikea. Land of well-priced contemporary furniture and meatballs. I love Ikea.

I bought a couch. It's gray (in the hope that the car hair will just blend in)! I also bought a rug and an electric drill.

I have yet to drive my couch anywhere. But, it'll be a fun ride when I finally get the chance!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Things I Could Buy With One Month's Insurance For A New Car

Having priced car insurance in Detroit, I've decided that it's time to make a list. The title is pretty self explanatory.

Things I Could Buy With One Month's Insurance For a New Car:

1. Two months rent on my apartment

2. a 1998 Oldsmobile Intrigue--sure its from 1998 but it only has 130,000 miles on it.

3. First class round trip tickets to Los Angeles

4. Ten days at the Marriott in Detroit

5. A new Macbook Air

6. This house in Detroit

7. This house in Detroit

8. Most of this house in Detroit

9. A bunch of other houses in Detroit

10. This house in Detroit and a new IPod

So, I'm not getting a new car. Might get a house though.

* Average quoted price. AAA was a little lower.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Sales Fantasies

Okay, folks, listen up!

I'm revising all previous fantasies. I don't want a castle, though I would like a little house. Really, what I want is to sell enough books to be able to afford car insurance in Detroit.

A castle would be cheaper.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Truth is Stranger than Fiction

I spent the entire month picking out a car.

A new shiny car.

A Chevy Sonic.

New cars are expensive--extremely expensive--but I did not care. The Sonic is one of the cheapest cars on the road, and I got a relatively good price. After three separate test drives I put down a deposit on one in Cyber Gray Metallic with a nice stereo system.

I spent a lot of time picking out this car and going through the process--time when I could have been writing.

Then I started looking for insurance and I realized something. Technically, I recognized three things: (1) I'm a new driver, (2) I'm young, and (3) I live in Downtown Detroit. The cheapest car insurance I could find (and I called everywhere) was the same monthly price as my rent.

I can't write two checks like that.

So, new plan! No shiny new car! No pretty Chevy Sonic! No Cyber Gray Metallic! No small car that I felt comfortable driving in!

Nope, I'm going to buy the cheapest used Pontiac Vibe I can get my hands on and only insure it for liability. No comprehensive coverage. No collision. Nothing. Just minimum liability and a song in my heart.

My insurance will still cost twice what it should be, and I don't care. It'll be less than rent.

And, there you have it... truth is stranger than fiction!

Manuscript Rundown

Okay, folks, here it is:

1. Manuscript sold to Entangled's Indulgence line, finished with final edits, awaiting final approval and a cover quote. I don't know if I get to say who's doing the quote yet but it's never exciting!

2. Manuscript submitted to Indulgence and returned for edits before possible acceptance. I'm working my way through it. Although, I've spent most of this week trying to buy a car, so it's not going as fast as I'd like. Also, I'm getting a Chevy Sonic! Cyber Gray! WooHoo!

3. Manuscript out there in the ether hanging around at Dead Sexy. Getting positive preliminary comments, but I'm not sure what's going on with that.


4. Manuscript rejected by Harlequin.

They are my Aegean stable. The task that I cannot possibly complete.

In other news, The Billionaire's Surprise Baby is at forty thousand words--going slower than I'd like but still root-toot-tooting along.

Okay, that's done... does anyone have any thoughts on how to get the best price on car insurance?

Thursday, March 29, 2012

New Car!

That's right, boys and girls! I'm getting a new car! My first car! My only car!


As of an hour ago I am the proud owner of an invoice for a Chevy Sonic in Cyber Gray Metallic.

Congratulate me.


Monday, March 26, 2012

Weekend Commitments

Sorry I haven't posted all weekend. I was in all day training Saturday and Sunday. I am now qualified to train others about doing non violent direct action, so if anyone feels a yen to have a sit in then call me.

Unfortunately, that means I didn't get much writing done either. I only wrote two thousand words, which admittedly is two thousand words more than I had before. It's just nowhere near my goal cor the weekend.

Additionally, I looked in my closet and realized that when I moved I did not, bring any hooded sweatshirts. So, I had to go buy one from the bar downstairs. It has the bar's name on the front: the dirty trick. There's a skeleton playing poker on the back. And, now I'm ready to go to tonight's hoodie March. Everyone else should find one near you and go. If you have no idea what I'm talking about then comment and I'll explain.


Saturday, March 24, 2012

A slight digression... or obsession... about cars

Okay, I can't decide whether to get a new car or a used car.

If I get a used car what kind of car should it be? A Pontiac G8 or a Chevy Cobalt?

If I get a new car what kind of car should it be? A Chevy Sonic or a Ford Focus?

Questions? Comments? Thoughts of any kind?

Friday, March 23, 2012

Book Sales and Fantasies

In a previous post someone (shout out to Ruth) asked whether I would buy a Dodge SuperBee if my novel made buckets of money.


I'm kind of in love with the 66 Mustang right now, and the Charger--- but I digress.

If I earned buckets of money I'd go someplace awesome on vacation. I'd buy an Eames rosewood lounge chair. I'd try out fancy restaurants and stop sitting in the gods at concerts.

But first, I feel like I should take a page out of Sojourner Truth's book. Tue forward to be exact where she said (and I'm paraphrasing): 'Buy my book so I can buy a little house.'

Sojourner Truth's house is still standing in Florence, MA, and--as my mother loves to point out--it's not so little.

Here in Detroit a castle can cost less than a car, but if you're looking for a walkable neighborhood than the price goes up.

I've never wanted to live in a castle-- that's a lie.

Secretly I desperately want to live in a castle, or a school, or a church, or a giant county building thatooks like Wayne Manor, or any of the other bizarre property deals in Detroit.
But, imagine the cost of maintaining it.

My current desires are more modest and reasonable.

Buy my book so I can buy a little house.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Driving Test Scheduled!

I have a deep dark secret that I tell everyone.

I--Aleah Barley--do not drive.

I know, you're shocked, amazed, bowled over, but it's true. I write about cars, I read about cars, and I talk about cars until I'm blue in the face.

But, I'm still that person. The one person who lives in Motor City without a driver's license.

That should all change tomorrow at noon! Because, I just scheduled my road test.

Wish me luck!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Line Edits are Hard.

You ever read the original Cinderella?

The one where she's sitting in a fireplace picking peas and beans from the ashes. Sorting them into tiny piles.

That must be what it's like to be an editor. And, trust me, I don't want that job. There are some skills I just don't have, but I can appreciate them in others.

I am appreciating as hard as I can right now.

I just got my line edits back tonight, and--because I know that I've got a lot of stuff coming up at work--I'm trying to get through a big chunk of it tonight. Every other line has an edit, sometimes multiple edits on the same line, but I am appreciative.

I swear.

Thanks Ruth!

I made the mistake of leaving my computer alone with my cat. And this is what he wrote.

Title says it all. He thinks he's going to be the next Hemingway

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Submission Round Up Correction*

Okay, I just emailed with a bunch of people and updated my notes.

I have one manuscript submitted to Indulgence and one manuscript submitted to Harlequin.

My manuscript at Dead Sexy is provisionally accepted (they have to figure out who will be editing me/it).

My first novel's in for line edits.

I've got another complete that needs some editing before submission.

And, I'm thirty four thousand words into the Billionaire's Baby Surprise.

Then there's my real job...

This is definitely the year that's going to turn me into a babbling fool.

*I'm willing to admit when I'm wrong. Also, happy Terry Pratchett footnotes!

Submission Round Up

Okay, I just looked at my notes and things are moving right along.

I have one manuscript submitted to Indulgence, one manuscript submitted to Dead Sexy, and one manuscript submitted to Harlequin.

My first novel's in for line edits.

I've got another complete that needs some editing before submission.

And, I'm thirty two thousand words into the Billionaire's Baby Surprise.

Then there's my real job...

This could be the year that turns me into a babbling fool. Or, it could be the year where I become a successful human being.

Three guesses as to which one seems more likely.

It's too hot!

Trying to write in my small studio apartment is like trying to write in an oven... With hot water bottles (my cat and my computer) competing to sit on klmy lap.

It's sixty degrees here, but I'm in a fifth floor apartment with direct sunlight.

And I can't open the windows.

Some or you may find this ironic because two weeks ago I was complaining about my windows not closing.

Shut up.

My window is still open the two inches it wouldn't close, but that doesn't exactly help me get a breeze going. I chose a corner unit for the cross ventilation possibilities, damn it.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Got Up. Didn't Write.

I swear. I love the piece I'm working on. It's smart (I hope), funny (I hope), and so full of troops it would make even the most hardened editor smile. I just cUt seem to find the time to work on it.

So, this weekend is all about writing. Once I get home from work.

Next question for the multiverse, I've got a completed manuscript that I'm hanging onto because i want to write a linked book (can you call them squeals in category romance?).

Should I just send in the first one and say 'this is my idea for a second'?

Also, thank you everyone who' s following me! Now I don't feel like I'm talking into as much of a void. What could make this blog better?

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Beauty in Decay

When I tell people the location where I work they shudder. The mythology of Detroit allows every neighborhood to be the worst, and people who've never driven by tell me that the intersection is dangerous.



It's also beautiful, with big old houses, tree lined streets, and the river nearby. This old house magazine recommends it as a place to find a beautiful place for not slot of money.

What do you think?

If I could only remember...

You ever get the feeling that you've forgotten to do something?

You left home and maybe you didn't lock the door.

You know you showered but maybe you didn't wash your hair.

I do that all the time. One of the things I keep more careful track of is my writing submissions, so imagine my surprise when I emailed an editor to ask what the status of my submission was and she responded with 'eh... oops' (paraphrased).

I submitted in October.


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Writing rooms

Okay, I know this is slightly out there. I think that Detroit needs a writing room... Or two.

While I realize that writing rooms often occur in places with high rent where people don't have space to write in their apartments/can't afford an office. There are other benefits of belonging to a writing room, including a heightened sense of community, a place to take lessons/find a critique partner, and an attempt at professionalizing something that can often be done in your pajamas.
In addition, writing rooms provide a safe space to do interviews, a conference table for business meetings, and a place where you don't have to buy coffee every hour in order to justify your existence.

So, I exhort you, people with entrepreneurial spirit.

Come to Detroit.

Buy a building.

Rent a space.

Start a writers room, and i'll be your first member.

Come on. I need access to WiFi.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Top ten list of things to do while loitering on a bus corner in Detroit after dark.

1. Curse the bus system.

2. Imagine all the places they'll find pieces of your body.

3. Wish you were at home with a cat.

4. Listen to your stomach growl.

5. Curse Barnes and Noble for closing at 5.

6. Use up battery juice on your phone by writing a blogpost.

7. Eat drugstore candy.

8. Plot your next novel.

9. Plot revenge on your cat for stealing your socks.


10. Be utterly grateful to the guys who finally split a cab with you so you don't have to keep waiting for the bus. Thanks guys!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Rainy day blues...

It's raining in detroit, and the motor oil is running like blood in the street. Though in this city you never know.

With my current round of edits sent off to my editor, I'm stuck working on my next novel. (Working title oscillates between 'the billionaire's baby surprise' and ' unplanned pregnancy is okay if you have enough money for private school').

Only, I don't feel in the mood to write romance. Decisions, decisions. Power through and write about my devilishly handsome captain of industry and his clumsy one night stand/broke business partner, or start something puppy with lots of gore?

Questions? Comments?

Line Edits

I'm starting line edits, nyah, nyah, nyah.

I assume that means I'm getting near the end of the editing process.

Woohoo! (Does a little dance.)

On a slightly more tragic note, my glasses broke and I spent all day yesterday replacing them... and my sun glasses.

I like my new glasses.

I love my new sunglasses.

Unfortunately, it's raining.


Friday, March 9, 2012

Now for some writing news

You can tell that the bus came late when I have time to post two entries from my phone in the morning.

Anyway, I just got my first round edits back from Ruth over at Entangled. The woman's a genius editor, and laugh out loud funny when it comes to thinking of names. The current title is Too Hot to Handle, but that's not for lack of something sillier.

I love working at entangled so much that I've got a second submission in with them. Cross your fingers for good news.

And, on the 'still to be written' front, I've got a one night stand, boss-employee, billionaire playboy, accidental pregnancy, trope ridden manuscript on the back burner. (Just got back to where I was before I accidentally didn't save last weekend). Thirty two thousand words in (ok, thirty one thousand and a bit) and i still like the characters. WooHoo!

Bright skies and beautiful days

Ok, haters, this is just a heads up... Detroit in the morning is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. You can take New York and stuff it. We've got gorgeous architect designed buildings, some great art demo facades, and an impending renaissance that's supposed to take us out of the economic doldrums.

If we don't get taken over by an emergency manager first.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

How to find the time...

So, I recently signed a contract for my first novel "WORKING TITLE HERE" to be published by Entangled Publishing. About two weeks later I got an awesome new job and moved cross country to work many hours a day doing something ELSE that I love. I'm currently trying to finish edits for my first novel, submit my second novel for publication (cross your fingers), and finish work on something else entirely. Today my editor asked me if I knew any writers who could write cover comments for my novel. I don't know any writers at all, I barely have time to breathe let alone meet people in my field. Sigh. Shakes head. Wanders off looking confused.

Sunday, March 4, 2012


Yep, I did it. The dreaded 'do not save.' Slick move. I just lost four thousand words... and my entire weekend. Sigh

Sunday clothes

So, I have my itunes on shuffle. Right? And what should come up but,'out on your Sunday clothes' from the Barbara streisand movie Hello Dolly.

The basic premise is that you can't be blue dressed up in your (fancy) Sunday clothes.

I've been thinking something similar all morning. There's no way to be unhappy in my Sunday clothes. But, in my case Sunday clothes means a pair of black yoga pants and a sweatshirt advertising my third (but certainly not last) elementary school. The sweatshirt has a series of different brightly colored peace signs on a white background. Or, what used to ve a white background. It also has fifteen years of coffee stains and a cut off decline.

Dolly would be so disappointed.

Still, everytime I catch sight of my reflection in a mirror I'm reminded that there's "no blue Monday in my Sunday clothes."


It's a beautiful day in Detroit, Michigan, the sun is shining, people are walking around, and i'm stuck in my apartment writing. Not that I've written much. Today feels kind of useless, but i know that the instant I get back to work on Monday I'll have more ideas then I know what to do with.
Isn't that always the way?
In other news, I'm going to start my driving lessons today, and my cat's finally figured out a way to relax.
The best way.
With a good book.

Thursday, March 1, 2012


Today I sent out a major edit for a major edit... Which I'll probably have to so again.

I've come to the conclusion that editing is hard, and i need some tricks of the trade. So, big bad universe, what's the best way to edit?

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Foggy day blues

Today in Detroit the fog is thick enough to eat. Clothing the city in an otherworldly light. It doesn't sneak in ion delicate cat feet, to paraphrase sandberg. Instead, the fog is racing through the streets with all the force of a Wild Hunt. Foggy dogs leaping from lamp posts to building before descending--teeth bared--to the ground.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Three things I love about Detroit in the morning

Clogging in Tue morning may be the only way I get this done. (Guilty secret, I still haven't called for internet). But, It's a beautiful day in Detroit and i thought that I would start things off right with a list of things I love about Detroit in the morning.

1. The warm afterglow from the night before.
Last night I went out for a drink at The Dirty Truth, one of Detroit's best game night bars and a place where they totally don't mind if you just drink shelter and lime all night long. The bartender are friendly and so are the other patrons. After the Dirty Truth I got dinner near the university and it was fantastic. A pho-philly that gave you the warm feeling of a philly without the heaviness.

2. The coffee shop at 1515 Broadway.
The coffee's great. The foods cheap (which is a good thing if you're like me and haven't been grocery shopping in a while). And, the woman behind the counter is awesome. Totally friendly. Totally knowledgeable about all things Detroit.

3. The way the sunlight reflects off the river.
I dont personally have a view of the river, but I know that its there. So, I can occasionally catch a glimpse of it on my way to work.

Honorable mention... The Detroit public bus system. I have to hand it to them, they're a lot better than everybody says. They're how I get to work, and last week they would have made this list with a star. Yesterday, however, they let me down. I waited through three scheduled pick ups where no bus showed up before finally catching a cab. It will take them a while to get back on my good side.

Not on the list... A certain cat who thinks five in the morning is the perfect time for revielle.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Sunday Morning

Detroit, Michigan, home to the Tigers, bad Chinese food, and people who like to sleep in. Nothing happens here on Sundays until noon, so my cat decided to wake me up at five a.m.. Go figure.

In other news, I finished my first big round of edits yesterday and am back at work on my current piece 'The Billionaire's Baby Surprise,' which sounds so much better than 'unplanned pregnancy totally works if the guy has enough money to put it through private school.' Other possible titles 'The Billionaire's Bombshell Baby.' (I think surprise is way too overdone in romance titles).

Thoughts? Comments? Reactions?

Saturday, February 25, 2012

First Post!

Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears. I come to bury--

Wait, that's not right. Let me try again.

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered weak and weary--

Nope, it's a miracle if I'm still awake at midnight.

Call me Ishmael--

Not my name.

How about this: My name's Aleah. This is my blog.