Spain, London, Dali, and cupcakes!

Ahoy there!

It’s your favorite neighborhood author with what's been tickling my senses this merry month of March.

This month I was lucky enough to spend time in a 14th century Spanish castle and London, which I’d heard about in Downton Abbey. My Spanish jaunt was to attend the inaugural Rocaberti Castle Writers’ Retreat, a 6-day residency that matched writers with industry mentors to strengthen our craft and careers. I was paired with esteemed film producer Juliet Blake (The 100-Foot Journey), a wonderfully wise, generous, hilarious woman. Apart from the rambling, sun-drenched castle itself, the bestest Sight in Spain was the fantastic Dali Museum in nearby Figueres. If find yourself in Barcelona, it’s well worth the 2-hour drive north. As well as many of Dali’s paintings and sculptures, it also features a sizable collection of the man's insane jewelry, which was equally beautiful and unsettling (look Ma, they’re tiny hands!). Dali selected the stones and designed his pieces, which feature his trademark sensuous lips, soft clocks and otherworldly beasts. The piece pictured is called The Living Flower, 1959. 

Onto London! I scooted over to Ol Blighty and after a mad dash through Heathrow was able to catch the tail end of the Spring Bloggers Event in the Simon & Schuster UK offices, wherein four of my fellow authors talked up their new tomes to the people who secretly run the publishing industry. It was supergreat to jump on the tailend of this (the bloggers’ goody-bags had the first three chapters of The Regulars slipped in), but just as exciting was the stacks of theme cupcakes. I smashed a few in lieu of dinner: they were the creation of local cupcake hotspot Crumbs & Doilies, who are famous for everything from Lavender Caramel to Mexican Hot Chocolate to Buttered Popcorn (like what!?). Their Instagram is basically cupcake porn: follow at your own risk.

Keeping me company on my travels this month was one of my favorite podcasts, Throwing Shade. Hosted by two Californian (via Texas) comedians, Erin Gibson and Bryan Safi, this weekly podcast is a lucid, lewd, laugh-out-loud-funny skewering of current issues and scandals affecting women and gay folk (of which I’m both!). Well, that’s the pitch: the gold here is listening to these wonderful nutbags going on improv-y rants that are equally surreal, sharp and just so hilarious. In a Trump-soaked ‘Murica, it’s very comforting to hear two people make fun of the idiotic, small-minded jerks and their dumb laws that threaten my visa-invoked freedom. For some recent classic Shade, check out episode 218; I dare you to listen to their 15-minute David Daleiden bit with a straight face.