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Author Archive: "Chelsea Cain"

Haunted Places

I am in Iowa City. I'm staying at my aunt and uncle's house and it is freezing. They heat with wood. Like people who don't have forced heat. But they do have forced heat. They just don't use it. Last night I was telling my uncle about a friend my husband and I stayed with in England who ground her own coffee. Like, literally. She had this metal canister with a crank on top and she ground her coffee by turning the crank by hand.

"This will just take twenty-five minutes," she told us the first morning we sat waiting (after a transcontinental flight, still wearing our British Airways socks), mugs in hands.

I waited for the punch line. "You're kidding," I said.

"It's delicious," she said. "Far better than electric ground coffee."

Really? It is THAT much better? (I am one of those people who need coffee in the morning. Right now.)

She cranked away happily. "It's very peaceful," she said. "Meditative."

I wanted to murder her. Like actually cause blood to come out of ...

Fun with Flying

You know those toilets they have in airports that flush automatically?

I just used one in the Denver airport and it flushed while I was sitting on it. I shifted a millimeter and it thought I had gotten up and it flushed, spraying my own pee all over my vagina. I lunged forward and had to wait in half-squat a good eight seconds while the toilet finished its flush cycle and I could sit down again.

I am currently on a commuter flight from Denver to Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and I just shifted my computer at an angle so the woman next to me can't see that I typed the word "vagina." Great. Now it's in quotation marks and just stands out more.

Maybe she is a gynecologist.

Oh, God. She's knitting. She's actually starting to knit. She's good, too. It appears to be a very complicated sweater.

It's fun flying next to writers. My husband and I once sat next to a college-age girl on a plane. It was her, him, then me at the window. She was writing in her notebook and she kept looking up at me and ...

Sentimental Wine

I am trying to finish a whole bottle of wine before I fly to Iowa City tomorrow to read at a great bookstore called Prairie Lights. It's my responsibility, the wine. It's 2005 Cameron Arley's Leap pinot noir, which I opened recklessly last night. The wine is from my friend Laura, who had it delivered with a bag of Hershey's kisses when my thriller Heartsick hit the bestseller list last month. (Laura lives in New Jersey, or, as she likes to say, New York.) Laura and I went to grad school together in Iowa City, and this is pretty much what we lived on. There are two half-truths in that sentence.

a. When I say that I went to grad school in Iowa City, people often assume that I went to the famed writers' workshop MFA program at the University of Iowa. I didn't. I got a master's in journalism. Sometimes I do not expound on this. Is it my fault if people get the wrong impression?

b. We did not live on Cameron pinot. We lived on 1994 Napa Ridge ...

Death Watch: Day Two

I am still in bed, but there is less phlegm hacking, which is promising. This is good because I head out on book tour for Heartsick again tomorrow. It is bad because my husband is having to take care of our almost-three-year-old daughter while I'm sick, and will have to take care of our almost-three-year-old daughter when I'm gone, and I think he's getting testy.

Best part of being a writer: penning medical blogs for Powell's. Worst part of being a writer: having to tell my toddler that I can't play with her because I'm working. Keep in mind that working consists of me at home with a laptop on my lap sitting on the couch. It doesn't look like working. I don't have a hammer or anything.

When she was one-and-a-half, my daughter would point at every laptop she saw and say, "Mama." Heartbreaking.

Now she thinks that I sign books for a living. Literally, that I go out to bookstores, sign books, and that people pay me for this. This comes from the fact that when I take her out to readings with me (I don't let her ...

To Swallow or Spit Phlegm

HeartsickI am writing this from my sick bed, which is the fulfillment of a childhood dream of mine. It started when my mother gave me a copy of Robert Louis Stevenson's book of poems, A Child's Garden of Verses. The poems were inspired by his daydreams as a sickly boy stuck in bed, with only his toy soldiers (and a legion of servants and nurses) to keep him company. Add a color TV with a remote, and it seemed pretty okay to me.

Then there was Clara. You remember her? Heidi's friend? Clara had it pretty good, sickly, the center of her family's attention, until Heidi took her up to play with Peter and Grandfather and the goats. A little mountain air, and Clara was cured. She was happy in the moment, sure, but what about when she got back to town and realized that all her nurses had been fired? That she would have to get off her ass and go to school?

There is a downside to being sick,


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