Thursday, May 31, 2007

Once in a Blue Moon ...

//static.flickr.com/248/524001182_ac981d3d09_mTonight’s a blue moon. I had no idea the phrase "once in a blue moon" came from somewhere. Or, I should say, I never considered where it came from. You can read all about blue moons here.

Dramoor’s Garden says:

On the night of a Blue Moon, the magical energy is powerful and enduring. Spells cast during a Blue Moon are said to hold until the next one.

So if you wish on a star tonight, wish for something good! What would you wish for? If the rules were that it had to be something special for you and just for you, what would you wish for?

Read more...

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

RWA: PAN, PRO, wtf?

Despite my "wtf" in the title, I’m cracking up here. Are any of you in RWA? Evidently (and I’m out of the loop, so I’ve missed the controversy), they want to make the standards for a "PAN" (that’s an Officially, RWA-blessed REAL published author, LOL) that they make at least $2,000 from one book.

I laughed my ass off when I saw that. (Because I know it won’t happen, because then I would qualify, LOL.)

I don’t know if you guys are aware of this leveling system, but there are three levels in RWA. There’s normal, "unpublished" (although, many ’unpublished’ RWA authors actually make a decent amount of money from writing, hehe) folk.

Then there’s PRO, (the meaning of the acronym escapes me at the moment), where authors who have published a 40,000 word work or over with a NON-RWA-recognized publisher, or authors who have FINISHED a novel but NOT published, may join. (Why, I have no idea. I think you get a pin. Or something.)

Finally, there’s PAN, the official "REAL" published authors.

The proposal actually makes sense, because if you can prove that you make money (at least $2,000) from your writing, then you are labeled PAN, or "real."

It is all so ridiculous. The people who originally were PAN, now may not be PAN, and they’re pissed. There are people who want to keep the status quo, and they’re pissed. Finally, there are people who are like: "Cool! I make money from writing, so now I can call myself ’real!’"

Me? I don’t know when I’m going to feel like a "real" writer. Maybe when I walk into Borders, and a whole novel has my name on it. Or maybe when I’m exclusively paying all the bills with my writing income?

But then, come to think of it, I felt like a "real" writer before I joined RWA.

In the end, I don’t do RWA for validation. I do RWA because I get to meet and hang out with other writers. It’s a social thing for me. Sure, I’ve learned things, but ... I don’t really see me going to the trouble of applying for PRO or PAN, whatever the guidelines may be. No one can ever seem to tell me the benefits, outside of ... external validation?

About the whole mess, I say this: the people in RWA are AWESOME! The friends I have made are AWESOME! I have had SO much fun, I can’t tell you.

I just want to meet people and hang out with fellow writers. I say, leave the bickering and leveling to those who seem to enjoy it. We’re too busy having fun with friends, to care!

Read more...

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Heroes being Heroes?

I just finished a book. Should I tell you who and what? I always feel hesitant to do so. Okay, it’s Cause Celeb, by Helen Fielding.

Anyway, it was disturbing, because it didn’t quite work. It’s not just that it didn’t work for me, but it didn’t work for the public when it came out, according to the author.

Sadly, I can see that.

I have to insert here that it’s worth a read, however. I sat down with the author’s statement in my mind, with an eye to trying to figure out why it didn’t work. If one sits down with the idea of having a good read, then I think this book will fulfill your needs and more.

I mean, everything about it was right. It was a fresh, original idea. Great characters, true to life. Technically, she didn’t miss a beat, didn’t make any mistakes. Everything was right! It was perfect! Interesting! Not quite as funny as the following two books, but great!

But it didn’t quite send me into enthusiastic raves, even with all the good ingredients.

For the life of me, I have absolutely no idea why. That’s the most disturbing thing. I think it’s the main character. See, she’s in a profession (aid worker) that one might call admirable, and yet, several times throughout the book she kinda puts down people’s admiration of her.

That is TOTALLY true to character. She was kind of being humble about it, which should have been endearing.

But I admire her occupation, so she was putting down ... um, me. Which leads me to heroes in admirable professions.

How does one make the hero appropriately humble so as not to be annoying, but not ... inappropriately humble?

I’m not making any sense about this, am I?

Considering this book touches a little close to my latest plot, I’m concerned. Perhaps the trick is to not address the issue at all. I really don’t know. Can you make heads or tails of this post? Any advice? Thoughts? Clarity on the issue?

Or maybe it wasn’t so much the character, as there were too many ingredients. England, celebrities, dating, men, Africa, refugees, UN. Maybe it was the mixture of humor--not quite enough to make it humorous--with the heavy subject. Or the fact that the celebrities were mostly flat, and all annoying. No growth.

I don’t know! I hate when I don’t know something. And if you’re reading this as a review, I apologize, because I do think it’s a good, enjoyable read.

Read more...

Holy crap!! My dear Rosie ....

I don’t know much about the latest Rosie news, except this latest YouTube video I got from the Writer’s Write Blog. I used to love Rosie on her afternoon talk show, and I always had the impression she was an admirable person.

But this? This is just sad. Politics aside, I gotta side with Rosie on this one. And I can’t believe they didn’t cut to commercial! The producers totally exploited their argument, and refused to cut to commercial after repeated requests from all four stars. At the end, it just looked like Rosie was going to cry.

Rosie gives good soundbite: "If the enemy are innocent civilians, then I don’t want to play that kind of football."

I don’t like that. Here it is. They both make some interesting points, but ...

Worst of all, what’s this I hear? No Gore for 2008?

Read more...

Friday, May 25, 2007

Who Are Your Heroes?

I collect heroes and inspiration, wherever I can find them, even more than I collect self-help books (LOL). I figure I can use all the help I can get, LOL. Do you have heroes? Who are your heroes?

//static.flickr.com/211/514096861_f2668f6c33_mTiger Woods is one of my all-time greatest heroes. I don’t play golf, but excellence is inspiring to me, wherever it’s found. What I love about Tiger is his dogged and continual pursuit of excellence. He works his ass off.

So today, strolling through Borders, I noticed the book, Tiger Traits, by Nate Booth. The whole book is well worth a read, but my favorite part was his section on the Four Stages of Mastery.

Unconscious Incompetence: When we first start an activity, we don’t even know what we don’t know. It’s that beginning stage of complete ignorance about what we need to know to improve.

Conscious Incompetence: This stage is when we know where we need improvement, but we don’t know how to get there, yet.

Tiger Traits: 9 Success Secrets You Can Discover From Tiger Woods to Be a Business ChampionConscious Competence: Finally, we can do it! But it doesn’t feel natural, it’s not automatic, and we have to think really hard about it.

Unconscious Competence: Best of all! This is where we feel it, and we feel it so naturally that it’s almost effortless, that we can do it without even thinking about it.

Tiger Woods said, "My body does the work, and I just sit back and let it happen."

I’m the worst at Stage Three. It’s why I kept writing novella after novella, plugging along even when it got messy. I need to feel the structure and the pacing and the story, in order to make the story any good. If I have to think it, then my rhythm is atrocious, my pacing flat.

So, practice. What else can you do? The Little N is threatening to be a novel. I have to cut it off and keep it short, but I’m glad it did that. It helps give me confidence with the Big N.

Now, your heroes. Who are they, why, and what have you learned from them? How have they inspired you?

On a cool note, fellow blogger Stewart Sternberg has a story, "The Others," coming out in the anthology, High Seas Cthulhu. Read about it here!

Read more...

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Update on the Rain Situation: He LIVES on!

Oh PHEW!!!!!!

Just went to Barry’s Forums, and lookee what Barry said:

"Rain’s early life? I’m thinking about that for #8, as it happens."

So John Rain will be in another book! PHEW!

I am so addicted to this series.

Do you have any series like that? Where you rush to buy it, can’t put it down, and then fret over whether it will be the last or not?

Especially when they’re titled Requiem for an Assassin!

It is interesting that he’s considering Rain’s early life, because with the way this book ended, I don’t see how he could keep pulling Rain in and out of retirement and give him a different emotional arc each time.

Of course, Nora’s up to how many books in her J.D. Robb series? And she manages different emotional arcs each time.

But it’ll be good, I’m sure, whatever he does.

(Can you tell the carnival is in town? I don’t think any of my students are going to show up for their lessons today! I’m going to sit in the sun. We have so little of it, here!)

Read more...

Pistachios and Requiem for an Assassin

I love pistachios. And almonds. Raw. (I only bore you with that because I have a deep and passionate love for food, and I’m thoroughly enjoying my munch on them right now.)

I have to confess, I’ve written about 200 words in the past two days. Pitiful, I know. But I couldn’t help it! Barry Eisler’s Requiem for an Assassin came out! I didn’t even stop writing for Nora’s, or J.D. Robb’s latest, and that’s saying something.

I’ve always promised not to bore you with reviews that don’t extract something about the writing process or craft, but ... I was sucked in right away. I was so thoroughly entertained, that I can only say:

Ohmigod, you gotta go read this book! What?! You mean, you haven’t read a John Rain book??? It’s got it all! Assassin, tradecraft, sexy women, richly fleshed-out and deep characters, and ... sex! Okay, and a dash of love here and there, too.

Even Miss Snark raves about Barry Eisler’s John Rain series. You think it’s a coincidence that she stopped blogging the week Requiem for an Assassin came out???

Methinks not.

(Hey! Did you see, in my post the other day? She stopped by and commented! THE Miss Snark! Can you believe it? Ohmigawd!)

The book--all his books--are a lesson in character and motivations, so ... go read them. Of course, if you want to go straight to the sexy bits, click over to Lustbite’s excerpt, plus an interview with Barry Eisler.

The title and the book seem to suggest this is the last one. I’ve heard murmurings in interviews and such, a few books back, that the series would end. In fact, the whole book feels like it’s tying up every loose end in the whole series.

I certainly hope not. I’d be crying my eyes out, more than I do when I hear Faure’s or Mozart’s Requiem!

Read more...

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Resisting What We Need

Here’s about the best writing advice I’ve seen lately, courtesy of Agent X (who is she for real, again?)

In yoga, they sometimes say that we resist doing the poses we most need to do. A muscle in the state of inflexibility prefers to stay that way, thank you very much.

But those inflexible parts are the very parts we most need to make flexible.

I’m currently taking a course with AuthorMBA. Let me tell you, if you ever get a chance to take a course with Kay, do it! (The other ones I hear all sorts of great things about, but since I haven’t taken their classes, I can’t personally vouch for them.)

She has a habit of pushing us to do the work we resist, but I thank God for it every day. Her courses are so good, I can see me taking them once a year.

I’ve been shoving through my resistance with the Big N, and I’m starting to make headway. Phew, considering I only have about 10,000 words left to write on the Little N, and then I’ve really got to buckle down. No mental break this time!

I will love researching ... I will love plotting ...

So anyway, what do you resist, that you most need to do? How do you push yourself through it? Or do you get outside help?

Read more...

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

NCIS & Abby; 24 & Jack

Wow! Now that was a season finale! I’m struggling over plot in the Big N, and it sure helps me to see how 24 always goes for gut-grabbing stakes. How do they do it, over and over and over?

More importantly, what’d you think? And Chloe is pregnant!!!! Ex-hubby loves her again, so that’s cool. All is safe with the Bauer family ... except Bauer. I had a moment where I worried he was going to jump from that terrace.

What’d you think of the season finale?

More importantly, who do you think is going to die tonight in NCIS?

The previews hint that it could be Abby. That, and the fact she’s so charming, makes me believe that it won’t be Abby. Likewise, we can’t have a show without Jethro or Duckie. Those characters make the show.

I personally love Officer David, so I’m hoping it’s not her. They have totally under-utilized her character in the last few months, however.

That leaves Tony, McGee, and the Director.

If Tony died, then the sexual tension they’ve been developing with Officer David will never come to fruition ... so I’m thinking it won’t be him. Plus we don’t know when his psycho girlfriend is going to go ... psycho.

McGee is charming but expendable. Likewise, the Director is NOT charming, and she’s expendable. She means a lot to Jethro, but so much to the viewers.

My money’s on the Director. What do you think?

Of course, all story reasoning is off if an actor just decided not to continue working on the show. Then they’ve got to make the best of it.

Read more...

Monday, May 21, 2007

Tone and Heart

The busiest part of my year is OVER! Yay! I’m like a month behind on emails, on blog-reading, on everything.

But today, I have plenty of time to go blog-hopping and wade through my emails! I’ve missed everyone. (Hey, Rhonda, what happened to your blog? I’ve been trying to stop by for a couple days!)

Anyway, have you ever noticed that when you spill your guts, when you dig the deepest you’ve got, when you rip out your heart and actually get depressed putting yourself in your character’s shoes, that the reader is merely, um, entertained?

I always worry I get too dark, too deep, and too emotional. But what comes through the page seems to be about 20 - 40% of my emotions. God forbid I ever stop digging deep, LOL.

Do you notice a proportion to emotional output from you, to emotional reception from readers? Have you ever really ripped out your heart, put it on your sleeve, and feel like you’ve run a marathon, only to find out that you’re entertaining?

Read more...

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Say It Ain't So!

Oh. My. God.

Say it ain’t so, Joe ... er, Miss Snark.

What are we going to do without her???

No!!!!!!!!

Read more...

Nightmares

Do you have nightmares, often?

Ugh, I just had a doozy. My dearest decided we should check out Whiskey Creek (no, I don’t know where that is, LOL) so we were on a boat in this creek just teeming with alligators. (Or crocodiles. What’s the difference, again?)

So manage to crawl up to the bleachers as our boat sinks. (As you know, every creek has bleachers.) Dearest is standing in his boat, and a crocodile comes up out of the water and attacks him.

And then he’s rolling in the water, running around, trying to get this awful crocodile off of him. I keep throwing oars and chairs (because every creek has bleachers with folding chairs) but none of what I throw scares off the crocodile and reaches him.

Then I wake up to an empty house. The sweetie went to get us bacon for breakfast, I’m sure.

But there’s no nightmare worse than one about your family, is there? I bet you mothers and fathers out there have had some doozies about your kids. When’s the last nightmare you had? What was it? How’d you shake that feeling?

And was that a lunar eclipse I saw last night? So cool.

Read more...

Friday, May 18, 2007

Gratitude and BIG Books

It’s my busiest week of the year, and smack in the middle, I get the news that my one publisher can only budget me in approximately two chapters a month. So after the Little N to the right, she can’t buy my next one until October. Kind of a bummer. She’s trying to find new authors that she can pay less money to, in the meantime. I’m not sure if she wanted me to offer to take a paycut, but ... it’s too much of a paycut for the time spent.

What can you do? I’m going to try to do more promoting for my pseudonym. I owe it to her, and I feel guilty for not doing that much. But the cost rewards for the work, for me, are very, very small. But still. It’s a loyalty thing. Life isn’t all about the money.

And now I have no excuse not to devote my time to the spy thriller. No mental break this time! No taking my time! It’s work, work, work for me. Coming back to it, its feeling more and more fleshed out; I’m so thrilled!

I heard many more authors ran into a bigger problem with ... what? Twenty-one imprints closing? Not to mention that awful Simon & Schuster "perpetuity" clause. I hope authors and agents stand up to that clause, because it could set a dangerous precedent.

Okay, I admit it. I signed a similar clause, eons ago. My first story. I didn’t know one darned thing, just was thrilled to get an honorable mention in a little contest. And then when asked for more, it would’ve cost more than my check to consult with a lawyer.

And finally, did you see Reclaiming History: The Assassination of President John F. Kennedy, by Vincent Bugliosi? It’s a 1600 page tome that proves, beyond doubt, supposedly, that Lee Harver Oswald worked alone.

So do you really think I’m going to read SIXTEEN HUNDRED pages, if there are no conspiracies? No secrets to be revealed? No hidden machinations that brought down one of the most inspiring presidents in our history? Sixteen hundred pages to prove that it was just one damnable man, who acted alone, to assassinate the president?

Sure, I’ve got the time. If I have a kid, I’ll homeschool him and make him read it. Then he can tell me all about it. (Evil, evil, evil ...)

After being a little bummed yesterday, I’ve caught a couple of lucky breaks. That’s the story of my life. I have an unlucky event, but the luck I have afterwards proves to be well worth the unlucky bit. I’m so grateful.

People are just so damned nice sometimes, you know? How can I be nicer, too?

Read more...

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Getting Inspired!

I’m really hard at work this week. Teaching going great, and I’m excited about several big things we’ve got going this week and this summer. But I’m working fifteen hour days! AND writing!

So I’m going to send you to Kate Sterling’s blog, where she has a fantastic post on a variety of publishers, including some I didn’t know. (I wish I wrote paranormal, just so I could submit to Juno, who publishes strong, female character-centric books!)

And I’m going to tell you about AuthorMBA classes. I have to tell you ... their blog is every bit as good as JA Konrath’s blog. But their workshops are even better. I’m taking a Career Master Class workshop now, alongside some experienced authors.

Their workshops aren’t like the frilly-types you sometimes see. They have real content, real work--real hard work--and real results. They are very interactive; it’s almost like a bit of personal coaching, because the instructor reads and comments on all your homework.

And finally, I just wanted to say YAY! for Marcus Sakey, the debut author I’ve blogged about twice. Remember when I called him The Hot New Talent? Remember when I said he kicks ass as a writer? (He really, really does.)

I was tickled pink to read in my Publisher’s Lunch that he just got contracted for four more books! That’s after the second one he’s releasing next year!

Doesn’t that rock? So often, we hear that good writing isn’t enough. Well, kick-ass writing, evidently, helps pretty damn well. I’m off to work harder on my craft. Isn’t it inspiring?

Read more...

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

About 24 and Jack Bauer

//static.flickr.com/161/437130675_b4258cae7e_mYikes! Only one more week! My dear, dear, DH accidentally stopped the recording of the last episode in the middle. God bless him, but it took me an hour to watch from 3:25 - 3:45 of the episode on MySpace. I do think it’s ultra-cool that you can watch the episodes on MySpace. I just need a better computer.

So I can’t get the darn thing to work past 3:45. It worked great at the beginning, no lags, and then all of a sudden, lags. 10 seconds of show, 1, 2, 3 minute wait. Argh!

So what happened last night? Last I could manage, was the Russian president threatened the Vice President, and then Tom came into the room with information.

Then ... nothing.

Argh! Help!

I can’t wait until the season finale next week! Do they usually end with all the strings tied up in a bow, or do they end with cliffhangers to torment us all summer. (Like The Unit! I can’t wait to see what they do with this situation, next Fall!) And how soon do they release the season on DVD?

I am so hooked.

Read more...

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Clicking Instead of Drinking

Given yesterday, LOL, about all I can handle posting about today are two interesting sites I didn’t know existed:

Read more...

Silly Me: Ignore this Post

Warning: Drunk Ramblings Ahead.

Supposedly, you’re not supposed to blog when you’ve had a night out. I kinda let my hair down, here on this blog. I haven’t come out with my real name, so I feel like I can be completely honest. Me, my real self, love me or hate me. I love people, and I love their quirks. So I probably borage (that’s not the right word) the world, with my quirks.

Anyway, I love my friends. I have the coolest friends, I can’t tell you.

I’m one of those girls, who when they have a drink, they love the whole damn world. Oh heck, you guys hear me talk every day. I pretty much love people every day.

And you know what, I’m sorry, but I have the coolest readers. I know it’s not "cool" to love one’s readers, and I know that I should act all professional and detached and stuff, but I have to tell you, I think my readers are the coolest people ever

Maybe ... two readers write me a week, maybe a month. I’m nothing, once in awhile, I’ll get maybe three readers in a week. But I’m just sayin’.

They’re just so darned nice. I suppose when I get my website up, I’m going to have to act like it’s run of the mill. I suppose I’m going to have to act like I’m too cool to get too enthused about my readers, but I have to say: they are my favorite people in the whole damn world.

Maybe other people feel differently. Maybe other people get so much reader mail, that maybe it’s annoying. But I don’t know what to say to my readers. I don’t connect my pseudonyms, but I can tell you, if I didn’t teach, and if I didn’t try to act all calm and collected?

My readers are the best damn people. I can’t believe how lucky I am. I have absolutely no idea why they write such nice things, maybe because I write in a niche, and there’s not that many authors, and I write so many words to pay the bills, but ... I can honestly say that I try, every damn day, to write better for them. I wish I could let my hair down and tell them that I may fail them, but I always keep them in mind when writing, and I always endeavor to live up to the things they hope for.

Whether or not I succeed, is another story. But I hope that something in my writing transmits how much I appreciate and respect them. They tell me such intimate, vulnerable things. Do you know how special a gift that is? And how inadequate I feel when I write back polite? With the right words? With the--*snort of disgust*--professional words?

The right words are always stupid and inadequate, you know? Maybe these are the ramblings of a girl who has forgotten how to go out and have a night on the town (too old!), but ... I wish I could transmit, how very grateful I am, and how very much I respect and take to heart what they say.

I truly write for them. Truly. Bank aside. Myself aside. At the end of the day, I write because ... I respect my readers. Whether they say this or that story was not my best, whether they say my ending sucked, whether or not they write the nice things ... I write for them.

I know the "cool" thing is to write for oneself. I know the "artistic" thing is to write for oneself. But goddamnit, I write every single word for the few who read me. I hope they know how the "professional" replies are ... so much less than I feel. How the "professional" replies are ... because I have no words. Because we all have life’s missions. And maybe I’m supposed to just affect the world in terms of little seconds, of little moments away from their real lives. Maybe I’m here to understand and respect that little vulnerable kernel that is in all of us.

God, I sound like an idiot. Nevermind. Rambling of a drunk girl who’s happy. Am I going to have to delete this when I launch my website in a few weeks, with my real name?

And here I am, rambling, when I have a blog under my pseudonym. Why am I rambling here, when I feel so grateful to those elsewhere? Why can’t I be "cool" and yet, express my gratitude? Why can’t I tell them, gawddarnit, but I just love that you write me?

It’s so uncool. And I can only write it here, because you guys don’t know me, don’t know my writing, and compared to all the NY Bestselling Authors out there, I’m Ms. No One.

Most of you who pop by, are writers. We’re words people. Doesn’t it drive you crazy when you feel so grateful and you’re at a loss for words? Words are our thing, our ammunition, our expression. What do we do when they fail us? When we just ramble on idiotically, and have no idea what to say?

Speaking of loving the whole world, I love how you guys give me something to think about when I have a thought that’s .. off. And I love how you make me think.

Oh gawd, I really am drunk. Well, if you only knew the two days I’ve had ...

Okay, really. Let your hair down. Tell it like it really is. Don’t be cool, be honest. Who do you write for?

Read more...

Thursday, May 10, 2007

The Yankee Lady and the Southern Gentleman

I love my DH dearly, but we have a few ... cultural ... discrepancies:

The "Southern Man" is under the impression, LOL, that:

  • Ladies don’t snore. (Not to say that I snore. ((Shush, starvingwritenow!)) I don’t snore, not me. Especially not after a few drinks!)
  • Ladies drink in tiny little sips. (Tiny little sips?? Are you kidding me? I’m thirsty!)
  • Ladies never have to burp.
  • Ladies never have to fart.

This "Yankee Girl" is under the impression that:

  • Men shouldn’t take their shirts off outside, even in the yard, if they’re ... belly-challenged. (Not to say he’s belly-challenged. Nope, not saying that, either.)
  • Men shouldn’t burp in public.
  • Men should carry everything.
  • Men, in particular my dearest, should grant my every wish.

Sorry for no posts, this week! I probably won’t be blogging much on Friday and Saturday, but I’ll be popping by your blogs. It’s my favorite thing to do, especially when stressed!

Oh, and maybe it’s because I’ve been reading about Kate Hepburn lately, but I can’t wait to take up our discussion on female heroines. Maybe I can squeeze it in tonight or tomorrow.

And, Robert Gregory Browne has a contest up. The first person to enter wins. Good luck! Oh heck, maybe I’ll get DH to take my picture, if I can wrestle the book back from him (he stole it, has been reading it for like a week now). I just went red with my hair. I’ve always loved being a red-head.

Read more...

Monday, May 07, 2007

The Proportions of Caring

I loved every single one of the comments to my last post. I probably won’t add to the conversation until tomorrow, but I bet I’ll blog on that theme again this week. It’s been on my mind, lately.

It’s high-pressure week, and the parents and kids need. Some need support, some need a kick, some need encouragement, some need miracles, but ... it’s like need, need, need.

So all today, I managed to be rock, to give everything they needed that I could.

But at the end of the day, I couldn’t even manage ... get this ... to find a pot in the dishwasher rather than the cupboard. It was too much. Too overwhelming. Too hard! I burst into tears.

Do you have that proportion to giving? The more I give, the less able I am to take care of myself.

Or maybe I’m just a wimp, LOL.

Read more...

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Rambles on Genre

Sunday’s the day The Great American Book Giveaway puts up new books for the week! It’s easy. No spam, no work, no fuss. Just pick the book you’d like to win, enter your email address (and that’s it), and you’re done! (Did I mention NO spam?)

Today, I was thrilled to see Tobias S. Buckell’s new book, Ragamuffin. I love his blog. I can’t exactly pinpoint why I love his blog, or why he’s on my read-even-during-busy-days list, but he is. I couldn’t even tell you exactly what his blog is about.

I think that’s its charm.

I used to devour science fiction. I have absolutely no idea why I stopped reading the genre. Have you ever done that with a beloved genre? Was it a conscious decision, or something you noticed after the fact?

At the moment, I love thrillers most. I get testosterone-overload, though. Some days, it’s like, give me a break already!

I love men. I love testosterone. It’s just ... I slip into a character’s skin when I read, and I prefer being a woman. I’ll slip into a male’s skin now and then, it’s fine ... walk around in their shoes. It’s fun. Interesting. Changes one’s walk, to have that thing poking out there.

But sometimes...it gets on my nerves.

Is that weird? Some days I wonder ... what is wrong with me?!

Maybe it’s just I’m not in a place in my life to feel like falling in love with someone new (out goes a whole slew of romances and wonderful romance hybrids), and I don’t have kids (out goes women’s fiction), and I have to be in the right mood to read about women who are lucky enough to have kids, because it makes me sad. I’m not playing the dating game (out goes chick lit).

But I still want to read about women. Women standing alone, kicking ass, and being women. What’s wrong with that? Does a female character need a family, a man, to make her an interesting character? Or need to be in pursuit of one or the other?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trashing those genres. I love those genres.

Speaking of women standing (mostly, kinda) alone, I’m just finishing up Hard Truth (Anna Pigeon Mysteries) by Nevada Barr. I love it!

Read more...

Thursday, May 03, 2007

TV Series: Waiting for Renewals

//static.flickr.com/227/483365681_df90c54ec7_mI finally caught up with the last two episodes of 24. I love them! Every character seems to be developed at this point, and I’m not having any laughing moments. The middle of this season got a little preposterous for me at moments, but either my disbelief has been suspended, or things are going well.

I’m dying to know what’s going to happen with Jack Bauer. How in the world is he going to get out of this mess? And please tell me President Palmer wakes up, gets well, and pardons Jack. What do you think will happen?

Did you see Chloe in People’s Most Beautiful People magazine? WOW! I had no idea she was gorgeous. None at all. Despite her appearance on 24, she is drop-dead gorgeous. I was absolutely heartbroken when what’s-his-name told her they were through.

Now that I’m hooked, I’ve added 24 to my annual list of "Oh no, please don’t cancel my favorite shows!"

They’ve already canceled Six Degrees, which I’m upset about. That was a fantastic show with fantastic actors. How could they???

Here’s a list of supposed certain cancellations, although I’m dubious because they list Gilmore Girls, and I’m pretty sure that’s still a maybe-but-probably-not. I’m torn about whether I even want it to continue. I’m pretty sure I do. But without Rory? Supposedly she’s still on the fence. I hope she hops right back into a new season!

Here’s a list of those that are supposedly safe from cancellation. Brothers & Sisters and Men in Trees are official renewals! Yay!!!

24, Shark, and The Unit are supposedly shoo-ins. Yay!

//static.flickr.com/200/483364043_7921f54dc4_mNCIS has a "pretty good chance." I love that show, although I think they’ve stopped using Officer David to her full potential. I love her character, and I’m crazy about Abby!

I cried during the last Star Trek: Voyager episode and the last Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode. (Is that insane?) I loved that series! I know I’ve been bummed about other cancellations, but I can’t recall at the moment.

I would’ve been bummed about Charmed, but the kinda-ending-just-in-case-it’s-cancelled in the next-to-last season screwed everything up. I hated that kinda-ending, and I hated the mess it created even more. That whole mess ruined the last season for me, unfortunately. I was never a big fan of Rose McG ...

Alias wrapped up so well, in a nice, neat arc, that I wasn’t too bummed. Especially since I bought the whole series to watch over and over and over ...

So which shows are you worried about? What shows have you been bummed to see go?

Read more...

The Mystery Between the Ears

All my life, my brain has always been busy making up stories. All the time. In first grade, I almost failed because--even though I was at the top of the class in reading, spelling, and math--I would sit and stare out the window all the time. (Can we say ADD???) I would weave stories with casts of characters that would go on for years, LOL. I still remember snippets of some of them!

You can imagine how disconcerting it was to me when I discovered that everyone isn’t the same. Today, the dear Mister and I had this conversation:

"Whatcha’ thinking about," I asked.

"Nothing."

"That’s impossible," I said. "You have to be thinking about something."

"Why? I’m just driving. I’m not thinking about anything."

"Nothing? Your mind is just blank."

"Yes."

We drove in silence for awhile.

"Well, what were you thinking about?" he challenged.

"Two people were fighting about something."

He looked at me like I was crazy.

Well, am I? Or is this a writer thing, to have stories incessantly weaving in one’s head? Or do you think it’s a little weird to be sitting there and not thinking? To me, that’s a little frightening! Maybe it’s a guy thing.

Read more...

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

He or She?

//static.flickr.com/161/439060423_f79a4201e3_mHave you ever noticed how picky some people are about whether you call their pet he or she? I’ve never understood this. We have two girls and two boys (cats), and we call them he or she interchangeably and without regard to their sex (or lack of).

I’ve even had people correct me when I call my he a she. Or my she a he. This always makes me laugh because, one, it’s my baby, and two, my cats could care less whether I call them a he or a she.

I always let guests call my cats he or she, whatever they please.

What about you? Do you have cats? Dogs? Any pets? They are such characters, aren’t they???

Check out Jason Pinter’s adorable, cutey-pie, wittle-bittle baby puppy!

Read more...

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Dem Writing Days

B.E. Sanderson (her blog’s great, by the way, if you haven’t been) asked yesterday if I’d read Natalie M. Roberts’ Tutu Deadly. I just want to say, yes! If you like cozy mysteries, you’ll love this refreshing setting of murder in the ballet world of over-competitive moms and their precious dancing prodigies. Heck, if you teach, or if you have kids in dance, you’ll love it, too. I have no doubt this series is going to have a solid following.

So ... (insert graceful transition, LOL)

Do you write in cycles? How do the words come out for you?

I’m just curious if I’m weird or normal. I don’t mind being either. Yesterday was what I call "grinding," to borrow a poker term. Little by little, word by word, I grind the words out.

Some days, I have "dialogue days," where all that comes out on the page are these talking heads doing nothing but conflicting with each other in words.

And then some days are "story snippet days," where flashes of story come out in little tiny bursts of ideas, but the words, um, don’t write. I can only take notes.

The rarest of all are what I call "writing days." I love these days. I sit down, and what comes out on the page is real writing. You know, vivid (or so I think) description, coherent sentences ... flow. I sit back and think, okay, that’s writing.

I like those days best.

Read more...