Thursday, December 29, 2005
DH has informed me that the stuff for a contest I'm judging has landed on our doorstep, so there will be that to look forward to also. Which is good, because it's stressorama with the DH's work schedule (there aren't enough people who can do that thing he does, so he has to keep doing it and put off a muuuuuuuuuuuuuuuch-needed vacation for a couple more weeks) plus the annoying health thing fairies have thwapped us both with their sticks. Nothing life threatening, but extremely annoying, yes.
Which is why it's actually extremely relaxing to open a file and spend time in the English Civil War, or crack open a much loved paperback and follow a beloved heroine through Elizabethan England, or pluck a promisingly thick medieval from the TBR mountain range.
My brain is dead, I have reached tilt, there are miles to go before I sleep, but God is good, I have romance novels, and I have accepted the fact that yes, my black jeans are now officially too big. Cloud, lining, all that. I will obtain food, inspect package, and then play Sims2 until I go facedown on the keyboard. Because tomorrow I have to sail into the Irish Sea, and try to bust out of an abandoned mumblemumble in Holland.
Tuesday, December 20, 2005
Not that I'd meant to not blog or anything. I could blame weather, family, pre-Christmas preparation, a beggy kitty who thinks *she* should be my laptop or my newly found DVD addiction, but lo and behold, the days go by. I found out that my college roommate and her husband adopted their infant son...and gave him the same first name as another friend and his wife gave their newborn. Which is the same name as an adult and at least one child in my church, so I'm going to have to add it to the "please specify last name" name list. Make no mistake, friends getting babies is *always* a good thing, and I know both sets of parents are going to be great. Much happiness all around. As for the DH and me, we like our own kids to have four legs and fur.
I really and truly have a book coming out in a couple of weeks. Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! ::Snoopy dance:: Review sites have copies, and comments are starting to come in, so that adds a new facet on things. I think I may actually have to put stuff in the scrapbook this year, not just buy a lot of pretty paper. Though I will still do that.
Finally got to see Bride and Predjudice yesterday and oh my dancing Naveen Andrews, did I love that movie. Enough to rewatch most of Love, Actually while working on presents. Both were great reminders of why I love to read and write romance. Also that while my body may be lugging two loads of laundry, takeout dinner and my tote up the icy front steps in my high heeled boots, my mind can be happily occupied at a cosy English Christmas dinner if I so desire.
Currently reading Frank Perretti's Monster and taunting the DH that there's a sasquatch with his name in the story (though spelled differently) along with my first Stephanie Laurens, Captain Jack's Woman -- which my friend, Linda, will forever make me snicker at the title as it shares a name, but not an allusion, with a song by Billy Joel. Lyrics not for consumption of the tender, but they're real, and I do love me some Billy Joel for that very reason; his music creates a time and place that I can live and breathe, and I want to write like that.
Must also state on the same thread that Linda and I did have a bit of a riff on finding similarities to the book and song. They both have a guy who likes the heroin(e); people wear English clothes in both, and both do mention a village. Though I'm pretty sure the book will have a happier ending.
Tuesday, December 06, 2005
I had a lovely time talking today with a writer friend I've known for...well, if our friendship were a person it could go to grade school. Or maybe junior high. The conversation fell, as it often does, to inspiration or the lack thereof, which fit her current situation. How is someone supposed to write when it feels like a second job and the first one takes all the mental energy anyway?
Really good question. I think we all can identify with that at one time or another. When real life packs a whallop, it can be very hard to get into story mode. We talked some about pressure and expectations and the huge cement wall they can build between writer and story.
I asked if she could remember a time when writing was really fun -- what happened then that isn't happening now? The answer was quick -- thinking of romances gone wrong on favorite TV shows and how they should have been. Ideas for those all over the place.
Did she have one such story she really really really wanted to tell, even if she knew for a fact nobody would ever see it? Not an agent, not an editor, not her kitties, not me, not anybody but her and her alone. Sure! She was off like a shot, creative and enthusiasitc.
What if...what if she wrote that one? Don't think about selling or career planning right now. Put in a box and set it aside and write a really good story. Enjoy it. There's time to go back later, change the names and identifying details. Figure out the core of the story and characters and see if there's another time and place for the essence of it all. I've been known to do that a time or two. It's worth a try when stuck, and I will admit to a few stories or parts of stories lingering around waiting for an update.
It's that what if thing we writer types have going on in the back of our brains. Sometimes it needs a workout just because, go back to something familiar and take it in a new direction. Might be worth checking my old files...just for fun.
Tuesday, November 29, 2005
Kicking self back into writing mode this AM, and blogging counts as writing, so here I am. Lucky you. ;)
Watched the finale of the BBC America series, Viva Blackpool, this morning, while doing email, and argh. While I was satisfied with some of the storylines, the big ones tanked for me. No spoilers for anyone who might have been following it, but ah, poor Ripley. I'm sure he'll be fine, but oy. I would've made things different for the poor bloke so he'd end up a bit better. Still, I loved getting a look at a new to me part of modern English life, the arcades of Blackpool, and the format of telling a personal/mystery/family story as a full on musical in the style of old Elvis movies with everyone breaking into elaborate song and dance numbers was wonderful. I'd recommend it.
But back to writing. Got an email from my delightful and talented friend, Kat (hi, Kat!) requesting information for a project she's doing, which in turn resulted in my checking the Awe-Struck site (www.awe-struck.net) and finding out that huzzah, My Outcast Heart is listed on the coming soon page, with cover and blurb and everything. Though I had to break out in scare-the-cat laughter because the book was listed as a Regency romance. It's set in colonial NY, a bit removed in both time and distance from Regency England. I know, I know, the word "Regency" makes sales, but truth in advertisting and all, so I wrote the powers that be and asked for "Regency" to be changed to "historical." Good way to get the adrenaline running first thing. Okay, two cups of chai helped, too.
Had another email from a past speaker at CORW, saying she'd been to my site and was pleased to see I had a book out. Said she'd be buying it, so that was a good boost. I love hearing about people buying my book. Good inspiration to keep fingers tippity tappiting on keyboard to put out more.
Monday, November 28, 2005
What do you get when you combine the start of the holiday season, one husband on vacation, two elderly relatives, one close friend and her mother, one buffet restaurant open on Thanskgiving, three DVDs, one misbehaving laptop, a recalcitrant printer that won't talk to aforementioned laptop, Black Friday shopping, and repeated rounds of one undeliverable email? A) not much writing, B) my week, C) chocolate covered gummi bears. D) both A and B, but not C. E) all of the above.
The correct answer is D. No matter how much I wish it were C. Because chocolate covered gummi bears rival cinnamon buttons in their ability to smooth life's annoyances. Though I do have access to (calorie warning) chocolate covered peppermint cherry cordials.
Took today to work on the mumblemumbles I'm making for Christmas gifts this year, singing along to 70s radio. Call it *my* vacation. I love my DH dearly, though he is a night owl and I am the early bird's early bird. Add in a non-work week schedule, and it's not out of the question that by the time he's up and feeling human, I'm ready to pack it in and am unfit company for anyone I did not make in Create-a-Sim.
Though I didn't get a lot of writing done this week, I can highly recommend the movies About a Boy and Love Actually. (though hide the kiddies' eyes during one plotline of Love Actually) I am a sucker for Hugh Grant movies and British period dramas. As the DH will tell you, his view of every movie I love can be summed up as "blah blah blah, this horrible war is ruining my love life. Oh look, here comes Hugh Grant. Let's have some tea." His addendum is that if Hugh Grant dies in the war, that makes it a good movie. I don't know what this otherwise wonderful man has against Hugh. Maybe I should watch a few Pierce Brosnan movies to balance things out. At least Pierce has the 007 cachet. (Note, this is the same husband who brought home Batman Begins in October and we have yet to view it.)
This is the part where I notice that I've rambled. I have eaten -- a lot. Watched movies, enjoyed family and friends and selected retail establishment. We now enter into my very favorite part of the year. I will soon become Christmas crazed, which will give everything, writing included, a huge boost and relatives will keep feeding me hot chocolate with candy canes in hopes of amping my entertainment value. It will probably work.
Thursday, November 17, 2005
We're *not* all gonna die, and having the cover does finally make it feel real.
January is close, eep. I'm looking forward to the next steps in the process. Which of course is going to include working on promotion. My question -- what sorts of promotional thingies do you like to see/collect? Do they influence whether you'd try a new book/author or recommend to someone who might?
Monday, November 14, 2005
Review copies have gone out, reviews have not come in. Have I mentioned I do not do well on blank space? Kate Rothwell gave a fabulous quote, and I know those review copies are duking it out with everyone else's review copies, reviewers are busy, etc, etc, etc. Happy place.
Pause to guffaw at the irony of yesterday's message at church being about faith vs worry. Spot on, Pastor Mike. As usual. Think I better look up some of those verses again.
I'll be fine -- as the DH says, I have to "worry, sweat and die" about certain things and then I'll be fine. Will return to usual divalicious self and stop strangers on the street to inform them they will be buying my book, very soon.
Without the (technical) pressure of shooting for 50k for NaNo I'm finding the ideas come much easier for Gallowsbait, and I think I *may* have found a way to get some of my hero's POV in without sacrificing the tone. Kind of tricky when one wants to only set one foot inside a particular character's head -- and maybe not even all the toes, either. I do think it could work, though. Will press on and see.
Most of today so far has been spent uninstalling, installing, reinstalling, looking for drivers, and am now doing a driver download that only has eightish hours left. ::sigh:: But it's all progress, right? At least I have Word in now, so that makes the writing life muuuuuuuuuuuuch easier. All in all, it's a Monday, but I wouldn't trade it for the world.
Tuesday, November 08, 2005
I think that pretty much sums up the last few days. Sick relatives (in the plural) sick me (climbing out of it) stressed me (big stress stretch of days over, I have survived) and in some ways prospered.
I am 99% certain I am not going to make the 50K of NaNo, as I spent the last week stomping out fires that cut into writing time. I am, surprisingly, after a couple of days of stressing badly over that, okay with it. What I am shooting for now is to write on both OitS and Gallowsbait every day. If that's a sentence each, great, done. If it's page each, even better.
This week has also shown me that I am absolutely an outline gal. Rather than shove myself into spams of stress until I get a rash (not exaggerating here) it's a joy to settle into comfy chair with pretty legal pad (SoftScenes by Ampad makes some gorgeous alternatives to plain yellow -- I do not care for plain yellow) and writing what scene comes after what scene, which lets them flow into each other. Then I can happily follow along after my own breadcrumbs, and end up where I wanted to go in the first place. Since part of the reason for me doing NaNo this year was to increase my output, I'd say knowing for sure a certain method works for me is a success already. It's okay to say "hey, this method isn't working, so I'll do things this way over here" and move merrily along. Does this automatically mean I'm out of NaNo? I'll call that Dunno for now; maybe I'll make the magic number, but if not, I won't stress.
Monday, October 31, 2005
I just signed up for my first NaNoWriMo. While I'm still working toward the last 100 pages of Orphans in the Storm, I'm also starting work on the NaNo book, a gothic historical called Gallowsbait. We'll see how it goes. I may be setting myself up for a bit fat belly flop, or I may have half a salable book by the end of the month. E and Marguerite, you've sold me. I'm in. We'll get each other through. Other NaNo veterans, any advice?
Part of my brain says "hey, if you've been struggling with threeish pages a day, what business do you have adding sevenish more onto that?" Besides, the whole process involves writing without word count on Petunia (laptop) and then emailing it to the desktop for a complicated routine of cutting, pasting and reformatting.
The other part says "you write more when you can't check page or word count, and besides, you love starting a new story." Plus adding in the fact that I outlined two plots last week -- I thought they would be novellas, but nag groop says novels for sure-- and outlined half of another novel last night, I have to face facts and let some of the stuff in my head out.
I have some preparation done for Gallowsbait, somewhere between plotting and pantsing. I'll call it skirting. Which is borderline punny and intended that way. I do skirt around a few things, so again, we'll see. However it goes, I'm looking forward to the ride.
Monday, October 24, 2005
I always enjoy birthdays -- don't always have to be mine, though this one is, and gives me an excuse to bake brownies or cinnamon snack cake. Haven't decided which, though now that I've typed "cinnamon" I am leaning in that direction.
One of my gifts to me is beginning to transfer data -- actual, usable story data-- from Frankenstein to Petunia. Cut and paste, and I can at least set up the files. The actual Word software I need is on the way and should arrive in a day or two. I'm enjoying the time without Word, too, in a strange way. I can concentrate on the story and the process when fretting about page count and format is not an option. Still looking forward to sticking that Word CD in, though.
Also on a writing boost was great letter from and IM session with my friend E, (visit www.ecatherine.com to meet her) on Friday and assembling a TBR pile that whets my appetite for the thick. complex, detailed historicals I love. Finshed reading Brenda Joyce's The Prize in preparation for our reading group's selection of its sequel, The Masquerade, this Thursaday. I am reading fast. I have Virginia Henley's Unmasked (Restoration England, yay!) and Bertrice Small's The Last Heiress (the finale to the Friarsgate Inheritance series set in Tudor England, again, yay) -- with discussion on the All About Romance boards on big thick historical book nostalgia, which I have in a big way. Though that's another topic.
Friday, October 21, 2005
Okay I will admit it. I am a big fat chicken. Nah, we'll leave out the "fat" part. One cannot claim fatness when one must remember to pull up one's trousers when walking. The chicken (mmm, chicken) part, however, stays.
I have never done NaNoWriMo. Not once. Not ever. Does that make it NoNoWriMo for me? Possibly. I'm thinking of doing it this year, but I'm conflicted. Also chicken. 50k in one month? That would be a word count of dreams, let me tell you. One of my goals for the upcoming year is to increase my body of sellable work (aka write more, aka put out two books a year) and I am just slightly over one hundred pages from the end of the current ms. So what's stopping me?
Fear. Abject, mind-numbing fear. I am a world class ditherer, and have seen writing friends put out two or three books in the time it takes me to write one. I have seen entire careers come and go, and in some cases come back, before I made novel sale one. I know comparing oneself to others is alway a bad, bad thing to do, and yet it's still one of my worst writing habits. Procrastination being another. If I don't finish, I can't fail, and that's a safe place to be.
Thing is I don't like safe, at least not that way. Looking at the files I need to transfer from Frankenstein to Petunia, I have a lot, no make that a LOT of books to write, with new ideas crowding in nearly every day. So the only logical thing is to let off some pressure and get some of them out of my noggin. Which is why the procrastination doesn't make sense.
Also why NaNoWriMo makes sense (and thanks, E, for the encouragement) -- I'm seriously thinking of doing it this year. But do I shoot for the end of this current ms or start one of the new ones? Talk about conflict. I'm blabbery today, there is plenty of Diet Coke, and I am snuggled under my brand new snowflake blankey (thanks to E again) which may be rivalling the duck blankey as best blanket on earth. So things are bound to fall into place.
Tuesday, October 18, 2005
Until October 24th, that is. Beat the annual Anna's birthday rush and take care of your holiday shopping now. Yep, it's that time of year for birthday nut me. Of course this is an interesting one, since the upcoming birthday that is staring me in the face has a nine in it. Meaning that the one after that will have a zero in it and also be divisble by two. Miniwhimper.
On the upside, since most of my twenties got gobbled by depression, I will take them now. Now I'm old enough to know what to do with them. Be warned.
::sigh:: decidedly rodential sounds coming from the kitchen. I am not going in there. I am not going in there. I am not going in there. Free range rodents seriously freak me out. Besides, that's what we have cats for, though Olivia kitty seems to have not gotten that memo.
Also in rodent news, but of the outdoor variety, Vlad the bat has returned. We expect him this time each year, and he is always a welcome visitor as long as he stays on the outside. Which he does. Because see above comment on free range rodents. Shudder.
I am currently sorting out the whole AOL 9.0 Security installation kerfluffle -- one of those things I did not know would take hours, but it's something that needs doing. I'm going to see if I can combine the installation time with writing time, since I want to keep up the energy that came with the other evening at home.
DH was home and VH1 had a big long thing on one hit wonders, so of course we were glued. I opened a text file and started to pretty much bleed on the screen, putting down what the songs made me think or feel or remember and what parts of that I like to use in my own writing. I don't remember who said it but someone mentioned that if something is progressive enough, of course there are going to be a lot of people who don't get it. Which goes to show that a one hit wonder doesn't neccessarily mean the song was bad or the artist not talented. It may not have been the right time or venue. I think a lot of that can be applied to fiction as well. Which may be a whole entry in itself.
Currently playing: "Flinch" by Alanis Morrissette
(and eek, this reminds me I must raid Rheuben's Alanis stash, since I forgot to load "Hands Clean")
Currently reading: The Prize by Brenda Joyce
Monday, October 17, 2005
Friday afternoon, Petunia Penelope Putowski entered my life. I consider it a good sign when a new computer announces his/her/its name before the box is even open. Such was the case with myself and Petunia.
We are still in the process of getting to know each other, installing pertinent software, creating documents, and setting the settings that need to be set. I've done some writing, but most of that will come after I get Word in. What could possibly come first? The small matter of my personal playlists; angst, inspiration and energy. I like to set a certain mood when I write, and that's a big part of it.
Writing in the comfy chair is exactly as efficient as I'd hoped. Petunia is a light little thing, and my lap desk from Target gives me enough room for Petunia, a notebook and has an indent for writing implements. Perfect. Olivia kitty is less sure about this; she thinks she should be my laptop. Yes, I do feel like a callous cat anty but I hope to make sure she gets her fair share of cuddles.
On a more frivolous note, Petunia is compatible with the jump drive, so I can now snag neat Sims2 stuff to download and take home to play on the Bunninator (desktop at home) -- chaos may well be ahead.
Friday, October 14, 2005
Dear Frankenstien, aka Lucretia, aka Cowputer,
It seems like only yesterday I entertained violent thoughts about the UPS driver who wouldn't bring you all the way to the top of the third floor stairs and instead made various family members hunt you down at the distributing center. The day after we unboxed you, that box became Olivia kitty's favorite windowseat and so it remains. I can't count how many keyboards, mice, or mousepads we've been through together, and I will never forget the joy of finding out that you and Fantasia, the new printer, played well together.
Until the virus struck. I have no idea how it got in here, with spam blockers and virus sheilds, but it did, and I have to accept that this may be the end of the road. Not all of the vital applications will work now, it won't let you talk to Fantasia anymore, and we can't even run the antivirus programs. Maybe a full wipe will bring things back to normal. I don't know.
The fact that a new-used laptop is even now on its way doesn't mean I love you any less, dear Frankenstien. On the contrary, I wrote my last fanfics and first novel on you. You were the one to bring me news of an agent's pass, and my first sale. You were the one who gave me the first glimpse of my cover contest and allowed me to chat with friends the world over. We've played all of the Sims1 expansions together for the first time, and though I 'll have them on the new puter, it won't be the same. The Sims2 is something special between me and the Bunninator, the puter that lives in the bedroom, but there is and always will be only one Frankenstein.
We will try to fix you, we really will, but if that's not possible, know that our time together was nothing but good (disregard the times I smacked your monitor when the blue screen of death ate my days' work. I know the Sims1 upside down head plagues were not your fault, but that of the software; I've never held that against you in the least.) In the best case scenario, we'll have more time to spend together in the home office. I'll slip in to see you on late nights when the dh wants to putter or play casino games on the Bunninator. Or watch news. You'll replace the big heavy paperweight that is too slow to turn on. You'll still have your row of Beanie Babies on top of the monitor, and I will still change the desktop color scheme with my whims.
Non-writers may not understand why I'm writing to you, but for other writers, the bond between person and machine is a very special thing. We know you are real and alive and understand what we are saying. So, Frankenstein, whatever the future holds for you and I, thank you for everything so far, and I will always hold a spot for you in my heart.
Friday, October 07, 2005
Thought I'd blog while still in my good mood buzz from watching the Degrassi Old School episodes I'd recorded last night. Degrassi geek from way back, and yes, I was an adult then, too. Spike and Snake, Joey and Caitlin forever. ::geeky sigh::
On more adult matters, my romance book group was last night and the book of the month is Brenda Joyce's The Masquerade. Which is apparently the second in a family series, though it has three "ancestor" books with members of the family from centuries past whose descendents are the "current" (I think 19th century?) protagonists.
I've been wanting to try Brenda Joyce for a while now, so this is good timing. There is one thing, though. I am a stickler for reading series in order. So though this is the "assigned" book, I now have a reading list to take to the UBS so I can zoom through those first. I know I have the very first one in the attic, and will probably need to pick up the sequel to that, as well as The Prize, which is the precursor to our book of the month. The Game is also connected, but from another branch of the family, so I can dive in even though it's chronologically later than the first two. Technically the only book really related (Joyce fans correct me if I'm wrong) is The Prize, but this is my thing -- must read connected books in order or mountains will fall, rivers dry up and poodles will get funny haircuts.
Wednesday, October 05, 2005
Time for me to send out a flare in that case. This isn't as maddening a slump as most, for a few reasons. First, it's October, one of my faaavorite months. Second, I'm taking a rather scientific experiment outlook to this slump. What exactly is it that catches my attention, or makes a book hurtle at warp speed toward the nearest wall? Does a slump have warning signs, and if so, how soon can I see them? Can it be forestalled or prevented? Lots of interesting questions.
This one started with a book that was so darned good, clicked with me so well, I knew going in that it would be a difficult act to follow. The Awakening by Angela Hunt -- fabulous story that captivated me so much that a walk-on character took on full life in my head and I'm nurturing her. Which is a good thing, but reading -- interesting.
I tried the "stuff I don't usually read" approach and picked up Natalie Babbit's Tuck Everlasting, the classic YA tale. Liked that, definetly want to see the movie with Jonathan Jackson and Alexis Bleidel -- gorgeous both, good acting, I know I will like the story, so it's pretty much a gimme.
Figured I wanted a romance again next (I can't stay away for long) and picked up a historical vampire anthology (I never read vamps, so this fits the stuff I don't normally read quota.) Enjoyed two of the three stories, and the third didn't work for me. Too many elements that weren't my taste, but I'm sure it's someone's favorite ever.
Currently reading an older Barbara Hazard trad; I loved her historicals, and though the Regency period is not a favorite, I do like her style. Plus the shorter legnth should be a good bridge back to a big thick Porterhouse steak of a historical romance.
Thursday, September 29, 2005
Can’t believe it’s been a whole week, and only a week at the same time. DH is feeling poopy, work puter has been crashy, actual writing sludgy, reading fell into the bleh zone, but on the bright side, I can see both rain and foliage from the office window. Plus the neighbor’s rain-slick black roof, which is a lovely thing. Weather is cooler, and I’ve actually worm sweaters and boots and brought out the fuzzy duck blankey I pilfered from my Dad’s house years ago. Dad is not getting the duck blankey back for love or money. It’s too fuzzy, too warm, and too ducky to give back. Sorry, Dad.
Went out to dinner with members of my current nag group and the group from before that, last night. Found a faboo new restaurant with the best chili I’d ever had – ever— and a quite sophisticated bleu cheese cajun burger on panini (am I now too snooty for myself?) with pumpkin ice cream for dessert. Must also add that …drum roll please… I was able to wear one of my favorite thin outfits last night after a long fat summer. Thin clothes, huzzah! Always a good thing.
Got to watch last night’s LOST, LAW & ORDER and SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE this morning, while writing on a rainbow colored legal pad in the comfy chair, drinking various teas out of a pinky-purple latte mug. Which has now been dubbed my favorite tea vessel, edging out the shamrock mug and the "I (heart) Las Vegas" mug I commandeered from a friend.
Good TV helps the creative process, though I do need to reconnect with earlier events in OitS. I need to get this sucker done and out there, if that’s okay with real life. Okay, it’s not okay with real life, but I need to push and finish anyway. There are new stories that want my attention, and the bratty MOH is getting restless for the big debut in January.
Thursday, September 22, 2005
Oh my. I do believe I've found another must-read blog for my daily rounds. I'd say tea and crumpets for everyone involved, but in a certain context, that's really none of my business.
Getting ready to start the day's writing, with a boost that:
A) last night was the season premiere of LOST and I got to watch it with DH, who is as hooked as I was.
B) My copy of The Sims2:NightLife came in yesterday's mail, and it is gooooooood. Come on, a computer game about the search for one's perfect mate? Perfect for romance writers.
C) I got to play TS2:NL while watching LOST with the DH
D) Mail also contained a thank-you letter from a writer whose ms I had judged in a contest, and hearing that she'd placed second in her category. Woot! I do remember her story, and I will definitely buy it whenever it comes out. I've judged several contests, and this is only the second thank-you letter I've recieved (the other one being from someone I had met in person, but whose name wasn't on the ms) so it was extra-special. This gets a scrapbook page for sure.
E) I am actually hunting down quotes for My Outcast Heart. A bit skeery, doing that, but I've had my first yes, so that's a boost.
F) I get an extra work day on Saturday. I was supposed to go to a stamp show with a friend, but she couldn't make it, and needs me to catsit while she is elsewhere, so I can put Simon and Jonnet through some more heck (and possibly some tea and crumpets) in the morning and then go home and Sim in the afternoon, as DH will also be working.
Yep, good to be me.
Thursday, September 15, 2005
The new At The Back Fence is out now, and this issue’s topic is connected books. Hoo boy, could I go on about that, on several fronts. Probably will, too, but I’m coming off a couple of overheated days so I’m taking it easy.
What struck me the most, though, was the mention of one of my very favorite things in romance – supercouples. I’m probably dating myself but I love supercouples, I miss them, and if I have anything to say about it, a few of them may be ready to reintroduce the concept. Modest, huh?
Though I came on a little late for the real-time start of Luke and Laura, I caught on – though we won’t discuss the rape vs forced seduction thing here. I am foot-stomping mad that GH wrapped up (or more accurately unravelled) things the way they did, so in my mind, any Spencers seen in the area are impostors planted by the Cassadines. The real Luke and Laura are happily living in Australia under assumed names. So there.
Bo and Hope from Days of Our Lives. Oh, sigh. I have vivid memories of Peter Reckell riding into Salem on a motorcycle to the strains of "Holding Out for a Hero." Okay, I am a sucker for Jim Steinman songs anyway, but I was an impressionable teen, and yearned along with Bo and Hope from that day, through the whole Larry Welch affair and up to their first wedding. Went off soaps a while after that (soured perhaps by the raw deal Pete and Melissa got, too) but they made their mark.
So too did the supercouples of historical romance. I never read the Steve and Ginny books (yet), but Sherwood, Small…you bet! After the initial HEA, for me, the stakes raise. I love watching the same h/h tackle new obstacles and find their way back to each other no matter what stood in their way. Shoot, when Star Trek: The Next Generation came out, I had to watch because there was a character named Riker, and I was still smitten with Sherwood’s privateer hero, VanRyker. I had to see if this guy was a worthy descendant. Yep. And so began a long and fruitful fanfic career.
Once in a while, one of the pair would have to make a new beginning after their beloved’s untimely demise, and find love again. This could be a little trickier for me, but there are a few. Constance Gluyas’ duo, THE KING’S BRAT and sequel MY LADY BENBROOK did that very well.
If after a book or three, the torch got passed to the couple’s children, even better. How will our progenitors handle this new phase of life, and what will the next generation get into? Are secrets from their parents’ past going to complicate the present and future? Aola Vandergriff’s DAUGHTERS OF series did this masterfully, following three sisters and their husbands and descendants from the 1850s to 1920s. When that series was over, I was mad. When I found the author had passed, I actually sniffled, then printed out her backlist and began combing the UBS’s.
Would I love to see this return, maybe write a few of my own? Of course. Not exact copies of what’s gone before, but the same concept with new flavor. I have a few ideas.
Wednesday, September 14, 2005
Which may well be how the housepainters think of me now. Two days in a row, I look up from the tub and yep, housepaintery shape behind the blinds. As of yesterday there was also plastic on the windows, so anything either of us can see of each other is shadowy at best, and those guys seem to be working hard, so I'm counting it all safe.
Of course, naked might be prudent -- the shrink-wrapped windows turn the place into a sauna, so thank God for fans. T-shirt style coverup will do for now. Still debating how much brainpower the heat will suck out of me and if I will have enough for nag group tonight. Probably a lot, so we may scrub the meeting.
Got jumped by a medieval idea while listening to Sting's "Mad About You" (which has nothing to do with the sitcom) this weekend, so into some research and plotting with that. Good thing one of my cp's is both a medieval nut and in the medical field, as I will be picking her brain like a hungry vulture on this one.
Time to go grab a notebook from the living room, and yep, I hear painters. I think maybe I should just borrow a costume from my belly dancer friend, GC, and have a moment.
Saturday, September 10, 2005
Whoops, that's "I'd Really Love to See You Tonight" -- and if I can find the 90s version, I will pounce on it. Love the original, but there's soemthing special about the same artists doing it with more mature voices.
Been keeping busy over here. Partly trying to figure out why it is that Olivia kitty sits on the other side of the desk when she wants to be in my lap (I'm supposed to pick her up and put here there; cats rule.) Have finally come to the conclusion that office space as is, is a creativity sucking void. This coming from the woman who tapes Designing for the Sexes and Designer's Challenge every day. Weirdly yellow-beige walls, insufficient light (for Dilbert fans, yes, I do expect to see Phil and his big spoon) and though I love my hutch, facing the wall while I work doesn't. This should be an interesting endeavor.
I may have the chance to exhibit some of my art in an honest to goodness small gallery. Have never done that before, so another interesting endeavor.
Slogging through the current scene in actual writing, though I have absolutely no trouble figuring what everyone would be singing about if the novel were an Elton John musical. (Yes, I have been listening to too much of EJ's Aida. Want to make something of it?) Now to translate that into actual prose.
New project for the other WIP -- find my heroine's secret life. I've had the same feedback on her from two trusted critters, so my job now is to get a handle on what it is about her that fascinates the hero. How does he know that she's in the same emotional place he is? Must put on thinking cap in preparation for brainstorming. Plus watch copious hours of the first season of Highlander. Ah, the things I do for my art.
Wednesday, August 31, 2005
After a day spent finalizing the stuff in an author information questionnaire (apparently I am a complete stranger to me when the word "bio" enters the equation) I have one thing first and foremost on my mind: what the sam hill is the song in my head?
I first encountered mystery song while a friend had CMT on. I haven't listened to the radio for years, so while I know darned well the song must have a real title and the gent who sings it, a proper name, I am drawing a blank.
What I remember for sure:
Video is in black and white, blondish guy in tuxedo wanders beaches and bars while looking utterly miserable, singing about his beloved who has apparently either died or split (personally, I like to think that she's passed on and he's gone round the bend, but you know me) Searching scenes interspersed with smoochy From Here to Eternity type (memory?) scenes of narrator and aforementioned beloved.
Lyrics list several places in California, where the thing is apparently set.
Chorus has a refrain of "I been looking for you baby/I been looking for you baby/all night long."
What I'm fuzzy on but think I remember:
I *think* the title is "El Cerrito Bay" but could be wrong.
My instinct is to say that the singer's first name is Jimmy, but I'm ninety five percent sure it isn't.
Big help, huh? Thanks in advance for any light you can shed.
Tuesday, August 30, 2005
Oh boy, was it. The fact that I'm only able to blog about it on Tuesday evening should give a clue. Though heat and humidity were a common theme, we did get variety in the forms of illness, injury, panic, shopping, shoe euphoria, and a good UBS haul.
Illness: dh had to call in sick from work on Friday. I should have known this was a sign. He was fine the next day, but it did set the tone.
Injury: me, tripping in a friend's bedroom, going for a ribbon bow destined for another friend's present. Went down on of all things a videotape (which is now more like a pile of pointy plastic things, one of which decided to do some exploratory surgery on my knee) Ow, blood, ew, wash, treat, bandage, fine now. Another portent.
Panic: purse went missing for a couple of hours -- thankfully only my voter registration card was in there in way of ID, but also keys to my dad's house (no identifying details, though.) The main thing was the purse itself, which I made from a mini lunchbox. This is the purse store clerks keep trying to ring up. People have offered me money for this one several times, and I sell others like it, so I could make nother, but dangit this was my first, and therefore special. Finally found it in a very weird place in abovementioned friend's car, which I attribute to disorentation from the heat and humidity.
Shopping & shoe euphoria: was a good girl and got the sport bras I was supposed to get, but bypassed the boring white sneakers for glittery Cinderella shoes. Pink sparkly mules with clear high heels. Figured since I have my prince charming already, I needed the shoes. Old sneakers will do; these are happy heels.
UBS haul: end of day, so titles elude me, but picked up about five quite intriguing prospects at the lovely UBS where I have mucho credit. All historicals save for Pamela Morsi's By Summer's End which I devoured before lunch today. Two thumbs up and a big toe, too. (note: toenails now painted white to better complement sparkly pink shoes)
Forgot to mention the craft haul, too. Back to school sales are a delight for those in paper arts. Somewhere in the middle of all that, I got unstuck on the scene I need to have done by tomorrow, so I can now transfer all my writerly angst and panic to my author information questionnaire.
Thursday, August 25, 2005
Today was a patchwork day. I knew the scene I was supposed to be writing, but it wasn't there. Would not connect with my brain. Stuck its fingers in its ears and went "la-la-la-la I can't hear you" when I called it. I hate when scenes do that. Still, determined to break out of my rut and write, I figured I'd open the document and read the scene right before it.
Which was not there. Nor the one before that. In fact, the green stink fumes scene was there, the one I thought I'd banished from the planet. Which means that I had once again neglected to patch in recent work into the actual manuscript. Heavy sigh and hunt about desktop (because I oh so cunningly name things written out of place as "new scene one" and "new scene two" never minding that two might take place before one, or might actually be two and one in one document.) Finally found it all, and added about forty more pages to the ms. Now that's a day's work.
Okay, so they weren't new pages (mostly) but I did get to fix things I wanted fixed, and that new page count looks so darned impressive that I swaggered on over to the plate of peanut butter chip brownies I baked this morning (for the sole reason that I must be productive if I'm baking) and indulged. Also showed me that of course I can't work on that scene because I have to fix one of the patchwork scenes that will be the difficult scene's destination. I always have to know where I'm going at a few points in the book, and this is one of them.
Monday, August 22, 2005
Every year when the first snap of fall hits the air, I go into overdrive. This will not be matched until the first significant snowfall of winter. Should this overlap with the official fall season, it might be best to bring the small children inside. I will be so bouncey that Tigger will look comatose. The fact that I have the end of the current MS in sight may hasten this. Add cider -- the real stuff, from farm stands or the local produce section of the grocery, not the factory bottled apple juice that was once shown a picture of a cinnamon stick-- and pumpkin pie and the scent of woodsmoke and thar she blows.
Whoops -- real life intrusion. Must go do wifely things involving groceries. Talk amongst yourselves. I'll be back in the AM.
Monday, August 15, 2005
I have no idea how I managed this, but both my main guys, my husband and my dad, have birthdays back to back. Dad's was yesterday, August fourteenth, and today is Rheuben's, on the fifteenth. I usually spend the rest of the week on a frosting-induced high, which is only brought down by the fumes from any solvents used to make gifts. See, it all balances.
Too hot for any sugar to cut through the sludge this year, and with the humidity, all I'd have to do to make soup would be unwrap a bouillon cube. The air has been that moist. Left Dad's celebration before the cake (Oreo cake, too, darmit, and it was my friend who brought it, so I claim unfairness. Oreo cake, people!) to go rescue dh who needed errand run, and then promptly stripped down to one of his oversized t-shirts to spred a towel on the bed and lie in front of the fan, next to my current read. Listened to him play World of Wonders (he did not kill me when I dubbed it --affectionately-- World of Weasels so he still gets his gift) for a few hours.
But that's not the point. I give you a gift from my dad; the story of how his birthday fell on VJ day (no, not the MTV kind, the WWII kind) while he was on active duty. He told us this for the first time yesterday, and I thought it was hysterical, and very dad, so am sharing.
Dad had been looking forward to celebrating his birthday with his Army buddies, and had saved his beer ration so he'd have a full case on his birthday. Everything was going according to plan right up until the day. With only hours before he'd be free to celebrate, this was going to be the social events, as the full case of beer was a well-known thing...and then...the news comes in. War over. Case got raided by understandably ebulllient soldiers, Dad got bupkus.
This year, he got Oreo cake (and all of it, grumble grumble grumble) DH is getting peanut butter brownies.
Friday, August 12, 2005
Didn't plan on it, but today turned into an art day. This is the week of The Birthdays -- Dad's on the 14th and the dh on the 15th plus a dear friend's package perched atop Mt Mailme. Combine that with the shape of a piece of cardboard that came in the packing from Amazon and a comment dh made the other night while we were watching a decorating show, and long story short, I am covered in antique stain, paint, and would not be at all surprised if I've crackled the fingers of my left hand.
Yesterday was too hot to move so it was great to be excited and focused today. The aforementioned piece of cardboard turned into a vintage-looking sign the dh said he wanted "someday" (hey, today is someday!) and playing with it reminded me how much my loved ones are a gift to me all year long.
I love giving presents, and if it's something I can make that reflects the recipient's personality, all the better. It's extra quality time spent, if not with them, then about them. Time to think "what makes this person special?" and "what would they like this to be?" Which is, come to think of it, a lot like writing.
How would this character see the situation at hand? What would be their projected best and worst outcome? What might they try doing instead of what I have planned?
It's not so much a day spent away from writing, but approaching it from another angle. I come back from art days refreshed and ready to roll. Which is another gift.
Monday, August 08, 2005
Figuratively, that is. Book kid. Sent in my errata sheet (really small -- Awe-Struck is gooooood) for MOH and no turning back now. That's what goes out into the wide world. Or at least the ARCs. I can collapse now, then back to OitS in the morning, after commenting on ECT's fabulous story.
Waiting for my dad to call when he lays hands on the old (think 70s orange and gold brocade) photo album that has many pictures of Bedford in winter so I can scan some and send them to Tim so we can get the final cover stuff rolling. Dad thought he had the album when I visited on Sunday, but it was the wrong one -- an album of records from way way back, in paper sleeves, in Italian (must've been Mom's) -- very cool, but not helpful for illustration purposes.
One of the things I'm enjoying most about this journey is that good ol' dad, longtime romance novel decryer is now a huge supporter. As in blabs to everyone. Conversations often begin "I saw/talked to X today and I told them about the book." I told him I'm going to make him a "My Daughter is a Romance Writer" bumper sticker and put it on his car. He said he'd let me. Yay dad.
Thursday, August 04, 2005
The edits are in for MOH, and Awe-Struck seems pleased. Time for me to look over things one more time and then off into the wide world with it. Exciting and scary all at once. I feel like I'm chasing the school bus that has my very first kindergartener on it. Wait -- she's not ready. I need her at home just a little more. Though I know it is time, and she'll do well. This is what books do, and it's time for others to love this one. At least I hope. This book--baby had her time with me and now her younger siblings need my attention.
At least I'm feeding them right. My TBR includes Candace Proctor's (moment of silence due to CP's genre switch) Whispers of Heaven (current read) as well as Jane Feather's Almost a Bride, Lauren Royal's Lost in Temptation, Veil of Night by Lydia Joyce (finally!) and Elaine LeClaire's debut title. Blanking on title, but it's a seafaring book, tropical, and set in the Georgian era, so I know I will be happy.
Monday, August 01, 2005
For Sims2 fanatics, I found Bella last night. Yes, I did a happy dance around the bedroom, and fortunately my dh was in another room (where the furniture is porcelain) so I didn't have to explain it. Though he might have thought I was writing. Which I kind of was.
The S1 Bella didn't appeal to me much, and I had a time or two entertained the thought of having her play with fireworks in a 2x2 shed. So of course when S2 came out, and I found that Mrs Goth was not with her family in Pleasantview, but could be found as an elusive townie in Strangetown, I started thinking about what I would do if I found her, which I probably wouldn't, knowing my luck.
Last night, when I saw her strolling oh so casually past the Beaker family home, whambang, it hit me. This could be my chance to play with an amnesia storyline. Because Strangetown Bella has no memories, you see. She wouldn't know or care that her husband, Mortimer, had remarried, had another child, grown old and died. She wouldn't know her daughter Cassandra was married with four sproglets of her own, or that son Alexander was about to tie the knot with that nice Lucy Burb from down the street. No, Bella was still at the beginning of her adult stage, footloose and fancy free (except for her fancy for Nervous Subject, but hands off, missy, I'm saving him for Chloe Singles; and don't talk back to me, either, because I'm the one writing...ah, playing this. I meant playing. What? Why are you looking at me like that? I am the giant hand and I control you.)
Ahem. Can you spot the romance writer? Same one who spent some time this AM copying the original Goth house layout to graph paper so I can recreate it in S2, because wouldn't it be interesting if Bella wondered why her new house seemed oddly familiar.
I hadn't meant to blog about Sims today; I'd meant to talk about trad Regencies and the iminent demise of, from the position of an interested outsider, but that will have to wait for tomorrow. Must go write, and no, not about Sims or Bella. Actual book work. Very much looking forward to getting this puppy done.
Monday, July 25, 2005
A glow emanates from the computer as Anna opens a file.
The theme from "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly" plays.
It’s revision time. One of my crit partners and I promised we’d tell each other if a scene ever stunk on ice, and a recent one of mine did. As in did not accomplish its purpose, gave the wrong message, so back at it I go.
Fixing a scene gone wonky is a tricky thing. There’s the time spent staring at it wondering where exactly things left the track, and can anything be saved from the wreckage? Do I have to put out any fires first? Why did things take the turn they did, when they clearly need to go the other way?
I don’t wanna open the file and look at the big scary sucky scene. Can’t I make some notes and come back later? No, because this is fix bad work habits week. Which includes tackling this sucker, doing serious looking for a romance focused critique group, and a few other things. I’ve been a bit on the slacker side. Taking advantage of the slight drop in heat/humidity to take care of aforementioned matters. Deadline looming, so fingers moving.
Wednesday, July 20, 2005
Writing is going well, though the office turns into a sauna from around eleven AM on. Bleh. I've been doing a lot of longhand in the air conditioned living room, especially since I have a nifty retro-flowered ergonomic lap desk from Target. I love Target. There's something special about writing with a silver Sharpie in a black paper composition book that clicks for me. Now the trick is to find more, for future projects. I have black craft paper, black spiral notebooks, black filler paper, and even a black legal pad (oooh, must play with that soon) but the black composition book is very very rare. The search is on.
Thursday, July 14, 2005
Just got off the phone with my cover artist, and we are so very much on the same page that I am delighted. Of course the cover is due at the same time he and his wife expect their next baby to be born (talk about timing!) Some art talk, a wee bit of discussion on the next book and I got to effuse over the Patrick Stewart version of THE LION IN WINTER. (Which is utterly gorgeous; go rent it now.) We’re still both open to different concepts, but we have the same favorite, which I think is a good sign.
Which brings me to the forgotten points from yesterday. What makes for a good cover for you? What elements say "romantic?" Not sexy, not sweet, romantic. Which brings me to my ongoing quest for branding.
One would think that as the daughter of an advertising executive (dad was an art director for decades, and was and is a fine artist on his own) I’d have a better handle on these things. What is a reader going to get when they pick up one of my novels? Historical romance, yes, but what kind? I’m stumped on that. I know what my stories are like inside my head, but to put that into a brand? Augh. Pass the chocolate covered gummi bears (they are the solution for all annoyance, except weight gain, but since I am officially down a size, bring them on!)
I told DH about this last night (after making him listen to the gothic idea that pounced me, which I was furiously scribbling while he was trying to serve dinner and needed to know why I was grunting at him)and his response: "good." I love this man. Then, "if you were a guy, we could say ‘gritty.’" I’m not a guy, but that would fit. And yes, I would like some cheese with that whine. It’s grocery day. Swiss, please.
Wednesday, July 13, 2005
Anyway, I'm still here, still writing. I was in the middle of my morning putzing when my brain decided I'd much rather be writing (or rather Simon and Jonnet, my current h/h) decided I needed to get back to them and leave that email nonsense for anohter time. Quite pleased with the day's work.
No nag group tonight, as one of our members got the chance to go see Phantom in NY for free. Would any sane person deny her that?
Stalling...nope, it's gone. Whatever I had in mind has now been replaced by all the possible days of the week when laundry can happen. Which is about the most boring thing I can think of at the moment. Ugh, ugh, ugh.
Something about author branding, cover art, uhhhhhh, yeah it's gone. Drat. Drat, drat, drat. Aha, possible gothic idea....bleh, now chased away by report on gob of shed fur cat was going to eat but didn't.
That's it, I surrender. Will now go grab one of the special books from my TBR pile and bury self within pages. Hopefully brain will return tomorrow.
Saturday, July 09, 2005
On a lighter note, I hope to get bloggier in the week to come. I'm out of the middle of the book, or at least in very end of middle, heading toward beginning of end phase, and I'm feeling good about that. Confident. I can see the end in sight, and apart from a few small details, I know where everything goes. Good place to be.
Once I'm a bit farther along, I need to set my sights on the next project. I know I'll be going back to TWR as my WIP (enough anagrams today? I prefer not to use them at all, but very rushed at the moment) but I'll need a new book as well. Maybe the next Bedford book to be ready while My Outcast Heart (full title, hah!) is still around. My nag group insists I look at a partial from a few years ago, which I will, but I make no promises.
Still stuck on the whole "branding" thing -- eep, is it really neccessary? I asked the nag group gals, and I'm afraid, that while flattering, "well written" isn't going to work as a brand.
Monday, July 04, 2005
No real plans over here, as family schedule is scattered, so I am spending a good deal of my day setting up a custom neighborhood experiment in The Sims2, and stomping around in a circle because...I am slumping again. Finished Bertrice Small's Lara, then Johanna Lindsey's A Loving Scoundrel, and then el slumpo. Nothing is holding my interest.
This is not for a lack of books; we're talking "water, water, everywhere and not a drop to drink" here. I definetly need to pick up some more CBA titles -- there are Angela Hunt, Robin Lee Hatcher, Liz Curtis Higgs and Frank Perretti books I still need, and Ted Dekker, too...then there's the first in Lyn Cote's new historical series in the early 20th century. Book shopping -- of any sort-- will be possible for later in the week, but at the moment, it's me, apartment, bunch of books that are not making an effort to call me.
I've found that usually it's older historical romances or newer CBA fiction (of any genre) that will break me out of a slump. I also have a short list of books that I do want to get read "over the summer" but not in the mood to tackle them at the moment. In summers past, I've used time travels to while away the reading ennui; for some reason, they tend to get me back on track. Not that many time travels out there at the moment, and I'm picky about them; prefer modern character go back to pre-1800 era and stay there. Have never seen an inspirational historical time travel, but I've always thought Merline Lovelace's ancient Roman time travel would have been a great concept for an inspirational angle. So perhaps a pen and notebook to ponder.
Other than that, it's some reading meh. Tried a couple of historicals, couldn't get into them, so maybe it's me. Must paw through crates in attic and see what I can find.
Wednesday, June 29, 2005
Second, there's a thread on AAR's reviews board on what romance readers want from a hero. I'm going to have to read through all of the responses before I opine, but the original post gave me an idea for my 'someday' file. If I were going to do a "rake" hero (and if I may go off on a tangent for a moment, talk of "rakes" and "ho's" makes me wonder if we wouldn't like to move the discussion from the bookstore to the garden center. New terms needed, I tell you.) I'd do a real one. Not that it would be a sexually explicit book -- but it would deal with the aspects of such a lifestyle that might not often recieve treatment in romance as we know it.
Yes, I'd want to deal with the children such a man may have created. Diseases? Emotional entanglements? Broken hearts along the way? What happens to the married women involved in said affairs? What about their husbands whom he may still come across in social or professional circles? How much of himself did he give aways, and does he need those parts now?
Come to think of it, it might be something to explore in an inspirational historical. I'd love that. Will give it a good think when I finish OitS.
In the meantime, I surrender. I am a fangirl. Must buy Buble CDs.
Monday, June 27, 2005
I can at least vouch for the one he killed yesterday afternoon. I was coming in, he was going out, and I informed him there was a huge wasp in the entryway. He asked me which window, and took a can of bug killer out with him. There was noise.
He came back in a couple of minutes later to inform me that the thing has as he put it 'an eight foot wingspan' and may possibly have been packing heat, Antonio Banderas-style (what movie was that? anyone?) He told me the wasp flew straight at him, even after three spritzes of bug killer. DH trapped the thing in an upstairs landing window, drenched it in bug killer and gave strict orders that I was not to open said window until he got home. Yeah, like that was even a remote possibility. First of all, the landing is an oven, second of all, I can attest that this was perhaps the biggest wasp I've ever seen. As in big enough to ride in the commuter lane big. I think it was wearing some kind of hat.
DH comes home after his shift, checks the window of bug death, and informs me the target has been neutralized. I checked this morning, and while still dead, I'm wondering if maybe she was the queen. There is a nest on the porch, and the decendent does seem to have a bit extra in the booty department.
Thursday, June 23, 2005
It is easier to get back into Simon and Jonnet's story than I thought it would be, so I'm very happy about that. Still a little scary to know I'm heading into the beginning of the end part; currently in the end of the middle, or very close to it. It's a neccessary part of writing the book, though. Must finish before can sell, so finish must I. (How did Yoda get in here?)
Settling into my summer routine, which looks to be quite nice this year; breakfast with the previous evening's Desgrassi reruns (I am hooked more than perhaps a grown woman should be, but the writing and acting are excellent, and it's a good study in character arcs) then email, favorite boards, and look over the previous day's work. If things aren't clicking, I can take a break and come back after lunch. Art during the break, if lap not comandeered by very fuzzy kitty.
Writing, come fur or high water, will be done after lunch. Chat with writer friends online at times, sign off when other hew-mons require my presence. Plan strategy of how to beat DH to the computer if he's going to be home. My Sims2 and his World of Wonders (I think; fantasy adventure game) are on the same puter, so only one of us can play at a time. Though the other does get control of the remote, which is only fair. Of course there are those moments like last night, when DH asked if his session could go a bit longer, when I get to reply, "I've got a good book; I'm happy." Which is a good motto for anyone, if you ask me.
Monday, June 20, 2005
I wrote my first historical romance when I was seventeen. Actually, that's when I began it. It took me my entire college career to write the whole darned thing, which was really two books (big monster volume.) I'm somewhat older than that now, and my first book is coming out in January. The abovementioned two-headed monster lives in the back of my closet at home...it's traveled with me to everywhere I've lived between then and now, and always claims the back of the closet for its room.
One reason -- it stinks. The influences of my favorite authors shows, and not in a good way. Though I learned my love of historical romance from them, it works much better when I let things I love from other writers come through the filter of my own voice rather than tryint to imitate theirs. Character arc could be called pastiche by some, and while I did glean a love of a strong heroine, the fact that a historical romance can be packed full of history, and it's fun to follow one's h/h through many years before rewarding them with a HEA, only Small is Small, only Lindsey, Lindsey, only Sherwood, Sherwood, and so on. Only Bowling is Bowling, too.
My grasp of the historical period was nebulous at best -- I'd switched from Elizbeth Tudor's time, to her dear ol' daddy's when I got the bright idea for a sequel about the heroine's daughter, and I'm pretty sure I didn't go back and change everything. I am much better now at both history and editing.
Plus there was life. College, not finishing it (which is not a regret; college and I were not a good fit) and other aspects of adulthood, involving a great husband, good family stuff, a stint in retail before I figured out I can't be anything but a writer/artist. I don't know how seventeen-me and now-me would get along. I think seventeen-me would be a little wary of now-me, come to think of it, but I know she'd love the hair. I like to think she'd pick up my books, too.
But not that first one. It had its good parts, and I do go back and mine those for inclusion in my current writing, but as a whole, it needs to stay where it is. It keeps my sequinned sneakers, also from the 80s, good company. I'd hate to break up the pair after so long an acquaintance. I like knowing they're there.
Thursday, June 16, 2005
Part one was the previous post; the title hadn't occurred to me before then, and I think the HTML will beat me up if I go back into it one more time this morning.
I was thinking on another thing that struck my interset -- one thing that the inspirational and dare I say erotica/romantica (yeah, I am going to have to come up with better terms, at least for me -- I was going to say "spicy" but then if a book isn't "spicy," is it bland? If it's not "sweet" would that make it "sour?" I'm picky with the food metaphors, being married to a cook.) seem to have in common is a desire for an intense emotional experience. A look into the core of a person, yuck and all, and a love that will see that and take it in.
Some of my favorite inspirational or CBA fiction has been much more intense than sweet. A working prostitute heroine in the American west (Francine Rivers' classic Redeeming Love) or a futuristic scenario where the US is a wasteland where roving bands of cannibals are a real danger (thriller The Land of Empty Houses by -- hmm, blanking on the author; my 77 yr old aunt may have this one.) An author's personal experience with incredibly difficult personal circumstances such as divorce or abortion (The Forgiving Hour by Robin Lee Hatcher and The Atonement Child by Rivers, for example.) An 18th century Scotsman who finds himself married to two sisters --at the same time (Thorn in my Heart and sequels by Liz Curtis Higgs.) Heartrending medieval romances in a gritty, realistic world (Angela Elwell Hunt;s Theyn Chronicles...my first intro to her, though she writes pretty much everything and Carol Umberger, for starters.)
I plop these in my book basket along with Marsha Canham and Jane Feather, Bertrice Small historicals and Megan Chance's historical fiction.
It's the intensity of emotion that ties it all together. Sometimes it focuses on (eventual) spouse to spouse, sometimes it's God/human, and sometimes it's a combination.
So yeah, new term needed, at least for me.
With recent book buying, UBS and B&N browsing I've been doing lately, I've had a lot of booky things on my mind. Combine that with various brouhahas in the online romance community and I get thinky. There may be rambling in the days ahead, but I need to do some mental housecleaning to get brain in gear for going into geurilla mode to finish OitS over the summer.
First up -- inspirationals. CBA fiction. Love it. Inspirationals and/or CBA fiction are not always "sweet." I hate "sweet." Conjures up images of fwuffy kitties with yellow bows on teenytiny flowery backgrounds and grownup people who would be shocked, shocked, I tell you, at the thought of where babies come from. It connotes, at least to me, something more suited to the youngsters who aren't yet ready for big grownup stuff . Light. I could be alone in my perception, but it's my space, so I can say what I want.
My books would likely be classed as "sweet" by current ratings standards because I don't use graphic sexual content, but as the DH said, "if someone picks up your book looking for something sweet, they might get a surprise." Uh, yeah. I think so. I like angst. I like drama. Bad things, sometimes very bad things, and sometimes Very Bad Things (tm) happen to good people on the way to HEA. I may not point the camera into the bedroom, but I do acknowledge that there is one. The same as I acknowledge that my story people do have a spiritual aspect to their lives. This may take a bigger role in some stories than other, but it's there. It's the relationships, the emotion that I like to keep on top.
Maybe it's time for some different terms? Both romance and CBA fiction (I know why the term inspirational is uesd, and will blog on that later; put a sticky note on it, as I will be back) are going through growth and change. I dunno. Got that itchy feeling about it, so I'm thinking.
Wednesday, June 15, 2005
Boooinnng! I am suddenly refreshed and more than happy to go on aforementioned food and water run. With aforementioned stop at B&N. I'm easy that way. Dangle a bookstore in front of me and I can take on the world. A friend of ours is quite certain that I would climb out of my own coffin if someone proposed a bookstore visit during my funeral. She's probably right. Came home with water, sandwiches, the new Stamper's Sampler, and Johanna Lindsey's newest. What can I say? I'm a sucker for the heroine disguised as boy device. Great way to put self in mood for a good writing day to come.
Which was only cemented by an email I recieved from author Lisa Samson. (Go read her books, she's fab) Lisa had asked readers for character suggestions for an upcoming work, and I was delighted and honored that my suggestion was one of the choices.
Heading out to nag group for the first time in a couple of weeks; I've missed those gals, and we all have stuff to share, so it's going to be a real pleasure.
As for tomorrow, I gots me some books to write.
Tuesday, June 14, 2005
There are books like that; the ones I save for when I've been very good, or feel very bad. The sort of book that *is* a good friend to hold the reader's hand while life rains down torrents of crud, or pop open the bubbly to make an already good day downright perfect. For candlelit bubble baths or stalled cars with broken heaters. For hospital waiting rooms and plush hotel suites.
They're different for every reader, but what they have in common is the ability to touch the right place in our inner selves, to take on a life of their own. These are the ones I want to write. Not just bestsellers. Bestkeepers.
::ahem:: That was a lot deeper than I'd intended to be today, but it must be my brain getting into writing gear. It looks like I should be able to knuckle down and finish OitS by the end of summer. I like goals, and I work well with deadlines. Most importantly, I've told myself I can't start a new book until I've finished one of the WIPs.
Friday, June 10, 2005
The budget? Beg talented graphic designer friend. (wave hi, Kat) That said, a few questions I'd love your answers for; there are more, but this should be good for a start:
What do you look for, visually, in an author website?
What images convey "historical romance" (other than people) (added: the first book is colonial, but I write in a range of periods)
what should images tell a reader about the tone or content of the novel? About the author?
What historical romance authors' sites do you find particularly appealing?
Any questions I should have asked, but didn't?
Tuesday, June 07, 2005
Knowing the voices and styles of each author, it's also fun to pick up and see what was echoed or expanded on later, what's a kiss to the past, or a particular turn of phrase, etc.
I always do write better when I'm reading, and when I'm doing art, so since I've been doing much of the latter over the last couple of days, writing is going well. Feels good to be back in the saddle again, so to speak. Though I could do without the high heat and humidity. Ah well, more reason to park self in front of fan and read.
Thursday, June 02, 2005
But reading. I was overtired last night, exhausted but couldn’t sleep. Ended up reading snippets from a back issue of Romance Writer’s Report, the RWA magazine. Don’t remember much about what I read, but I do know that it was lovely to read something.
This got me wondering, does anyone else have a hard time getting back into reading after a few days (or more) of not? Not for lack of want; I’d love to let a good book devour me, and I get to start on Jo Beverley’s DEVILISH right after I finish her SECRETS OF THE NIGHT, and I have a batch of great-looking older titles waiting for me, as a gift from a travelling friend.
I’ve been talking with friends about books online, in email and on loops/boards. I have tons of can’t-wait-to-read-them books at the ready, and even found a Ted Dekker book that I’d forgotten I have, and hadn’t read yet. All of Karen Ranney’s Scottish Lords books. Marsha Canham’s latest medieval, and Rebecca Brandewyne’s THE NINEFOLD KEY. Not to mention Beverley medievals, Mary Reed McCalls, Tina St.Johns, and many many more.
Headed off to a nice warm soak with a good book, hoping this will shake off the non-reading. I know I write better when I’m reading, so that, along with the overtiredness, brings you today’s crab. Talk amongst yourselves; I hope to be reading.
Sunday, May 29, 2005
So begins the first day of catsitting. Francesca was thrilled to see me, since she knows catsitter = catnip. Michelangelo, his mama had told me, had already started hiding the day before. ::sigh:: Thankfully catnip gets him out, and keeps them both well occupied while I spiff up their dish area and portion out the canned and the dry. I usually bring writing, editing or critting to work on while I check in on them; they like to help by sitting reallyreallyreally close. So if crit notes come back with a sprinkling of orange or black and white cat hair, or notations that there really should be more tuna and belly rubs, that's where it comes from.
Thursday, May 26, 2005
You scored 81% Smut Queen!
|You have probably an above average knowledge of romance novels and the industry... congratulations.|
|My test tracked 1 variable How you compared to other people your age and gender: |
Monday, May 23, 2005
Total Number of Books I Own:Bwahahahah...a lot.
Last Book I Bought:Ummmm...haven't been book shopping in a while.
Last Book(s) I Read
Non-fiction: The Official Sims2 Guide
Fiction: Secrets of the Night by Jo Beverley and The Wedding by Edith Layton
5 Books That Mean A Lot To Me:
1. The Bible
2. Lovesong by Valerie Sherwood
3. Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers
4. Skye O'Malley by Bertrice Small
5. Sword Dancer by Jennifer Roberson
I could easily list dozens more.
Will blog about last Thursday's coffee house reading tomorrow.
Wednesday, May 18, 2005
Story. Heh. Pun unintended, but it does fit. I'm looking forward to enjoying the process, and have informed family that I will be even more ah, interesting to live with this winter. To quote a line from an old Gilmore Girls episode, snow is like catnip for me, and knowing that the new year will have my first book baby out in the wide world may well push me over the edge.
Writing is going well...finally getting back to Orphans in the Storm after a much-needed break, and yes, everyone is exactly where I left them and ready to play again. Which is a lovely thing to discover. I've set myself a goal of finishing the first draft during the summer so it will be ready to shop around when autumn comes with the big energy kick I always get during those months.
Finally got a pesky but pivotal secondary character in The Wild Rover to talk to me but now he won't let me see his face, and it took me all day for him to let me see what he was working on in his lap during the first scene I wrote with him. (And ahem, I do know how that might sound, and no, that's not it. He was tying knots in a legnth of rope.) Think maybe he'd like chooclate gummi bears?
On a totally unrelated note, last night, American Idol, Bo Bice, WOW! The dh and I took forty-five minutes to get through on the voting lines, but we have been counted. Can't wait for the finale.
Thursday, May 12, 2005
Husband could have knocked me over with a feather last night when I came home from nag group and showed me the new cell phones. This is significant because I have been waiting for this since Christmas. DH bought me a cell phone then, decided sometime on the 26th that it was, ah, not sufficient for my needs, and vowed to obtain a better one "soon." I have a much better timeframe on when this one will be activated -- he wants us to have the new phones working in time to vote for Bo on American Idol. The man has his priorities.
Also found out this weekend that my dad will be going in for a hip replacement in the near future. I forsee much more time spent at ye olde familye homesteade during the recovery process. Might be a good time to put in some arguments in favor of a laptop.
Thursday, May 05, 2005
Hmm, it's the day to change toenail polish, but as that interests no-one (except the OPI people) that's probably not it.
The new printer? Maybe. The old one had been down for so long I got used to not being able to print letters, pages, etc, and now that I can zip out multiple pages at a go, I'm having some form of a standoff with it. Did I mention that I am a luddite at heart? I have letters that are past due, and my TWR notes need printing in their updated form.
Writing is going well. I'm getting back into my groove Man oh man do I wish Edith Layton would write more Georgians. Black Jack/Jasper Kelly from her A True Lady would make wonderful hero material in his own book. This is rare, for me, a "why does every character's second cousin's stepmother's dogwalker's paperboy have to have his own book" ranter, but come on, pirate who thinks he can make a go of being a gentleman in Georgian London? Yeah, I want that.
Jo Beverley's Mallorens still rawk, baby. ::stands on chair, lighter aloft::
Last night's Lost -- when I thought I could not love either Sayid or Charlie any more, bam, they got me. Okay, Sawyer, too. I love his reluctant compliance. I think he's going to be okay. Which is more than we can say for Boone. Moment of silence. Gotta love Locke, too.
Current listens: Phil Collins and Five For Fighting .
DH will have left errand instructions when I get home (he's working tonight, and stuff must be done) so after that, my plans are Survior and Sims2. (With plans for a wedding involving a romance sim and moving said family to their own house)
Workshop with Deb Dixon this Saturday -- GMC stuff, get to see my chapter sisters and others. Looking forward to, but what to wear?
Thursday, April 28, 2005
Funny how things change when equipment is working right, huh? Hey, I needed something to pick me up from last night's American Idol results. Constantine is out? Constantine? I shed a few tears, dh requested a recount, and yes, we do plan to visit prayforthesoulofbetty.com and buy the band's CD. While I'm here, a nod to our other ousted favorite, Anwar Robinson, though the dh requests that I state I like Anwar a little more than dh does. Bo's still in it, so we're still watching.
Herein ends the American Idol geek portion of the blog. For this week. Though I do admit to a certain amount of glee that I get to play The Sims2 while dh works tonight. I have plans to see if twinning is more likely if mother and father are both twins (though not with each other!)
Ohhhkay. Writing. Right. I do that, you know. Really. I'm happy with the way TWR is unfolding, and I have to admit that the new-printer smell in the office does make work a bit easier. Closing in on the end of chapter two, and a chance to send it off to CPs. Elise, get ready. :)
Saturday, April 23, 2005
But back to the discussions. There's also the one on the Connie Brockway interview. I am saddened at another writer leaving the historical fold for the contemporary venue (contemp readers, you have a good one coming your way; treat her right) and riled at the factors she cited for doing so. Not at her, at the factors. I do think that the historical romance genre has undergone some shrinkage, and as the dh is fond of saying "for the love of creamed corn" it doesn't have to be that way.
I'm going to give myself a little more time to get my thoughts together before I publicly opine on such things, but one effect this has had on me is to see if I can write a virgin widow book. Hey, people would talk about it, and any publicity is good publicity. :) There would have to be a good reason for it, not just because. Though I've got enough stuff on my plate (but hmm, haven't chosen anything for the anthology yet...something to think about) If I did, it would have to make sense, and not just for the virgin angle. It would have to affect more of the story than that.
Tuesday, April 19, 2005
Okay, enough whining. I did get some good outlining done on TWR today, so that gets productive points, and I am ahead of the game for the artist trading card swap. I'm getting a much more specific picture of what my TWR heroine's father and fiance do for a living, and why that has an effect on the hero. Things are swinging into motion, and this book seems to be coming a lot easier than others, which is nice.
We've hit two too-warm-to-sleep nights in a row for me (the dh could sleep through global warming or a new ice age) so I've taken to taking my pillow and Jo Beverley's Something Wicked onto the landing where I can catch a breeze and read until sleep is possible. It's that vacation feeling, reminding me of exactly what it is I love about reading and writing historical romance, and why I'm choosing to play in the Georgian period for a while. A bottle of chilled store brand cherry flavored water doesn't hurt, either.
Nor does the fact that my new black capri pants are loose, huzzah! To celebrate, my toenails are now OPI's "You Ottaware Purple." I don't normally polish my fingernails, since I'm very hard on my hands. If I'm not banging on the puter keyboard, I'm writing longhand or working with all my art stuff; inks, paints, mediums, solvents, and above it all, hot water. My toes, though, are real troopers and allow me to indulge my love of nail polish. Which really doesn't mean anything about anything, but that's what came out of my partly meh partly poopy have to do laundry and send dh to the market brain.
Since I still have two-thirds of Something Wicked to read, and I do have the next two Malloren books after that, and Edith Layton's Georgian era A True Lady by the tub, I'm now on the lookout for some great inspirationals. I'm way behind on Angela Hunt and Robin Lee Hatcher, and nearly foaming at the mouth for the new releases by Liz Curtis Higgs and Kathleen Morgan. Big, sweeping, gritty, and flat out wonderful...but still in the bookstore rather than my house.
Ahh...just remembered I have a Carol Umberger I haven't read. Day better now. :)
Wednesday, April 13, 2005
In the exploring roots portion of our session, I decided to reread Joyce Carol Oates's story, "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?" (adapted into the film Smooth Talk with Laura Dern and Treat Williams...though with a vastly different ending.) I don't remember when I first read the story (I know I read the story before I saw the movie, since I recall happening on the movie while channel-surfing, and thinking, hey, this is like that story") but certain things about it stuck with me. Notably, the dynamic between the main characters, Connie, and Arnold Friend. The air that tingled with seduction and creepiness. Connie behind the screen door, and Arnold Friend with his mysterious companion, Ellie (male) and his painted car (cryptic words and numbers all over it.)
Knock me over with a feather, but I had either totally missed or totally forgotten that it was about a
I MEAN SPOILER
LAST CHANCE TO BACK OUT
I REALLY MEAN IT
serial killer. More than that, shown from the victim's point of view. I had retained that creepy-seductive feeling and that Arnold Friend was a symbol for loss of innocence and possibly death. I did know that if Connie got in that car with him, she would never be the same...s is stated in the story. But the serial killer thing? Totally spaced on or missed it, though it totally fits.
Read a few articles on the real killer Ms Oates based the story on, and creeeeeepy doesn't begin to explain the guy; man in his 30s who impersonated a teenager to coerce his victims. Why couldn't I have been reading this when I was in the forensic psychology class? May have to pick the instructor's mind on this anyway.
Also kind of scary is that I recognized a microscopic element of TWR in that story. No, my hero is not a serial killer, and has only good in mind for the heroine, but the family that doesn't "get" her, the part about being on the cusp between one existence and another, yeah, there may be an influence there. Did I mention my hero is NOT a psychopathic serial killer? He's a good guy, really he is.
Why did this come to mind all of a sudden? Maybe the discussion I had with a friend about V.C. Andrews last week? The fact that my heroine in TWR is going to leave with a stranger for parts unknown? Dunno. But that's where my brain went, so I thought I'd drag you all along.