Saturday, February 26, 2005

Got a lot of books today. Not as in when I go to a booksale (though I did find a flyer for one, so I get to make like a locust in a week or two) but for Wal*Mart, and two libraries, I made out like the proverbial bandit. Will probably put the full list on my reading room page of my site later, but snagged, along with my friend, Linda (who does not write, but is a big reader) one medieval historical romance with a warrior nun heroine (I love it already, just for that;) two Steeple Hill mass market reprints of books I'd seen in trade -- one Regency era historical with a Jewish MP hero (that tipped the scales for me, though I've still had my fill of the era) and one modern story that could be women's fiction or romance (didn't look close enough) but I remember reading something about a woman who tried to find the perfect little town to hide out in and have her baby, only to find it has all kinds of icky stuff going on. Whee, doggies.

Two US Civil War historicals by CBA author Lynn Austin, whom I love, love, love. Pamela Morsi's women's fiction Suburban Renewal -- I miss her Americana historicals terribly, but somehow her women's fiction novels always seem to end up in my library basket. I don't mean to, but they jump in by themselves, honest they do. A couple of library research books on pirates -- my guy from The Wild Rover may put in some time on the high seas. Made Linda get her own copy of Judith E. French's The Conqueror, since nobody is getting mine. Okay, it was on the swap rack at the library, but it had a perfect, unbroken spine, which is a huge thing with me. That I let her have it and not connived to swap it with my obviously-read copy shows in what high esteem I hold this woman.

Plus general errand stuff, but that's not as fun as reading about books. Which I must go read, if you'll pardon me. I've been a good writing girl and must now go fill the well.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Am I the only author on the planet who doesn't pick celebrities/models to "be" or model my characters after? For the most part, they show up in my head with their own faces, so trying to find "their" pictures in a magazine or such feels kind of surreal. Maybe it's a backlash to coming out of fanfiction, where pretty much everybody *had* to look like a TV character/actor because that was the "world" of the story. Even then, I had a prediliction for putting original characters in, and I had a hard time "casting" them, too.

Which is kind of funny, since I love actual casting. As in 'I wrote this play, you are actors, now get up on stage and show me what you can do, and I'll pick the best ones.' There really is nothing like sitting in the middle row of an empty theatre, calling out names, and having actor after actor get up and read. I love that. Want to do that again.

Which may be why the whole idea of "casting" a story rubs me the wrong way. If I could actually put out a list of the types I needed, get the information around, and then on the appointed day, have clusters of, say caucasian males between 25-30, light brown/dark blond hair, hazel eyes, such and such a height, and caucasian females, 20-25, such and such height, long red-brown hair, brown eyes, (fitting the h/h of My Outcast Heart) show up and read their scenes, I'd be more at home with the whole deal. I need the live energy, the chemistry...and my theatre background is showing. ::sigh:: Three consecutive days of American Idol can also be partly to blame. Where is Simon Cowell when I need him?

Still, we have to keep learning new skills in this business, and this picture-picking thing would probably be a good one to have. I got an email from my cover artist, the talented Tim Harrison, asking if I could round up some pictures of people who resemble Dalby and Tabetha, even vaguely. My first thought was something like ", where do I look for pictures?" The only shows we follow are Survivor, Lost, AI and the Law and Order/CSI families.

Second reaction was to try and trace my convoluted train of thought back to how I got the physical appearances for Simon and Jonnet in the first place, only to have to slam the breaks on myself and remember that Tim needs stuff for the other book. The one that's coming out. Whoopsiedoo. Different looks for the h/h, different era, and different continent.

Which is why I sent out a distress call to my critique partners who had read the book in question. Only another writer can understand a question like "what do my characters look like" when asked by the person who wrote the darned book and has been living with them for the last couple of years? Then again, I am the same woman who once wandered around John Wayne Airport for an hour because I'd forgotten what my father-in-law looked like. ::shame::

Many thanks to E, who found me this in the Dalby neighborhood (knock off a few years and lighten the hair a tad) I think he'll do as a reasonable facsimilie. Still on the lookout for his female counterpart.

So, for those of you who do the picture thing, where do you look?

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Spent a good portion of today making some notes on a possible time travel novella. I think this puppy, based on an as-yet-unfinished fanfic of mine (which I do need to finish to get the basics of the TT plot) can run. Which is a nice suprise. Ever have those ideas that walk right into what you're supposed to be doing, flop onto the couch and stick their feet onto your coffee table and refuse to be quiet or use a coaster? Yeah, one of those. A few pages of notes later, they happily went to their room to amuse themselves (or each other) until I can get to them, and I can get back to Simon and Jonnet, who are cooperating nicely.

Rather a good day, if a bit zombie-like. Neither husband or I had a single nerve left at the end of yesterday, so I've been a zombie for most of the day today. Didn't get to any stamping, but I did work on Simon/Jonnet and all those notes for the TT novella, so I'm counting it as a productive day.

No nag group tonight, since all three of us are zombies, and will retire to our respective crypts. For me, that means I finally get to catch a new episode of Lost as well as the results from the first week's competition on American Idol. As long as my Anwar and Nadia are still in the game, I will be a happy camper.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Five for Fighting in the CD player again, since I'm determined to get a certain scene done today. Spent most of yesterday with another scene on the operating table, fine-tuning and inserting emotion, since I am really quite sure they did not have Vulcans in the 17th century.

Hopefully the books I've finally chosen to replace my just-finished bath and purse books (note to self: do not finish both bath and purse books at the same time, as you will be impossible to live with and family members may take out hits on you just to get the whining over.) Claudia Dain's The Temptation for the bath, and May McGoldrick's Borrowed Dreams for the purse (though I still quibble over a heroine named Millicent; the name doesn't work for me, so I've decided while I'm reading her, she's Melissa. Plus it's autographed, squee!) So far, so good. Good history, emotional intensity, and all that delightful stuff.

That emotional stuff is the clincher for me -- if I don't cry, if I don't feel like the author has put my heart through a pasta machine, then something is missing. I want to think of these characters while I'm not with them, like they're real people. Shoot, there are still characters from books I've read twenty years ago who I still sigh over, or will rant about how they got a raw deal and what I would have done differently. I want to cheer with them, and get angry at their dumb mistakes, because the best characters are so real that they do make them.

Found an old fanzine of mine this morning (when the contents of a bookshelf above the couch fell on me, but that's another story) and of course had to go look at my story in that issue. Loved writing that one, even though there wasn't romance in it. Though I did have a tortured hero dealing with ghosts of the past, choices he hadn't made, making peace with what he did and didn't do, so he could move on with life. Heh. Though readers of an alternate universe E. Catherine and I created will catch a couple of throwaway lines. Plus Tim Harrison illustrated; I remember the phone conversation talking about how an alien character would have crystal eyes, and darned if he and I didn't have exactly the same vision for the illo. We've been in sych for the concepts on the ebook cover, too, so this can only be a good thing.

Nattering again, saying not much, but I've got the pump primed and must now go write.

Monday, February 21, 2005

Monday once more. Getting the must change blog look urge again. Love these colors, but I'm kind of kinetic at the moment. Some might say fussy. Maybe it's that I'm in a sixties frame of mind at the moment.

I am the same age as the Monkees and Star Trek; you do the math. So really my sixties experience was filled with things like learning to walk, read, and dress myself. If I had to picke a decade of my own life that interests me the most, I would say the 70s...but the late sixties kind of blend into that.

What got me on this track must be last night's episode of Cold Case. Husband and I love that show -- so does my dad but all he'll say about it is that "the woman never combs her hair." ::sigh:: But anyway -- sixties setting on that one, and wouldn't you know, the episode of Living Single that I caught on my lunch break had a sixties dream sequence. Guess what's playing in the background? A whole marathon of the NBC miniseries The Sixties. Hey, are they going to show The Seventies next? Did they ever do The Eighties? Though it would be hard to beat The Wedding Singer on that front. (love that movie)

What grabs me the most is the tone of the music -- mellow, protest, folk, rock, country, all coexisting, but the time stamp is very clear no matter what the genre. It's an end of innocence, a mourning of it, and the start of a new age. Not always a good one, but not always a bad one either. It's complicated. Which is how I like my stories. Poignant, with a punch. They should always have an edge, a rough spot, something that's not quite right, but my h/h will deal with it. Like real life.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Haven't felt like blogging in a while, but I hate to let things sit, so I'm back. Mundane life things (gals, the monthly brain death is upon me) have conspired to turn me into a husband's-shirt-wearing zombie. Said shirt donated by husband so he doesn't have to hear my "ow ow ow" recitation as I try to get my strained tendon into a pullover at five in the morning while he's trying to sleep. I've been resting it today, though, and it's feeling better.

Tried to find something intelligent to say on the whole thing about erotica (not really in my sphere, but I do read some historicals by Small and Henley, does that count? ) and Christians (am one)/conservatives (am one, too, though I'm not big on political labels, thanks) but everything turns into the brain version of a floor full of index cards with scribbled notes, so that'll have to wait a while. Wondering if there is a clear way of saying "emotionally/spiritually explicit/intense." Noting that as I'm blogging this, I'm also writing a scene that includes a kiss like that.

Still riding on the fumes of the surprise my very romantic husband had for me when I got home yesterday evening. Tiny red teddy bear on my pillow, his fur covered in a lovely white snowflake pattern. We collect stuffed animals, mainly dogs and bears, together, and the snowflake is a personal emblem of mine. Absolutely perfect for my crampy, cranky, owie-armed self. My single female friends have asked to be put on a waiting list in case I go first. Or failing that, clone him.

Kicking and screaming into my daily writing (okay, more like tired-three-year-old fussing in the condiment aisle of the A&P) because as I admitted to nag group the other night, I have activated the launch sequence that will bring me to the end of the book and I don't wanna end iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit. Though I still have not quite half a book to go, so what am I whining about?

Hmm, and I didn't have anything to say, huh?

Monday, February 14, 2005

One of these days, I am going to know better than to play Five for Fighting's "100 Years" before having a boxful of Kleenex in my lap. Especially when viewing a picture I use for reference to get the mood of the couple for my (hopefully) next WIP. (Still rooting about for the right "D" name for my Scots hero...I think he's trying to tell me he wants to be christened Andrew, called Drew, a name I love, but dangit, I'm stubborn and still want to stomp about in circles over the name. Okay, I made a Sims2 Sim named Drew, who looks like him, but is that the same?)

Anyway, back to the song, a gorgeous exploration of time and life, and yes, romance. Happy sigh. Where are those Kleenex? At least I'm not watching the video (dang AOLmusic, you temptor!) but I do have the CD (The Battle for Everything, which is a great title, wonderful other songs on it, too) in my personal CD player, that of the dead batteries. So do I do the logical thing and put the CD in the puter to play it? Nope, that would require movement, so I will play this one song over and over and over again and sob until the cat gets concerned. (Again, why I do not work around other human beings. I'm a method writer, and it can scare people sometimes.)

Writing is going great; I'm looking forward to writing the bad guy liason's scene in a few minutes, and more plotting on other works. Husband and I knew we'd both be too pooped to remember our own names by the time we see each other today, so we exchanged gifts last night. I got him another stuffed dog for our collection of stuffed friends, and this wonderful man got me...a gingerbread scented candle (big one) that's even in a jar shaped like a ginger jar. He knows me. Gorgeously romantic, that man.

And aha...time for my break, where I sit on the floor and work on art things while indulging in two more romances that make me sob, cheer, and get me in full romance-writer mode. Please join me in saying a happy Valentine's Day to Dwayne and Whitley from A Different World and Maxine and Kyle from Living Single. Yeah, I'm a soppy romantic gal, which only proves I'm in the right profession.

Saturday, February 12, 2005

If all goes right, I should be taking the afternoon off.

Ever have one of those times when it seems every sentient being in your hemishpere comes along, takes a good look and says, "I see you're juggling sixteen things that were thrown at you all at once. Let me give you five more." Uggh. Hence my planned retreat to the bedroom and Sims2. If I don't decide to nap first, or read. Possibly take a walk.

Or light the sugar cookie candle on the dresser, pop some Phil Collins on the CD player and snuggle under the fuzzy quilt to plan out how my h/h's wedding should go. Husband is working, fridge is full of delicious things, and the prospect of an afternoon to craft the way I see fit is as delightful as finding out Godiva chocolates have no calories. Come to think of it, *that* would make for a perfect day. Guess I'll settle with the first Brach's jelly bird eggs of the season.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Greetings from my undisclosed location on top of my TBRe mounatain. That's not a typo -- To Be Reviewed. Today has been a day for organizing stuff I let slide, and ::swallows:: I have been remiss in my reviews. Big stack of YA titles and a couple of small press romances creeping in there. Must be a good staffer and work these into the reading rotation. Though the Golden Heart judging must come first. At least I have plenty to read. (She says, in the shadow of the great To Be Read and To Be ReRead mountain ranges that dwarf the TBRe mountain -- and all this talk of mountains reminds me of the really funny and lovely English film, The Englishman Who Went Up a Hill and Came Down a Mountain.)

Nag group was fantastic last night. These very talented gals keep reminding me that I am doing stuff...a lot of stuff, and making progress. That I know where I'm going, what I'm doing. My online buddy/critique partner, Vicki, is shoving me toward entering contests already. I actually broke down and wrote in all my for-sure obligations in my Get Fuzzy weekly planner (that strip cracks me up every time -- pets really are like that.)

I feel quite the proud mama over the scene I brought last night, which I'd had to backtrack to write. I haven't been the biggest fan of backtracking, but this time it was needed. Makes much more sense how the h/h have bonded now that we actually see that first step. ::Happy sigh::

Rewarding self with hot bath, book to read (non review copy) and the knowledge that husband has promised me a specialty pizza we can share during the Survivor season premiere. Very hush-hush so far; I can't wait.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Having a bit of a blogdentity crisis at the moment, so this site is officially under construction. I have a few different color combinations and "feels" running about in my head, and I’m enjoying trying them out.
It saves me from wanting to thwap a certain secondary character with a history book.

Right now, I’m in love with the stormy colors of the Atlantic Ocean, all the passion and turbulence of the choppy waves, the other world that is the ferry ride from New London to Long Island. It’s been far too many years since I’ve been on one of those trips, and yet at the moment I find myself, in spirit, on that ferry again. On one of my trips as a young teen, our ferry set off in a storm, and I was breathless, on the deck, chilled hands wrapped tight on the rail, physically unable to wrest myself from the beauty of the storm and the water, the feel of the ferry beneath my feet. One of my parents had to pry my fingers loose and drag me inside, but I still have that moment branded in my heart.

No coincidence that many of my heroines love storms, the sea, or both. Not nice. Not sweet. Not simple (hate, hate, hate that word.) Multilayered and complex. Which is one reason the pink had to go.

Monday, February 07, 2005

Ugh. Sooooooooo tired. Still have to get laundry, and that cannot be what my hair looks like only one day after washing it. Today was a Monday of Mondays, and only the thought of my loving husband going out to get food and me sneaking in a Sims2 session while he is gone keeps my eyelids at full half-mast.

At least the online class problem is solved...I think. URLs are important, folks, so please check your bookmarks on a regular basis. Thus ends today's public service announcement.

As for a private service bothers the stuffing out of me if I'm trying to do something writing related, there is another human in the next room, and there is no sound. Don't ask me why, but it drives me batty to the point of distraction. Put the tv on, or music, doesn't matter what, but some sound for crying out loud. Yes, crying out loud would be better than dead crypt silence. Which is why I don't write when people are home, but this isn't exactly writing.

I should probably go read something meaty, because tomorrow, I have to have a what-for with a certain character who told me something last week, and it doesn't jibe with the history in a very very important way, and history trumps what she said. Harumph.

Must think of what foodstuffs to suggest to husband. Maybe Quizno's. But I really do have to find something meatier for my tub book -- enjoying the current read (a modern to medieval TT but it's lighter than I normally go for, though the hero is a survivor of child abuse, which definitely works for me.) Hmm. Maybe I should push for some sort of fruity dessert also. I'm a fruit-dessert lover in a "chocolate is the only dessert or snack on the planet" family.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

I love all aspects of the audition process; auditioning, hearing auditions, making it, not making it (weird, huh? In college, I used to try out for stuff I knew I had a snowball's chance in Texas of getting, merely for the rush of being on the stage, trying.) Which may explain my passion for all the contest shows; American Idol, Nashville Star, Last Comic Standing, even snatches of America's Next Top Model (Survivor is a whole other animal, though the dh and I are addicted to that, too.) Speaking of dear husband, he is physically incapable of passing by an episode of Iron Chef. Japanese or US versions, and usually snags me too, unless the ingredient is alive ::shudder:: -- I always root for it to escape, if it is.

Since's Book In a Year feature is about genre this month, I thought I'd have a look over there and do the exercises. Movies were hard, as I live (literally) a five minute walk from a multiplex, but see maaaaaybe a movie a year in theatre. Contest shows dominated my top ten TV shows (the rest were dramas) and when I stretched my movie parameters from "this year" to "last few years" I noticed a very strong trend; all my favorites are set in earlier eras, and/or are UK imports. Again, dramas dominate very very strongly, though The Wedding Singer (1980s -- earlier era) and Four Weddings and a Funeral (UK, and could be argued equal parts drama/comedy) do make a showing.

I also like to color (and colour) outside the lines, and I'm quite comfortable with that. Last night, at nag group, the other gals reinforced that I'm making professionalism a priority this year, and agreed that targeting Harlequin Historicals is a wise move, as their wish list and mine seem to be a perfect match. How that actually works out, we'll see, but I feel like I'm on the right track.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Before I forget, Evangeline, Sidonie and/or Angela, blog something. I miss your voice, woman.

Okay, back to me. Six pages today, six beeeyoooutiful pages. Beeeyoooutiful not only because the scene grew out of the characters and their wants/ needs/fears, but because there are six of them, all of them printed, and it proved a theory I've had for a while now. Writing the dialog first, like writing a script, allows me to write a lot faster. I mean a lot. Then I go back and add in stage directions, then convert into prose.

If I can get them to print two more copies, I will be extremely happy when heading off to nag group tonight. Still have a ton of outlines to produce. I think 2005 is going to be the year of the outline and hopefully at least two finished projects. The new Harlequin Historical guidelines still have me bouncy, which is great for my productivity.

Also making myself make at the very least one ATC (art trading card) per day so I don't fall into another art block. It's amazing what a one hour art break (okay, I'm also watching A Different World) can do to get me refreshed and ready to tackle the rest of the writing day.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Is it possible to have blogger's block? Blog envy? Blogophobia? Nah, not that one. Maybe that Romancing the Blog looks so darned neat that I have an "I'm not worthy" moment? The fact that as I type this, the husband is either making me dinner or preparing to do so? The fact that the resident feline unit has spent much of her day begging me to come into the living room for no apparent reason? That a round robin letter I've been in for years (and I'm the baby of the group; the others had had it going for years before that) is pretty much ending? That it's the first of February?

I dunno. Maybe I'll blame Maggie Osborne. I finished her Firefox Bride in the bath today (I'm a tub reader from way back) and it was wonderful. I have been known to be grumpy after reading an especially good book, and I've been on a roll of good reads.

Maybe it's that I've reached that point in my current WIP that is about to put me over the hump. Two of my characters threw me a loop in this morning's writing that made the trip from where I currently am in the ms to typing "the end" crystal clear.

Me: Hey ! Hey! You guys never told me that.

Them: Yes, we did, and you didn't listen.

Me: I'm the one writing this.

Them: We're the ones living it. Besides, our way works, and your way only makes you mainline M&Ms.

I'm fairly sure one of them stuck her tongue out at me, and they were right about the M&Ms...but only because they're the pink and white Valentine ones. Anyway, they're right, I'm wrong, and I'm doing it their way, but still looking at them over the frames of my spectacles, with that "next time tell me first" look. Ah, well, at least they're getting along in this one thing.

Which does make life easier. Though that could be augmented by the fact that Harlequin Historical's new guidelines have made them extremely Anna-friendly, and are now at the top of my list. Huzzah. Or it could be augmented by the fact that we now have the first member for our chapter's February online class, after the registration glitch was fixed. I had vowed not to breathe (okay, hyperbole there) until that happened, so good thing for me it did. I want to take this forensic psychology class so bad it hurts. (and what does that say about me?) I love making dastardly villains, and this should be perfect.

Then again, maybe it's that the husband promised to make his meatballs, and he knows I'm goofy for the meatballs. And the curly pasta. With the fancy sauce. Though if he's too pooped, we'll have Chinese leftovers.