Tuesday, December 29, 2009

A bit of winter warmth in today's picture, to counteract the freezing wind outside.

Today was a good day for indoor activities, namely preparing pages for my new altered notebook project, and the slightly more involved and yet greatly more aggravating process of...choosing a new read.

Put this in the "water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink" category. Christmas anthologies, I'm talking to you. I won't name names; you know who you are. It's not your fault that some of your stories are several installments down the line in series by new to me authors. The average female lifespan is only so long, and I do not have time to stop three pages in, research how many books are in said series, in what order, including other anthology offshoots, hunt them down, read them in order and then proceed with what was supposed to be a quick holiday treat.

I know that for the longtime readers of said authors and series, this is a treat indeed, but, well, I am me, after all, and nobody can read everybody or nothing would ever get done. You guys are excused, but never fear, you're somebody else's best holiday present of the year. Paranormal entries in otherwise straight historical anthologies, you are on a five page probation. It's not you, it's me. Time travel is about as far as I go, but I am not the entire market.

Single title Christmas themed historicals, you are the few, the proud, and you will be read. Hopefully in time for January 6th/Twelfth Night/Three Kings' Day, depending on what one calls it, but I can't make any promises. I will reassess the situation when there is once again snow on the ground.

The rest of you, please be patient. There will be an inspection of the shelves later tonight or in the morning. Historical romances with adventure and deep emotion, front and centre. That is all for tonight.

Monday, December 28, 2009

This Simmy icon is appropriate for the first day of the work week - if one can't tell, the Sim is working out. Also in that I am in the middle of an uninstall/reinstall for Sims3, and that's without the exapansion pack that apparently did not make it into Father Christmas' bag this year.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining. I love this tucked-away week between Christmas and New Year's Day. It feels cozy for some reason -apart from the wonderful snuggly flannel sheets and comforter the DH supplied at present time- and I was thinking of starting that game over anyway, so it's all good. Though both holiday anthologies I attempted to read over the weekend ended up getting bounced off the carpet for various crimes against this particular reader. Eh, I'm sure each one that didn't work for me is someone's favorite book ever. Personal taste and all that, and I have a lovely big TBR mountain range from which to choose.

The current ms will be recieving me today and I do believe I'm getting closer to that one thing within that story that I'd missed the first time 'round. :rubs hands together in glee: I do love to torture my characters. Also in the writing vein, our RWA chapter will be launching our Book in Six Weeks project again in January and I have my selections (I have to do two - that's my own personal rule and how I work best) all ready to go, so getting into ready position so I can launch right into sprint when we get the starting whistle.

One of the selections is a current ms, and the other is a novella that I will be pantsing more than I have in a long time. I know the personalities and some of the backstory of the hero and heroine - though I have no idea what they look like and so far, their names are Hero and Heroine. They haven't told me who they are yet...or where and when their story is set. I know the situation that brings them together and the emotional places both of them come from, but I have to trust that the rest of it will be there when they and I have our conferences. This should be an interesting ride.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Touchy-feely, pt1

I admit that I am an oral creature when it comes to writing. I need something in my mouth a good deal of the time.

Beverages are usually good. Hot in cold months, cold in hot months. Diet Coke at room temperature year round. Diet Ginger Ale goes in phases. When I go for my Monday morning write-ins, I arrive early so I can get in a cup of tea and a bagel before my colleagues arrive, then treat myself to a hot chocolate. If served by the charming gent with the UK accent, who puts my beverage on a tray and with artistic squiggles of chocolate syrup atop the whipped cream, I feel an extra need to earn this exgtravagance.

A reasonable amount of nibbly things are good as well. I am a gummi bear addict from way back but seldom actually get them. Which is probably good for my figure. With the Christmas season upon us, mini candy canes are good. Altoids are usually within reach and I have been known to get up for the sole purpose of brushing my teeth or a quick swish of mouthwash. Note to self; see if there are any of those funky cinnamon or licorice toothpastes on the next grocery run. Salty thing of choice recently has been Wheat Thins. Lunch usually happens at desk, though I'm equally as likely to be websurfing or Simming as I am writing during that time.

If I spent all my computer time shoving stuff in my mouth, I wouldn't be able to fit in the chair, so frequent applications of lip treatments are the next best thing. Anything that comes in a tube from Bath and Body Works has my immediate attention. I will also put in a plug here for their body lotions, as I always have a small bottle (or dregs of a big one) on my desk for frequent application and smell and taste are linked senses.

All of this comes to mind today because my focus for this week is to go over passages of my time travel ms and make sure I have enough sensory input. The most detailed plot outline won't connect with readers if they can't feel what things are like for the characters. What are Summer's senses going to tell her are the differences between life in 21st century NYC and 16th century Scottish Highlands? What about the Highlands is going to scream HOME to Angus in all caps?

I like to approach my stories in a layered manner. Characaters, what happens to them, and how it feels, both emotionally and sensually. Ahem. That's as in what their senses tell them, though there are bits of the other meaning as well. If I can connect with the way a scene feels, then I can write it. The stimuli that get me to that point can be interesting at times, and family and friends have learned to accept that things like playing the same Sting song all...day...long is par for the course. Which is probably why I have received headphones as a gift more than once.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Currently listening to Sting's new CD, If On A Winter's Night... and my brain, perhaps aided by the cover art, is drawn like a magnet to the woods behind the house where I lived until I was nine. Maybe it's the image of a man and a dog walking in the snowy woods that does it. Maybe it's that, like Sting, I count winter as my favorite season. An unpopular choice, it seems, but there's something beautiful and special about winter and it pains me when someone feels they have to smash that flat.

If I could go back there, and have it still be mine/my family's, I would build a fire in the family room hearth and throw pinecones into the flames, drink hot chocolate and alternate between staring at the flames and staring at the snow falling outside. In the morning, there would be deer tracks and bunny sproings (our family's word for rabbit tracks) and the dogs would want to go romp. I am a snow bunny, unable where I currently live, to indulge in my leanings. Not skating (weak ankles) or skiing (seriously, stand on waxed boards with the goal of sliding down the mountain as fast as possible? No.) but sleds are love, and if I could get my mitts on a snow saucer, there's hours of fun right there. I have even been known, in my misspent single-digit youth, to use a heavy duty garbage bag for this purpose.

From the first time I saw the cover art of this CD in Starbuck's, the image arrested me and seeing the words "Sting" and "winter" in the same sentence, it became a need. Add in that it's largely composed of traditional music of the British Isles, and all I can say is, "mummy's home!" Absolutely gorgeous, and I've had it playing for much of the day.The photos of Sting and company on the booklet inside are gorgeous, too, and make me want to slip into the frame and join them. As I saw So You Think You Can Dance last night, I also renew my wish to be a twentysomething professional dancer, so smush both urges together and I'm right at home working on my current time travel ms.

The two songs that stick with me the most are "The Hounds of Winter" -not new-new but it fits with the rest of the album- and "You Only Cross My Mind In Winter," which could have been designed specifically to make me squee. It's got angst, it's got winter, it's win-win. Sting describes both songs as "ghost stories." I don't do ghosts, but I can do gothic and will get a goofy faraway look if someone mentions Wuthering Heights. I've been listening to these over and over and either they will provide the undefinable something I need for this part of the current ms or they will settle into part of an idea that's in its early stages. (No ghosts there either, but I always have angst.)

This coincides with the stack of Christmas and wintry romances that I have as a special seasonal TBR pile, forbidden until December first, and then time to dive in whole hog. I fully admit that I will be running on candy canes and (nonalcoholic) eggnog for the season. The Christmas monster has been awakened. She has a computer and is not afraid to use it.