Monday, December 27, 2010

Snow Day!

funny pictures of cats with captions
see more Lolcats and funny pictures

Yeah, that's pretty much me. I love the white stuff, so when it started yesterday (happy Boxing Day to me!) I was very happy to see it. White Boxing Day still counts as White Christmas in my book, as this week between Christmas and New Year's is my favorite week of the entire year, all tucked away between two holidays.

Maybe it's a leftover from school vacations and maybe it's a leftover from family Christmases where lolling about with relatives and leftovers, cavorting in the frozen outdoors until it's time to gear up for New Year's Eve. Maybe I'm still running on peppermint starlights and twinkly lights (guilty) and fumes from reading a book from my special shelf. That's where I keep highly anticipated books for when I've been really really good or am feeling really really bad. These can be treats or therapy. Sometimes both.

Holiday stress drove me to this shelf on the 23rd, and I selected Silk and Shadow by Aola Vandergriff. I had a hunch that our usual Monday Morning write-in at Panera would be taking a snow day, but still planned on going on my own...though being no dummy, I did put my commute on delay. I spent an hour curled on the couch, under the beyond gorgeous afghan my friend Linda made for DH and me for Christmas, and time zoomed by as I turned pages, caught in a complex web of intrigue, emotion, romance and family dysfunction in early 19th century Louisiana. I haven't read a single thing by Ms. Vandergriff that I haven't loved, though her books are long out of print; this one has a 1981 publication date.

I determined to stay under the afghan until I finished and consider that time extremely well spent, but it does bring me back to "okay, what do I read now?" Some books are a hard act to follow. We are in that tucked away week, though, so I think the afghan and I will have ample opportunity to figure something out, and there is a whole new year's worth of reading to plan. I'm hoping to work out a system so I have a good mix of new and classic romances in rotation.

What do you do during this tucked away week? Any reading goals for 2011?

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

funny pictures - OH MY GOD! WAKE UP!  IT'S CHRISTMAS!!!
see more Lolcats and funny pictures

Christmas trumps both Happy Dance Friday and Saturday at the Movies, which will be back after the holidays. Not everybody in my family shares my mania for only the best day of the entire year, but that's to be expected.

Though our family will be doing the opening of presents in the afternoon (comes with the territory as DH is in the hospitality industry and therefore needing a long winter's nap)my friend Linda got me Love Actually on pay per view for the day, so of course I am indulging in a loop of that until my real life hero wakes.

Moment of augh when I noticed that my gift for Linda's mum was still in the refrigerator so will need to deliver that later in the day. When the man does arise, it's presents, then ordering Chinese food to be delivered. There has been mention of board games, and the handing off of Linda's mum's present for Linda to deliver. That's how we celebrate at our house. How about you?

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Saturday at the Movies #27 - Naughty or Nice?

Though the way life is going, I'm not likely to be able to get to the theatre this week, two movies have caught my interest.

There's Cher, Christina Aguilera and Julianne Hough in Burlesque

and then Disney's Tangled, a Rapunzel retelling, apparently with more of an eye than usual to the male viewership:

Which strikes your fancy more, naughty or nice?

Friday, December 17, 2010

Happy Dance Friday #30 - It's Beginning to Look a Not Like Christmas

Photobucket At least around here, it is. No snow yet to speak of, and due to the Cold That Would Not Die (but since has, huzzah) decoration at Stately Bowling Manor has consisted entirely of hanging our lighted wreath (in the bathroom this year, but that's another story) and putting the tree-made-out-of-ornaments on the table in the kitchen. No lights yet, have watched no Christmas movies or TV, have read but one Christmassy romance and it didn't work for me, alas. No candy canes have yet crossed our threshold nor a single drop of eggnog. I am disgustingly far behind on the making of presents and aside from getting all my Christmas themed paper arts stuff in one location, have done nothing in that venue either. Plus grumping that Moonlight never got to have a Christmas episode.

No, this is not a whinge, and I am going to get spiritual for a paragraph, so if that's not your thing, hop down to the videos. Christmas for our family is about remembering and celebrating the birth of Christ, and we can do that no matter what is or isn't on the ground, walls, tree, etc. Nobody and nothing can squash that, but dagnabit, I want all the sparkly, shiny, insanely bouncing about on a sugar rush under a glittery tree stuff as well.

All of which means we are long overdue for Christmassy happy dancing. Normally by this time of year, I'm bouncing around like Olivia Olsen in this clip from Love Actually. Embedding disabled by request, so click here to watch or listen below and do your own cavorting:

This next one might be a good candidate for a Christmas waltz of the slightly melancholy variety, but I flailed like an overexcited Kermit when I found that Coldplay had a Christmas song. Let me repeat. Coldplay has a Christmas song.

Back to Love Actually (come on, we know I'm going to have this movie on a loop for the next week) "Christmas is All Around." Oh Billy Mack, how I wish you were real. Yes, it's horrid, and yes, we love it. Long form of the video here (costumes may be NSFW) and listen here:

Okay, all better now. Everybody grab some tinsel and join in:

What never fails to put you in the holiday spirit, whatever your holiday may be?

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Eh, you do the title today

funny pictures of cats with captions
see more Lolcats and funny pictures

I miss tea. As in really really miss tea. Also hot chocolate, soup, anything involving citrus of any sort or anything containing tomato. Am now on the "when will the darned cold sore drop so I can be human again" watch. Which is not helped by the carton of forbidden orange juice in the fridge, or DH brining home chili. Big old not quite over the cold but not in the throes of it anymore funk. Which means my brain is at once raring to get back to actual work and wont to forgetting what it's doing in the middle of such tasks.

Add to that the fact that I A) woke at exactly the time I meant to be out the front door, B) am feeling guilt over thinking of self when friends are having stuff going on, though I am absolutely there for support, C) there were an oddly high number of men in their 30s/40s in business suits in Panera, and as soon as they left, an oddly high number of women in their 20s/30s with strollers took their places, D) I have no idea why my brain latched onto that when I have no idea what I'm bringing to nag group tonight other than my still occasionally cough-fit-having self.

The reason here is twofold; one, the clientele seems to be settling into a more eclectic population, and two, I feel better when I'm working. So by the time six PM rolls around, I will have three copies of something in my tricky two column, single spaced, landscape printed format to sneak extra pages past my CPs.

After, that is, poking around to find lunch items that will not make my upper lip feel like it got hit with an extremely localized blowtorch (I have learned from that one time I decided to chance pizza anyway; never again) and washing my hair even though my hair has decided it no longer likes the only conditioner in the house and all that writing and editing stuff. Is it time to share the start of the NaNo book? Too soon to talk about the idea for the new historical? Can I in all good conscience subject these people to yet another read through of the chapter I'm editing? No matter what anybody says, I am not violating my "have never not read" streak. Because I'm cranky that way.

Point of this post? None, but I like to vent.

Monday, December 13, 2010

funny pictures-I'm not
see more Lolcats and funny pictures

DH and I still in the grips of the Cold That Will Not Die. If it sticks around until midweek, I think we have to buy it a Christmas present. We have perfected our tandem coughing routine with optional call and response format. Kleenex loves us about as much as we love the fuzzy blankey with the ducks on it, and we may have a cause for lobbying to have the Chinese takeout place name their wonton soup after us.

It's important while the cold has us that we maintain mental faculties. Reading labels of cold medication to see who can take what can only go so far, as well as remembering which tissues are the good kind with lotion which are great for the nose but very bad for cleaning glasses. The list of things that Cannot Be Ingested while the cold sore is present is hardwired, so that doesn't count as intellectual exercise. DH does not get cold sores, and yet he is the one who does not like hot beverages. This is not fair. For the uninitiated, my blood type is "tea."

Television is a good fallback, especially if we can find a rerun of some Law and Order or How I Met Your Mother. DH likes NPR, and I have my TBR bookcase. Yeah, bookcase. I do not hoard books, I stockpile them for exactly times like this. Give me a book or ten and my fuzzy blankey and beverage of choice and check in every once in a while to see if I have a pulse or need soup. This past week has taken me through the pages of:

The Master and The Muses by Amanada McIntyre
The Pursuit of Pleasure by Elizabeth Essex (bonus points for a fabulous name)
Rushed to the Altar by Jane Feather (Dear Ms Feather, it has been far too long)

Back to my Panera "office" today, and I will take this as a sign of good things coming. Free bagel on my rewards card, the manager dropped something extra on my table with a perky "enjoy" as she passed, and my email inbox had a notice of not only a new album by Right Said Fred but release of their Night of the Living Fred DVD. Keep this kind of stuff coming, Monday. I could get used to days like this. Now about that cold sore....

Friday, December 10, 2010

Happy Dance Friday #29 - from my fevered brain

Skye's expression may well capture the true feline attitude toward having a sick human around. Not to worry, I can still open her food pouches and she is very supportive.

Happy Dance clips or cold medicine induced hallucinations? You decide.

Heather and Carolin, this one's for you:

Many dorm room dance sessions happened to this ditty:

I've always liked when Homer Simpson's mind goes to something like this when someone else discusses matters of import. I can relate to that at the moment.

Irish dancing farm animals? Why not?

Happy Friday, all!

Friday, December 03, 2010

Happy Dance Friday #28 - Elf Yourself!

Since it's now officially time to start the Christmas season, what better way than an elf flash mob?

Do we need a tox screen on the eggnog at the staff party for House?

Whatever was in that eggnog seems to have made it over to the Law and Order bunch as well

Who's next? Maybe you!

For all who celebrate the festival of lights, the happiest of Hannukahs!

Thursday, December 02, 2010

The Toddler Awakes

Remember how yesterday I talked about how it's important not to wake the sleeping toddler of my NaNo ms? I caved. Sort of.

Back when I was a freshman in college, I worked as a live-out nanny/au pair for a lovely family. Mother was American, Father was French, and they had two children, Toddler Boy and Infant Girl (if anybody is tempted to mention that those cherubs are now grownups, I will put on my stompy boots and kick you into next week.) The times I was there coincided with Toddler Boy's naptime, during which he did not actually have to sleep, but did have to stay in his room and be quiet until I told him naptime was over. While this nominally was meant to assure that Toddler Boy's naptime coincided with Infant Girl's naptime, Infant Girl wasn't always with the program on this rule and end of her brother's naptime often coincided with the end of Guiding Light.

Where, you may ask, is she going with this? Hang with me for a minute. It's pertinent, I promise. Now where were we?

Often, Toddler Boy would actually nap during naptime. Other times, he would play quietly with toys, "read aloud" to himself in English or French, or other such approved activities. Then there was the day he was too quiet (any parents or childcare workers know what that sounds like) and I went into the room to check. Everything in his room, and I do mean everything, was in a big lump in the middle of the floor. Clothing, books, toys, and even I kid you not, pieces of furniture, on top of a child-sized suitcase.

Me: Toddler Boy, what are you doing?

Toddler Boy: (looks up, picture of complete innocence) Taking my room to show to Grandmere. (bit of backstory; Grandmere was Father's mother and the family was preparing for a trip there to see her. No, they did not take the au pair with them, harumph.)

Me: Okay, let's go see if Infant Girl is awake now and we can all have a snack. (takes Toddler Boy by the hand and closes door to room; parents will want to see the crime scene.)

Then there was the time Toddler Boy was not allowed to play with a desired toy (it was loud) until Infant Girl was awake.

Toddler Boy: Can I play with Desired Toy now?

Me: If Infant Girl is awake. (gets up to check if Infant Girl is indeed awake)

Toddler Boy: (races across hall and into nursery, I hear the whump of crib meeting wall)

Infant Girl: (rudely awakened baby wail)

Toddler Boy: Infant Girl is awake.
(no babies were harmed in the making of this anecdote, but the nanny's nerves were shot)

Stories are like that. NSoH had decided it was done napping and would soon start taking apart its room if I didn't get back in there. Primordial ooze of next historical is a mass of colicky bubbles (the writers reading this are now nodding like bobbleheads - yes, ooze can have colic) and I am still bribable with good European cookies. Point is, it's new words time and I am making new words, so all's right with the world.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

In Between Days

In short, I hate them. The plan I had was to let my NaNo project, Nothing Short of Heaven, sit for a few days before I had another look at it, but my brain keeps wanting to go back to Slate and Melanie. Maybe they aren't done with me yet? What I do know is that I have fallen into the habit (okay, deliberately cultivated would be more accurate) of making new words in the morning hours and not having this to work on puts me in a huge funk.

Which in a normal world would mean time to work on the next historical. Only I don't know what that one is yet. As I am one of those people who has to have multiple stuff in various stages, the new-new spot is in need of filling and not having it filled drives me bonkers. There is a vague, extremely rough idea, which leaves me splashing about in the primordial ooze. Nobody has names yet, I have no idea where or when this book is set and it's entirely possible that I will need to ravage the other ms that is on life support to give parts for this one.

I will grumble. I will flail. I will need to gently but firmly be pointed back towards my other story "kids" that still need my attention. I will need to be reminded that I have submissions that have been requested and need to put those big kids on the bus because they are ready to go out into the world. I will need to resist the urge to pick up the sleeping toddler of my NaNo story because if I wake them before they are rested, we will both end up cranky and fussy. I will use this blog as my methadone to keep my fingers moving on the keys and making words in the morning. I will grumble to other writer friends who will walk with me through these in between days as I walk with them through theirs. I will have friends and family press books into my hand because nothing in means nothing out.

The time will come, when I least expect it, of one of these vague outlines of characters will introduce themselves with a name and I'll figure out their era. (A lot of them make me work for it, figuring out when they live from information they work into their babbling, and I have at least once had to hunt down the era going solely by the heroine's hat.) Then things will fall into place and I will be back in blorch stage, racing to get absolutely everything in my head into a file.

But today is in between, at least for the morning. After lunch, it's editing and polishing, and that is far more defined. Until then, Ben Folds, everybody....

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Life After NaNo, writing and reading and what's next

Funny Pictures - Kitteh Book
see more Lolcats and funny pictures

One goal accomplished - NaNo won. A few days early, yesterday largely spent freaking out about corrupted files, but all verified in the end and I have an assortment of lovely NaNo 2010 winner badges to choose from and slap on this here blog space and/or Facebook.

One of my critique partners asked me what I'm going to do with my mornings now that NaNo is done, and I told her that's a good question. After spending every morning of the past month dragged along behind Slate and Melanie as they blazed along their path to Happily Ever least rough draft edition...facing a new course for the mornings is...odd.

Not that I'm out of stuff to write. :pause for maniacal laughter: I'm polishing one complete ms that has been garnering some interest and calendar will be marked for my local RWA chapter's Book in Six Weeks project (same thing as NaNo, but with two extra weeks) when we set a start date for some time in January or February. This means that in the deep freeze of winter, I will be in Regency era England with star-crossed lovers Anthony and Christine and their tale of PTSD, opium addiction, her class conscious family and Anthony's sister who loves him a little too much and not in the right way. I consider that good company. :cackles:

I'm also seriously behind on a project concieved with Evangeline Holland of Edwardian Promenade, but hope to get back on that one soon. Then there's the need to start splashing around in the idea soup of whatever historical is to come next. This one is going to be messy and may involve surgery on another ms that is on life support. Now taking suggestions for undesirable classes of society and/or paralell societies with which a well bred young woman should not mix.

As I am a big proponent of "nothing in, nothing out" this means that I need to keep up my reading to fuel my writing. NaNo didn't leave a lot of time for reading, so I am now ready to plow through the TBR shelves. Most recent conquest there is The Master and His Muses by Amanda McIntyre. I loved that this book didn't pull any punches about life in the world of the Pre-Raphaelite brotherhood, or the complex emotions involved in relationships that don't work out and how those affect the ones that do. Three stories, three HEAs, so these are romances.

Now that that's read, I'm looking at the following:

The Iron Duke - Meljean Brook
Seven Nights To Forever - Evangeline Collins
To Conquer a Highlander - Mary Wine

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Saturday at the Movies #26 - to be seen for the season

With the advent of Thanksgiving comes my busy season for making Christmas presents. Most of which will be done while getting a chance to see many of the movies and DVDs that have been lingering in my to be viewed list. Some seasonal clasics for me, like About A Boy, Love Actually and Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol, go without saying, as those are givens. Still, there's room on my list for some new entries.

Reader Aamba reminded me of an Emma Thompson movie I've missed, which looks completly delightful. Stranger Than Fiction has Emma Thompson as a writer whose main character, played by Will Ferrell, has a life of his own and creative differences with his author.

Hm, on second thought, I might have to class this under horror, as I shudder to think what my characters would have to say to me. Eep.

Since Nick Hornby wrote one of my all time favorite comedies, About A Boy, I was delighted to find that there is indeed a British version of Fever Pitch, adapted from his memoir about football obsession. I am aware of the Drew Barrymore/Jimmy Fallon US version but will pass on that one (sorry, Drew. A) Anglophile here, B) Yankee fan on principle and C) Colin Firth) and devote my energies to hunting down this.

Notes On a Scandal has all the ingredients for an Anna-pleaser. Bill Nighy, Dame Judi Dench, and Cate Blanchett all look like they'll provide powerhouse performances. Plus English school setting, twisted unequal relationships and tons of emotion. Yep, odds are good that I'll have been watching this while lovingly crafting gifts for friends and family.

Though I normally don't go for remakes, I've seen the second half of the Jude Law version of Alfie twice now, and that worked very well for me, so now I'm interested in seeing the whole thing. Michael Caine version someday but I'd like Jude's version for Christmas. I am a complete and total sucker for Englishman in New York movies.

Full disclosure: The book was a big DNF for me, and my sister actually phoned me to apologize for sending it, so I did not have high hopes for Bridget Jones' Diary as a movie. Still, after stumbling across it in bits and pieces at times when I was desperately starved for British comedies, I'm deciding to give it one more chance from start to end. The book may not have worked for me and Renee Zellwegger isn't a favorite, but the film does have Hugh Grant and Colin Firth and Christmas, so it goes on the list.

What movies are seasonal favorites in your house? Anything I might want to add to my to be viewed list? Suggestions welcomed with sugar cookies and eggnog hot chocolate.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Happy Dance Friday #27 - Turkey Dance

funny pictures-WORK IT OWN IT WORK IT!!!
see more Lolcats and funny pictures
Today means it's only six days until Thanksgiving, so I give today over to our fine (and delicious) feathered friends.

Some turkeys are animated...

Lloyd dances because he is a pet turkey who lives in England and has no worries this time of year. Lloyd can head down to the local with his bunny and chicken friends.

I share this Mexican turkey's opinion of the gentleman with the backpack. Raising one's arms like that to a feathered friend is an aggressive gesture, sir. Of course the turkey didn't want to dance with you. He thought you were challenging him.

I can't find the bird in this clip...oh wait, this is a Turkish dancer.

For those who celebrate, in whatever way you do, Happy Turkey Day. For actual turkeys, RUN!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Confessions of a big meanie

I will confess. I am a mean author. While I do gaurantee HEAs for all my couples, I can't make any promises on what happens to them along the way there. Bad things happen to good people. It's how the characters react to those bad things that make it interesting and an entertaining story. Plus it makes the eventual triumph all the better when it's hard-earned.

In my NaNo book, Nothing Short of Heaven, Slate and Melanie have most recently had to outrun a fire set by the villain who creeps out even me (and I don't creep easily)and are now dealing with some very tough issues. Not their favorite time, for sure, but as a writer, the feeling I get most is delight. Not because I like torturing these people but because I know that when they are on the other side of this, they (and particularly Slate) are going to be so freaking happy that it's all worth it.

The romance genre does require a happy ending, and that's my favorite part. Our hero and heroine have fought all the obstacles in their way, and won. They are on the mountaintop, together at last and for always. It's the struggle up that mountain that is the journey and the part of the story that always has me in a ridiculously good mood when I write it. Since I write historicals, I have a wide range of wars, famines, plagues, natural disasters and shifting political alliances that can throw stumbling blocks in my characters' quests for HEA. Did I mention playing with medical and psychological issues that would be quite different if modern medicine were available?

Not to mention that I love writing complex villains. Said villains do consider themselves the heroes and our heroes the bad guys, so they have their own agendas and have to fight as hard for their desired outcome as my hero and heroine do. Of course since I'm in charge, they don't win, but they can make things interesting.

Readers, what's the meanest thing you've seen an author do to their characters? How did that work for you within the story? Authors, how do you let your inner meanie out? What's the worst thing you could ever do to a character and still give them their HEA?

Monday, November 15, 2010

Heading into week three of NaNo

lyric According to my page at the NaNo site, I'm already over the halfway mark and will, if I keep on at my current pace, finish on November 28th. This coming before today's update, so it may be sooner after I do. Needed to get brain going, and wanted to apologize for missing Saturday at the Movies this week. More like Saturday at the Pharmacy this week, but DH is well supplied now and if I can avoid catching his cold, we should be in good shape.

But back to the writing. Nothing Short of Heaven has always seemed like a novella to me, though maybe on the long side. Shooting for 50k-ish feels about right. I like the productivity I've been able to regain while hitting (and usually exceeding) a daily word count. I love spending this time with Slate and Melanie and as for the villain of this piece, well, he's one sick puppy. Doesn't matter if I feel "inspired" when I start pounding keys in the morning - if I show up, they will too, and generally do manage to rein me in if I start flopping about aimlessly. Which is also fine, because aimless flopping can be fixed in the next pass through.

Since I'm polishing one ms, pounding out this rough draft of another, and already know that my winter 2011 Book in Six (or Seven, we're not firm yet) weeks project is going to be from the next outline I have on deck, that means it's time to start thinking ahead to the next historical idea. At the moment, I already know...nothing. I do have some ideas, but those are in the "I'm not sure what era this story should be set in and nobody has names" stage, which intersects with the "is this a new story or is it this other story over here but wearing a different hat?" stage.

I whine now, but things will gel when they need to gel. They always do. Butt in chair, fingers on keyboard and some messing about in notebooks on the side and there will be a new couple and their situation to introduce while hunkered inside on snowy days. In the meantime, I have words to make.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Happy Dance Friday #26 - Hug a musician

Funny Pictures
see more Lolcats and funny pictures

I once saw a bumper sticker that read "Hug a musician; we never get to dance" and since I have friends who are musicians, that stuck with me. Anybody who's seen the recent Conan O'Brian promo where Conan cavorts about to absolute silence and then requests confirmation that there will be music added, lest his actions look silly, can agree we owe a lot to those who provide the soundtrack to happy dances everywhere. Plus there's nothing as fun as watching a performer who's really into what they're doing and a committed musician or singer can get a crowd moving through sheer force of energy and charisma.

One of my favorite musical acts to watch as well as listen to is the British act, Right Said Fred. Brothers Richard and Fred Fairbrass have energy to spare and some very danceable tunes.

It's probably best I try not to figure out how "Wonderman" was connected to Sonic the Hedgehog, but the choreography sure looks fun.

Though I know absolutely nothing about the German kids' movie, The Wizard, but if this is any indication, it looks like loads of fun.

European stadium anthem, "Stand Up (For the Champions)" always makes me want to get up and move.

This acoustic version is part of the seed that started my NaNo novel, Nothing Short of Heaven. I'm impressed how different the same song can sound with different treatements.

Though the brothers Fairbrass have a sizeable catalogue internationally, US audiences will best know them by this iconic ditty:

What musical acts never fail to get you on your feet? Ever had a favorite song reimagined with a totally different mood? How did that work for you? Drop names and include links.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

On week two of NaNo

This is the first year I've ever done National Novel Writing Month. Probably will not be the last. I've always done well when our local RWA chapter runs its Book in Six Weeks program - always taken the #2 slot for highest page count...except last year when it was #1. I have challenged the gal who normally takes the #1 slot to a race for the crown this year.

I do good under pressure. Scratch that. I do great under pressure. Give me too much to do and an impossible deadline under which to do it, and I will pull it off. Friends and family need only hear mention of a certain outing which included double caregiver duties, people with initials after their names, a Chinese restaurant and playing luggage Tetris in a rental car with its own curfew all while feeling like something worse than poo, to know this is true. If I can do that, I can do my favorite thing - tell emotionally complex stories of love long ago. Easy peasy, right?

My normal NaNo day goes something like this:

*wake to alarm playing the Smurf theme, grumble.
*weigh benefits of beginning day against benefits of remaining next to slumbering DH beneath flannel sheets.
*remember that NaNo does not understand warm sheets and warm spouses and the good seats at Panera fill quickly.
*get out of bed, tend personal needs.
*remember that I am indeed a morning person and become annoyingly chipper.
*survey contents of closet and remind self that everything being too big means I am on track with fitness plan.
*remind self that leaving the house means I can play with makeup and jewelry. Get dressed.
*collect purse and computer and head to Panera
*secure preferred seating area, purchase tea and bagel. Multitask tea preparation and computer setup.
*remind self I do know how to write. Refer to own backlist as proof.
*open file, refer to story notebook if needed. Put *something* on the page.
*pound keys in plodding and meandering fashion. Acknowledge big, hairy mess.
*compulsively check word count. Confidence grows as number gets higher.
*continue pounding keys until time to catch ride. Update word count at NaNo site.
*give screen lingering, wistful look because stopping right now borders on painful. Swear to come back at same level in the morning.
*do other stuff, go home and watch Bones reruns, then fall asleep next to a good book.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Saturday at the Movies #25 - TV Closeup - How I Met Your Mother

How could a romance writer not be drawn in by a sitcom billed as a love story in reverse? I missed the first few episodes the first time around (sitcoms are a hard sell with the DH but he came around, and the show is now referred to as "Mama" in our house. Mention "Mama" when a new episode or rerun is slated to show, and that is the signal to reach for the remote. We have a similar code for Big Bang Theory - "Nerds"- but that's another story.) so I already knew the big surprise...that Robin, the woman main character, Ted, falls for in the pilot, is not his future wife and mother of his future kids (to whom he narrates his tale) but she does become his sometimes roommate and an essential part of his circle of friends.

Random fun fact - there is indeed a whole song attatched to the catchy soundbite that plays over the opening credits.

Ted, when we meet him, is an architecht in his late twenties, and an incurable romantic, confident that his one perfect woman is out there somewhere; he only hasn't met her yet. This series is the story of his search for her. Episodes begin and often end with Ted telling the story to his school age children, sharing his reminiscences and imparting bits of fatherly wisdom along the way. It's worth mentioning that we can count Ted as an unreliable narrator (I'll wait here for those who want to go check their high school English notes) and he will often use code to make things more kid-friendly, though we as the viewers are let in on what's really going on when someone is "eating sandwiches" or "playing the bagpipes." The most horrible word one can call a woman is not "Grinch" but that's Ted for you.

Ted's supporting cast includes college buddies Marshall and Lily, who are already living the life Ted wants for himself. Deeply in love and first engaged, then married, they are the sense of reaon in an unreasonable world. Marshall, an idealistic lawyer, works for Goliath National Bank, a huge and heartless corporation, but stays true to his ideals, and to his Lilypad. Lily herself is a fascinating character, a kindergarten teacher who paints art meant for dogs, has an uncanny knack for implementing complicated plans (and carrying them off) and can always, always smell the poop.

Still navigating the waters of the single life are Barney, Ted's wingman, a suit-wearing, woman-chasing, jargon-spouting libertine with an unconventional (and yet awesome past) who hides a softer side. Though Barney puts on a strong front of debauchery, he loves his friends deeply, and perhaps one of them above all. Barney jockeys for position as Ted's best friend with Marshall, secretly flew cross country to reunite a separated Marshall and Lily, and nurses deeper feelings than he'd care to admit for Robin. I ship Barney/Robin hard, people. If I were still writing fanfiction, they would absoutely be one of my pairings, and my idea hamster is running all night long to find a home for them in a historical someday.

Which brings us to Robin, who is not the mother. Robin Sherbatsky, local news anchor with dreams of something bigger, Canadian to the core (though she is pursuing dual Canadian/US citizenship) former teen idol and committmentphobe. While Robin can enjoy a good thing, what if something better comes along? What if that something better is wearing a totally awesome suit? The results could be legen (wait for it, and we hope you're not lactose intolerant because the next word is)dary.
Even if not, I'm sure this motley crew will get through life in their own special fashion.

Friday, November 05, 2010

Happy Dance Friday News Bulletin

funny pictures of dogs with captions
see more dog and puppy pictures
There I was, all set to fire up the desktop once I got to the office and get back to normal Happy Dance Friday posting, but what did my buddy Linda and I see wandering around the road but a beautiful German Shepherd (henceforth referred to as GS)?

Since lunch hour traffic on a busy road is not a good place for puppies, we stopped the car and approached GS. Very good dog, she looked confused and lost, and was very trusting. Linda checked her tags and found a name and phone number. Of course both Linda's and my cell phones had to be out of commission but we were close enough to Linda's house that I could hoof it.

Called the number from the tag and got in touch with GS's dad, who came straightaway to get her. Dear readers, you have never seen a happy dance until you have seen a German Shepherd who was lost and then reunited with her person. I believe GS' response could be best translated as "ZOMG, DADDY, best thing EVAR! I lookeded and lookeded for you and you are HERE!" GS and her dad had a joyful reunion and we all did an inner happy dance on our way back to the rest of the day. Epic win for all, I do believe. Huzzah.

Sunday, October 31, 2010


funny dog pictures-Kut down in mid stride  by teh Sandman
see more dog and puppy pictures

Caught between yesterday's outing with friends, writing after, and today's errands and NaNo starting tomorrow, blog is taking a break for this weekend. Back to business in the coming week.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Happy Dance Friday #25 - energize

With NaNoWriMo looming ever closer -as in Monday- we're getting down to the wire when it comes to getting pumped. Clear the floor, crank up the sound and dance like nobody's watching.

i like your stance on this issue, Sophie Ellis-Bextor:

Smash Mouth has words of wisdom and inspiration:

Back in my freshman year of college, a classmate and I were somewhat baffled by this new thing called "email" we were supposed to learn, and to keep things interesting, made all our posts to each other in regard to a new course we dubbed "Davy Dancing." In short, dancing in the style of Davy Jones (guy playing tambourine, for you younguns.) It involved painting one wall and section of floor in one's room in white and yellow stripes, and much silly flailing around. I will state for the record that the Monkees were already a nostalgia act by this time. They still rock.

Since I'm in the nostalgic-energy mood, here's something that had me wildly dancing about the living room as a tween. Still does today:

Friday, October 22, 2010

Happy Dance Friday #24 - Grumpy Dancing

Everybody has grumpy days, and since I've landed smack in the middle of one, that does affect the choices of clips. Thankfully, I have longtime friend and writer buddy E. Catherine Tobler (who writes wonderful and gorgeous fantasy stories) helping out as guest grumpy dancer. Join us as we stomp about and growl.

This video from Scissor Sisters sets the mood:

E suggested this tidbit from Sophie Ellis Bextor, and it makes me think of what my time travel's heroine, Summer, might do if she ever completely lost her marbles.

Also from E, a classic 80s dance ditty, with bonus Nathan Fillion. Dance isn't the main focus, but it sure is fun, so in it goes:

It's okay to have grumpy days, and a good friend will always help get through them. Grab a nearby bud and crank up the volume:

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

On Finding One's Voice, part the second and counting

Today's picture is a jumble of things. Artwork by my father, Rudy Carrasco, as a book cover for Party of Dreamers by Robert Lowry, turned into a poster for The Sims2 by me.
Said poster hung in a Sims2 house made by me, based on a floorplan for one of the original Levittown houses, for a Secret Santa gift on a Sims forum. Lots of things all mushed together to make the image for this entry. Which has nothing to do with any of the above.

Nor, strictly, does the new video song from Ben Folds and Nick Hornsby (with Pomplamoose) but I stumbled across it on my morning interwebs rounds. Then again, I adore Ben Folds' voice, both singing and artistic (plus his gorgeous piano work) and the way he has of encapsualting a whole life in a few minutes of music. Have him cowrite songs with Nick Hornsby, who wrote the book and script for About A Boy, one of my favorite movies ever, and it's an early birthday present. Stick an extra surprise song out there and I am already over the moon.

I was surprised to see one of the comments left after the video mentioning that while it was a good song, the viewer felt "like a lazy loser" because of the lyrics. :headscritch: I found it inspiring and encouraging, reminding me that I don't have to settle for the mundane. Your mileage, unless you are a clone of me, may and should be different. I love digging beneath the surface, down deep to where it may get a little uncomfortable (a college roommate dubbed my very first ms "how to completely mess with somebody's life in five hundred pages or more." She was right.) but when we find the root of the problem, that's where the healing can begin, and the climb up to the HEA.

Though I don't hold with the concept of a muse, if I had one, she'd be British. Trust me on this. Part of it comes from having Scottish neighbors from infancy through elementary school and my parents' rather international circle of friends. (Hello, Mrs Bloomer, wherever you are, and thanks for the UK influences.) The vast majority of my characters call the British Isles home (good for a historical author these days) and well, it feels like a natural fit. That sensibility that life can be hard at times, and if we're going through hell, well, we keep going; that resonates.

One song on the new Lonely Avenue album hit me right in the gut. "Picture Window" may be triggering for those who have had a seriously ill loved one, but what struck me was the "yes, that's exactly how it is" in certain moments, that struggle of anger and hope.

Very black moment, eh? Definitely something that speaks my language, and the combination of the New Year's fireworks seen from a hospital window has loads of perspective. Filing this one away for future inspiration.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Sweet November

No, this is not a stray movie post, and I haven't seen that particular movie. The title reference comes from looking at my schedule for November and going "eep." Thankfully (heh) Thanksgiving plans are firm and at least one pre-Thanksgiving outing with other friends is set. The eep-inducing schedule items include:

  • moderating this awesome online workshop on Riding the Writing Life Rollercoaster with instructor Barbara Wallace
  • While simultaneously taking another online workshop on voice because that's my focus for the learning-to-be-a-better-writer part of life
  • also making all the mumblemumbles for Christmas presents because this is the first time I get to devote to that now that things have (hah) relatively settled down
  • I signed up for NaNoWriMo (I'm Unzadi on there; feel free to friend me) to pound out a draft of Nothing Short of Heaven
  • polishing two, count them, two projects that have editors or agents wanting a look at them
  • plotting out (pun unintended, but what the heck, it fits) my workload for the next year
  • including roughing out the level two of my From Fanfiction to Fantastic Fiction workshop
  • new art techniques and frequent practice (reference above mention of mumblemumbles)
  • read at least one book a week, as if I'm not reading, I'm not writing
Know what? I love it. The more I have to do in this regard, the better I do it. I work great under pressure, but if left to work free-range, as it were, I'll wander off and be found days later with naught but a vintage paperback and a Moleskine notebook filled with incomprehensible scribbles about Moonlight, Lapsang Souchong tea and the fashions of Georgian England. Or in a fetal position under my desk, clutching a half emptied bag of chocolate covered gummi bears.

I bemoaned my crammed schedule to a friend last night, who gave me a knowing look and said "you're going to do it all and it's all going to be great." Since this friend is the pragmatic, sensible sort, I'm betting she's going to be right. I'll still whinge at some points and I do still want the chocolate covered gummi bears, but I'm looking forward to a great November.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Saturday at the Movies #22 - TV closeup: Psych

When I first saw the original promos for Psych, I didn't think I was going to like it, but it did follow Monk, and after the first glimpse of the chemistry between James Roday and Dule Hill as a comedic pair, they had me hooked. The premise is there in the tag line; fake psychic, real detectives. Shawn Spencer, raised by his police officer dad, Henry, to have all the skills of a trained detective, coupled with his natural intelligence and observation, has one thing standing in the way of following in his father's footsteps; a tarnished record from a teenage offense. James Roday's audition footage proves this is a perfect marriage of actor and character.

Pretending to be a psychic so the police department will hire him and let him work on cases, Shawn drags his ever loyal childhood best friend and straight man, Gus, played by Dule Hill, along for the ride, wherever it goes. Gus may fume and stomp and refuse to have anything to do with Shawn's latest schemes, but in the end, he'll be matter what Shawn calls him.

Shawn's over the top, audacious antics usually do seem to work, though he does encounter a few sceptics. Enter one Detective Carlton Lassiter, a.ka. "Lassie" to Shawn, the very model of a modern major-general, er, detective. This straighter than straight arrow proves an engaging foil, with his by the book procedures to work and life.

Since this is me, there is indeed a love interest, Detective Juliet O'Hara, Lassiter's partner. Juliet values honesty and directness, which clashes with the wool Shawn has pulled over everybody's eyes, though the attraction between the two is undeniable. Many close calls, dancing about the edges of each other's lives, with all the innocence and charm of a teenager with their first big crush, but no doubt that once these two are able to connect, it's the real, grownup thing. When it comes to Juliet, there's no kidding involved.

Fully on to Shawn's scheme, alternately supporting him and reining him in, is long suffering dad Henry, played to perfection by Corbin Bernson. Henry is as active and vital in his sixties as he was as a younger man, raising Shawn on his own. This is one father-son relationship with all the ups and downs one might expect from two equally brilliant men with two very different outlooks on life. Even having found his own path in life, Shawn has never stopped admiring his dad or needing his approval. This fan-made video captures some of the memorable moments.

All in all, pure silliness with a lot of heart. Sly references to other projects by cast members, pop culture references and inside jokes (including affectionate jabs at rival program, The Mentalist and a pineapple in every episode...somewhere) tied with a big floppy bow of "psych-outs" at the end of every episode make this Doctor Feelgood's go-to perscription.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Playing hooky again, this time with preview

Saturday at the movies deferring until Sunday again, as a friend is kidnapping me for lunch and whatnot. In the meantime, Psych's theme song is darned catchy in any language:




Holiday version:

'til tomorrow, all. Toodles!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Happy Dance Friday #23 - 80s party

Those of us of a certain age may have the urge to crank up the speakers and flail about the living room in a manner that may scare children, seniors and cats, but sometimes one must give in to the call of 80s music. If there's not enough dance content in the following clips to please everyone, everyone is kindly invited to get up and join me in aforementioned flailing. Neon fishnet tights optional.

I love how they go right back to the normal workday after this:

Some of the songs that stick out as most memorable to me employ lyrical dissonance, where the lyrics say one thing but the tune has a completely different mood. Like this one. Bouncy, dancey music, with a bleak undercurrent and a desperate grab for something better tying it all together. Story in there somewhere, and I would have loved to see more of the street corner dancing. I would totally have dropped some cash in the hat.

I defy anyone to go through this without at least a toe tap. Admit it, you want to be pulled into a comic book, too. I'll let you pick which one.

Since my DH would likely not allow me back in the house if I did not include the following, here it is:

Time to wind this party down and get back to work, so find your partners for a slow dance, acoustic style.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

On finding one's voice, part the first

Screenshot here is from one of my Sims2 photoshoots. Sims are very compliant models (especially if I turn free will off) and spending a few hours setting up a shoot and taking pictures lets ideas mull about in the story part of my brain. Sometimes I'll have something in mind when I start a shoot, sometimes not.

This particular shoot starred Jacqueline, my favorite model and one of my own sculpts, and her husband, Matthew (not pictured, but he's somebody else's design, though I've customized him.) I stage the shoots to get images to use in my art, both digital and otherwise.

Current art crush is mixed media artist Michelle Ward. Her most recent blog entry on scented candles made me nearly weep with recognition. For me, this is a good thing; I'm a dramatic sort of wench. The photos included are gorgeous, and, like Michelle, I use scent association to keep my mind on task when I'm in the office. Since autumn is now in full swing, time for me to lay in some appropriate scents. Anything with cinnamon, pumpkin or cloves is automatically good, and if the candle is named anything like "fireside," I need it. Summertime is not my season, and with the changing of the leaves, I get my superpowers back.

I do my best work in the cooler months, pounding keys and scribbling my way through prettified legal pads (current one coordinates with these) with hands encased in hand-knit mitts and listening to equally ornate music; current choices can include Meat Loaf, James Blunt, Coldplay, etc. I do tend towards male singers when I choose favorite music, though Mary Chapin Carpenter has some wonderful stuff as well. With my office assistant, Miss Skye O'Malley, (who is a kitteh) positioning herself in exactly the right spot for my hand to dip down at random intervals and scritch behind her ear or under her chin, that's a perfect setup.

Over the past week, I've been digging deep into what comprises an author's voice, inspired by listening to a workshop CD by Barbara Samuels. Her worksheet for that is on her site, and can be found here. Lots of great questions on the worksheet, and I will be posting a few of my answers to those later on. The most important thing I've learned from this so far is that our voice is made up of everything we have been, seen, done, experienced, wanted, whatevered. Surrounding myself with what I am intrinsically drawn to isn't being self indulgent; it's a smart investment in honing my voice and since my voice is the only one I can write with, keeping it honed is essential.

Trends come, trends go. Nobody can please everybody, but apple trees can only grow apples and I believe there's a bumper crop coming in this year.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Saturday at the movies deferring until Sunday this week. Brain needs coaxing to join body today. Am tempting it with Tiffany Clare's The Surrender of a Lady and a trip to Michael's for art stuff.
Also possibly a nap, but let's stay realistic.

Saturday at the Movies #21 - Movie related meanderings

My brain refused to search for clips this weekend, as I'm focused on some voice (writing, not singing; my not singing is, I believe, covered in the Geneva Convention) exercises, but it did get me to thinking.

Icon above taken from a promotional shot from the dear departed New Amsterdam tv series. Definitely in need of a closeup of its own, and that will come in time. While it is good that I can watch all the episodes (all whopping eight of them, and I will throw extremely buttery popcorn at the screen -and then immediately wipe the butter off because smudges drive me crazy- at the end of the extremely disappointing cliffhanger last episode) I still want the DVD. The DVD that will never be, I'm quite sure.

This sort of thing vexes me, and I do get vexed a lot. As I've mentioned earlier, I live about a five minute walk from a multiplex. I have not been there since The Lovely Bones was near the end of its theatre run. Shocking? I do love movies, and I prefer to go alone, so I get absolute say over the snacks (type and amount) and beverage (what goes in must come out and movies do not have commercial breaks, so I like to go dry) and where to sit (as close to the screen as possible; I like my movies BIG.) So why don't I go?

I often say that I'm saving my movie money to pay to reanimate the corpse of Ismail Merchant. My favorite sort of movie is the period drama. Mega bonus points if it's an original story as opposed to a fictionalized biography. If the BBC could make theatrical movies for American cinema, I'd be over the moon. Since that isn't happening anytime soon, and I'm not one for horror, gross-out comedy, action or SF/F, that pretty much locks me out. Things go in cycles. In time, my sort of movies will come around again.

In the meantime, I am looking at the DVD section at Target. There's the first season of Law and Order UK that activates my drool reflex. Any seasons of Psych and Monk could be considered as equally for myself and DH. Even though I already have Moonlight, I have been known to pet any copies in stock. The first season of Highlander is on my office shelf, and the "movie" of the two part episode Counterfeit as well. Subsequent seasons need to come home, as do two through six of my all time favorite, Lost. I haven't yet tried Mad Men, though probably some day.

What I want out of a movie, no matter the format or genre, is very basic. I want to shut out the world, sit in the dark and have somebody tell me a story. The rest of the world can fend for itself for two hours at a time.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Happy Dance Friday #22 For the Lulz

Never underestimate the influence of a genuinely felt happy dance:

New Psych episodes in November are cause for celebration, as is any chance to see Dule Hill strut his stuff. Besides being a gifted comic actor, Dule is also a professionally trained tap dancer:

Baby penguin! Tap dancing! In the snow! I have to see this one:

Because a genuinely felt happy dance transcends language, we have this next entry. (dance portion starts at 1:47 for purists) It's brief but well worth it. :

I have no idea how they did this, but come on, monkeys + Riverdance = must see:

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

On My TBR shortlist and a question

It's no secret that my TBR pile has long since passed "pile" and is now "cases."

Fighting for top spot at the moment are:
The Surrender of a Lady by Tiffany Clare
-I've been slavering over this one since I first read a blog by the author discussing the premise. Heroine sold into a harem to cover her late husband's debts and having the experience make her stronger? :makes grabby hands:

Scoundrel by Zoe Archer
This is the second installment in her Blades of the Rose quartet, preceded by Warrior. While I am not normally interested in paranormal romances, these read more like adventures than paranormals, strictly, and the promise of an Indiana Jones style read and exotic settings caught my interest. Also will have to hunt down her entry in the anthology Half Past Dead.

A Season of Seduction by Jennifer Haymore
- I am a sucker for a Christmas set story where emotions run high. Since the prior two books in this expanded Regency era world had lots of angst and tangley hearts, I'm betting this will as well. Is early October too soon for a Christmas book, though?

Of course, any of these can get tossed by the wayside to wait their turn as soon as I get my mitts on The Border Vixen by Bertrice Small. Since my birthday is in October and there's always a new Small historical in October, that's my traditional gift to me (though if family members want to beat me to it, by all means, do. )

Since one of the exercises I have in my From Fanfiction to Fantastic Fiction class involves spotting common threads, the first thing that came to mind with the above is that all are linked to other books. Even the debut title. I've had several reader friends ask me if I know of any currently published historical romances that are not in series, and that's making me go "hmm."

So far, I have four titles in electronic release and none of them are linked in any way. All are in different times and locations. That reflects my reading preferences as well. If a book is all on its own, no spinoffs, sequels, prequels, companions, etc, that will catch my attention faster than a book that's linked to something else. This sort does seem to be in short supply these days, but with time crunchy for a lot of us, and the economy as it is, with book costs more than they used to be, there is also an appeal in being able to pick up a book and knowing one doesn't need a scorecard, family tree or a hunting expedition to pick up X, Y and Z' s "own book."

While much has been written on the appeal of connected books - being able to revisit what's already familiar is a biggie- I'm interested to see what readers like about trying something new. What makes a successful standalone to you?

Monday, October 04, 2010

Strange New Developments

Now that my September online workshop, From Fanfiction to Fantastic Fiction, has wrapped, I'm looking at developing a level two course, which is brand new territory for me. Students of this class and writing friends have all had good suggestions, which I'm considering and I have a file started on what the course should include.

Which brings more questions. If I'm going to discuss tools that I've used in my transition to original fiction, such as the enneagram system, character archetypes, birth order, etc, do I need permission from the sources of those tools? I do already have one character worksheet I intend to use, and have permission from the originators of that, so all set there.

Though I've moderated a two-month class before, I've never taught one. That alone will be a challenge, but the subject matter is dear to me. While writing fanfic, I met several friends who have stayed with me throughout the transition to original fiction (actually at a write-in with one of them now. :waves at MP Barker:) and it's a sure bet I will be picking their brains to get input and maybe even a few quotes for the new course.

So, dear readers, do you now, or have you ever commited fanfic? For those who have, and are now writing original fiction, what skills did you pick up there that are serving you well now? Any advice for fanficcers who aspire to boldly go into realms of their own?

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Saturday at the Movies #20 - Closeup: Moonlight

First of all, I've come to the conclusion that I need to see more movies. I do keep a list of movies to blog about, and there are still many that I haven't mentioned yet, but at the moment, my viewing tastes are running toward the small screen. Even though I live on the same street as a multiplex, I can't remember the last time I was in a theater. Best guess is over a year.

The existence of DVD compliations of entire seasons of television programs can be a big boost to the cinematically deprived, so I'm going to count those as "movies" for the purpose of this blog. I'll likely be babbling more in depth as well. A lot of the shows I've loved the most are long off the air. Loving and losing both New Amsterdam (which will get a closeup of its own) and Moonlight in the same year, well, that does things to a gal. Especially when said gal is a romance writer and will jump on a good romantic pairing like the starving hyena she is in the tv department.

Moonlight - absolutely in my top five tv series ever. Yes, it's a vampire show, and no, I'm not into vampires. It isn't so much about vampires in specific as the idea of "otherness." Past mistakes, second chances, redemption, secrets, truth, acceptance and the knowledge that those who love, will love no matter what. Heady stuff.

I have seen Alex O'Loughlin in the new Hawaaii 5-0 pilot, and may tune in for future episodes, but he's always going to be Mick to me, and my brain may do this at least once per episode:
Mick's one chance at being a normal human, and besides stuffing himself with everything he's wanted to eat for the past sixty years, he takes advantage of his literal day in the sun by having a beachside picnic with his Beth...then gives up his newfound mortality when it's the only way to save her life.

Not only am I not into vampires, but reporter heroines are a pet peeve of mine. Sophia Myles as Beth managed to avert the stereotypes; she can be determined and strong-willed with enough softness that it strikes a perfect balance, and when she learns the truth about Mick, she's well able to handle it. Mick, I loved from the get-go. A decent guy at heart, betrayed and turned into a vampire by his evil (really) ex-wife, Coraline, Mick first saved Beth's life when Beth was four and Coraline had, umm, other plans for Beth.

All this time, Beth has considered that it was a gaurdian angel who kept her safe and rescued her from Coraline's clutches. When she meets Mick again, as an adult, the chemistry is undeniable...and complicated, because Beth is already involved with her gentleman friend, Josh. Torn between two good men, Beth tries to find the right path, until that decision is made for her. That episode is both one of my favorites and extremely hard to watch on many levels. Excruciatingly hard choices for both Mick and Beth in that moment of decision and it does have effects on their relationship afterwards. I actually would have preferred the Mick/Beth/Josh triangle to play out over a few seasons, but since we only had the one, this works. Very much fodder to mine in a novel someday.

A) I find it amusingly ironic that a vampire show is on the "living" channel, and B) please note that though both Mick and Beth's characters are LA natives, Alex O'Loughlin is Australian and Sophia Myles is British. No Americans in this pairing, guys; great work on the accents.

I'll leave this closeup with the end of the episode 12:04 AM.