I love food. There, I said it. I do. To be more specific. I love GOOD food. I also have some weird eating habits. First off, my eating is seasonal. Sort of. I go through phases. I can go for a month eating pasta for dinner. Usually it's pasta with spaghetti sauce, or with butter if I'm out of sauce. Other months I'm all about soup. I can eat it for lunch and dinner, and be content. Summer brings with it its own brand of food choices. Now most of you are probably thinking, well sure! Summer brings BBQs and salads, lots of fresh veggies and fruits. Yeah, no. See, for me I love all that stuff. Really I do. I go through a ton of fruit every day simply because in the summer it's all so good. But when it comes to mealtimes, it's all about the cereal. It's a habit I picked up from my mother, who thinks nothing of pouring herself cereal for dinner. I gladly carry on the tradition. I try to stick to the healthy ones (tonight is Raisin Bran), but I've been known to cave and have Lucky Charms three times a day.
Summer and the movie Grease will forever be linked in my mind. Some of my best camp memories are of going up to the gymnastics room (read: room filled with floor mats, a vaulting thing-y, unparallel bars, and various other things) and putting on the soundtrack. For the next 50 minutes, we'd sing along at the top of our longs to songs like Summer Lovin', Grease Lightning and Look at me I'm Sandra Dee. Probably the funniest part was that this was on a record, not tape, not cd, so there was no good way to go back to re-listen to the one song you really liked. Now I'm sure our counselors very much appreciated that fact. I for one found it greatly disappointing. Summer to me also means books. Lots and lots of books. And this summer is no exception. I currently have the following titles in my to be read pile (though by no means is this an exhaustive list):
Don't Look Down - Jennifer Crusie & Bob Mayer
California Demon - Julie Kenner
Extreme Bachelor - Julia London
Bump in the Night - JD Robb, et al.
Master of Wolves - Angela Knight
Dark Protector - Alexis Morgan
Kitty Goes to Washington - Carrie Vaughn
Sofie Metropolis - Tori Carrington
The Solomon Sisters Wise Up - Melissa Senate
and wide range of others.
This doesn't even include the books that are on request at the library that have not arrived. Nor does it include the books that I've been waiting and waiting and waiting on but have not been released yet. And of course, among all this I'm still working like mad to get this latest round of revisions done, so I can begin my next pass through. Can we say crazy? Yeah, I thought so. Needless to say, I'm using this summer to catch up on all those books I've seen in the stores, but didn't have time for. Not to mention all the fabulous offerings coming out now.
If there's one thing I love about writing, it's those brilliant moments when everything starts to come together. Yesterday was one of those moments. There I sat, working on Chapter 11, when I realized that yet again, my muse must have been leading me toward this moment. I read over the old scene, noting where I'd have to remove content in order to rework it based on the current ideas, when I realized that I'd set the scene up beautifully the first time I'd written it. I may not have known at the time that I would turn this story into a paranormal. Originally her business was at risk from a crazy stalker. Little did I realize at the time that the arguments that immediately preceded each event would eventually become the TRIGGERS for each event in the rewrites. How cool is that?
And it's okay if you don't understand a word I just wrote. Really, I'll understand. I'll just enjoy my brilliant moment over here...quiet like.
Seems to me there's a theme running rampant among blogs this week...summer! And I'm not gonna be left behind. Most of my summer memories are of growing up and attending day camp (or in the case of two traumatic summers...overnight camp). They are visiting my grandparents at the lake they live on, and begging my grandpa to take us around the lake "Just one more time, puh-lease!" They are running around in 90+ degree heat and 85% humidity, and wondering just how much air conditioning can be pumped into one building. My summer memories now are a bit different. They are of bike rides with Mom, hiking with friends, cool breezes, relaxing and wondering just how much time I can get in on my writing. I hiked this afternoon with a group of ladies from school. These are some amazing women who awe me each day with how much they truly care about their students, their friends and their families. They make me laugh and smile, but best of all...they make me a better teacher and person. Now, I know what you're wondering. How long was that hike? Did you hurt yourself? Did you hurt anyone else? The answers (in order): 4 miles, almost (but my new hiking poles saved me), and not that I know of (though I'm sure I accidently kicked or hit a few with my new hiking poles). One thing I did learn...those poles make a difference! Usually I end hikes (regardless of how long) with a sore lower back. The poles took some of that weight off my back, which made it a lot more pleasant. Not to mention, they kept me from falling flat on my face when I tripped over my own two feet. This was reason enough to spend the money on them!
In other news, I'm over half way through on the most current round of revisions. I should reach my goal of finishing this round before conference, and if I really push myself I might even get a head start on the next round before I leave. Woohoo!!
Hee hee! I love saying this, then watching the looks on the faces of the people hearing it. You'd think by now, most of my friends would be used to the odd things that I say. You'd think. Obviously not. Really, it's not as strange as it sounds. My friend D came over the other night to photograph my legs, as we will be putting them on my business cards.
Stop rolling your eyes at me.
It actually makes perfect sense. I wanted a fun, flirty image for my business cards, and couldn't find a darn thing I liked. We finally realized that we could get the results I wanted by using my own legs, as opposed to some anonymous picture that I'd have to pay for. After a couple of false starts, we finally got ourselves down to business and actually have a couple of decent shots that D is working with. As soon as I have the final image, I'll upload it to share, but until then...
I've been meaning to blog on this one for a couple of weeks, but it got caught in the graduation shuffle.
Aussie Rules by the fabulous Jill Shalvis, brings to life the story of a small town airport and two characters at odds with their attraction toward one another. I loved Jill's book Get a Clue, and couldn't wait to get my hands on this one. After stalking several book stores trying to get my hot little hands on it, I finally tracked it down. And oh, I was not disappointed. Mel Anderson just wants to be left alone to run her airport. Bo Black has returned to get his revenge on the woman who ruined his life. What they get is a whole lot of electrifying attraction and attitude. Thrown in a handful of quirky side characters guaranteed to make you smile, and you have all the makings of a fabulous book.
My favorite band has a new CD out in September! It's celebration time! Barenaked Ladies newest song "Easy" is already playing on radio stations, and can be downloaded here. It's a little more mellow than most of the music they release for airplay, but definitely BNL style. Go...listen...love!
It is sometimes difficult for me to watch movies without thinking as a writer. I'm prone to analyzing why certain scenes work and others don't. I look for back story and how it's presented. I pay attention to those little details like mental dialogue, and how it's played out. And I pay particular attention the end. I write romance. Yup...I said it. I write romance. Romantic Comedy to be closer to the point...though these days I'm also trying out a touch of the paranormal and may dip into YA novels soon. But the thing about romance novels is that they all have one thing in common...the Happily Ever After. That's their big draw. As a reader (and if you're lucky as a writer) the book takes you on a roller coaster ride of emotions. And you willingly go, because you have your guaranteed HEA.
However, I've noticed a disturbing trend in the movies over the last couple of years. Instead of giving me my HEA, as I expect, the writers and directors think it's better to give us a "real" ending. You know, an ending that shows sometimes love doesn't conquer all...but it's okay because you learn and grow from it.
You know what I have to say about that? Bull!! To take an otherwise wonderful movie and to ruin the ending by keeping the two characters apart...that's just wrong. It's not only wrong, it's evil! It's mean! It's...it's...unconscionable.
In other news, I'm working on a fabulous scene, if I do say so myself. I love when I can read a scene that I wrote and it makes me laugh out loud. It's such a great feeling...
People believe if we're not putting fingers to keyboard (or pen to paper) that we're not actually writing. They don't realize the amount of writing that gets done in our heads throughout the time we're not actually at the computer (paper). When writers get that far away look in their eye, one of two things is happening. Either she has realized something vitally important to her story and is trying to figure out how to fit it in. Or else she may have left the water running in the bathroom and is trying to remember if she will come home to a lake or not. Case in point, I haven't spent a ton of time actually physically working on my manuscript this week. However, I've had one person reading the first 8 chapters for me, and I've been figuring out in my head how I might incorporate those changes. Then last night while at dinner, I was asked if I've gotten any more work done on my book. To which I answered, "Yes, but it's all in my head." Needless to say, I got that strange "You're full of it" look back, followed by an "Uh-huh. So you've done nothing."
No! I haven't done nothing. I've been trying to figure out how to pull an entire subplot out of the story and what to replace it with, b/c when I do, I'm going to lose some serious page count.
It's done! I've done it! Saturday morning at approximately 10:45 (give or take 15 minutes) I walked across the small stage in the ballroom of UW's HUB and shook hands with our Dean and our Department chair. I graduated! I looked down at the smiling (and crying...let's not forget the crying) face of my mother, and it sank in. I made it through. I only lost some of my sanity (or what was there to begin with), and I didn't hurt any of my friends. Yes, some more personal things had to suffer for me to get my Masters, but it was worth it.
And now, if you'll indulge me for a moment. I need to thank a whole lot of people. Most of you know who you are. I have to thank my GK girls, Ms. K., NY C, Ms. C., my family...um...and all you who I'm temporarily blanking. I never would have made it through this program without all of you. You made me laugh when I wanted to cry, let me cry when I needed to, pushed me to do more than I ever believed I could. And most of all, you believed in me...even when I began to doubt myself. You are all the reason I'm here today. Thank you!!
PS...pics to follow soon. Just have to pick 'em up from Mom.
I've been on a total book binge since my classes let out. It started with Dark Side of the Moon (getting to see Sherrilyn Kenyon tonight!), and continued on with the books I'll be raving about for the next couple of days. Today's Rave is Enslave Me Sweetly, by Gena Showalter. And before you all start snickering that it's some kind of bondage book or other, let me correct you. Enslave Me Sweetly is the second book in Gena's Alien Huntress series. The first, Awaken Me Darkly, bowled me over and had me recommending it to every reader I know. Enslave is the story of Eden Black, assassin extraordinaire. Eden's character had the potential to be very black and white (no pun intended), but is more than a simple cold-blooded character. She's intent on fixing her one failure, and in doing so must accept a partner for the first time in her career. The chemistry between Eden and Lucien is hot, hot, hot! I barely managed to put the book down to go to work. In her series, Gena has created a rich new world, ripe for discovery. I cannot wait for the next one!
As writers, we are often cautioned to be careful of our parts. Our body parts, that is. Just like where a character is in a scene, we are told to make sure all body parts don't start wandering off on their own. Things like "his eyes roamed the room", while it makes idiomatic sense, leaves the reader with the image of disembodied eyes rolling around the parlor, looking for their victim. It's like that one episode of Angel, where the bad guy could remove his body parts in order to spy on his victim. And those roaming body parts become even more important when you are writing a love scene. Definitely cannot have parts wandering off at will during those. But the thing about that written love scene? Well first off, those wandering parts are even MORE disturbing to picture. Really...just think about it. And unless you're a cruel author, or you like going for comedic awkwardness, your characters don't worry about where they will place their arms, or hands, or legs. They don't worry about whether one arm is in the way, or if their leg isn't quite where they'd like. Nope. Your characters just go with the flow, everything lining up where it should. So be careful of the wandering parts...or Thing will pay you a visit!
And yes, the title of this blog is in the correct order. On Friday afternoon I was "Presentation Fabulous"! The divided our cohort into who knows how many groups of about 5-7 people each, stuck us in a room with whoever came to watch us, and then let us loose to give our 10 minute presentations. These presentations were supposed to be the equivalent of a Thesis Defense, if we'd written actual theses(?). I rocked mine, as did the rest of my colleagues. Mom mentioned a number of times how proud she was that I conquered my "almost" fear of public speaking. That's to say, I've learned how to get up in front of a group and talk, while still having fun. No nerves, no shaking voice, no tears. So go me!
Of course, with the presentations over, this also means that I've managed to make it to the end of my MIT program (please note countdown on the right hand side of the page). I've got one more class tomorrow, and then I'm done, done, done, done, done! Snoopy Dance Time!