Wednesday, May 31, 2006

A bit of insanity

I've officially freaked myself out. Usually I'm careful. This time? Not so much.

I nominated Perfect Timing for a review at the Dear Author site. And they've accepted it. I'm pleased. But now the insecurities are biting me on the ass. Therefore making it hard for me to sit here and write on anything else. Hell. I'm having a Sally Fields moment. *sigh* Isn't that pitiful?
The last book Jane read? Got a solid D. But, after reading the summary, I can see why it would. I read my chickens the last paragraph of the review, and they howled with laughter.
Oldest chicken: That was cold.
Oh yeah. Just what I need. A frosty review.
All right. Time to bite the bullet and bide the time.

What it's like to be me

Some recurrent themes in my life:

1. My desk attracts paper like its the sole purpose of its existence. Looks like a small Staples bomb exploded on here.
2. I alternate between wanting to hug and beat my children. This urge grows stronger as they reach adolescence.
3. There are far too many story ideas and not enough hours in the day.
4. No matter how many times a day I do dishes, there are ALWAYS dishes in the sink. I hate dishes. *sigh*
5. I have thirteen socks. None of them match.
6. If a cat is within five miles of my house, it will wonder up for adoption. I'm waiting for last stray cat to pop. I want grandkitties. Then she's off to the vet.
7. I lie in bed at night and can't sleep. I'm either trying to unwind or rewind. And the will not stop thinking!
8. I utterly inhale at writing "thank you" notes. I used to be so good at it. Now all my best intentions are lost somewhere here on my desk. With the "thank you" notes.
9. There must be a sign on my van that says "Pull out in front of me. Please."
10. I loathe mornings.
11. My hair gives me fits. Cut it? Grow it out? Curl it? Straighten it? WHAT???
12. Music soothes my soul.
13. I embarrass my children on a regular basis. It keeps me young and reminds them I'm a force to be reckoned with. hehehe
14. I have ink in my veins. I like it. But the doctor seems to find it annoying. I told him I prefer the medium tip.

What's it like to be you?


Monday, May 29, 2006

Grilling fool

I'm in the process of making enough food to feed a small army. Hopefully this will satisfy the chickens. There are salads, chips and dip, devilled eggs, potatoes, corn, and several pounds of pork and beef. Watermelon for dessert.
They are excited.
Me? Scared sh*tless. I have to grill.
I LOVE the taste of grilled meat. That is my number one preference for flavor. However, when I'm the one can't be good.
Last year I decided that putting some starter fluid on the briquets would be the way to go. I lost a bit of eyebrow and some leaves off the nearest tree. Then there was the year I accidentally dropped more food than I cooked. The dog was a happy camper.
And before I embarrass myself further...this leads me to the topic of discussion this lovely holiday Monday.
Manly expectations.
As sexist as this will sound, so sue me, there are simply things that I think men should do. I'm not saying I CAN'T do them. I'm saying I don't want to.
Grilling is one of them. (I can do this. But I don't know if my life insurance will cover death by briquet.)
Changing a tire. (Once again...capable. But this is why I have AAA.)
Roofing of any sort. (Don't like heights.)
Plumbing. (Don't like dealing with sh*t and/or pipes.)
Any sort of automobile issue. (OK. Watching a guy work on a car does it for me. *grins*)
Lawncare. (I've mowed the lawn and done weedeating for several years. But the sight of a guy with a weedwacker? Rowr. Think that's phallic in some sort of subconscious way? *snicker*)
And just because I'm a voyeur...I love to watch a man:
Wash a car
Stroke a guitar.
Ride a horse or motorcycle.
Do any type of construction.

I'm off to risk life and limb to furnish my chickens with sustenance. Enjoy your Memorial Day!

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Memorial Day

Though I think Dubya is the most inept piece of crap that has ever had the opportunity to be president...I respect and am thankful for all those who protect this country. In honor of their sacrifices...lyrics of a song that will touch you.

Arlington by Trace Adkins

I never thought that this is where I'd settle down, I thought I'd die an old man back in my hometown, They gave me this plot of land, me and some other men, for a job well done, there's a big white house sits on a hill just up the road, the man inside he cried the day they brought me home, they folded up a flag and told my mom and dad, we're proud of your son

And I'm proud to be on this peaceful piece of property, I'm on sacred ground and I'm in the best of company, I'm thankful for those things I've done, I can rest in peace, I'm one of the chosen ones, I made it to Arlington

I remember daddy brought me here when I was eight, we searched all day to find out where my granddad lay, and when we finally found that cross, he said, "son this is what it cost to keep us free" Now here I am, a thousand stones away from him, he reconized me on the first day I came in, and it gave me a chill when he clicked his heels, and saluted me.

(Repeat Chorus)

And everytime I hear twenty-one guns, I know they brought another hero home we're thankful for those thankful for the things we've done, we can rest in peace, 'cause we are the chosen ones, we made it to Arlington, yea dust to dust, don't cry for us, we made it to Arlington


Short shelf life or flooding the market

All books come and go in spurts. A newfound popularity will all of a sudden become a tidal wave of submissions in that type.
And when the wave subsides? Just a bunch of bare beach and toasty sand.

What does it take to have a book that lasts?

Characters that speak to readers. A story line that is unique. And a conflict (or conflicts) that take(s) the whole book to resolve.
But it's not easy.
I recently checked out three books from the library that I thought would interest me. A Marjorie Liu. A Cara Lockwood. And a Constance O'Day Flannery. The only one I enjoyed was Shadow Touch by Marjorie Liu. And even though Constance had a similar storyline...I didn't care for it. I think the difference was that Marjorie's book was honest. Whereas Constance's book was built on deceit. And that was a turn-off from the beginning. So I mentally added "truthful" to my list of must-haves for story ingredients.
What makes a title a bestseller? Publicity put into it? Distribution? Because there is SOMETHING that allows some books to rise to the top while an equally well-written book does not. And I would really like to know what the "something" is.

As far as staying power...
Submissions sent to "title" lines only stay on the shelf from four to five weeks. New releases from epubs constantly have to be publicized. Because there are so many books released each month that a single title can be lost in the publishing fray.
And this happens in all entertainment genres. I hardly EVER go see a movie when it comes out because it will be on PPV in three months and released on DVD three months after that. There is such a quick turnaround that I don't see much of a point. There is only about three movies a year that I'll make the effort to go see.
And now the same can be said for books. If you don't seize the moment when it's presented...then you lose the moment entirely.

Saturday, May 27, 2006


I've found myself lately being drawn to Paranormal Romance. Never mind I'm halfway through with a Contemporary Erotic Romance. No. Never mind all that. I've discovered I like the paranormal freedom. Whatever I think can benefit the story...I'll find a way to put it in there.

Shapeshifters, to me, are the mavericks of the paranormal world. How hard would it be to be yourself when, well, you could be ANYONE else? How complex is a shapeshifter who has dual (or more) consciousness?
And if you write shapeshifters...can they only retain one shape? Human to animal? Or can they shift to whatever they damn well please? And how much is too much?

I have a shapeshifter who calls to me. He's rather clever. Or so he thinks. But we'll see who has the last word. Won't we?

A lot of fish in the sea

There are a buttload of publishers out there right now. Both epub and trad pub. What do YOU look for when you're submitting?
Word of Mouth?
Appearance of site?
Book covers?
Where they advertise?
Something else I'm missing entirely?


Friday, May 26, 2006

The Seven Heavenly Virtues of Writing

PRUDENCE-The wisdom to know you're writing what you SHOULD be writing.
TEMPERANCE-The restraint shown when you just finished a manuscript and want to shove it out the door posthaste. But instead you revise and edit.
JUSTICE-The feeling of fairness for your manuscript when it lands on the desk of a high profile agent who represents other writers who ALSO have manuscripts on his/her desk.
FORTITUDE-The strength not to pester your poor postman to death everyday and ask if you have mail. Or a package. Or anything in the way of good news.
CHARITY-The generosity you show when you've done well in your profession and reach down to help another struggling writer up.
HOPE-The expectation your manuscript will reach the right hands. In the right time. In the right place.
FAITH-The trust that your words will be treated fairly and with the due respect they deserve.


Thursday, May 25, 2006

The pulse of romance

The ebb and flow of romance and its subgenres is truly dizzying.

Quicker than you can say "Bridget Jones," Chick Lit has begun its descent. I'm not a big fan of this anyway, quite truthfully. But I did find some of it entertaining. Then there are the terms such as Lad Lit and Hen Lit. Lad Lit? Bleh. No thanks. Hen Lit? I don't like the term. But I like the thought. Because life, as we know it on earth, doesn't really stop until our hearts do. And we are living LONGER and LONGER people. And yes. I'll go there. Older people have sex. They live. They love. And by GOD! They deserve a story, too. *off soapbox*
Then I've heard (and I'm in NO way some type of expert...I simply keep the ears and eyes open) that Paranormals and Inspirational are the hot tickets. And Erotic Romance is popping up everywhere. *grins* Yeah. Popping. You heard me.
New presses and imprints seemingly appear on a daily basis. Because this type of romance is HOT right now.
I actually received an email from a respected epublisher (of the erotic kind) informing me that they were open to submissions. *blinking* Something for me to look into.

We've all heard of the death of historicals. And I visit quite a few blogs where the wonderful writers write these. And I simply have to say...don't count ANYTHING out. There IS a market for historicals. But it better be damn good. And you may want to add another subgenre in there. Operative word-"may."
Harlequin rearranges its imprints almost on a monthly basis. I assume according to sales. And they've shut down quite a few imprints and started up others. They also have a lot more competition.
Many writers are out there selling themselves. Whether they epublish or traditional publish. They are hustling their asses to make a name for themselves. And it shows. There is talk of midlist authors and all that nonsense. And I have to're only as good as how much you publicize yourself and your work. It's a business. A business you love, but nonetheless.
You are your best product. That book you finished is your best product.
Whether the pulse of romance is on Erotic or Inspirational. You need to find your place and run with it.

Characters make the man. Err, lust objects.

I know we all have our favorite male characters. The ones that make you stop, drool, and take a moment or two to compose yourself.
And that's a powerful tool.
Hugh Jackman as Wolverine? Oh. My. God. He is absolutely Alpha and hot as hell. Hugh Jackman as Leopold in "Kate and Leopold"? Not so much. Though I did love the accent.
Johnny Depp as Capt. Jack? Verrrrrry nice. Johnny as Edward Scissorhands or Willy Wonka? Um...good acting.
Orlando Bloom as Legolas? The hot elf with flowing hair and arrows at the ready? *blinking* Yes. Please. Orlando as the pirate in POTC? Eh. Okay.
My point...besides the blatant hotness of some this. Someone has created a male character that lives in women's fantasies. Long after the movie is done.
Then you have the opposite.
I will watch John Cusack, Kevin Spacey, or Harrison Ford in anything they act in. Why? Because I like THEM. The roles? None really come to mind. I just know I enjoy watching them work.

It's hard to compose a man of fiction and make him desirable to readers. You can use the parallel technique...your hero is compared to a popular character or actor so the reader establishes the look you want. Or you can go through the whole time-consuming filtering technique. A little here. A little there.
Because the book IS the movie screen. The story will play in the reader's mind while he/she reads. And a lot of readers will simply add all the pieces you've given them together and form their own ideal hero. But you have to give the pieces. Breathe life into the hero. Make him a character. One a woman thinks about long after the book is finished.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Back to the business of writing

I've been in a bit of a rut. I made the mistake of reading a couple of books I shouldn't have. I try not to dip into romance of the type I write.
But I did read a couple that blended so many pieces together that I started thinking...Hey! Why aren't I doing that?
Hmmmmm. Then I begin to ponder. And it hits me.
I'm not ready for that. I don't want to take off for the multi-faceted romance yet. I'm still in the girl/boy/problem arena. I don't want to add all the other stuff. At least, not right this minute.

I'm in a good place. I like what I write. Love what I do. And so I will continue to work on that. The rest of the stuff will come. In time. In MY time.

And now for the question of the day...What do you think of newsletters for authors? Do you subscribe to any? Are they worth taking the time to read? What do you LIKE to read? If there was a free read...would that be a pretty big incentive? Or giveaways? Or WHAT? ACK! Let a woman know! LMAO
I'm thinking about starting my own little newsletter. And I have a template and all that good stuff. And goodness knows, I can find stuff to fill it. But I'd like a few opinions, please.

Mending fences

Misunderstandings. Arguments. Disagreements.
They rather tend to breakdown the lines of communication quickly and cause problems. In real life. And fiction.
Some of these problems escalate to the point of no return. Feelings are hurt. Relationships damaged. People are finished and choose not to renew or repair the problem.

But mending fences? It's hard. So hard. And sometimes you need time to repair yourself before you attempt to repair the rift that separates you and the other(s). And depending on the issue, you may choose not to work on it at all. There are pains so deep that you wonder how you're going to make it. Much less reach your hand out to someone who had a part in causing that pain.
But until you mend the fence, part of you will always be open and hurting. I'm not talking about murder, rape, or other felonious crimes. Verbal, emotional, or physical abuse. Because I don't have the knowledge to try and point out a way to work on that. I'm not equipped. There must be professionals in place to help you cope with these issues. And if you're in this help.

But arguments that have reached the boiling point? Words spoken in anger that you wish you could take back?
Try to mend the fence. Reach out and make an attempt. If the relationship can't be salvaged, that's one thing. But if it can...closure is cathartic. And you can make such a lovely fence.

(Just a little note. Don't know what possessed me to write this today. But I felt the need.)

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Hit and miss

Sorry so sporadic with the posting. I've one hell of a headache for the past two days. And nausea all day yesterday. I wake up feeling like crap. The nausea will fade. But the headache endures.
Damn neurological problems. *snicker*

Went roller skating this evening. Only about a dozen people there. The chickens had a good time. Taped and watched the finale of House. What can I say? It's Hugh Laurie. Mmmmm
Still waiting for my prego kitty to pop. She's shooting me hateful looks as I type this. And I'm just tired. Flat tired.

Don't you ever just get weary? And for moms...aren't there times when you simply feel drained and overexerted? I'm there. But it's not just the chickens. They've been pretty good. It's life in general. I'm. Wore. Out.
And since I'm bitching...I have a pinched nerve in my neck. It makes my right arm fall asleep. Is this a chiropractic issue? Or can I do something at home that helps?
Ah, well.
I suppose I'll work on this at a later date. I need to go to bed. Rest my head. And maybe the rest of me as well.

Monday, May 22, 2006

The End

I watched the season finale and last show of Charmed yesterday evening. And it was absolutely marvelous. And yes, I shed a tear. It wrapped everything up nicely. Happy endings. Threads all tied. And just so you know...they were tied up in the last six minutes of the show. I checked my clock. Each sister had two minutes. And it worked.
The End is a powerful thing. Done right...the reader is either asking for more or satisfied with the turn of events. Done wrong...the reader chucks the book at the nearest passerby and curses the author's existence. Fine line.
Because reader's have LONG memories when all is not well in the literary world.
Many writers love the beginning of the book. All the ideas and characters are new and shiny. Life is wonderful. The sun is smiling down on their world with shades on. The possibilities are endless.
But The End? Just as important. Maybe more so. Same characters...unless you've killed your darlings. And for romance, the sun should be shining again. What can I say? That's how it works.
The End is a summation of all your hard work. Threads tied. Characters happy. And your reader damn well better be pleased, also. We, as writers, don't have the last six minutes of the show to illustrate that everyone will live happily-ever-after. Our The End starts well ahead of that usually. We draw the threads tighter and tighter until our literary darlings are nice and cozy. And that feeling of comfort should spill over to the reader.

The beginning? Yes. Important. But The End? Just as, if not more so.
What season or show finales did you like? Which absolutely irritated you? 'Tis the season. And I have to say...Charmed rocked. Grey's Anatomy was pretty good. But the last minute of CSI? Priceless.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Comedy hour at the coop

I was tired yesterday. Tucked into bed around 2:30 pm and decided to take a nap.
Wasn't meant to be.

Baby Chicken asked if she could get on WordPad and practice her keyboarding (translation: touch Mama's computer under the guise of something educational). I don't let my children touch my computer. One of my goals this summer is to buy them their own. I'm afraid one wrong click, and I'll have to thin the coop out, if you get my drift.
So I'm lying in bed, resting my eyes, and oldest chicken comes in. She borrowed a game from a friend and is tearing it up in the Gameboy SP world. She proceeds to plant her hindquarters on my feet. Open eyes, narrow them, close them again. Because I still somehow think I'll be able to take a two-hour nap.
BC then types about what is happening in the house. The two chickens are talking. I open my eyes and look at the both of them. Then BC looks over at OC and says, "Don't look over here." tap tap tap tap tap "I'm offending you."
And that started it.
They proceed to utterly rip on each other in the most adult of fashions. And I'm helpless to the laughter that bubbles up. Because as soon as BC ends, OC begins again. It's rather like watching Don Rickles (BC) and Phyllis Diller (OC) go at it. Neither got hateful. They didn't call each other names. But I swear to you, I've never been more entertained in my life.
Now. If I can only harness that intellectuality for the greater good. *snicker*

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Secondary characters or second-class citizens?

I believe secondary characters are a necessity. Some romance house guidelines specifically downplay them. I don't believe I could write for them.

A secondary character can be a confidant, competition for the hero or heroine, or simply a person who adds a little more depth to the story. Which leads me to the you like ensemble books?
Books that have several different characters woven together to make the story? Or do you prefer the one-on-one relationship betwixt the hero/heroine? How important are secondary characters to you? And when do they cease to become secondary and start to become primary?

Even when I write romance heroines with siblings, I try to make sure that my heroine gets her page time. I may throw in a little about the sibling-mostly for heroine reference-but it really is about the heroine. But what do you do when they're both important? Do you try to write a story with TWO heroes and TWO heroines? Would it be a mish-mash? Would you read such a book? How many threads do you like? When do they become a tangled mess?

I have to admit that most days I like a singular hero/heroine relationship. But I still enjoy reading about secondary characters. And most times, if they're REALLY good, I want to continue to read their story if it becomes available.

It doesn't take a village to write a book, but sometimes I don't mind reading about one.

Reciprocal love

Happy Saturday!
Well, sort of. The kids are home and irritating me, but other than that...WOO! *laughing*

I found a link the other day that you might find interesting. It's an egostroking site where I believe you may get a kick out of the results. Who links to you? Don't you want to know?
Check out the lovely folk who find your url's worthy of posting on their sites.

And a big thank you to all you who post my link on yours. Much appreciated!

Friday, May 19, 2006

It's called Fiction for a reason

There are a lot of people with their collective butts in knots over this whole DaVinci Code thing.
*rolling eyes*
Spare me.
It's one good way to get on a soapbox and have people listen to your rhetoric. Hop on the bandwagon. Let your voice be heard.
Bottom line?
It's FICTION, people. Fiction. You invented story. Dan Brown's not selling this book as non-fiction. He is shopping it as FICTION. So it pisses people off. So what? If you don't agree with it, that's fine. And if you do, that's fine.
Several people want to peddle this as it's ALL about faith. Personal religious beliefs.
And pushes a lot of buttons. But it's FICTION. *tapping screen* Do you get it?

I find it all fascinating, personally. The code aspect interests me. The clues that string through the book-awesome. I was enthralled with the whole sequence of events.
Am I going to be all uptight and pissy about the fact it doesn't agree with my faith?
Faith is personal. It's the belief that holds a person's moral fabric together.
I've read Dan Brown's book. Mine is still intact. Imagine that.

Editing foibles

When I edit, there are a lot of things that go through my mind. I look for repetitive words. Words that can be replaced with better ones. Ending a sentence with a preposition (this has stuck with me through the years. So yes, English teachers, I DID pay attention.)

In the first draft, I use Get, Had, and Just. I don't LIKE any of these words. But they seem to like me well enough. I find another verb for Get. I delete Had, if at all possible. And I use the words Simply or Only for Just.
I try to weed out my passive sentences. I check to make sure my eye and hair color matches across the board. I had one book which I started with blue eyes, and they switched to green halfway through the book. *sigh*
I make sure my dialogue tags are appropriate and punctuated correctly. Apparently "hissed" is no longer acceptable. I think it gets the point across (visually), but I've been told to use "bit out" instead.
I don't use two sentences in a row that starts with And. I try not to use one at all. I won't use any name or pronoun three times in a row to start a sentence. Bad form.
Sometimes I have my characters grinning a lot. Hey! I can't help it. I do that. But I try to sprinkle some different facial expressions throughout. This can be entertaining in itself.
I tend to write the word towards. But I've been told that even though we may say that, we should use toward in writing.
I'll go back through a first or second edit and add description where I feel it's appropriate. I'm sure no one needs to know the color of the kleenex a character is using, but don't you want to know what she's wearing?
When I write the first draft, sometimes it's so quick that I think I've written a scene I actually haven't. So I trot back through and make sure everything flows smoothly. Just because it's in my head, it doesn't mean I've written it down.
I make sure all my characters' names are correct. I actually had one book where I (in ONE spot, mind you) inserted a name from another book I was working on. I had to chuckle over that one. After I finished rolling my eyes and smacking myself in the forehead.

Editing is for fine tuning. Picking up those little pieces you've dropped or broken along the way. And you might not get them all the first time. Or the second. But if you keep at it, you'll soon discover your manuscript tightens and flows beautifully.
Sure, you'll get sick and tired of your own words.
But that's another post.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

What I know

I realize that when I first started writing, everything I knew about writing could fit on a pinhead. I then moved up to a thimble. And currently, I'd say a quarter measuring cup. On a good day.
You know that scene in "Grey's Anatomy" where George looks off into space and says..."Who else here has absolutely no idea what they're doing?" And everyone raises their hands?
Yeah. That's about right.

I learn something new every damn day. The mechanics. The style. There are so many little pieces that it would take three lifetimes to cover it. Probably not even then.
And I always try and sift through the information to find the good stuff. The keepers. A little tool or two to add to my literary toolbox.
When I come upon these gems, I try and share. And God knows I appreciate when someone else does the same. But here's another word of advice...check it out for yourself. And if it doesn't fit you, that's fine, too. It's not a one-size-fits-all type occupation. That's one thing I DO know.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

To sum it all up

There is a loathsome term in the writer's vocabulary. It is "synopsis." Sometimes called the "dreaded synopsis." In fact, it is the loathsome and feared synopsis.

It's only a summary of the story. The highlights. Written in present tense. Easy, right? *snort*
I have synopsis envy. That deep jealousy that stems from other authors who can whip those babies right out. Because me? Not so much. Okay. Not really at all. It takes a lot of work for me to sit down and condense my story. I would rather write non-stop for eight hours. Eight days. Eight weeks.
I'm afraid I'll forget something. Or turn the agent off. Or completely screw something up.
That's what I'm working on today. And finishing this weekend.
For is just...So. Damn. Hard.

Wish me luck.

Monday, May 15, 2006

A little reminder

I like watching The Actor's Studio. Okay. I love it depending on the guest. And last night was Tom Hanks. He is the only actor in the history of the show to be asked back for an encore performance. I love Tom Hanks.

I remember watching him in Bosom Buddies. Five points if you can name the actor's name that played his best friend on the show. Ten points if you can tell me the "real" (male character) names they used. Twenty if you can tell me the "women's" names they used when they dressed as females. And the blonde who Tom Hanks' character had a crush on? Her real name is worth five points. And the actor she's married to in real life is five points.
It's all coming back to you, isn't it? LMAO

Tom Hanks is not movie-star goodlooking. He's a rather goofy-looking guy. But MY GOD, can he act! There is something simply so magnetic about watching him work. And as he told the rapt audience on the first, it was instinct. And now, he's hones his craft. And some things come to him easily as far as acting. And some things still give him fits.
When it came time for audience questions, the first came from a young man who said that quite honestly, he felt like his face would hold him back from getting roles. The man said his face was chubby, and he had dimples. Not exactly what everyone is looking for.
Tom nodded. And then he said (paraphrased)...There will be a time when agents and directors are thumbing through profiles. No. Nope. No good. And then they'll see you. And you'll be perfect for the part. They'll want a young man with chubby cheeks and dimples. To play a serial killer. Or a doctor. Or whatever. But they'll want you. Because it's a part you're perfect for. You'll have the look they want. (Then he laughed again) Just don't stink.

It was wonderful sound advice from a man who has won awards for brilliant acting and who doesn't make women swoon with his appearance. He makes them swoon with his skills and his heart.

This is what I want. I don't need to be recognized on sight. I don't want people to clutch their chests and sigh as I walk by. I want to do the best I can in my work and touch people with my words. That's all. Because that's why we do what we do. All artists. And I mean: musicians, actors, writers, etc.
We do it because we love it.
And that, my friends, is the best reason of all.

And for those of you who want to check your answers or don't want to google...
Peter Scolari...Kip and Henry...Buffy and Hildy (Hildegard)...Donna Dixon...Dan Akroyd

The winners!!!

Well, the baby chicken just drew two names.

Janet and win! I'll email you both with the download of Perfect Timing. And since I really do appreciate the visit, my other three commenters can email me at chryswriter at aol dot com for a pick from my backlist. You can find these at Whiskey Creek Press and Whiskey Creek Press Torrid under Crystal Inman and C'ann Inman.


Sunday, May 14, 2006

Happy Mother's Day!

Hi everyone!
Hope your Sunday is lovely.

It's Mother's Day. And all the little Mamas out there should prop their collective feet up and relax. And being the Mama to furchildren works, too. Because a Mama is a Mama.

We take care of things. We make sure all is well. Heaven knows it's usually a thankless job, but we persevere anyway. And that's what makes us strong.

I have a little giveaway going on. Just for today, until Midnight CST, I will take names for two giveaways (pdf download) of Perfect Timing (Time Travel Romance).
If you leave a comment, then you are automatically entered. I'll announce the winners tomorrow afternoon when I get home from work.

Enjoy the day!

Saturday, May 13, 2006

The redheaded hero

What have you read in romance books that made you stop in your tracks?
A physical description that amazed you? Or a personality trait that made you laugh aloud or cringe?
I like the unusual. I think it speaks to the imagination to not have the Ken and Barbie of romance novels.

I love to run my hands through a man's hair. Just love it. But what if I wrote a bald hero? Or one with a limp? Or a man in a wheelchair? Or a heroine with one arm?
Or if my heroine collected coffee beans? And had them in shadowboxes all over her kitchen? Or wore suspenders?
What if my hero was missing a thumb on one hand? Or wore a patch over his eye? Or collected thimbles? Or could sew a dress?

Characters need to be characters. They need to leap off the pages and grab the reader by the heart. By the throat. And keep them enthralled for page after page.
Because that's when the characters live for us. Not merely exist.
And those are the ones I remember.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Adjust your personality...your insanity is showing

I thought up this title last night, and I just love it. *grinning*

Apparently Mission Impossible: III opened to soft numbers. And all I have to say is...ya think? When you have a male lead who completely showed what an idiot he can be, it's going to spill over into other aspects of his life. I won't go see the movie. I don't think I'll be impressed in the slightest.

And what did I see when I logged onto AOL the other day? The elder George Bush and Dubya are trying to get Jeb Bush to run for president. *blinking* Just when I thought we scraped the bottom of the Bush barrel, we have this. I don't want the man who fixed the last presidential election to run the nation. And I really don't want any more Bush DNA in the White House.

Paris Hilton apparently has a new game out. But when she greeted fans and whatnot at a press event, she called it the wrong name. Someone needs to buy this twit "Hooked on Phonics."

Federal agents searched the home and office of the CIA's departing No. 3 official on Friday as part of a corruption investigation that has sent a former congressman to prison and now involves CIA contracts. Now, isn't our goverment in good hands? I fear for our nation. I really do.

Sorry that my blog is late. It's going to be hit and miss with the times when I work. But I'll still try and hit this site once a day to impart my thoughts. hehehe

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Temporal Suspension

I've decided this is what I need. Who do I see about that?
Why, you ask?
For the following reasons:

My oldest chicken is about half an inch shorter than I am. I'd like to keep her that way. Selfish? Yes. But I still assure her that I will always be bigger. You get my drift.
I have LOTS of stories to write. LOTS. And I want to be able to give them all the time I have. Everyday life? Geez. It tends to get in the way. I'm actually going to start making charts for summertime activities so I know what's going on.
Which brings me to...I know my gray matter is in a state of emergency. Not only do I need more memory for my computer, but my wee cranium could use a boost, also. So I need to suspend time and conserve what I have left. *snicker*
Where has this year gone? It's May. My kids will be out of school in one week. *breathing deeply* But before I know it, I'll be buying backpacks and school supplies again.
And not only am I worried about my gray so happens I have gray hair. On the sides. For all the world to see. I think that started when I hit thirty. I don't remember it before then. Dang it!
Wait! Wait! And doesn't a woman's metabolism slow down about this time? ACK!!!

Yeah. That's it. I've had it. Someone slow down the hourglass. Because I'm sinking in the sand.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

The lobsters are jealous

I spent all day at a track meet yesterday. And on a day it was supposed to be overcast, the sun decided to stay out most the day. So I am red. My face, most definitely. And my legs for about six inches from my knee up. Don't know how I'm going to even that out yet. *grins*
The kids did great. And I love to watch all of them participate. Oldest chicken got third in the softball throw. Considering there were like fifteen girls, I'd say she rocked. Then all of my other little adopted children came to say HI! And I yelled myself hoarse for our school kids.
All in all, I'll take the burn. The memories are worth it.

I didn't get home until eight o'clock last night and sort of tumbled into bed in a state of unconsciousness. So I didn't bloghop at all. And today is my first day of work! (Woo! I'm excited but a little nervous) So I don't know when I'll be able to comment today. Good grief! Where does the time go?

I've got to go. Clean up a bit before I leave. (I'm sure they'll appreciate that. *snicker*)

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Yeah. My characters talk to me.

A small amount of debate between writers about whether their characters are "real" or not.
Some writers speak to the fact that Hey! They come out of your they are YOU.
Others, such as myself, don't agree. Well, they're us. To an extent.

We what? Three percent of our brain? Who knows what lurks in the depths of our cranium?
My characters come fully formed. Their voices echo throughout my head during opportune and inopportune times. And sometimes, when I don't jot things down, I can' sleep. Because the voices won't let me.
And do you ever have a moment when you're in the middle of a scene, and it just FLOWS from you? You're not're transcribing.
Where does this creativity come from? Who knows? No one does for a certainty. NO ONE.
So I'll just keep bipping along and listening to the voices in my head. They haven't steered me wrong yet.


Monday, May 08, 2006

What do you see?

Names are important. And I have a lovely .49 cent baby book that assists in the naming of characters. Because to me, it has to fit.
A disclaimer: If I mention your name, and you find my description unflattering, apologies in advance.
What do you see when you hear the name Kip? Bambi? Chip? Candy?
In your mind's eye, you have an image. Mine may not be the same as yours. But on some of these I would bet it's pretty darn close.

I will never name any of my characters the same as anyone in my life who has hurt me. Just won't happen. Or names of those I know who are a$$holes. I'll go out of my way to avoid it. There is a name which, in itself, is pleasant. But it conjures up a psychotic piece of trash who had a crush on my ex-husband and carved her name in the top of our car. (I've led an interesting life).
And I know there are names that are triggers for some people. I would bet in this day and age, you couldn't use the surname Halliwell. Charmed has the corner on that. Naming your lead characters Brad and Jen...or Brad and Angelina? Doubtful.

Names are powerful. And I like mine to have some type of hidden meaning. I named a paranormal character Wilda because it means "untamed", and that was perfect for the story.
What He Wants features: Sheridan, Trevor, Miles, Isadora, and Liam. To me, they fit. Rather like theme-naming.
So think about it before you pop any ol' moniker on there. Because it matters.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Writing exercise or how I spent my Sunday amusing myself

I've finally found it! The magic formula!
Remember Mad Libs from back in the day? Here's a new form for writers to simply fill out their information and then PRESTO! A story!
Try it out!

(Heroine's Name) has led a lonely life. She always felt different. And now she knows why. (Affliction) changed her. (Heroine's Name) now realizes that it was all for the best as she sheds her loneliness and throws herself into helping (Hero's Name). There are dangers around every corner, but these two only need to (Action Verb) together to save (Noun).
The (Noun)s may be (Verb) against her, but (Heroine's Name) will (Verb) in the end.

Wow. Who knew?

All in the name of research

If you're under 18, go watch TV or play with your ipod or whatever it is you people do.

There have been many posts about what makes a hot love scene. Not one you'll skip over, but one that adds to the story. Because each of these scenes should be a turning point unto itself.

So I like to watch Dr. Drew and Sue Johanson. I believe Dr. Drew is on Discovery Health. He's in reruns right now. And he gives the technicalities to male and female sexuality. It's rather interesting. And I've found out things I didn't know. Mostly physiological stuff.
But Sue Johanson? She's this wonderful older woman who gets right down to the nitty gritty. She'll take callers. Discuss the latest toys. It's a great lot of fun.
About a week or so ago (in the midst of an insomnia episode), I found she was on and changed the channel. And I almost fell off the bed.
Here's the latest and adult toys. (Heaven help me for the search strings on this one, folks)
There is a toy for women that has the regular part *ahem* and then it has the rabbit ears, dolphin, bull (whatever the latest shape is) on the side for extra stimulation. This one also sports rotating beads near the base. With me?
But that's not the greatest part. You can plug in a voice chip (there are 2 options) and have a man talk sexy to you while using it. Sue held the device up to her microphone, and the man's voice was definitely sexy. But the whole idea of the chip was just jaw-dropping to me.
Wow. Technology.
So yes. Technological strides need to be made in several areas. And this may rank fairly low on some people's radar. But I'm quite sure that half the population will be happy to see or hear it.
This research thing is a sacrifice I'm willing to make. For the good of the people, you know.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

I'm not going to be able to sleep tonight

And here's why:

I sent off six queries the other day. All the agents are top-notch. And I already received two requests for partials.
Oh. My. God!
And my publisher wrote and assured me that she would buy the other three books in my four book set.

Both of these good news items will hopefully get me through tomorrow. When I'm in editing purgatory.


My heroes have always been writers

Beth had something on her blog the other day about the 100 Most Beautiful People or whatever People Magazine puts out.
I used to really know what's what and who's who in Hollywood. I would die if I didn't have my subscription of US. I needed to KNOW what was going on there. Now? Not so much.

Beauty IS in the eye of the beholder. And aesthetically, we've all got different packaging. I can honestly say that if I saw George Clooney or Johnny Depp striding down the street, I wouldn't break my neck to look or follow them like a crazed fan. It's just not me.
If, however, it were Stephen King or Nora Roberts, I would embarrass myself terribly. *sigh*
Star status is also in the eye of the beholder. The big ta-do about the Locklear/Sambora/Richards/Sheen/Whoever debacle...who cares? Not I. These people don't even register on my radar.
But if Jude Devereaux were in town, well that would be another story.

These people may be attractive (or not), but that is not what attracts me. People are beautiful for all different sorts of reasons. The girls in the city who had their hair cut a day before prom for Locks of Love. The local television helicopter pilot who found a mentally impaired elderly man on the side of the road, landed in the field next to the car, and airlifted the man to the hospital. That is true beauty.

But writers are amazing people to me. There are auctions and charities going on right now. Brenda Novak has an auction to benefit Juvenile Diabetes research. Romantic Times will have a costume ball and silent auction for orphans of the tsunami.
We can do so much.

So yeah. Some of Hollywood does its part. And some are really great people. But there are so many people everyday that are beautiful, inside and out.
And my heroes will always be writers.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Change of Plans

Okay. That one story goes on the back burner some more. I've different plans now. And I've done a brief outline. I don't know if I'll start it tomorrow or Monday. I guess time will tell.

Today is Cinco De Mayo. In honor of that, I'll be making tacos, guacamole, bean burritos, cheese dip, chicken enchiladas, and smothered enchiladas. In fact, I'll have to start fairly early so I can finish in time for dinner. But yum!
Heaven knows there'll be enough food for leftovers tomorrow. Woo! No cooking tomorrow.

Have a wonderful Cinco De Mayo!


The possibilities are endless

I'm not quite sure what I want to delve into today. Yesterday, I was bored. So I clicked links all over the blogosphere. But I didn't have the urge to write. Not really. Not yet.
I promised my Torrid editor that I would finish the errata and mail her the reviews for What He Wants no later than this weekend. So I'll probably do that Sunday.
But today and tomorrow?
I enjoyed doing the whole book-in-a-month thing. And with the right story, I have no doubt I could do it again. Maybe in June. *grins* Because even though I have two stories half-finished, I don't have that overwhelming urge to immerse myeslf in either one of them. So that leaves option three.
*tapping screen* I know you're out there. You're those two ideas that have been playing on and off in my subconscious for a couple of months now. And after I acquire an agent, I've targeted one of these stories for MIRA. High concept? (What a buzzword.) Why yes. It is. But what really sells this one is the ending. And it's a doozy.
I can feel this one filtering through as the strongest. So I guess I'll jot some more notes on it and possibly start it.
Here we go again.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Pick me! Pick me!

Is anyone else having a Horshak visual? Hmmmmmm

I finished writing my book. It's 67,745 words. And now comes the dreaded query.
For those of you not in the writing business, a query is simply a brief introductory letter that includes information about the book (length, genre, title), SMALL overview of the book, and information about the author. A query is normally a page.

When I write a query, I always visualize agents and editors as those in charge of "picking" their winning team. Rather like children do in gym. And all the little queries are backed up against the gym wall, praying for someone to pick them fairly soon. Because who likes to be picked last?
Except for in the query world, you don't have to be picked at all. THAT is terrifying.
My little query is already having a slight nervous breakdown. And so am I.
Have I dressed my query correctly? Have I presented it as best I could?
What if my query is wearing a red shirt (body wording is too vivacious), and one of the editors HATES red? Or if they don't like the shoes (closing) my query has? Or the salutation (hat)?
What if my query happens to use a word that makes an agent cringe?
What's a writer to do?
Because I happen to think that when I finish polishing my query, it's beautiful. All fresh-faced and ready to step out into the real world. High hopes and big smiles. And maybe it can play better than others. All it needs is that one chance. Could be the game winner.
So I'll coddle my query today. Make sure every word is strategically placed. Be proud. And then send the baby off to play with the big boys. Because it's ready.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Harsh Realities

I will never have size 8 feet. (Compared to the boats I lug around everyday...this is small)
I will never live up to the height on my driver's license. (I swear. I MUST have been 5'6" once.)
I will never pare down to the weight on my driver's license. (No comment)
My weather pixie dresses better than I do. And her cat seems friendlier than mine. (Wondering if there's an HTML transplant somewhere. Hmmmm)
I will never enjoy washing dishes. (And yet they still appear in my sink with disturbing regularity.)
When I'm passionate about something...I yell. (So when the oldest chicken came home yesterday and said she had to write a word for every letter of my name...and the "Y" became "Yells a lot"...I had to laugh. Football season is just a few months away, folks. I think she put "Crazy" on "C". I told her not to tell ALL my secrets.)
I will never have a landscaped yard. (As much as I covet HGTV's shows and all that pretty greenery, it isn't happening here. Couple of words for you. Cats. And Dogs. And another couple words. DESTRUCTIVE chickens. *sigh*)
I will never make all of my children happy at the same time. (I prove this on an everyday basis.)
Every time I need my bank card's on a day when I have no money, the gas tank is empty, and the trip to town is twenty miles. (This has happened four times. And yes, this was the scenario each time.)
If I want chocolate in a bad, evil way, I won't have the van. (What are the odds? I have M&M's in there right now, and I don't want them. But if they were gone, and I had no transportation, you can bet I'd have a craving.)
And my favorite right now:
I find it easier to blog than to write the last 7,000 or so words of my story. (Why? I seriously don't know. But I'm hoping that once I cleanse the brain with this cathartical blog, all will be well. Shall we all chant?)

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Happy Happy Joy Joy

Pending an OSBI report (I've hid the skeletons well *snickering*), I've got the job!
*doing the happy dance*

Ahhhh...awesome news.

Now I must get back to finishing OEE. I'm about at 62,500. And I still have a bit to go. So all is well in Chrys' World today. For now. Further updates as they warrant.

Oh...a meteorological update.
It TORE it up last night. WHOOSH! It poured here. And there was pea-size hail. I offered to let the cats in. The goobers. And they all calmly blinked at me with emerald eyes and refused.
Ack! So I let them stay out. And this morning I had several eager kitties wanting a little rest and relaxation inside. Go figure.
Do you ever just wonder...why in the WORLD do some not listen when you only have their best interests at heart?

Monday, May 01, 2006

Third time's a charm

Ahhhh. Back again. Guess who's NOT working on their manuscript? *ahem* Hush! *laughing*
I'll finish it. I'm hopeful for tomorrow. Calmer skies, folks.

I'm watching TLC this evening. There's this snazzy new show on called, "Honey, we're killing the kids." Catchy, eh?
I thought so. And quite honestly, there's nothing else on. So here are a few observations.
First of all...where in the hell do they get these families? OMG! These children are horrid! They raise their voices to their parents. They pitch fits. They are unbelievably rude.
And the poor parents LET THEM! ACK! Send in Super Nanny or something.
This just makes me gnash my teeth.

But the coup de grace would be the way the nutritionist scares the bejeezus out of the parents with what the kids "COULD" look like if they continue down the travesty road known as their current life and diet. I've watched this show twice. And yeah. Pretty spooky.
But this evening TOOK the cake. I swear. There was a 10 year old boy. And a seven and four year old girl. The nutritionist chickie took the pictures of their chidren and warped them to fit her twisted need to be right.
These poor girl children looked like they had been injected with testosterone and the genetics of the Wicked Witch on Snow White. You know...when she turned into the hag. It was ridiculous.
And these poor parents would have probably sold their soul at this point. So sure they hopped on board the nutrition train.

Now. Don't get me wrong. This family needed to change. The kids needed discipline in all areas of their lives. The parents needed a backbone.
But I won't watch it again. Because manipulation as a scare tactic sickens me.
Look! Look what can happen when some sadistic host of a reality tv show twists things to make a point.
Yeah. Right. Someone hand me her keyboard. I'm revoking her license.

Trial by Fire

Yep. Two posts in one day. Which I suppose is ironic because I've only written a couple hundred words on OEE.
That's because I'm irritated. And creativity when this happens? Not so much.

I've just found out that I'm taking a test. A test I was previously unaware I was taking. Apparently a lot hinges on this. And the person giving the test thinks they're going to fail.
Confused? Yeah. Me, too.
I have enough issues of my own. I think we're all aware of it. (And if not, all you have to do is reference some of my previous posts.)
But this person has issues, too. A whole subscription as a matter of fact.
If I make a lot of money and STILL like this person...then I'm staying around them because I CHOOSE to. Not because I NEED to.

This pisses me off.
I'm not some wishy-washy individual who will lower myself to do this. I'm not so damn needy that I would put myself through misery as a sacrifice. Those days are gone.
It's called my first marriage.

All right. I feel a bit better. Let off a little steam. Glasses have defogged. Life goes on.

Right now

I am still stunned to be the bestseller at WCP. I know. You're probably sick and tired of hearing about it. But I need for y'all to understand how big this is for me. I thought I would make it in the top ten. But still...*sigh* Okay. Enough of that.

Michelle, I am 61,000 words in on OEE. I need to finish by Thursday.
I'm gonna make it! WOOWOO! All I have left is a couple of chapters. And some shading. Excellent. That is marvelously good. *deep breath*
Lyvvie, schedule? What schedule? BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

Not sure where I'm going from there. I have two erotic romance started. But I will also work on Book 2 in my Four Book Set. Then I would like to finish a Torrid Teaser for WCP Torrid.
And if the latest manuscript hooks an agent, then I have another high concept idea for the next story.

So today, my lovelies, I love life.