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Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas




I'm leaving for the UK soon. Today. In a few hours. I'll write when I get back. This is a picture of where I'm going -- York, UK. I hope to have pictures of my own to post when I return.



Merry Christmas everyone!!!




Sunday, December 21, 2008

40

What I'm Reading: It Had To Be You by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

What I'm Working On: Vacation. I'm taking off from writing until January 1st, then I have to jump back in.

I turned 40 today. It's really hard to believe that I've been alive for 4 decades. I mean, mentally, I still see myself as about 26. So, when did 40 happen?

Actually, most of my friends have been in their 40's for awhile now. They say the 40's are great, so I'm looking forward to them.

In honor of 40, here are a couple of quotes:

“Women are most fascinating between the ages of 35 and 40 after they have won a few races and know how to pace themselves. Since few women ever pass 40, maximum fascination can continue indefinitely.” Christian Dior

"If life really begins on your 40th birthday, it's because that's when women finally get it… the guts to take back their lives." Laura Randolf

Here's to hoping I get another 40!
M

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Impending Birthday

What I'm Reading: It Had To Be You by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

What I'm Working On: Vacation. I'm taking off from writing until January 1st, then I have to jump back in.

My birthday is tomorrow. In its honor, here's a little blogthing.
(I like being called a "Maverick" -- sort of -- but it doesn't really describe me.)

You Are a Maverick
You're a restless rebel with an unpredictable nature.
Bright but unbridled, you tend to seek out wild experiences over new ideas.
People are frustrated by your great potential, but you love your unconventional life.
You're a heartbreaker. People get attached to you, and then you're gone.

Your strength: Your thirst for adventure

Your weakness: Not taking time for slow pleasures

Your power color: Hot pink

Your power symbol: Figure eight

Your power month: March

Friday, December 19, 2008

Cookies make everyone feel better

What I’m Reading: It Had to Be You by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

What I’m Working On: Holding it together

You Are Biscotti
You are a very direct, honest person.
You don't have time for dramatics or emotional pleas.

You feel most comfortable in the intellectual realm, especially with science and technology.
You are good at understanding difficult subjects. Understanding people? Not so much.
Yep, that's me.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Mourning

What I’m Reading: It Had to Be You by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

What I’m Working On: Holding it together


My friend died yesterday.

She was 38. Barely. Her birthday was last month.

She had acute leukemia. What a horrible disease. Two and a half months ago she was healthy, laughing and joking with me at a high school football game.

Last night she died. Her son is 7.

I don’t understand.

It should not have been her.

Not yet. Not yesterday.

Can’t we all have just one more tomorrow?

I’ve never seen anyone’s eyes dance quite like hers did when she would watch her red-headed little boy. Perfect peace. Perfect happiness.

I really think that for just a little while the world should stop. Birds should stop flying. The wind should cease to blow. Everyone should freeze and take a moment to be still. For my friend.

But that doesn’t happen. We’re such fragile, irreverent beings. The world is massive compared to us. It keeps on moving, and we accept that. What else can we do?

Dogs bark. Cars whiz by. The world moves on.

People continue to live. And, of course, she would have wanted that.

But I want it to stop. I want to feel the gasp of humanity at the loss of such an amazing person. Just a pause. To mourn.

And I want to break the silence with a shout of anger. This is not what I was praying for! Did You need her that badly? We needed her, too.

Her name is still in my phone. The text messages to her to say, “I love you.” Her replies from the hospital, “Come sing for me so I can laugh.”

Smile and cry. Smile and cry.

M

Monday, December 15, 2008

Just another quiz....

What I'm Reading: The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo

What I'm Working On: Keeping one nostril above water this holiday season

I'm seriously in a creative slump. It's that time of year when I can't come up with new ideas. I'd love to be super creative and make new and yummy Christmas treats, experiment with new dishes in the kitchen, and write page after page of brilliant prose. But it ain't happening.

It usually never happens in December.

As much as I love the holidays, I find them VERY stressful...so with that in mind comes yet another lame blog.

Enjoy.
M

Having Too Much To Do Is What Stresses You Out About the Holidays

You love the holidays. You love them so much that you end up taking on too many responsibilities.
Your heart is in the right place, but you don't have the time to get it all done.

Consider doing a little less. Don't bake that last batch of cookies or go for that Christmas Eve shopping run.
You'll still be giving the people you love what they want most... time with you!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Which of Santa's Reindeer Are You?

What I'm Reading: The Lonely Crossing of Juan Cabrera by J. Joaquin Fraxedas and The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo

What I'm Working On: Keeping one nostril above water this holiday season


I've been really preoccupied this December so blogging has been getting neglected -- as has writing. Hopefully, that will change soon.

However, here's a fun quiz for the merry season. Enjoy.

You Are Cupid

A total romantic, you're always crushing on a new reindeer.

Why You're Naughty: You've caused so much drama, all the reindeers aren't speaking to each other.

Why You're Nice: You have a knack for playing matchmaker. You even hooked Rudolph up!



Thursday, December 4, 2008

Tis the season

What I'm Reading: The Lonely Crossing of Juan Cabrera by J. Joaquin Fraxedas and A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers will Rule the Future by Daniel H. Pink

What I'm Working on: Procrastinating. I'm very good at that.

I love the month that stretches between Thanksgiving and Christmas. The last days of fall are my favorites. My birthday falls on the winter solstice, and somehow that just seems right to me.

In the spirit of Christmas, here's a little quiz:


What The Holidays Mean to You

For you, the holidays are about celebration. You enjoy all the fun and fellowship that the holidays bring.

You celebrate the holidays in a minimalist style. You are likely to only give one great present and decorate your house with a few special items.

During the holidays, you feel magical. You love all of the decorations and how happy people are. You like to sit back and take it all in.

You think the holidays should be nostalgic and sweet. The holidays bring out your inner child.

Your best holiday memories are warm and intimate. You remember special moments more than gifts or parties.


Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The best and brightest

What I'm Reading: The Lonely Crossing of Juan Cabrera by J. Joaquin Fraxedas

What I'm Working on: Finishing up the tasks that have to be done for my family so I can get back to the writing.

I recently attended a conference where I heard a very well respected leader of independent schools speak. He said something that got me fired up.

First, let me say that while I aspire to be a writer and will keep pursuing that until it happens, I have a bill-paying career in private education.

Back to the story....
This well-respected individual informed us that those people typically going into education are in the bottom 30% of their college classes. I believe this. I don't like it, but I believe it. He pointed out that the "really smart ones" are going into business, medicine, law, etc. I think this is so sad. It's sort of proves that old adage -- those who can do, those who can't, teach.

I don't like it, but in many cases it's probably true. Don't get me wrong, I think alot of really smart people become teachers because that's where their callings and passions lie, but education isn't attracting the best and the brightest.

How much does the federal government spend on education each year?

Almost 60 million. (http://www.ed.gov/about/overview/budget/budget09/summary/appendix1.pdf)

Not alot considering we're spending billions to bail out banks and a fighter jet costs over twice that.

Maybe if our government valued education a little more and showed it with some dinero, our best and brightest might say, "Hmm... medicine or education? Wow, that's a tough one. They're both great careers."

In the meantime, I'll keep living the good life on my whopping salary as I search out the best and brightest to teach at my favorite school.

M

Friday, November 28, 2008

Black Friday

In honor of those who shop.....

You Are a Discount Shopper

You love to get things as cheaply as possible. You live for sales.
It's partially because you like to save money, but it's also because you like the thrill of finding a fabulous deal.

Of all the types, you tend to shop frequently but rarely by. You keep an eye on prices.
Brand names are not that important to you. You know how to have style without collecting designer tags.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving


Monday, November 24, 2008

Writing as Art

What I’m Reading: The Brief History of the Dead by Kevin Brockmeier and The Lonely Crossing of Juan Cabrera by J. Joaquin Fraxedas

What I’m Working On: Working?

Being a writer is hard.

So many people think, “Oh, I’ll just sit down and write a book.”

Ok. Do it. All the way. Start to finish. It’s harder than you think.

Writing is art. When you ask people to give you a list of artistic endeavors, many won’t even mention writing. Oh, they might mention poetry, but fiction – nah. Non-fiction? No way.

But writing is art. The blank page is the canvas.

It’s a challenging form of art.

Painters have the visual clues. Did I get the right shade of blue for just that moment at twilight? Is the shadow on that lily realistic? What emotion is on his face?

Musicians have the auditory cues. Does this melody match that lyric? Should I write this song in a minor chord?

But writers…. We have to invoke the senses of not just sight and sound, but also touch and smell and taste with black type and white paper.

Can the reader see the storm rolling across the lake, kicking up small white waves in its path? Can she smell the homemade cinnamon rolls her grandmother’s arthritic hands are removing from the oven? Can she hear the laughter of the little girl that reminds her so much of her own lost daughter? Can he taste the metallic tang of his own blood where his teeth cut into his gums? Damn. That little guy packed a punch. Can she feel the barely-there pressure of his warm hand on the small of her back as he guides her into the room? Will she ever forget that simple caress was his first touch?

So, if you’re a writer, big kudos for doing what you do. And even when it's tough, keep doing it.

M

Thursday, November 20, 2008

(Sigh) Twilight at last

What I'm Reading: The Brief History of the Dead by Kevin Brockmeier, The Lonely Crossing of Juan Cabrera by J. Joaquin Fraxedas, and The Wave by Todd Strasser.

What I'm Working On: Finding my way in this new iteration of Slayer.


The TWILIGHT movie starts at midnight. OMG. I can't wait to see it. (My tickets are for Sunday morning at 10:45 as I'm hoping to avoid the teenage girl rush earlier in the weekend.)

Want to see what the buzz is all about? Check it out. (Mind you, if you don't know what the buzz is all about, well, I'm not sure how that happened.....)

Twilight: Official Movie Site
Stephanie Meyer's official website
The Twilight Saga (Click here if you're clueless as to what Twilight is.)

My favorite high school had a Twilight party today. The very cool, ultra hip librarian thought we might have 80 girls turn out. (The high school has 760 total students -- about half boys and half girls.) Over 250 kids came for a 15 minute party and raffle during mid-morning break. It was overwhelming.

If you see the movie, let me know what you think. If you read the books, let me know, too.

As a quick aside, Donald Maass asked me if I "slogged" through Twilight.

Uh, no. No, I voraciously ate up all four books. (Even Master Donald doesn't know everything.)

M

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Tension in dialogue, exposition, and action

What I'm Reading: (This is a difficult question to answer these days since I'm midway into the selection of my fav high school's next community book. I'm reading about 10 things at once. I discard what won't work and keep reading what will. I hope to come back and finish all of the books on my desk someday.) The Brief History of the Dead by Kevin Brockmeier and The Wave by Todd Strasser.

What I'm Working On: The rewrite. Slayer 3.0.

I promised some notes from Master Donald's Tension on Every Page Workshop. It's a great, intense, albeit not cheap workshop. Everyone should take it.

The first day we looked at microtension in dialogue, exposition, and action. We learned ways to put tension on every page, in every paragraph.

Yes, it is as hard as it sounds.

However, Donald gave us a few keys to remember. In dialogue, the tension occurs between people and it shows up in what is said, not the auxiliary actions and anecdotal thoughts of the speakers. We practiced putting all the tension into the spoken word -- no tags, no anything but dialogue. We looked at pages from Jayne Ann Krentz's White Lies as an example of how to do this well -- subtly in this case, but well. (Check out pages 38-39. What do you think?)

In exposition, the tension is inside the POV (point of view). We checked out Scott Westerfield's Pretties to see how it's done. The key is to create a situation where the character feels or wants two opposing things at the same time or where the character should clearly feel one way, but -- surprise -- she feels exactly opposite of what we expect. (We studied pages 44-45.)

Tension in action follows a similar pattern. You create the tension through emotions in conflict or ideas at war. "The door flew open and Daphne dove away from the intruder. She skidded across the floor and smashed into a file cabinet." BORING! The previous little passage is action, but there's nothing to it that scares us or keeps us reading. Instead, it sounds more like the assembly directions for a bicycle in a box. "Daphne held her breath. She couldn't decide whether she wanted the intruder to open her door or not. He'd keep looking until he found her. Wasn't it better to just get it over now? She didn't have to wait long. The door swung open, but Daphne's self-preservation instinct kicked in as she dove out of sight. She might have made it, too, if her momentum hadn't crashed her into the tall file cabinet." Ok, so no, it's not Pulitzer prize winning, but it's WAY better than the first attempt. (Come on. Admit it.)

I realize this all sounds very easy, but you try it. Add that sort of tension to a page.

.... and then do it 399 more times. (That's the hard part.)

Next time: Backstory!

Happy writing!
M

Monday, November 17, 2008

I need direction

What I'm Reading: The Wave by Todd Strasser

What I'm working on: Staying calm when it comes to writing.

I went to Donald Maass's workshop Tension on Every Page in Tampa about a week and a half ago. It was a 4 day workshop. It was intense -- so intense that I needed a week to recover to even know what direction I should take now.

First, I should write. Just do it. Stop thinking about it.

Second, I should stop trying to put myself in a box. I don't really write romance -- not really -- maybe just a little. Or YA. Or fantasy/urban fantasy. What I write is sort of in the middle. That's okay.

Third, like Donald said, sometimes (most of the time) it's easier just to turn the page over and write something better than trying to edit it. (It's true. I'd experienced that before even going to his workshop, but it doesn't make starting over AGAIN any easier.)

Fourth, I need to look at how I spend my time. I think there is more time to write there than I think there is, but I will be the first to admit that the scariest part is that even if I find tons of time to write and even if I get it perfect, even then I might fail. (Failure = manuscript that can't find an agent or a home.)

Fifth, I got into Seton Hill's MA program in Writing Popular Fiction. I can start in January, but for so many reasons, June is looking better and better. I really need to decide what to do before Friday -- yes, this Friday. (And, yikes, this alone scars the poopy out of me.)

Maybe I'm having perfectionistic fear issues today.

Hmm, not sure I ended up with anything blog worthy here -- or any direction -- but it's getting posted anyway.

Next post: Tension in dialogue, exposition, and action -- ideas from master Donald.

M

Friday, November 14, 2008

Color me

What I'm Reading: Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen and The Wave by Todd Strasser

What I'm working on: Recuperating from the Donald Maass Workshop I attended last week.

I'll blog later about the Maass workshop. My brain is still sputtering and coughing to organized the new knowledge. I need some more process time in order to put it all out there.

Since my brain is so overwhelmed right now, I'll post something lame and easy.........

The Ultimate Color Test
When you are at peace, you are:

Deeply stable

When you are moved to act, you are:

Giving and warm

When you are inspired, you are:

Creative and productive

When your life is perfectly balanced, you are:

Philosophical and expressive

Your life's purpose is:

To live a passionate life

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The day after

What I'm Reading: Just the blogs and articles about this amazing and historic election. It's about time!

What I'm Working On: Getting ready for tomorrow's Donald Maass workshop.

I could blog about the election, but EVERYONE is doing that. It is sufficient to say that we have witnessed unforgettable history and I'm very proud to be an American!

With all the jubilation, there is a sad note. It's not related to the election but rather to one of my favorite all-time authors -- Michael Crichton. In reverence to his passing, please take a moment out of celebrating to mourn literature's great loss.

M

Here's the article:

Michael Crichton Dies of Cancer

Michael Crichton, the million-selling author of such historic and prehistoric science thrillers as "Jurassic Park," "Timeline" and "The Andromeda Strain" has died of cancer, his family said.

He died Tuesday in Los Angeles at age 66 after a long battle with the illness.

Chrichton was a brand-name author, known for his stories of disaster and systematic breakdown, such as the rampant microbe of "The Andromeda Strain" or dinosaurs running amok in "Jurassic Park," one of his many books that became major Hollywood movies.

"Through his books, Michael Crichton served as an inspiration to students of all ages, challenged scientists in many fields, and illuminated the mysteries of the world in a way we could all understand," his family said in a statement.

The 6-foot-9-inch author was also a screenwriter and filmmaker, earning producing and writing credits for the film versions of many of his titles. He also created the TV hospital series "ER" in 1994.

In recent years, he was the rare writer to get on well with President Bush, perhaps because of his skepticism about global warming, which Crichton addressed in the 2004 novel, "State of Favor." Crichton's views were strongly condemned by environmentalists, who alleged that the author was hurting efforts to pass legislation to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide.

A new novel by Crichton had been tentatively scheduled to come next month, but publisher HarperCollins said the book was postponed indefinitely because of his illness.

"While the world knew him as a great storyteller that challenged our preconceived notions about the world around us and entertained us all while doing so his wife Sherri, daughter Taylor, family and friends knew Michael Crichton as a devoted husband, loving father and generous friend who inspired each of us to strive to see the wonders of our world through new eyes," his family said.

http://movies.yahoo.com/mv/news/ap/20081105/122592228000.html

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Get out and vote!

What I'm Reading: Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen

What I'm working on: Getting ready for the Donald Maass Workshop I'm attending this week.


Countdown to November 4th and the change we need!
Hey everyone, get out and vote!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Halloween countdown, part 4

What I'm Reading: The Last Town on Earth by Thomas Mullen (just finishing it up)

What I'm Working On: Juggling writing and a really busy week at the bill-paying job. Also, trying to decide whether I should tackle Nanowrimo or not.


Since I want to finish up The Last Town on Earth by tomorrow, I'm going to make this a short post. Have a happy halloween tomorrow!

What kind of monster are you?

You Are an Alien
You're so strange, people occasionally wonder if you're from another world.
You don't try to be different, but you see most things from a very unique, very offbeat perspective.
Brilliant to the point of genius, you definitely have some advanced intelligence going on.
No matter what circles you travel in, you always feel like a stranger. And it's a feeling you've learned to like.

Your greatest power: Your superhuman brain

Your greatest weakness: Your lack of empathy - you just don't get humans

You play well with: Zombies

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Halloween countdown, part 3

What I'm Reading: The Last Town on Earth by Thomas Mullen

What I'm Working On: Juggling writing and a really busy week at the bill-paying job.

Yesterday I blogged on scary things. This is scary, too, especially considering we're in the midst of the college search experience with our junior. A guidance counselor recommended Middlebury the other day. Look below to see why I laughed (even though I felt like running from the room while screaming at the top of my lungs).

We have a year to convince the DD that Bright Futures and Florida College Prepaid make the most sense. Right now, she's in the I-want-to-go-out-of-state phase. Hope it ends soon.

M

25 Most Expensive Colleges For 2008-2009
Here are the 25 most expensive colleges for 2008-2009, based on total cost (tuition + room and board). Whooie, this is some pricey book-learnin'.

Highest Total Cost 2008-2009
College / Total Cost

1. Sarah Lawrence College $53,166
2. George Washington University $50,312
3. New York University $50,182
4. Georgetown University $49,689
5. Connecticut College $49,385
6. Bates College $49,350
7. Johns Hopkins University $49,278
8. Skidmore College $49,266
9. Scripps College $49,236
10. Middlebury College $49,210
11. Carnegie Mellon University $49,200
12. Boston College $49,020
13. Wesleyan University $49,000
14. Colgate University $48,900
15. Claremont McKenna College $48,755
16. Vassar College $48,675
17. Haverford College $48,625
18. University of Chicago $48,588
19. Union College (NY) $48,552
20. Colby College $48,520
21. Mount Holyoke College $48,500
22. Tufts University $48,470
23. Bard College at Simon's Rock $48,460
24. Franklin & Marshall College $48,450
25. Bard College $48,438

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Halloween countdown, part 2

What I'm Reading: The Last Town on Earth by Thomas Mullen

What I'm Working On: Getting to the second turning point. This 2nd quarter of the book is always hardest for me.

I decided to do a Tuesday Ten for the second day of Halloween countdown. What kind of Tuesday Ten?

Ten Scary Things......

1) The fact that my teenager is driving. OMG. She's been driving for awhile. It's still scary.

2) The Universal Studio's (theme park) Halloween Horror Nights billboards scattered around town. Click here. I would think those would really scare young children who can see these billboards from their carseats in their parents' minivans.

3) The current stock market. I'm so scared that I've been just tossing my unopened 401k statements in a folder and filing them away.

4) War. A parent at my favorite high school recently complained that part of the movie The Patriot was shown in her son's class. (It wasn't. She was misinformed.) Regardless, she complained about the graphic war scenes. However, I was still proud of the school official who addressed this concern. He said, "War is violence unrestrained, and a movie could never accurately depict war without portraying randomness and senselessness and unimaginable suffering. Perhaps the worse we depict war, the fewer old men will vote for war and the fewer young men will be eager to see the elephant, as the expression went during the War Between the States."

5) Florida's rising unemployment rate.

6) That some people think health care and insurance in the United States is a privilege rather than right. They've obviously never tried to get insurance with a pre-existing condition or been set back (or financially ruined) by huge copayments because their employer went with the cheapest, worst coverage imaginable. These are also people who've never worked two jobs -- neither full time (so the employer didn't have to pay benefits) -- in order to feed and cloth their kids, and then been faced with a life-threatening illness for one of their children. (Sarcasm coming up...... Right, absolutely, that innocent child should just die because health care is a privilege and he/she isn't among that elite privileged group.)

7) That there are Americans who won't vote. People died to give us that right. People die for it now in other countries. Stop taking it for granted.

8) That people actually believe Obama might be a socialist. Please.... Socialism is an economic policy, not a style of government. Many people think the U.S. is straight capitalism. It's not. We're more capitalist than socialist, but what we really have is a mixed economy. But I digress; the point is that Obama is not a socialist. If you're confused, I suggest you revisit your high school World and American history classes and your economics class. Pay special attention to the lectures on economic systems, Marxism, socialism, communism, and capitalism. Get educated.

9) That for one person I spoke to the deciding factor in who they vote for is the abortion issue. Really? Of all the things our country is facing, abortion is THE ONE for you?

10) That, when asked, my fairly well-off friend who is a die hard McCain supporter could give no better reason to vote for him than, "I only have one and it's completely selfish. I'm voting to keep more money in my pocket. I work hard. I don't want to give it (my money) to the people who don't work."

Monday, October 27, 2008

Halloween countdown, part 1

What I'm Reading: The Last Town on Earth by Thomas Mullen

What I'm Working On: Getting to the second turning point. This 2nd quarter of the book is always hardest for me.

I decided to have a little Halloween countdown. I'm a fan, but I have four dogs so the knocking on the door all night gets old. Knock, bark, knock, bark. Luckily, this year I'll be at a high school football game so I'll miss the festivities.

My Halloween personality is, admittedly, rather bah humbug. Let's see what the official test says.

What Your Halloween Habits Say About You
The scariest thing on Halloween is you! You definitely don't want any kids in costumes crossing your path - and you're willing to scare away any who do.

You definitely think of yourself as someone who has a dark side. And part of having that dark side means not showing it.

Your inner child is open minded, playful, and adventurous.

You truly fear the dark side of humanity. You are a true misanthrope.

You're logical, rational, and not easily effected. Not a lot scares you... especially when it comes to the paranormal.

You are picky and high maintenance. If you wear a Halloween costume, it's only when you really feel like it. And it has to be perfect.


M

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

I am NOT a Chihauhua

What I'm Reading: The Last Town on Earth by Thomas Mullen and The Radioactive Boy Scout by Ken Silverstein

What I'm Working On: I had been worried about a definitive first turning point in my rewrite, but OMG, it happened. It just happened. I set it up, and WHAM, there it is. Too, too cool.

I took a blogthings test to see "what breed of dog I am." Yes, it's lame, but I needed a quick and easy blog.

Before I show you my results, let me show you my real live pack.

This is Alice, my Hurricane Charlie refugee. She's a petite (60 pound) greyhound.


This is Maggie. She's part Chow (you can tell by the tongue) and who-knows-what else.


This is Rex. He's yellow lab and golden retriever with a few other spices.






Above is Cipy, my 88 pound greyhound, being snuggled by my neice.

Can you tell that I'm not a small dog person? That being said, check this out:

You Are a Chihauhua
You are very smart and very earnest. You take yourself quite seriously.
In fact, people are often amused by how seriously you take yourself.

Deep down, you are a very fragile person. Your friends and family know how breakable you are.
Because you are so fragile, you tend to be quite neurotic. You are suspicious of almost everyone and everything.


Who'd have thunk it?

M

PS. Am not.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Monday person, huh?

What I'm Reading: The Dew Breaker by Edwidge Danticat and The Last Town on Earth by Thomas Mullen

What I'm Working On: Momentum!! Finding it, getting it, keeping it! (Still...)

This is a blatent lie......


You Are Monday
Like this day of the week, you are ruled by the moon.
More than anything, you are flexible.

You are moody and impressionable. You are easily influenced by the world around you.
And while you can be temperamental, you eventually adjust.

While Mondays tend to be the hardest day for people, you don't mind getting back to regular life.
You're the one waking up early and making the coffee while everyone else complains.



I am not a Monday person.

M

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Powell Endorses Obama

What I'm Reading: The Dew Breaker by Edwidge Danticat and The Last Town on Earth by Thomas Mullen

What I'm Working On: Momentum!! Finding it, getting it, keeping it!

This is just a short post, but I knew there a reason I'd always liked and respected Colin Powell.

Check this out: Powell endorses Obama, chides McCain campaign tone
Read the article here: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081019/ap_on_el_pr/powell

And check this out:


Happy Sunday!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Autumn

What I'm Reading: Faefever by Karen Marie Moning, The Dew Breaker by Edwidge Danticat, and The Lost Duke of Wyndham by Julia Quinn

What I'm Working On: I'm writing the first "plot" turning point scene which will be followed closely by the first "romantic" turning point scene.


I've been a bad blogger lately. We're halfway through October and I've blogged once. (Well, twice now.)

Time is steamrolling by and I'm just spinning in dizzy circles. And that's too bad. I hate it when October races by. It used to be my favorite month -- when I lived in a place where we had true autumn.

I love autumn. It's my favorite season. In Florida, however, it's almost a little depressing. We still have green leaves and 87 degree thermometer readings. But still, it's overwhelmingly better than summer!

I found this little autumn test. I agree with everything it said about me -- except the change thing. I actually like change and do pretty well with it.

What are your results?

M


Your Autumn Test Results
You are a energetic, warm, optimistic person. You approach everything with a lot of enthusiasm.

When you're happiest, you are outgoing and expressive . You love celebrations, and you enjoy showing off a little.

You prefer change to come slowly. You need a long transition period when your life changes.

You find abundance to be the most comforting thing in the world. You love shopping and having nice things.

Your ideal day is active and full. You like to keep busy with your favorite things, and you appreciate a routine.

You tend to live in the moment. You enjoy whatever is going on, and you don't obsess over the past or future.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Thursday Thirteen

What I'm Reading: The Lost Duke of Wyndham by Julia Quinn

What I'm Working on: Slayer -- a completely new scene

The DH and I finally have an evening with no commitments and no kids and no work tomorrow morning. We got really excited. As those of you with kids and full time jobs know, such nights don’t happen very often.

We both wanted to see a movie, so we pull up our favorite online movie site, excitedly talking about the movies we’ve been wanting to see.

NONE of them are showing anymore – not even at the dollar theater. We’re in between in more ways than one. The movies we want to see have either come and gone, but not gone all the way to video yet, or they’ve yet to come out – for example, The Express comes out tomorrow. Not today.

Big sigh.

We resigned ourselves to Animal Planet for awhile and then watched a depressing special on Global Warming. (Actually, Sarah, I’d like to talk about the causes…..)

Since the Global Warming thing made me feel almost at good as the stock market losses today, I decided to blog about the books I’d most like to see made into movies so there’d be something to go and see when I had time.

Here goes…..

1) Brothers by Da Chen. I just finished this and it has to be one of the best books I’ve read in a long, long time. It has intrigue, revenge, love (lost and hoped for), and a great deal of interesting history. I can’t even begin to name potential actors since almost every character is Chinese, but if this ever gets made into a movie, I’ll be there opening day.

2) I’d Tell You I Love You, But Then I’d Have to Kill You by Ally Carter. I think this one has been optioned already, and it will likely be made and marketed for the Disney-esq teen, but I don’t care. I’ll still go see it.

3) The Gift of Rain by Tan Twan Eng. I loved the World War II intrigue and the extraordinary tale of the lengths we’ll go to when we love someone. This book would make a great movie.

4) The Charm School by Nelson DeMille. Classic cold war drama. Think Hunt for Red October, but better.

5) Autstenland by Shannon Hale. For sheer, romantic, fun comedy. (But I’d never get the DH out the door for this one.)

6) The Anita Blake novels by Laurel K. Hamilton. Let me be clear here. I’m talking the early ones – like the first 5. After that, it would be Skinamax – I mean Cinemax – all the way. I personally like the early ones best – you know, the ones with plot.

7) How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff. I just love the book so much, I’d like to see it portrayed.

8) Any Susan Elizabeth Phillips book would make great romantic comedy – maybe Natural Born Charmer.

9) The Trudeau Vector by Juris Jurjevics. Very good and sciencey science fiction.

10) A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray. Oh, that would be another opening night adventure (sans DH).

11) Ender’s Game. Ender’s Game. Ender’s Game. OSC, of course.

12) Tomorrow, When the War Began by John Marsden.

13) The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

If you're reading, this -- tag.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Just for fun.... what's your funky inner hair color?

What I'm Reading: Splendid by Julia Quinn and Brothers by Da Chen

What I'm Working On: Tonight's 1k

Your Hair Should Be Purple
Intense, thoughtful, and unconventional.
You're always philosophizing and inspiring others with your insights.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

The Nature of People

What I'm Reading: Splendid by Julia Quinn and Brothers by Da Chen

What I'm Working On: I wish it was writing........

I wish I had as much insight into people and myself twenty years ago as I do now. It would have saved a lot of frustration.

I used to think that I was pretty average all the way around. No one ever pointed out in any way that stuck that I was something out of the ordinary. Because I assumed I was the average gal, I also assumed that most people were quite a lot like me.

You know what they say about assuming, right?

I learned I assumed that most people were about as smart as me in my thinking-I’m-average-mode. Never mind that I was salutatorian of my high school class, got a nearly perfect score on the English section of the ACT, took the GRE half-drunk and still got over a 1200 that first time.

I don’t assume all people figure things out as fast as I do any more. I cut everyone some slack until I see what they can do. I’ve learned along the way that I’ve been blessed. Being gifted isn't something you can choose. It just is or isn't.

I did – until this weekend – sometimes still assume that most people share the same level of responsibility and compassion that I do.

Yeah, I was wrong there, too. And that's unfortunate because compassion and responsibility -- unlike intelligence -- are a choice.

A player on the football team of my favorite high school broke his leg Friday night. His parents were out of town at a meeting for his dad’s company that was mandatory. He didn’t have any family at the game. He didn’t have an adult to ride in the ambulance with him to the remote country hospital to which they needed to transport him. He didn’t have anyone to reassure his mom on the phone.

The coaches were busy coaching – as they should have been. They had 40 other boys to worry about. The one athletic trainer at the game had her hands full with other injuries. (Did I mention how sucky the refs were, letting the other team just slug and punch our team without throwing any flags?)

There were, however, some school officials at the game. These people drove their own cars to the game instead of catching a ride on the football bus like I did. (Did I mention my DH is one of the coaches?) They SHOULD have been the ones to step up and say, “I’ll go with him," especially since their titles at the school have something to do with sports.

But they didn’t.

So I did.

Never mind that the football bus is my only way to get home (2 hours away). Never mind that the player will also need to get home. Never mind that when I said I was going, my husband said, “As soon as I get off the bus at the school, I’ll get in the car and come get you.” (Two hours home. Two hours back. Then two more hours home. Yep, I married a good one!)

In the end, if I hadn’t gone, this high school age boy would have gone by himself. Other than getting home at 3 am, it wasn’t that big of a deal. Not really when you consider everything.

What’s everything? Well everything boils down to the fact that if it had been my DD or DS, I’d have hoped and prayed that someone cared enough to worry about how they’d get home later and just volunteered to go with her or him. I couldn’t imagine letting him go alone.

Doing what’s right isn’t always easy or convenient. Learning that many people that ought to care just don’t is pretty damn hard.

I spent my weekend being disappointed by a few members of the human race.

And that just sucks.

M

Epilogue: The kid broke his fibula. He was quite the brave trooper. His parents were really grateful I went with him, as was he. I might have been tired yesterday, but it didn’t matter. People matter.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Bagels

What I'm Reading: Splendid by Julia Quinn.

What I'm Working On: I think I just nailed the character grids for Seer. Now, I just need to find the time (and the motivation) to finish Slayer.

This is just a little fun something. What kind of bagel are you?

You Are a Chocolate Chip Bagel
You are creative, experimental, and self-aware.
You are a very bohemian person, and you tend to live a strange life.

Of all the types, you're the most likely to go for strange food combinations.
You tend to have coffee for breakfast. Anything with lots of coffee will do.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Environmental Republicans? (Sadly no.)

What I'm Reading: On the Ipod, it's The Hollow by Nora Roberts (book 2 of her most recent series -- I'm totally addicted.) For pure fun, it's Driven by Eve Kenin. For consideration for next summer's community book for my fav high school, it's Never Surrender by Jerry Boykin. And finally, for book club, it's Splendid by Julia Quinn.

What I'm Working On: Tonight, I wrote 500 words of a long scene. I don't know if I'll finish it, but I'm going to go back and work on it some more. At least I'm writing. I guess that extra catch-up rest yesterday was good for me. Woo Hoo!

A co-worker friend of mine is voting McCain. I don’t get it, but okay. He lives in a neighborhood none of my other friends can afford. He’s a former pro athlete with a gazillion dollars. Maybe that explains it. Probably not. (But unlike my neighborhood where almost every yard sign says OBAMA, in his neighborhood, almost every sign is for the other guy.)

The thing that upset me (as if voting for McCain isn’t upsetting enough) was a comment he made to his middle school daughter, who happens to be the new president of the Environmental Club at her school. He said, “How about calling it the Conservation Club instead? Republicans are really not environmentalists, but it’s okay to be interested in conservation. It’s just that environmentalist in the name will make people wonder, you know……” blah, blah, blah

I hope his daughter is strong willed. I hope she doesn’t seek his approval on this issue and take his insane idea back to her club.

I’m ashamed he won’t let her form her own idea and pursue her own agenda. However, I am proud of her for being involved and for taking a stand and making a difference.

I can’t imagine not caring about the environment. I can’t imagine not wanting your kids to better stewards of it than we’ve been. I just can’t imagine.

But recycling isn’t cheap or convenient sometimes. Giving up the gas-guzzling Hummer has to be easier now, but for some people the increase in the cost of gas isn’t that big a deal. Those same people don’t need affordable healthcare or help paying a mortgage because they lost a job.

But me? I’d like to see blue sky and trees when I’m a hundred and I’d like to live that long in a healthy environment.

So I say, go little girl! Go! (And when you have your mock school election, vote Obama.)

M

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Superlatives

What I'm Reading: On the Ipod, it's The Hollow by Nora Roberts (book 2 of her most recent series -- I'm totally addicted.) For pure fun, it's Driven by Eve Kenin. For consideration for next summer's community book for my fav high school, it's Never Surrender by Jerry Boykin. And finally, for book club, it's Splendid by Julia Quinn.

What I'm Working On: Combatting sheer and utter exhaustion. The part of me that believes I'm superwoman is frustrated, but the logical and sensible part of me is saying to rest. I've had activities everynight and all day for over a week now so I guess it's normal (and maybe even okay) that my creativity is shot. Nice me is trying to give me a break. Ball-buster me is, well, busting my balls (or would be if I had any). (Sigh)

I thought the following was cute. And funny thing.... I was actually voted Most Athletic along with Shane (the total tall, dark, blue-eyed hottie). He and I were also voted Most Representative so I got to sit on his lap twice for yearbook pictures. (Big grin.)

After this weekend of chaperoning my favorite high school's homecoming dance, I feel old. And grateful that I grew up in a more innocent time. (No wonder I'm tired.)

You Would Be Voted Most Athletic
When you were in school, you were quite the sports star.
Even if you weren't always on the winning team, you gave it your best.
You had school spirit. You were a good loser and a good winner.
And once you're successful in sports, you can be successful in anything!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Much clearer now????

What I'm Reading: On the Ipod, it's Blood Brothers by Nora Roberts. For pure fun, it's Driven by Eve Kenin. For consideration for next summer's community book for my fav high school, it's Never Surrender by Jerry Boykin. And finally, for book club, it's Splendid by Julia Quinn.

What I'm Working On: Edits on Slayer in order to send the first 20 pages in to a reader that I want to impress.

This was sent to me today by a fellow Obama supporter:

Let me see if I have this straight...

* If you grow up in Hawaii, raised by your grandparents, you're 'exotic, different.'
* Grow up in Alaska eating moose burgers, you're a quintessential American story.

* If your name is Barack you're a radical, unpatriotic Muslim.
* Name your kids Willow, Trig and Track, you're a maverick.

* Graduate from Harvard Law School and you are unstable.
* Attend 5 different small colleges before graduating, you're well grounded.

* If you spend 3 years as a brilliant community organizer, become the first black President of the Harvard Law Review, create a voter registration drive that registers 150,000 new voters, spend 12 years as a Constitutional Law professor, spend 8 years as a State Senator representing a district with over 750,000 people, become chairman of the st ate Senate's Health and Human Services committee, spend 4 years in the United States Senate representing astate of 13 million people while sponsoring 131 bills and serving on the Foreign Affairs, Environment and Public Works and Veteran's Affairs committees, you don't have any real leadership experience.
* If your total resume is: local weather girl, 4 years on the city council and 6 years as the mayor of a town with less than 7,000 people, 20 months as the governor of a state with only 650,000 people, then you're qualified to become the country's second highest ranking executive.

* If you have been married to the same woman for 19 years while raising 2 beautiful daughters, all within Protestant churches, you're not a real Christian.
* If you cheated on your first wife with a rich heiress, and left your disfigured wife and married the heiress the next month, you're a Christian.

* If you teach responsible, and appropriate sex education, including the proper use of birth control, you are eroding the fiber of society.
* If , while governor, you staunchly advocate abstinence only, with no other option in sex education in your state's school system while your unwed teen daughter ends up pregnant , you're very responsible.

* If your wife is a Harvard graduate lawyer who gave up a position in a prestigious law firm to work for the betterment of her inner city community, then gave that up to raise a family, your family's values don't represent America's.
* If you're husband is nicknamed 'First Dude', with at least one DWI conviction and no college education, who didn't register to vote until age 25 and once was a member of a group that advocated the secession of Alaska from the USA, your family is extremely admirable.

OKAY: MUCH CLEARER NOW??

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Rules of Writing

What I'm Reading: Wow. I'm back to several books at once. On the Ipod, it's Blood Brothers by Nora Roberts. For pure fun, it's Driven by Eve Kenin. For consideration for next summer's community book for my fav high school, it's Never Surrender by Jerry Boykin. And finally, for book club, it's Splendid by Julia Quinn. Whew!! This list should take me awhile.

What I'm Working On: I'm taking a quick break from working on plot issues in Seer that affect Slayer. After I get these worked out, I'll be tweaking the first 15 pages of Slayer for critical eyes and I'll be back to the rewrites on Slayer.

If you've been writing very long, you've probably discovered that there are alot of rules -- particularly if you are attempting to write commercial or genre fiction. Understanding the rules is good. Writing by them can be good, too. Sometimes.

Didn't you ever have rules growing up that you were really glad you broke -- some even if you got caught? My mom had a rule: No boys at the house without an adult present.

I get that one now that I'm a parent of a teenage girl, but back in the day, it was a stupid rule. I wasn't the kind of seventeen year old to shuck the clothes and experiment with my boyfriend. Both of us were mature enough to admit to not being ready for that, which in our minds also meant we were mature enough for some alone time.

And, of course, that's how we wound up at my house -- alone for a few hours -- one Sunday afternoon. We didn't do anything, except make out a little and watch a movie, but my mother was livid.

And, I got grounded.

For two weeks.

I'd do it all over again, though, even if I knew I'd get caught. Why? It was worth it. It made the story of my senior year 100x better.

I think writing is somewhat the same. The rules are there to keep you out of trouble, but sometimes breaking the rule makes the story 100x better.

One "rule" of the romance genre is "the hero and heroine" must meet in the first few pages -- at least by the end of chapter one. In the romance I'm reading now, Blood Brothers by Nora Roberts, the hero and heroine meet in the middle of chapter 3. And the first 2 chapters are backstory -- highly interesting, essential-to-the-story backstory, but they are still backstory. I'm thrilled she broke the rules. I was hooked on Blood Brothers in the first few pages and have no hang-ups or regrets about the couple not meeting until later.

It's good to read a book like that every once in awhile and be reminded to do what's right for the story -- not necessarily what the rules say.

And, it's good to remember some of those 17 year-old lessons.

(Sigh.)

M

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The Man Booker Shortlist and a note

What I'm Reading: Driven by Eve Kenin and Austenland by Shannon Hale (both quite good)

What I'm Working On: Series arcs (quite exciting stuff)

Well, I promised the Man Booker Short List and here it is:


Aravind Adiga The White Tiger (Atlantic)
Sebastian Barry The Secret Scripture (Faber and Faber)
Amitav Ghosh Sea of Poppies (John Murray)
Linda Grant The Clothes on Their Backs (Virago)
Philip Hensher The Northern Clemency (Fourth Estate)
Steve Toltz A Fraction of the Whole (Hamish Hamilton)

Read more about the books and the Man Booker at http://www.themanbookerprize.com/news/stories/1134 .

Of course this simple, sweet post keeps me from ranting about my parents. Really, how did a well-adjusted, reasonable, open-minded adult ever emerge from THAT?

I won't write about it here, but just remind me to avoid engaging in political talk with anyone who says (and I quote), "Drilling doesn't hurt the environment. Big oil companies don't hurt the environment. They leave things just like they found them. And I think we have far more fossil fuels that anyone lets on."

Really? REALLY?

Can anyone say Exxon Valdez?

And, dearest parental person, please try not to say those things in public. Educated people will think you're crazy (and slow).

M

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Man Booker Longlist

What I’m Reading: Austenland by Shannon Hale and Driven by Eve Kenin.

What I’m working on: Getting to the first turning point in my second draft of Slayer and plotting Seer.

I’m a sucker for the Man Booker Prize.

Yes, I know: This fact ups my already high geek measurement on the geek meter.

But I don’t care.

The long list has been out for awhile and I’m only really just looking at it a little over a month later, so I’m not completely hopeless. However, I will study each book and read some of them and get lost in the brilliance of a few.

I’ll never be eligible for a Man Booker prize. Maybe that’s the reason I’m so fascinated. In order to win, you have to be a citizen of England or Ireland. While there are lots of writing prizes out there and while I usually check out the winners in many of them, the Man Booker is the one I like best.

From last year’s list, I read The Gift of Rain by Tan Twan Eng and Mister Pip by Lloyd Jones. Both were wonderful, but I loved, loved, loved The Gift of Rain. I still need to read the winner: Anne Enright’s The Gathering.

Here’s this year’s long list: 2008 Longlist. The shortlist will be announced this week on September 9th. I’ll post it when it comes out.

In the meantime, I’m off to my library’s website to request home delivery of the first title I’ll read: Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith (Did you see the author’s picture? Quite a hottie.)

M

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Seven things I love

What I’m Reading: Austenland by Shannon Hale and Driven by Eve Kenin.

What I’m working on: Getting to the first turning point in my second draft of Slayer and plotting Seer.


Seven Things I Remembered I Love Today:

1) The trio of beagles who live in my neighborhood and howl at me whenever I walk past their house with my dogs on leash. (They are so cute. They always make me smile.)
2) Downloadable audio books. I love to listen to a good book while I walk.
3) An empty laundry basket.
4) An afternoon nap when I’m really tired.
5) A book that really grabs you – in the first 10 pages!!!!
6) Finishing a big project.
7) Saturdays.

Friday, September 5, 2008

An improvement

What I'm Reading: Nothing really. I'm between books. What a weird place to be.

What I'm Working On: My attitude and motivation.

I finally got a look for my blog that I can live with. I loved my original one -- red with a lily -- but it went haywire. Ah, but this is much better than what I had as a replacement for a few days.

Now that I've finally fixed the look of my blog, I can get back to writing.

Whew.

M

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

I'm REALLY mad

Okay -- this is just a short post to say that I'M REALLY MAD. All my cool formatting, graphics, etc. for my blog have been lost. I so liked the looks of everything, too. Now I have to start over. I don't really like this look, but in a pinch, it's the best I can do.

I guess when I have time, I'll redo everything. And I have sooooo much free time already!

People say my eyes get greener when I'm mad -- well is this green enough for you?!?!

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Gustav

If you pray, this might be a nice time to take a moment and ask God to watch over the people who live in Louisianna and other gulf states. As Gustav bears down on them, ask that lives and property be spared.

My thoughts and prayers go out for the people that live there.

M

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Blue colored glasses

What I'm Reading: The Hundred Secret Senses by Amy Tan

What I'm Working On: Finding time to work on writing -- at least this week.

Yes. Yes. I know. My blogs have been hit or miss lately and a little on the lame side. I'll get better. Promise.

You See the World Through Blue Colored Glasses
You live your life with tranquility. You have faith that things will work themselves out with time.
You judge all your interactions through the lens of hope. You try to get all the facts before forming your opinion.

You face challenges with wisdom. You know that all bad things pass, and you have the confidence to see problems through.
You see love as the utmost expression of trust. Your relationships tend to be peaceful and stable.

At your worst, you can be cool, melancholy, and detached. You sometimes have to step back from emotionally charged situations.
You are at your happiest when you are able to reflect and relax.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Regardless of your political affiliation

What I'm Reading: The Hundred Secret Senses by Amy Tan

What I'm Working On: Finishing the rewrite of the first 20k.

No matter what your political affiliation, you have to admit that tonight is overwhelming in terms of how far we've come. It's the 45th anniversary of Rev. Martin Luther King's famous "I have a dream" speech. I imagine him cheering tonight as the first ever African American man accepts the nomination of a major political party for president of the United States.

We've come a long way. And it's about time.

Whether you are a democrat, republican, or independent, there is no denying that tonight is a great moment in our history. I'm listening to Barack Obama's speech and feeling awed that just over 50 years ago, blacks still had to go to seperate schools, ride in the back of the bus, and watch movies from the "buzzards nest" only. In Florida in 1951, the KKK blew up a great civil rights leader -- Harry T. Moore -- and until just recently, no one even investigated the death as a murder.

For such a dark past, the future is looking much brighter.

Good for us.

M

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

What kind of pasta are you?

What I'm Reading: The Hundred Secret Senses by Amy Tan

What I'm Working On: Finishing the rewrite of the first 20k.

This was fun......

You Are Pasta Puttanesca
Compared to most people, you have a sexy and wild personality.
So it fits that you're like a pasta popularized by street walkers!
You like food with interesting, contrasting, and spicy flavors.
You live an exciting life - and you wouldn't ever go for anything bland.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

What Role Do You Play?

What I'm Reading: The Hundred Secret Senses by Amy Tan

What I'm Working On: Finishing the rewrite of the first 20k.

You Are the Innovator
You're the type of person who is always a step ahead of everyone else.
You thrive when you're experimenting with new designs, ideas, and attitudes.

You are a creative person with many talents. You have to have artistic outlets in your life.
You need to create - whether it's writing furiously or redecorating your home. If not, your life becomes chaotic.

You tire of doing the same thing every day. You change your job, friends, and personal style often.
You are at your best when you have a focus. If not, you develop a flaky artist's temperament.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Play list

What I'm Reading: Breaking Dawn by Stephanie Meyer

What I'm Working On: The second draft -- still have about 1k left to hit today's goal.

I thought I'd post the lyrics to some of the playlist for Slayer.
Hmm --- I love Shinedown.

Breaking Inside (Wanna listen? Click here)
The Sound of Madness


I caught a chill
And it’s still frozen on my skin
I think about why I’m alone
By myself
No one else to explain
How far do I go?
No one knows
If the end is so much better
Why don’t we just live forever?

PRE-CHORUS
Don’t tell me I’m the last one in line
Don’t tell me I’m too late this time

CHORUS
I don’t wanna live
To waste another day
Underneath the shadows
Of mistakes I’ve made
Cuz I feel like I’m breaking inside
I don’t wanna fall
And say I lost it all
Cuz maybe there’s a part of me
That hit the wall
Leaving pieces of me behind
And I feel like I’m breaking inside

Out here nothing’s clear
Except the moment I decided
To move on and I ignited
Disappear into the fear
You know there ain’t no coming back
When you’re still carrying the past
You can’t erase
Separate
Cigarrette in my hand
Hope you all understand
I won’t be the last one in line
I finally figured out what’s mine

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Rain, rain, come my way

What I’m reading: Breaking Dawn by Stephanie Meyer

What I’m working on: One of those middle of the book scenes that challenges a secondary character’s arc. It hit me in the shower last night and has been good for about 1000 words so far.


As I write this, it is pouring rain, and I love it. A rainy day is my favorite kind of day. I’m almost afraid to verbalize my hope that it rains all day, and I’m afraid to look at the forecast. What if it says “hot and sunny” this afternoon?

Most people I know (most of whom live in Florida, too) love the “hot and sunny” weather. It’s kind of a pre-requisite for living here. I’m in Florida because my husband is a Floridian. And don’t get me wrong, the mild weather has its perks. But I just don’t really mind the rain. I love it, in fact. I’m one of those people who could live in Seattle and never get depressed. (Of course, if I lived there, I’d probably be more of a Starbucks addict than I already am.)

The good news for me is that we might get a hurricane. (So, do you think I’m certifiable?) I’m not really all that excited about a hurricane. I hated Charlie and the summer of hurricane repeats, but if it manages to just stay a tropical depression and keeps the skies overcast next week and dumps lots and lots of rain, well, I’ll be quite happy!

Gotta go. There’s the thunder.

M

Friday, August 15, 2008

I'm tired

What I'm reading: Breaking Dawn by Stephanie Meyer

What I'm working on: Words. Getting more words. Finishing the second draft by November.

I'm writing. I'm exhausted. I'm not sure the words make sense. But I'm writing.

This has been one exhausting week. Wow. (Proof: I'm STILL reading Breaking Dawn! Normally, I'd be way past that now!)

I'm not doing well with my blog posts or getting the word count I need, but I'm hoping that some extra sleep in the morning, being home for once on the weekend, and getting a little Macy-time will repair the sleep-deprived me and return the writer-machine me to the computer for some serious word output.

Keep your fingers crossed.

M

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Time gets away from you

What I'm Reading: Breaking Dawn by Stephanie Meyers and In the Country of Men by Hisham Matar.

What I'm Working on: Attempting to get 30k to 40k words of draft 2 written.

Time really does escape us doesn't it? I can't believe it's already August 10th. I've missed a few writing days as I get ready for my favorite high school to start back and taken a few days to visit family. I'm to the point where I need to write about 7 pages a day to reach my monthly goal. I think I can do it, but I have to actually do it, not just think about it. That, of course, means that my blog may be brief and shoddy for a several days. Oh well.

However, the fun I had Friday was rejuvinating. I was in the Ft Worth area and went to Summit Climbing Gym and scaled rock walls for about four hours. It was so fun. I'll post some pictures later, but for now, I have to walk my crazy dogs. They are being wild.

M

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Things that happen

What I'm Reading: Dark Seduction by Brenda Joyce

What I'm Working On: Things that happen in Slayer, part 2

Well, alot of my writing buds left for San Francisco today (or yesterday). I'm sad I'm not going. I went last year and it was amazing. This year, I don't have the funds, but I'm dealing with it.

My friends promised to pick up some books I requested along with some others just to surprise me. I'm very excited about that! (The free books and the not-so-free books are two of the best parts of the RWA National Conference.

However, on the bright side of things, my anger over not being able to go has spurred new writing momentum. I've got character grids that work for a change. I've got turning points. I've got a "list of things that happen" in the novel -- a long list. My local critique/goal/brainstorming buddy is "excited" about my book. I'm excited about my book again. (And that's saying something since I'm rewriting!)

Maybe NOT going to RWA was the best thing that could have happened to my writing right now.

(At least that's my story, and I'm sticking to it.)

M

Friday, July 25, 2008

What next?

I love that feeling of finishing a really good book. The feeling is part sadness that it’s over, part gratitude that somehow out of all the books to choose from, this one called to you and you heard it.

I just finished such a book – The Gift of Rain by Tan Twan Eng.

It is decidedly not a romance – at least not in the true sense. However, I don’t exclusively read romance even though I love books to have a good love story and I love to write books with a good love story.

Now, I’m in that in between stage where I’m not really reading anything. (In all fairness, I just finished so how could I be reading anything else.) I keep staring at my TBR pile and thinking what next.

Any suggestions? (Any genre will do, but I do think I’m kind of in a romance mood for the next one.)

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Rewriting heaven

What I’m Reading: The Gift of Rain by Tan Twan Eng and The Mercenary by Cherry Adair

What I’m Working On: Kevin’s backstory/life. He’s the hunky lead in Slayer.

Rewriting is about as much fun as a scooping dog poo. However, I’m actually excited about the prospect of rewriting Slayer. And, no, these aren’t edits we’re talking about. This is a rewrite – full and complete. However, I understand the story conflicts much better now. And, thanks to Lara, I think Kevin is well on his way to being the strong character he needs to be, not some boring beta.

So, I wonder how fast I can get this rewrite done…….

Maybe in time to enter Golden Heart…..

Does anyone know when that deadline is anyway???????

M

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Saturday Seven

What I’m Reading: the Host by Stephanie Meyer and The Gift of Rain by Tan Twan Eng (I’m about ½ way through both of them. Both are very good.)

What I’m Working On: I’m getting deeper into the emotions of the Slayer series – not just the book, but the whole over-arching series.

I’ve been absent this week because we’ve been doing the local Florida theme park vacation circuit. It’s too expensive to travel far this year. As a matter of fact, I’ve had to cancel my trip to San Francisco for RWA Nationals for a variety of reasons, but one being it’s just so expensive to travel so dang far.

However, I’m finishing up a Discovering Story Magic workshop online, and I’m signed up for another in September. I’m also taking Barbara Samuel’s voice class in October. I’m psyched about both of these because I know they’ll both be great.

Since I’m thinking about writing and improving it and how to do that (see the workshop/conference focus above), I decided to list a Saturday Seven: Seven things I’ve learned or rediscovered about writing this year.

1) It’s all about emotion. It doesn’t matter what the plot events are as much as getting the emotions true for your characters.
2) It’s all about characters. People calls stories either character driven or plot driven. The character emotions drive the plot. It’s all about the characters.
3) The antagonist has to drive the change in the protagonist. Your story should be set up this away.
4) Sometimes breaking the rules is exactly the right thing to do for your story.
5) Plotting is much easier if you’re open-minded.
6) Find a trusted brainstorming partner (or several). Listen to what they have to say about your story. Open your mind to all ideas. Let them simmer, then take what works for you and discard the rest.
7) The first draft always sucks. (At least for me……)

Happy writing.

M

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Plotting question for all you writers...

What I’m Reading: The Gift of Rain by Tan Twan Eng and the Host by Stephanie Meyer

What I’m working on: Secondary characters and subplots

For any of you writer types out there, I have a question.

First, are you a plotter or a panster or a little of both?

Second, do you intentionally create scenes that attack the flaw(s) of your main character? By this I mean, do you consciously think how each scene moves the story along an arc prior to writing the scene? Or do you just write and it somehow happens subconsciously, like the story structure is something you don’t have to think much about? Or maybe you write the scenes and go back and add tension later?

I’m interested in process. I’m finally settling on one that’s easier for me. (Ok, it’s never easy, but it isn’t as hard as it was…..)

Let me know how you do it. Curious writers want to know.

M

Saturday, July 12, 2008

The Book Quiz

What I'm Reading: The Gift of Rain by Tan Twan Eng and the Host by Stephanie Meyer (both heavy hitters and really, really good)

What I'm Working On: Tightening my character grid for Slayer and taking a stab at premise.


Here's a quiz that's kind of fun. (And I LOVE Watership Down!)




You're Watership Down!

by Richard Adams

Though many think of you as a bit young, even childish, you're
actually incredibly deep and complex. You show people the need to rethink their
assumptions, and confront them on everything from how they think to where they
build their houses. You might be one of the greatest people of all time. You'd
be recognized as such if you weren't always talking about talking rabbits.



Take the Book Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Running out on the family movie

What I'm Reading: The Charm School by Nelson DeMille and Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher.

What I'm working on: Themes, journey statements and turning points for Slayer.

I just walked out on the family movie. We weren't at the theatre -- just watching at home. We were watching I Am Legend. (No link. Google if you want. I don't want to see the website.)

Family movie?

Ok, our kids are teenagers, and they've both seen the movie with their friends, and it's based on a contemporary classic (yes, I know that's an oxymoron), so maybe it's not what you were thinking of as a "family movie" but we were all watching together.

They told me beforehand that the dog dies. (Oops...spoiler...sorry, but, really, some people need to know that before going in.) I thought I could handle it.

What no one told me was that the dog is his only friend. He has NO ONE else to talk to. (Oops... spoiler... oh, well.) And then they kill the dog? Seriously? Um, the ds told me the movie has a happy ending. Really? How's that? The DOG IS DEAD. The dog was his only friend.

NOT HAPPY!

So, to be fair, I didn't see the dog die. I asked if it was coming up about every 5 minutes and the ds kept saying no. Then he started saying, "I don't remember." LIE! I knew it had to be imminent.

So, I slammed the top down on the laptop (I was trying to multi-task) and left it sitting in the middle of the living room floor.

I'll apologize later, but they're probably a little glad I'm gone and they don't have to hear my scream or see my tears when it happens (probably happened by now).

So, now I'm at the computer, and I'm back to spreading out the Slayer notes. But, I did learn a little bit about myself. I might lean toward hopeful horror slathered with a healthy dose of romance when it comes to the stories I have to tell, but the key word there is HOPEFUL. I just don't see how killing the dog is hopeful.

Those of you who know me well, know I have a big squishy soft spot for all dogs. All dogs like me. I have 4 rescues. So, seriously, I don't do movies where the dog dies -- happy ending or not.

(Deep breath.)

I feel better now. Maybe I'll fast forward through that part and go back and watch later.

Maybe.

But only if someone out there can tell me how it ends first. Seriously. Please spoiler me. Is there a happy ending? Fill me in.

M

Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy 4th of July

What I’m reading: The Charm School by Nelson DeMille, His Style of Seduction by Roxanne St. Claire, and Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher


What I’m working on: I'm not today. It's a family holiday.