Monday, November 30, 2009

American Film Institute

I believe I've mentioned this website before, but it's great in providing lots of info you can use even in writing books. Check out this page.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Memories

This time of the year gets me in a reminiscing mood. Last night, I was listening to Christmas music and decided to walk through my childhood home. Since strangers now live there, I couldn’t knock on the door and ask to walk through. So I did what any writer can do. I closed my eyes and entered my old home through the same door I entered whenever I came home from school or a date. I even remember the shape of the key I had for so many years.

As I entered through the door with slats of glass that mom opened on beautiful cool mornings, I could smell the sharp scent of hairspray. My mom owned a beauty salon and it was part of the house. When I was around five, my parents converted the garage into a salon on one side and a den in the other. The salon had two chairs: one near the sink and the other near a shelf with wigs along two pink and black cushioned chairs with dryers attached. A utility room held my father’s mother’s chifferobe that I now have in my house.

The two rooms were divided by a wall, so in my mind’s journey, I opened the door leading into the den. It had indoor-outdoor dark blue-green carpet and mom’s desk sat in the far right corner. A long mirror covered the left wall above the vinyl covered sofa. This room had a utility room too, but it held the washer and dryer and another door leading out to our patio. Mom often sat out there in the mornings in her nightgown as she drank her first cup of coffee. We didn’t have any neighbors in the back with only one at the side, so no one could see her.

The den had shelves in one wall that replaced a window (remember it use to be garage) and in those shelves were World Book Encyclopedias and several other books I loved to look through as a kid. I rarely watched a movie without having to pull one of the alphabets out to read about something said or shown on television.

The next room was one step up and you entered the kitchen. It wasn’t big, but I remember so many wonderful smells coming from there. Mom was a great cook and still is especially when it comes to chicken and dressing. My poor children never could say the same about me.

Years later, mom would change the den into a part of the salon and place a door between it and the kitchen. The shelves will be moved to separate the kitchen’s “bar” from the dining room. I remember as a kid sitting at the bar and hearing my sister talk about what one boy or another said to her. She was so beautiful and I thought she was so cool.

Then I walked into what was my bedroom until my sister moved out and I got her room. In my first bedroom were twin beds and I shared the room with my little brother. That wasn't easy.

The bedroom had a huge double window and I can remember lying in bed as mom sang in the kitchen and the rays of the sun crawled across the floor.

After I married, mom changed the set up and opened the wall between the living room and the bedroom, turning it into an open floor plan. It was really nice and helped in making the house feel larger, especially when all of us came home for the holidays.

Walking down the hall, the bathroom was on the left and the living room on the right. A standup piano near the door and the large double window facing the street. We always placed our Christmas tree there for everyone to see. A little further down the hallway was my bedroom straight ahead (the one I moved into at twelve) and mom’s on the right.

When I was a teenager, mom decided to place carpet in the house (years later she torn it out and refinished the wood floors – styles change) and she let me pick out my color. I think in a way she regretted it. I picked red. LOL! Red shag carpeting. With red and white shades and a black Spanish style hanging lamp with red glass inserts, I had a great bedroom. I also owned a black light – you know, those that make white and other paints glow.

When I fourteen, I gave up my beautiful bedroom for a little while (this was before I got the red shag carpet). My grandfather had lung cancer and lived with us for short while, receiving chemo treatments. Though I was a teenager and we know how self-centered they can be, I didn’t resent my granddad having my bedroom. I didn’t really understand he was dying and thought it was cool I could see him every day. It was during that time he told me he loved me. He was crying and I cried with him and told him I loved him too.

Mom said he only said it because he was dying, but I believe he meant it.

Anyway, I lived in that house from the time I was 18 months to 18 years old. Mom remarried and moved out, goodness, around twenty years ago, but to me that house will always be home.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Good Fight

Depression is so depressing. LOL! Sorry. I couldn't help it. You have to remember I love slap-stick and corny jokes, so I go for the easy laughs. Though depression is really no joking matter. And I know, as depression was the center of my life from 1996 to 2002 and I still struggle with it every day. Oh, I functioned the best I could during the worst of it at that time. Yet I know I wasn't myself. I gained hundred pounds and quit caring for a lot things I use to love to do. My kids were important part of my life and thankfully for them, I kept going.

In 2002, I decided I needed to get out of that terrible funk and decided to concentrate on my writing. I figured if I ever was to get published, I needed help. So that year I became involved with my local RWA chapter. I have to say, concentrating on improving my writing and working toward publication helped pull me out of that six year slump. But it's a double edge sword, isn't it? There are plenty writers out there who are addicted to drugs and alcohol, and I certainly understand how they can become that way. Receiving rejections are bad enough, but after become published, the pressure to produce more and better has to be hard. Then the bad reviews must be demoralizing.

I've found when I become depressed, usually I'm thinking too hard and tearing down every word said by those around me. And I start to allow old hurts to resurface, especially when I'm with family. I don't want to be one of those grown adults blaming her mother and dad for all the mistakes they made. They're human. Having children of my own has taught me that.

For now, I take one day at a time. When I feel the darkness surrounding me, I read a good book or watch an exciting movie. Before I know it, I'm feeling better.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Mishmash


Look where I've been. I'm on vacation and Diane and I met for lunch at PF Chang's at the Bridge Street Center (shopping center). It was beautiful. It's located in Huntsville. Then I spent the night with my dad and his wife. We talked and talked (Diane and I; Dad and I). Whoa, I'm tired.
Then I returned home to another rejection letter. ::sigh:: It was from Kensington. He said, "...the narrative didn't engage me." Narrative is another word for VOICE. Oh, well. That was only one book. I have others, but when they don't like your voice that makes it rough. This year has been a bust for me.
I'm so tired.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Relax and Take A Bubble Bath Music

Norah Jones sings some of the most relaxing music. I heard she has a new album out. Waiting for payday to buy it.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Zoom-Zoom

Well, this weekend has flown by again. When not writing, I caught up on my shows. I watched two episodes of each: General Hospital, Gossip Girl, Dark Blue, and Vampire Diaries. I watched parts of Troy (Brad Pitt) and a few other movies not worth mentioning. I did a little house cleaning and bought some groceries.

This week I'm working on an old vampire novel of mine. I need 20,000 words and hope to finish it by the new year.

We'll see.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Thankful Friday

I'm thankful to be home after working eleven hours. Guess that means business has picked up. I'm thankful for that, but I rather get off work on time. I rather write. :-)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Buzz - Part Two

For those who don't understand the problem with Harlequin starting up a vanity line, click here and read Jackie Kessler's blog. She does a bang up job.

As I mentioned the other day, I understand why Harlequin did it. The all powerful moo-la is the reason. They're not there for their looks. But I believe they screwed up by attaching their name to it. (Reputation wise.) Obviously the bean-counters who recommended this, didn't understand the fine nuances of what it means to be an author.

Vanity publishing is as low as you can get in my opinion. I know of people who've paid for their book to be in print and they go around calling themselves published. They have to know those who are really published (like by St. Martin's, Ballentine, Pocket, etc.) shake their heads in disgust. I've even tried to read a couple of the self-published (vanity) books and they're horrible. That doesn't mean all are horrible, but chances are...

Anyway, I do believe Harlequin will thrive. Too many people want to be published and don't care what else the company does. Heck, there are still people out in the world who have never heard of Romance Writers of America. Only now those authors will have to decide being published is more important than being able to call themselves published under RWA's rules and being able to submit their published book in the Rita (as of 11/17, that would be a no on both counts). For those who don't know, the Rita is romance's Oscar (Academy Awards).

Me? RWA rules or Rita isn't as important to me than being published. But I won't pay to be published. I plan on a publisher paying me. I put enough of my time and money (conferences, workshops, paper, postage, ink, software, etc.) into my unpublished stories. No way will I turn around and pay someone to print them. In fact, that's a HELL NO.

So now we wait to see what happens next. RWA has responded as they only could. They did a great job, but all of their (our) power is smoke. Sure we have 10,000 plus members. But there are millions of readers out there and they don't care.

Have I said recently how glad I am not to be on the RWA National board? Geez!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A Favorite Tale

Beauty and The Beast is one of my favorite stories. Whenever an author uses the premise I usually love it. This clip has only the musical score, but it's beautiful. Plus it makes you concentrate on what the characters are doing, how they're expressing their emotions without words. Of course, the music helps too. What a wonderful way for an author to learn to "draw" emotion in her book. Enjoy.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Buzz

It's all over the internet, Harlequin has started a vanity line. So you pay them money and they'll publish your book. Don't expect the complete book to be edited. Don't expect advertising. Don't expect distribution. That's yours to do. They only print it. That's it. Click here to check it out.

I understand why they're doing it (money), but it doesn't make me like it. Really wished they hadn't attached their name to the brand - Harlequin Horizons.

But I'm not surprised.

Monday, November 16, 2009

The Mountains of Tennessee

My hubby and I love to stay in the mountains of Tennessee. We rent a cabin with a great view and we go and do a little sightseeing but mostly relax. This cabin we made sure had a big screen TV and with plenty of movie channels. We stretch out on the couch at night and watch movies until the early hours. Hmmm. I even got into the hot tub -- couldn't talk hubby into joining me. Maybe next time.

Look for me on FaceBook. I have more pictures there.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Why Does An Ad Agency Sound Like Sales?

Funny. But be aware the language is a little salty.



Well, I guess the lesson from this is I'm thankful I don't work in advertising.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

On The Job

For those interested in where I work during the day...click here and watch Show 228. They never show my office, that's okay, but it shows several other areas.

[Oh, the company I work for is the first one.]

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Time Change

I'm in the Central Time Zone for the U.S. and for some reason we still change time from Standard to Daylight Savings and then back to Standard every year. We're presently on Standard time. I prefer it as I don't have to get out of bed until it's daylight. But it's so dark when I get home in the evenings.

If my hubby doesn't make it home before me for some reason, the house is so dark. He hates it when I leave a light on. Wasted electricity and all. So I keep my figures crossed. It creeps me out when I have to search for the light switch in the dark. I've seen too many suspense movies.

No worries though. I'm safe as we have an alarm system and two nosey neighbors. LOL!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Everyone Is My Friend

LOL! I couldn't help but give this post that title. Friday night I had a Margarita. Only one. That's my limit. There's a good reason I do that. I love that drink and when I get tipsy, I love everyone. Yes. I'm one of those happy-go-lucky sorts. Married or not, that can get you in trouble even if you don't do anything but flirt or talk nice to people.

Speaking of nice...Anne Stuart is as nice as I had expected. Charming, smart and witty. And as we talked during the several trips from airport to hotel to library and back to hotel, I found we had a lot of the same taste in TV shows, movies and songs. It was kind of eerie in fact.

For example, on the way to the hotel Friday night, out of the blue she started singing the words to one of my favorite songs. In fact, I blogged about the song at one time. Click here to check it out. I was so tickled that I plugged in my iPod to play her the song (proving I wasn't brown-nosing her). LOL!

She was so much fun.

Friday, November 6, 2009

I'm Your Number One Fan

This afternoon, I go to pick up Anne Stuart at the airport and I’m so tickled. I’m such a fan. Not the scary “Misery” type of fan. I don’t even own a sledgehammer.

We’re having our Romance Readers Luncheon tomorrow and Anne is the keynote speaker. She spoke at our RWA National conference in July too and she was so funny. Dry humor mixed with a little naughtiness. Just my type of humor.

Her books, especially her single titles, are edgy and the heroes are almost more bad guy than good. I find them to be interesting and, oh, so sexy. Kind of like the fascination people have for alligators (they eat their young) or owning tigers (think Siegfried & Roy). Even one of her books had the hero accused of killing his wife and children. Every clue in the book pointed to him, but knowing Ann is a romance writer was the saving grace that kept me reading. I will tell you the children were alive. After finishing it, I gave the book away. It wrung me out emotionally. Definitely a sign of a great writer.

She has another book that came out a couple months ago and I’ve been waiting until the luncheon to purchase it and have her sign it. Another reason I waited was the book’s heroine cheats on her husband with the “hero.” Since infidelity is second to child abuse in terrible scenarios, she has really pushed my buttons. But I can’t resist. It always turns out better than I expect. I may not approve of her methods, but she hasn’t failed me yet with a great read.

Well, maybe once. It was a Harlequin (can’t remember the line or title of the book), but she had the hero driving a Volkswagen Beetle. Sorry. He can drive a beat up truck or a junky sedan, but a BEETLE? That is just downright horrifying.

Yes. I know. I have my priorities all screwed up.

Oh, I'm thankful that I get to meet so many wonderful authors.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

What's Your Favorite Time?

I've noticed recently I set a lot of my books in the fall. Not that weather plays a part, but I just thought it strange. Summer is really my favorite time of year. Winter is my least. I've told my youngest many times, she's the best thing to come out of winter. She's a New Year's Day baby. I use to tell her everyone was shooting off fireworks to celebrate her birthday. LOL!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Boob Tube Tuesday

Missed writing my blog yesterday because Tuesdays I have three one hour shows I like to watch. Rarely do I sit for 3 hours without moving, well, at least my hands rarely stay still. I'm usually typing away answering or sending emails. Between my writing group's luncheon this Saturday and the on-going Linda Howard Award of Excellence contest, I've been busy.

Have I been writing? Not yesterday and not anything new. The last month I've been preparing an entry into the big RWA contest, the Golden Heart. Yes. I've been a good girl and this is the only contest I've entered since, goodness, June I believe.

After the luncheon and after I get enough 1st round judges to cover the scores we need, I plan to finish a book I started a few years ago. I have several where I've written a couple pages to 200. Nine in fact. Funny, that's the same number I've finished too. Though I have to add, four of them will probably never see the light of day. But I'll probably recycle the plots or premises.

Oh, I need to query some more agents.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Good People

Talk about good people...Beverly Barton is one of the nicest authors I know out there. She's not able to make the luncheon and she still sent my writers group a basket to give away. She's a true Southern lady.

Oh, and a talented author too.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Feel Good Movies

Who loves feel-good movies? I do. Today, I watched THE KID with Bruce Willis. Sometimes you just need a sweet movie to lift your spirits. As you can imagine, I'm not one to watch horror flicks or the literary type with the death of a hero or heroine. Sure if you watch the type of film that is certain to end happy, you know whatever predicament they get into, they'll get out of. For me, it's the way they arrive at that happy ever after that makes me watch it.

Thus why I like romance so much.