Thursday, August 30, 2007

Louisiana Ghost Story

My mom sent me this and I couldn't resist passing it on to my blog readers. This sounds like characters in one of my books. I hope you enjoy this Louisiana Ghost Story:

This happened about a month ago just outside of Cocodrie, a little town in the bayou country of Louisiana, and while it sounds like an Alfred Hitchcock tale, it's real.

This out of state traveler was on the side of the road, hitchhiking on a real dark night in the middle of a thunderstorm. Time passed slowly and no cars went by. It was raining so hard he could hardly see his hand in front of his face. Suddenly he saw a car moving slowly, approaching and appearing ghostlike in the rain. It slowly and silently crept toward him and stopped.

Wanting a ride real bad the guy jumped in the car and closed the door; only then did he realize that there was nobody behind the wheel,and no sound of an engine to be heard over the rain. Again the car crept slowly forward and the guy was terrified, too scared to think of jumping out and running.

The guy saw that the car was approaching a sharp curve and, still too scared to jump out, he started to pray and begging for his life; he was sure the ghost car would go off the road and in the bayou and he would surely drown! But just before the curve a shadowy figure appeared at the driver's window and a hand reached in and turned the steering wheel, guiding the car safely around the bend. Then, just as silently, the hand disappeared through the window and the hitchhiker was alone again! Paralyzed with fear, the guy watched the hand reappear every time they reached a curve.

Finally the guy, scared to near death, had all he could take and jumped out of the car and ran to town. Wet and in shock, he went into a bar and voice quavering, ordered two shots of whiskey, then told everybody about his supernatural experience.

A silence enveloped and everybody got goose bumps when they realized the guy was telling the truth (and not just drunk).

About half an hour later two guys walked into the bar and one says to the other, "Look Boudreaux, ders dat idiot that rode in our car when we wuz pushin it in the rain."

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Attitude May Be Everything......

......but where does it come from exactly?????

Attitude is a huge part of developing a character from a story. In fiction, we must have a reason for our character's beliefs, fears, desires, etc. And we write the backstory to support it.

But exactly how much of what we are do you think comes from dna?

Take for instance the optimist versus the pessimist. Is it a learned behavoir or an inherited one. Nature versus nuture - the age-old argument. I think I have an answer to this one and it's because of my cat, Marie, that I've come to this conclusion. But first, a little backstory:

Marie and her brother Vinnie were part of a litter of feral kittens found under an air conditioning unit at my husband's job. Thank God he managed to give away the other six before he got home with the last two. They were about five weeks old, cute and fluffy, and mad as hell. They spent the vast majority of the first week hissing and spitting until they finally figured out that we had: a) indoor plumbing (litter box), b) opposible thumbs which open cat food, c) cool toys which we would drag around the floor, and d) warm laps to curl up in.

These kittens were so young when we got them that they literally came "off the teet" so to speak. They were nice and fat, like kittens should be, and in great overall health according to our vet. Now, I am of the belief that you do not attempt to feed cats at a certain time of the day, because 1) they will haunt you with their mewing if you try it and 2) a happy cat uses their litter box. So I've always subscribed to the theory that you leave a bowl of food out all the time. It's been that way since the beginning. Granted, I switched to the healthy weight management variety when bellies started to sag a bit, but the bowl is still out and has food 24-7.

So Marie is quite literally an animal that has never once known starvation or doing without, but she exihibits an interesting behavoir - she is the bowl monitor. If she can see an empty spot in the bowl (like in the center when they've all eaten from the middle and not the sides), she will raise absolute hell until you cover the spot. She will walk in front of you bawling, curve in between your legs trying to trip you and once, she even threw herself against the first door not wanting me to leave.

Apparently, for Marie, the bowl is always half full.

So my cat is a pessimist. I truly think that she believes if the bowl is not full when we leave the house that she may starve. Mind you, 9 times out of 10, when she pulls this stunt and you fill the bowl, she only looks at it then walks away. It's never about her wanting the food THEN, but she must be planning for something - a kitty apocalypse, maybe?

So what do you think: pessimism versus optimism - nature or nurture?

Monday, August 27, 2007

Ugh - Monday

So sorry I disappeared last week. I have come down with laryngitis from too much drainage from too horrible of allergies and I had to be in class Thurs/Fri - not as a teacher but a student, which is certain death to me. I can't stand being in class. I'd rather read a book and take an exam than listen to someone talk. So I did a day and a half of tax law comingled with affordable housing law (riveting text, I can assure you), then I took a test on Friday evening.

Since I was feeling so horrible, I barely got up in time to make it to class, much less blog. I'm back to that not breathing while I sleep thing and it seems that I never really fall asleep well until about the time it's time to get up. Typical. So I didn't have time to post.

So now it's Monday and my voice is almost completely gone. I can whisper........but it's not even good enough to call the dogs. Of course, my regular doc is not open on Thurs/Fri, so I had to wait until today to even call for an appointment, then hope I can even get in.

Today is my official blog day over at KillerFiction, so go check out my post if you want a good chuckle.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

On Writing Something Different

So I mentioned a couple of weeks back (I think) that I was going to try writing something different. Now, I'm not giving up humorous, contemporary, romance/mystery hybrids, so don't be alarmed. I just want to write something in addition to them.

What I settled on was something I love to read - the gothic. It is still a romance and a mystery, still set in Louisiana, but with gothic setting, storytelling and tone. I simply LOVE a good gothic book or movie. Did any of you see The Others with Nicole Kidman - fabulous example. And setting gothics in Louisiana is so easy - a haunted old mansion tucked far away in the bayou, with creepy cyress trees and hanging moss and thunderstorms and voodoo curses and well, you get the picture.

So I named some of the things I feel make gothics but I wanted to get opinions. Do any of you read gothics or watch the movies? If so, what elements do you feel are necessary to make a gothic a gothic????

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Tuesday Movie Review

UPDATE: Patrice checked in!! They are still in Jamaica, but are safe! Thanks for all the prayers and well-wishes.

Good morning, everyone! And thanks to all of you who stopped by Killer Fiction and posted. You're now entered to win the prize pack (which is fab).

Before I get started on my movie review today, I wanted to ask a favor of all my blog readers - I have a good writer friend, Patrice, and she and her husband were on vacation in Jamaica when the hurricane hit. As of today, I still haven't heard from her, so keep her and her husband in your thoughts and prayers along with all the other people in the storm's path. I'll let you know as soon as I hear something.

Today's movie is a remake of the old Invasion of the Bodysnatchers and is called simply The Invasion. It starred Nicole Kidman and the incredibly sexy Daniel Craig (new James Bond). I thought this movie was pretty good. It didn't break any new ground, but the acting was solid. It didn't have quite the creep factor I hoped it would have, but for the life of me I'm not sure how to get more either.

The premise was the same as the old movie - alien life form is introduced into human body and takes over, making humans non-emotional walking wax figures. Nicole Kidman plays a woman racing to find her son - who has been abducted by his now-alien dad. The son happens to be immune and is the key to creating a cure for the alien invasion.
My final rating: It's a good rental, but I wouldn't pay full price

Monday, August 20, 2007

Draggin' on a Monday

It's Monday and I'm dragging! My flight on Friday night was cancelled, so I didn't get out of NY until Saturday. By the time I got home, I was really only interested in resting so we didn't do much of anything. Saw a movie on Sunday, though, and I'll give you a review tomorrow. Heck, I think I've seen about ten movies lately and haven't review a single one. Oh well, maybe I'll get to all of them one day. :)

Today is my official blog day over at the Killer Fiction Writer's Blog, so come over and visit. If you haven't had a chance to check out the contest info, please do so. There's an opportunity to win books from the KF Writer's, including ARC's of not yet released books - and yes, UNLUCKY is included in that contest. So hop over to our blog and check out my Monday post and the contest.

More tomorrow!

Friday, August 17, 2007

TGIF in New York City!!!!

Conversion workshop yesterday was not a smooth sailing adventure. In fact, it was one of the worst ones I've worked. All kinds of issues and if that didn't make it bad enough, the CompUSA training center is two stories below street level so you can't get a phone signal. So if I needed to call for help, I had to go up to the store where employees kept fussing at me for standing in their way. It was a whole lot of fun. Started early, short lunch, finished waaaaayyyyyy later than schedule. And just think - I get to do it all again today!

My flight is late tonight (of course), but the good news is - after this flight, I will be in Dallas for the next three weeks. Thank you Jesus! I might actually get all my laundry done. I might actually eat something besides restaurant or fast food. I might get my cats to remember me. Hell, I might get my husband to remember me.

In a bout of really good news, I want to announce that the Killer Fiction Writers are giving away prize packets of our books (some of the ARC's), so you have the possibility of being one of the first to read some of our new releases. Details for contest wins are on our website, so check it out and go for a win!!!!!

Well, I must get off of here and to my packing. I've enjoyed my NY stay (although I haven't bought a thing), and the food has been good (although the place I ate last night didn't have Coors Light?????) Today for lunch, I am going to HAVE to get a hotdog from a street vendor. Haven't done that one yet but it sounds great!

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Awake in New York

Well, I made it to NY yesterday. Had to wake up at 4:00 am and head to airport by 5:00 am, but I got here. The flight was actually on time so I was thinking I had earned some mercy. Until the guy in the middle seat got on the plane. He weighed at least 400 lbs (and I'm NOT exaggerating). Like I needed to lean sideways any more with my back already bad. I simply don't know why the airline doesn't make these people buy two seats, but then I guess from his point, why should he? He just paid for one and took half of mine and the other guys. Thank God I had the aisle seat!

I arrived around 11:30 and hailed a cab to Dorchester. Took a tour of the offices and had lunch with my fabulous editor, Leah Hultenschmidt. Publishing offices are a writers/readers dream. There's bookcase and shelves and countertops and desks all stacked/filled with books. It's like a personal library. Lunch was a little French restaurant where we both had skirt steak and it was great. After lunch we walked to the other end of the block to try and figure out where my hotel was (it was supposed to be close) and had a good laugh when we found my hotel literally on the same block as Dorchester - just at the other end. So I had like a 100 foot walk from the Dorchester offices to my hotel.

The hotel is very European and the room and bathroom is about the size of my kitchen at home. But then what did I expect for $350/night in Manhattan? The bed was reasonably comfortable, and compared to that LA bed, it was like floating on air. Once I checked in, I headed back out and walked up 5th Avenue (did I mention my hotel is on 5th Avenue). You'll be proud to know I didn't buy anything.

Around 4:00 I stopped by CompUSA and met the other trainer (I'm here assisting another trainer with a large conversion), and we dropped off her bags then headed to a pub where we proceeded to drink our weight in beer. But hey, no one's driving, right? We finished up at the pub, visited a drug store for hairspray, then went back to our hotel. I crawled in bed at 9:00 - early, I know, but I'd been up since 4:00 am.

So that was my first day in NY. Today I start software conversions with the clients. Pray for me.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Things I Really Don't Like

If you read my earlier post, you know that I had a massage for back/neck/shoulder problems this past weekend. Well, I was also completely out of warranty on pedicures, so I had to have my toes done or switch to winter boots - there was no other alternative.

Now, understand, that I am ticklish, so I don't really like pedicures much to begin with. But it's a hell of a lot easier than painting my own toenails, so I suffer through it. The part that I really don't like is when they think that part of a pedicure should be massaging you. Okay, I just paid for a massage by trained professionals and I don't want one from someone who's not. Especially if I just had a massage the day before and am already bruised from that one. Especially if the nail tech giving the massage on my legs, is too busy talking and not even looking down while she's squeezing the hell out of my legs on the exact spots where I'm already bruised.

I really don't like having to tell someone to pay attention to their job, either. Or point out that if the purpose of the massage is to relax me and it's supposed to feel good, then they're in the negative. You're hurting me and now not only am I not relaxed, I'm irritated that you don't even pay attention to your job. Either do something 100% or don't play at other people's professions.

So anyway, I am annoyed with my nail techs and have been for a while, so looks like it's time to find a new one. (sigh)

Tomorrow I am on the road again. I have an early flight - 7:00 am. (ugh) The only good part is I'm going to Manhattan and will be there early enough to pay a visit to the Dorchester offices and meet some of the employees that I haven't had a chance to meet before. And if the flight is on time, I will get a chance to have lunch with my fabulous editor, Leah. So although it's a rushed trip (I'm back on Friday) and I will have to get up around 4:00 am tomorrow to make my flight, it will all be worth it.

By the way - since I will be up at 4:00 am tomorrow, I'm just guessing I won't be blogging until Thursday. So see you then!

Monday, August 13, 2007

Monday Morning Blues

Well, it's Monday morning again. The good news is that I got out of LA a little early on Friday. The bad news is, I had the worst seat on the plane, after having the worst hotel room ever and I totally threw out my neck, shoulders and lower back between the two. By the time I got home I could barely walk and couldn't bend or turn my head. My wonderful husband, Rene', booked me for a two-hour deep-tissue massage on Saturday to try and get me back upright. I wish I could say I enjoyed it, but I would be lying. Now, granted, it did help, but deep tissue massage is not for the faint of heart. Essentially, I feel like I was "jumped in" by an LA gang.

The good news is, the shoulder, neck and back are getting better. The bad news is, I get on a plane again Wednesday. (sigh) Let's hope it gets better fast!

I have good news today: I am part of a new website and blog community made up of all the Dorchester mystery/hybrid authors! Check out our website and our blog and please visit often because we plan guest bloggers and contests!

Have a great Monday!

Friday, August 10, 2007

Finally Friday

I have to begin my Friday with an apology to Ellen Meister because I blogged the wrong version of her book the other day. The release I should have been blogging is her PAPERBACK release, not her hardback. So even better news for my blog readers. You can pick up Ellen's fabulous book for a lower price. Here's the cool PB cover, so you know what you're looking for and a new link to Barnes & Noble to buy the book!

Today's my last day of training in Los Angeles. That's means my last day of going to bed at 7:30 pm and waking up at 4:00 am. Woohoo!

The hotel I've been staying at is a total pit. On the first day the toilet wouldn't flush, now it won't stop running. Last night the bathtub clogged (it also has a drip) so I got to listen to the drip hit the clogged water all night. The walls and floors are so thin that you can hear everything and the bed is so hard that I've done most of my sleeping in a recliner - which is not much more comfortable. I have an enormous crick in my upper back and shoulders, so I'm certain I'll be getting a massage tomorrow. Of course, that's AFTER I arrive home at approx 1:30 am.

And bummer of all bummers, apparently there was an earthquake here Wed night and I slept through it. I've always wanted to experience one and God knows, I'm not moving here. So there was my chance and I missed it all. Of course, with the construction quality of the hotel, I might have mistaken it for the woman in the room above me walking.

Went shopping yesterday after class and you'll be happy to know that I still managed to keep myself from buying shoes. It's a damned good thing I did a carryon. If I had checked baggage, things might not have gone so well. But I did make one purchase and it was a hell of a deal.

I bought hair.

I know what you're thinking - why don't I just grow some. Well, I'm trying, but I've only managed six inches or so in more than a year. I would really like to have long hair but can't do glued or braided extensions either because my hair is so fine it would ruin it. So I found this hair place yesterday that has those clip in extensions - real hair - so it can be colored, curled, etc. I looked into this in Dallas and the best price I found was $750. Not so in LA. In LA, where everything is fake, apparently really good hair sells for $150 for a 7-piece set.

Whoohoo! Now, as soon as I get girly enough to figure out how to put it in, I can have long hair. I can't wait to get home and play with it.

Okay, must run now and get some work done on the new wip. Only another 40 minutes until 6:00 am when the cafe opens.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Interesting Conversations in a Cafe

So for those of you who don't remember, I'm in Los Angeles this week. Which means I'm up at 4:00-5:00 am and asleep before dark, but hey, what are you going to do, right? Well, my hotel is crap but it's next to a pretty cool old-style family diner that stays open from 6:00 am to 10:00 pm, has good coffee and food and even an internet connection (the one in the hotel sucks). So I guess I don't have to tell you where I've been spending my out-of-class time.

This diner has an interesting mix of people. Mostly it's older folks, who are probably locals. You see a few who are definitely tourists (they've got small kids and have that I'm going to the beach look), and very few business men. The other population in the mix is younger people, probably not locals but recent transplants, and their conversations are all very similar in nature. They're all aspiring writers and are here in LA to make it big.

I say they're probably not local because the locals seem to be more low-key and quite frankly, these writers don't really seem to have a clue. They spend a lot of time talking really loud, making sure everyone is listening to their brilliance. They even glance around to see if someone is listening. Is this the way things are sold in LA? I'm figuring no, and that these people just all want a pat on the back for being an "artist" even though they haven't really accomplished anything but yelling in a cafe.

The first morning, I almost laughed out loud because the girl talking about her book, that would most definitely have a movie made about it, was about her life struggles. She was probably 18 and it sounded like her life wasn't any more difficult than any of 5 million other people, but I guess she thinks people would give a damn about her. Even though she's not famous....even though people have had fantastic lives that no one wants to hear about. So the guy with her is kissing her butt to a somewhat alarming degree and she's eating all this up.

When she launched into how she intended to give all proceeds from the book and movie to charity, I almost spit out my coffee. All I could think was, if this is a first book, you might need to borrow some money from a charity to get your marketing done.

So 'ole boy launches into a whole new round of butt-kissing about her selflessness and what a wonderful person she is and how he's always known that about her and about how her last boyfriend didn't see and appreciate all that. And all I'm thinking is, man, I hope you get some action out of this because you are laying it on REALLY thick. Even worse, she's buying every word of it which makes me think she'll probably be a horrible writer if she doesn't even understand base human motivation, but what do I know?

So the waitress stops by to refill my coffee and asks if I'm working on a book. I reply that I am and the two at the other table perk up. The guy looks over and says "are you an aspiring writer, too." To which I reply, "No, I stopped aspiring a couple of years ago." He nods and says "so now you just do it for fun." I shake my head and say, "No, now I just do it for publication."

So the two look impressed and I hand a bookmark to the waitress who is asking about my book and declaring she loves romance. The two wish me good luck and slink out the door and the waitress watches them, laughs, then leans over and says to me, "Five years of working here and listening to everyone push their stories. You're the first one I can actually go buy and you never said a word."

I just shrugged and said, "I'm not pretending. Writing isn't glamorous work. It's hard work, and it doesn't get done rehashing your story idea with everyone you know. Especially in a public place. That's the best way to kill your enthusiasm for the project. But then that's if you ever intended to actually sit down and write in the first place."

Now, don't get me wrong, I see this some in Starbucks back in Dallas. I've gotten the "are you an aspiring writer question there too." You don't even want to know the looks I get when I inform those tortured-looking, very literary reading, young writers that I write romance. Lord help, you'd think I peed in their coffees. I find it most amusing. But I've never been into a restuarant where I've heard so many people talking about writing. So is it because I'm in LA? Is everyone out here thinking they're going to live the dream and become millionaires?????

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Lost Post and Other Aggravation

I had a big long post about my first day in LA and blogger ate it. So now I'm just not feeling re-creating it so it will have to wait until later in the week. Instead, I'm going to bitch since I'm in a testy mood after losing my blog post.

My bitch is one I've had before but apparently no one is listening. So here it is again:

If you have to pee every hour, do NOT sit on the inside seat on an airplane!

And for the record, I have traveled extensively and observed this and I have something to say. Women may take more time in the bathroom getting ready, but it is MEN who trapse up and down the rows of the plane to pee every thirty minutes. The only exception was the pregnant woman, but we're going to give her a pass.

So here's a couple of things to consider so that you're not a total ass.

1. If you know you have a bladder the size of a pea, then sit on aisle seats only.

2. If you are too inconsiderate to book early enough to get an aisle seat and you still know you have a bladder the size of a pea, then DON'T DRINK ANYTHING DURING THE FLIGHT!!!!!!

This ass next to me on the flight yesterday drank god knows how much soda, then makes me move to let him out. I was in a particularly interesting plot thought while writing on my new wip and was NOT happy that he made me lose my thought. Then he had to stand in line with 5 other MEN and it took a half hour before he was back and I could get situated again.

You know, when I was a kid and we went on vacation, my dad would say "make sure you go to the bathroom because we're not stopping." And by God, we could have been driving from Louisiana to Alaska but unless we needed gas, he wasn't pulling over. Now if a child (who probably does have a bladder the size of a pea) can hold it, why can't an adult??????

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Guess Where I'm Headed & a GCC Tour

Yep, you got it - I'm headed to the airport this morning. Off to Los Angeles until Friday when I return home around 12:30 am - yes, that's as in the morning. (yuck) Everyone is saying things like "oh, but the weather's great there right now." Of course, I'm like "yes, but the weather inside the Hampton Inn is always great. That's what thermostats are for." I simply can't get people to understand that travel is exhausting. Training is exhausting and I'm not on vacation. I have to work all day. Who wants to go out at night when they've worked all day - alone, in a strange town? Not me for one. I'm too damned old.

Still haven't gotten a chance to take a picture of the kitty, but I'll see if my hubby can do that this week and email it to me.

Today I have a GCC tour brought to you by EllenMeister and her debut novel, SECRET CONFESSIONS OF THE APPLEWOOD PTA. Not only can you get this book in hardcopy and read it - it's available in all audio formats and read by Lisa Kudrow. How cool is that?

When a Hollywood location scout comes to Applewood, Long Island, and announces that the local elementary school might make the perfect backdrop for an upcoming George Clooney movie, the PTA's decorum crumbles like a cookie from last week's bake sale.

Enter Maddie, Ruth, and Lisa, three women who become the glue that holds the project together, forging a bond of friendship stronger than anyone could imagine. And not a moment too soon, as marriage woes, old flames, and scandalously embarrassing family members threaten to tear each of them apart. Is their powerful alliance strong enough to overcome the obstacles to getting the movie made in their town? And will their friendship be enough to mend their hearts and homes? Join them as they reach for the stars . . . and try to pull off a Hollywood ending of their own.

At once tender and hilarious, Secret Confessions of the Applewood PTA is a captivating story that turns suburbia upside down . . . with more humor, heartache, and heat than one PTA can hold.

Praise for Confessions:

"Meister's debut novel is heartbreakingly funny, her characters facing life's dramas and disappointments head on with wit and spunk." – Library Journal (starred review)

"Ellen Meister has written a beautiful book about love, life and friendship that you are sure to never forget." – Fresh Fiction

"A funny and wonderfully irreverent look at the dark underbelly of suburbia." – Lolly Winston, author of Good Grief and Happiness Sold Separately

"With sexy characters, sharp dialogue, and snappy pacing, Meister's sassy, saucy debut novel could well turn into a movie of its own." – Booklist

"Women, hide this book from your husbands and resist the urge to read passages out loud. Ellen Meister knows our secrets, and she tells them in a smart, honest, and very funny voice." – Maryanne Stahl, author of Forgive the Moon and The Opposite Shore

"Three conflicted housewives in Applewood, Long Island, long for something more fulfilling than what their families and their membership in the local PTA offer.... helping each other realize their dreams. Comical yet poignant." – Kirkus Reviews

"George Clooney should be proud." – Mark Ebner, author of Hollywood Interrupted

"Ellen Meister's first novel is a smashing success ... touches the heart and the funny bone ." – Romance Divas

"Funny, compelling and well-written." – Trashionista

"The best time I've had in years. Ellen Meister's characters are so funny, smart, and real, I feel like I've made three new friends!" – Lisa Kudrow

About the Author:

A Long Island PTA mom herself, Ellen Meister is no stranger to the scandal and drama of the carpool set. Add a background in writing ad copy and short stories—as well a stint as editor of an online literary magazine—and the result is a novelist as dedicated to nuances of language as she is to a storyline that delights on every page.

Meister lives on Long Island with her husband and three children. She writes, she swears, she sings, she dances … all from the front seat of her minivan. This is her first novel.

Visit Ellen at her website and buy the book!

Friday, August 03, 2007

Exhausted and Aggravated

So normally I don't rant on my blog, but today I'm going to.

I'm tired of traveling and at the moment, I really hate my job. I have had one full week off the road since the middle of April and that's ridiculous. My allergies keep me sick and my doctor has said there's not a darn thing he can do unless I stay in one place. Allergy shots are geared for the place you live. He can't immunize me for the entire US.

And if that's not bad enough, I had a serious computer malfunction. Wednesday night I got on a roll and finished my first chapter of the new wip I was working on. Since it's the beginning of the story (and something different that what I normally write), I went back and edited and polished. Did all the research that I need to do on names and some historical data. Anyway, long and short - it was about five hours of research. So before I dozed off, I emailed the chapter to Cindy, one of my cp's. Saved it one last time and went to sleep.

Thursday night I get email back from Cindy on the chapter and I'm confused. Some of the things she's bringing up are things I DID do in the chapter. So I open the chapter to see if I can figure out what she's talking about and all of my work from the night before is gone. I mean, totally and absolutely gone. I did a search on my entire pc for all text files and it's simply not there. Not only that, what I emailed to Cindy didn't have any of the changes either.

Now I save about every two sentences when I'm writing, so I simply don't know what happened. And normally, I would save to flash drive, but I was writing in bed and broke my cardinal rule of backup.

So that's it - I lost a full night's worth of work and I was sick. I really, REALLY loved what I had done and I know I will never get it back the way it was again.

So between the exhuastion and losing my work, I didn't know whether to drink or cry. But ultimately, I was too tired to go get alcohol and too tired to cry so I just sat. A couple of hours later, I rewrote the chapter, redid the research and got back to where I was, but I'm not happy with it yet. And who know, maybe I never will be.

All I know is I really want to board and plane and go home. Even though it will only be for a couple of days.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Complete Loss

I'm at a complete loss for what to blog about today. Quite frankly, I just don't have two thoughts in my head other than I have to get dressed and I really need coffee. I think that just about fills up my mind.

I stayed up late last night working on the new wip. I'm only one chapter in, but I edited a bit so that took longer and my initial working on a book is always a slow start because of all the French names. It takes me forever to pick suitable names in my books. And when you're talking about naming people, cities and in this case, a house, that's a lot of research and decision. My friend, Jaye Wells, blogged about names the other day, and it got me to thinking again about how my characters were sort of no one at the moment.

I started writing the same as usual - without any names. It goes something like this: (heroine) jumped out of her car and waved at (best friend) who was talking to (sheriff).

Then when I decide on something, I come back and put them in. It's almost like I need to see what kind of people I'm writing about before I can decide on a name for them. Unfortunately, it's harder to write with no names so the name choosing has to happen sooner than later. I've found one chapter is about my limit before I need to decide on something.

Then there's times when I'm halfway into a book and realize that my secondary characters (are even smaller) all have similar names or names that start with the same initial and I have to change one or two of them so that readers don't confuse them with each other. Name picking is probably one of the more frustrating parts of writing for me.

What about you? If you write, how hard is it to decide on names? If you're a reader, how much do you think name choice adds (or takes away) from the story?

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

What Ever Happened to Common Sense

I've decided if I could figure out a way to produce common sense in a liquid form and distribute it on the open market, I would probably be an overnight billionaire. We often hear the expression that "truth is stranger than fiction" and Lord, I know that's true. In some of my earlier works I "borrowed" some instances from real life and people who read the work would say "no one's going to believe that." Well, probably not. Heck, I wouldn't have believed some of those things if I hadn't been there when they happened. And knowing the people involved always gives it some credibility too.

But odd situations aside, one of the things a lot of writers struggle with is character motivation. They need characters to do certain things because that's what moves their story forward. Unfortunately, they sometimes have their characters doing things that aren't "in character" at all. Or ever worse, exercising no common sense. Now, in real life that's becoming the norm. Most people just don't seem to think beyond their nose. Let me give you an example:

On Monday night it was raining so I didn't want to go out and get food. I ordered a pizza from room service. The pizza was so bad that I took two bites, threw it away and ate microwave popcorn for dinner instead. So last night I was still wanting decent pizza and spotted a Domino's on the way back to my hotel after class. So I order a pizza from Domino's and have it delivered to the hotel. About thirty minutes after ordering, the front desk calls and says my pizza is there. So I tell them to send him up and they say they can't for "security reasons." Now, mind you, every single day since Sunday, I have strolled in and out of this hotel, past the front desk, without anyone so much as looking at me - much less speaking or checking my id. But when someone who clearly has a defined business in the hotel - wearing a pizza uniform - carrying a pizza - wants to use the elevators, this is apparently a security risk???????

Who the hell are you fooling??????

So any bad guy dressed in a non-food delivery uniform can get right by the front desk with no problem but people carrying food are apparently risky. I simply don't know where to go with that.

So I tell the front desk "you're kidding me - I'm in my pajamas." But they won't budge. So I say to hell with them, slip on flipflops and go downstairs in short shorts and a tank top with no bra. You get what you get, I figure. I apologize to the pizza guy for having to wait. He apologizes for not being able to bring it to the room as he had intended (all this just inches from the front desk) and I say "It's not your fault. The service in this hotel is some of the worst and the most ignorant I have ever come across. And I travel every week." He just laughs, the front desk clerks (all three of them) glare, and he walks nervously out of the hotel.

See, that's stupid character motivation. If you had a front desk person as a main character who was doling out those rules without at least acknowledging that management made them do it and it was stupid, well, your character would look really dumb.

Everyone always says that you have to "suspend disbelief" to read fiction, and that statement is sometimes true, but more often I find you have to "smarten up" real life in order to write fiction.
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