Archive | July 2012

Helping Hands

I’m getting ready to send the story off. I had planned to just write it, put it away, and start on a new project. Couldn’t get anything to stick, and quite frankly something amazing happened.

My niece “stole” my story pages and typed them in for me. Thanks, Leyla Bean! It was a tremendous help.

And then.

Then I sent it to a friend **wave to Rie**. She asked if I minded a “hard” edit.

Yikes!

But I said yes. Even before I had even READ the typed copy. Why? Because I trust Rie. Because I knew that if I put it off it might not happen. That hard edit? Wasn’t very hard at all. Some of them were formatting issues, some were misspellings and misunderstandings on the part of the typist. But then, oh then, Rie started prepping me to submit my work.

I wrote it (literally hand wrote a 4,000 word short story). Someone helped me edit and get ready (down to how to blurb) to submit. Writers are a special breed my lovelies.

In most businesses, potential “competitors” would never lay out exactly how to get the finished product through. Need more proof? Google Writing Tips, or here on WordPress put the topic/tag Writing in your Reader portion. There are *tons* of people trying to help other people get their voice out in the open. I often cruise on Word Press while on breaks (loving the Android!) and writing is the go to topic. I almost always find a post or two to read.

We are, in a word, odd. Writers are odd. There, I’ve said it. We live in our heads. We’re often “performing” while solitary. We love our stories, our words, with a passion. The drive to write, to publish (and yes, they are two separate drives) is fierce but yet we will reach out a hand and help drag someone else to the very best of their ability.

The very generosity of those who helped me… it’s humbling.

I’d better write more, make sure that their investment of time is worth it.

 

PS- I just finished Cathy Lamb’s new novel coming out in August. I’ll post a review this week. IT”S GOOD.

Jane Bites Back, pacing the floors

I’ve been posting lately both on book reviews and on my writing journey. This time, I’m going to give a little of both. Hopefully 🙂

 

Jane Bites Back, by Michael Thomas Ford.

 

Jane Austen is alive, er… un-dead and well. She’s a little peeved at all the people making money off her, royalties that she cannot receive because the world thinks she’s dead. Ford deftly imagines a world where Austen, Bronte and Byron are still hanging around in modern times. Two out of the three are doing ok.

The third? Crazy as a loon.

This novel was captivating, not only because of the subject matter. Instead of writing it in a modern style, it reads a bit… old fashioned, sweet. Not simple, but not the frenetic fast pace that seems to dog the urban fantasies that I read most of the time. It was a relaxing read, being able to sink into Austen’s modern world and take a look through her eyes.

Over all?  I’m glad Jane is kind of alive, and plan on seeking out the next two books in the series.

 

This book did bring to mind the importance of pacing. If the story is too slow, your reader will close the book and go watch paint dry. Too fast, too intense, and you risk burning the reader out or worse, garnering the wrong response from the pivotal scene. People need ups and downs, and we need to conserve the readers energy.

Which sounds really strange. The reader’s energy? We’re not running a marathon when we pick up a book. Have you ever read a novel written in first person, present tense? Ok, how did you feel while reading it? When I read one such novel, the author plum wore me out. How does that happen? I don’t know, but I know it does.

The best stories take a reader and wrap them up in another world. One where romance is possible, or unicorns prance through the forest. In the hands of a good author, we as readers are wrapped up in the book. We’re not reading it, we are living it. Vicariously, but still.

And that’s why books will trump movies every single time.

Till later, my lovelies. Have a wonderful week.

Read more! And write even more than that!

Eloisa James: Pleasure for Pleasure

I finally caved in and went out and bought the book, Pleasure for Pleasure, by Eloisa James. I asked at the local Barnes and Nobles, and not only did they not have it— they didn’t carry it. So I ordered it the correct way (if you want a local store to carry more of the books you love, you need to order it from the brick and mortar store, NOT the website).

And it was sooo lovely. I love the sisters in this series, as well as the Shakespearean references. While the romance parts are funny, lovely etc etc, what is really addictive in this series is the relationship between sisters. When Imogen was so upset with Tess and wouldn’t talk to her? I was heartbroken! It wasn’t Tess’ fault! And Annabel, luscious fabulous Annabel! You just know that when Josie came on the market, fun and hijinks were sure to follow.

It was a surprise to find her miserable during her first season.

Not surprising was the body issues Josie carried through all the books. Written well, and handled delicately, it added so much to the character. The scene where Lord Mayne wears a dress to show Josie how she should walk was so funny and tender that I wanted it to last forever.

And that, my dear friends, is the sign of an expert writer. If you want to stay in the world they’ve created, then the writer has done their job. Ms. James does it exceedingly well.

 

Yeh, and I know I promised the Jane Austen review but I still have tomorrow! I’ll probably do a bunch of them so I can post throughout the week. Off to do my own  writing now. When I’m reading an Eloisa James book, I have to race through to the finish line, no matter what I’m trying to work on.

The Finish Line

The Finish Line

 

Well, I made it across the finish line and there was much dancing of the happy sort. I finally, finally finished something.

I have a short story with a beginning, a middle and an end. It has a heroine, a villain and a supporting cast.

It also, strangely enough, has a lot of alliteration. It’s funnier than I normally write, and her mouth gets her in trouble every once in a while, but it was fun. I looked forward to writing the next day. I got it all written down and crossed the finish line.

I’ve reclaimed my writing self.

YAY!

Now I just need to take that momentum and carry it over into the next one and the next and… WHOA. One story at a time. That’s all we have to do. Tell one story at a time.

 

In other news—I made a trip to the bookstore and picked up some reading material. I just finished Jane Bites Back and will be reviewing it soon.  Probably by Thursday. I rewarded myself for finishing with a small(ish) bag of books. But I need to keep it in perspective.

I can read other people’s dream constantly  or forge my own.

Not really a hard choice there.

Dear Viacom

A note to my normal audience: I’m sorry for the rant. However, this angered me so much I had to get something out there. I will return to our regularly scheduled programming this weekend, I promise.

 

Dear Viacom,

I understand that you provide a service, and that you want to be paid for it. But you need to check yourself. You are coming across as nothing more than just another greedy, grasping corporation (and by all accounts, that is what actually is going on). What makes it even worse is that you are doing it by holding parents hostage.

You say that the disagreement is over a few pennies a day. But if you do the math (3.5 pennies per day times 30/31 days per month times 26 channels) it is $27.30 PER MONTH. Perhaps you have that sort of disposable income. But you are no longer going to be making it off my back. If Nick comes back to Direct TV (the Nick channels and TV Land being the ONLY Viacom channels we watch, by the way) we will watch it. Because it is part of a service that we pay for with Direct TV.

But no more. No more Sponge Bob candy, toys, movies, video game,books. No more ANY Nick movies. No product-tie ins, nada. Say goodbye to all those nifty cool Dora and Diego toys family, because I ain’t buying them anymore. Personally, my wish is that every single parent on this planet tells you to take your corporate jet and shove it where the sun don’t shine.

Nick is great for what it is, don’t get me wrong. But you aren’t in the same league as Disney and with your current maneuverings, you won’t be. Disney does not hold parents hostage. Yes, the parks are expensive. But the cartoons are cool, the tie ins are age appropriate and quite frankly I don’t mind paying for the Disney branding.

Walt earned that.

His company makes it worth it.

You’ve earned nothing. I hope other parents join me in boycotting your products. I am  so digusted with you and your tactics that I want to spit. Right on your corporate jet.

Screw you.

 

Signed,

Yet another disgusted customer

Writing a new life

I’ve talked before about how long and from whence my writing block came. I’ve been trying to bust through it, would start and stop. Incomplete Word files are piling up in the My Documents section of the computer and all I can think of is WHY NOT?

Why not this one here? Because it hits too close to home? But that one was distanced from me and it went nowhere quickly, too. Of course the heroine was a little whiny. And on and on it goes, excuse (yes, I know what they are) after excuse while stories pile up. It’s a massacre!

So I tried something different. I’ve been writing on a computer for decades. It’s easy (was easy) to simply zone out and watch the story as my fingers flew across the keyboard. I write my blogs the same way. But my stories… haven’t been happening.

I purposely quit reading books this week. The book I reveiwed, I actually read a while back ago (but Hey! it’s just now getting ready to come out so that worked perfectly). Sometimes you need to give your brain a rest from other people’s dreams in order to let your own imagination come out and play. So that’s what I did.

Imagine my suprise when I picked up a pad of paper and a pen and started writing a short story. And have been working on it, continuing on in bits and peices (as a single mom that’s all the time I’ve got right now). Is it perfect? Hell no. Will it need stuff added in, well of course! Even when I write on a computer I tend to be a bit sparse on setting, focusing more on character. I go back and paint in the details, if you will. But you know what this story has that the others don’t?

A smart ass heroine. Difficulties.

The fact that after the first inital burst I’m still writing it is the main difference.

I’ve finished stories before, of course I have. But no matter what happens, I’m rooting for this story.

Because I really, really need to cross the finish line again.

 

The Chocolate Thief

The Chocolate Thief by Laura Florand, published by Kensington. Release date: July 31, 2012

 

Let me just say that I fell in love not only with this book, but also with Paris and Parisian chocolatiers. All Cade wants is to make gourmet, indulgent chocolates such as those made by Sylvain. He detests the Corey family’s chocolate line (think Hershey and Mars) as cheap and worthless.

Take these two headstrong people and shake well in the city of love.

I love the fact that Cade can’t just buy her way through Paris. Not only does it make the book more interesting, it also gives an interesting spin on the whole Arrogant Parisians vs. Ugly Americans. Neither side is as bad as they seem in the stereotype, but then again there is just a grain of truth in there. At least from the other side’s point of view.

This is a light, frothy movie of a book. If I had put Paris on my bucket list before, this book made me actually start Googling family trip packages (which are still out of reach— but might be attainable in a few years).

The pacing is right on, the characters wonderful. Make sure to keep your eyes peeled for the food blogger and the complications he brings. And the actual thieving of the chocolate? Priceless.

 

5 out of 5 frothy yummy chocolate bits.