Friday, March 31, 2006

Shag Me

I had a shag haircut when I was in 6th grade. A real shag, not the pale imitation modified shag.



Back then, my face was too full of baby fat and my hair too fine and full of preteen oils for it all to work. The shag made my face look fatter and my hair look thinner and oilier. Not that a different haircut could've helped me much.

All that has changed. After all, my face has gotten bonier with age and my hair, now mostly grey under the blonde, has more body and bounce. Finally, after 3 decades of hair hatred, I can count on it to look good nearly every day. Which is more than I can say for my face. So I've been wanting a real shag for a long time now.

It would look kinda Keith Partridge, I thought,



or Jane Fonda,



or maybe just lame.

But be that as it may, today I got shagged.



I like it. Whaddya think?

Thursday, March 30, 2006

It's Always About The Next Song

Just like it's always about the next book. Aren't I clever for relating American Idol to writing? Sometimes I'm so proud of myself I could bust.

At some point the crowd has to get fickle, ya know? They have to vote on the individual performance, not the whole portfolio because hey, everyone's good. Last night showed it's time. Katharine's lousy performance pissed America off and they cut her down to size.

I see it all the time on reader's blogs. The audience gives an author another chance after a lousy book. If she disappoints them again, it's buh bye. Like Simon said, you're never, ever safe.

R U neurotic now? I'd curl up and cry but I'm too happy with the WIP at the moment. Talk to me next week, when I'll probably hit the wall.

~off to work

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Wednesday, March 29, 2006

And one more thing...

My stats are showing more people coming in here for American Idol chat (McPheever) than anything else today, so I might as well opine about last night.

Like the judges, I wasn't thrilled with anyone last night. They were all singing for themselves and no one else, and it showed. You can take that and apply it to writing too. Even though everyone tells you to write for yourself, and I do, mostly, the reader is always, always in the back of my head. There are many things in a WIP I'll alter for readers during the editing stage. I always try to think up a universal "hook" for each chapter, each paragraph, each sentence. The story will remain mine, but the architecture used to build it is geared toward the reader. And me. But the reader too. That's what was absent from AI last night. No one was thinking about me, and I felt it. Apparently, so did the judges.

Final five, IMHO will be Elliot, Taylor, Katharine, Paris and Mandisa. I thought Paris was the best. And I still don't *get* the precocious thing. Is she supposed to sound bubble-gum? Save me!

Signing off.

Amazon Connection

I just signed up with Amazon Connect so please head on over and scroll down to see my bio. Could you leave a message while you're there? A review? Add me as a friend?? Anything???? Not that I'm desperate to look popular, or anything.

Monday, March 27, 2006

*Runs in Circles Screaming*

Layover got 4 1/2 stars from RT!!!!

This is the review all us romance writers wait for, people! It's the NYT of the romance world. *Squeeeeeee*

Jack Grayson has lusted for Kira Allen since high school, but he promised her father that he would take care of her --and he doesn't think that meant in bed!

Jack works his way through women and is determined not to settle down. That's just the opposite of what Kira wants, but with Jack chasing all her serious dates away, it's not easy. After an unexpected, melting kiss, the two airline pilots make a deal -- they will be lovers, but only on out-of-town layovers.

Jack and Kira find out that best friends can become passionate partners. Well-developed characters and motivation make this more than a series of hot sex scenes and turn it into a real story. And the secondary characters are more than placeholders in this fun, fast read. (dl $5.95)

—Page Traynor


Thank you, Shannon, for alerting me! *scream*

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Mini Vaca

It's that time again, folks. The WIP is rarin' and taking everything I've got. Don't expect regular updates this week. I'll check in with ya toward the end.

Have a great one!

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Bat-b-que Time!

I'm working today and the Bats are firing up the grill to roast a synopsis and chapter of my WIP tonight.

If you smell burning hair and hear wretched screams looping round the globe, it's just moi.

Have a good weekend!

Friday, March 24, 2006

Writing, writing writing. Keep those doggies writing...

All my magnificent prose, thoughtful insight and pee-inducing comedy is getting poured into the WIP at the moment. Sorry to disappoint you.

*snort*

Mostly, I just wanted that Cruel Intentions picture out of my sight. Something about it is icky.

*scroll*

*scroll*

*scroll*

There. Isn't that better?

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Veddddy Interestink, but Shtoopit




Your Famous Movie Kiss is from Cruel Intentions



"I'm the only girl you can't have, and it kills you."



Why, I've never had a Cruel Intention in my life!

A Moment of Silence

Let us take a moment to bow our heads in remembrance of Chicken Little.

*tick tock tick tock*

He would've probably been better suited to Uzbekistan Idol. But I liked him.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Monthly Woot Day

Every writer needs a monthly Woot Day. Hell, we write alone with nary a good word until our editors, or a reader, emails us. My last one was on Feb. 14th when Out Of This World got contracted. I haven't had one since. So, today, March 22nd, is my Woot Day.

Woot!

I synopsized the sequel to Out Of This World.

Woot! Woot!

I really like it too.

Woot!

I feel like a freakin' owl sitting here wooting all by myself. But whatever. It has sex, a working title which I'm already insanely attached to, excellent character conflicts, unsagging middle, sex, sex, a mysterious hero, dotty old ladies, sex, and salvation and redemption at the end.

Woot! Wooot! Wooooooot!

Gotta go to the other job now.

*martyred sigh*

What more can I ask?

AI: Throwing Up My Hands

The Contestants keep surprising me. It was a great idea to bring Barry Manilow in to coach them. What a difference it made! Like him or not, the man is a genius.

Unfortunately, I missed Mandisa. Her recap looked great though. In fact, all the recaps made everyone look better than I thought they did during their actual performances. I guess anyone can look good for thirty seconds.

Anyway, where to start, where to start.

Bucky was by far the worst performance of the evening. I don't care for him even when people think he's good. Buh bye, Buckster.

Chris was stunning. Wouldn't surprise me to hear his rendition of I Walk The Line on the radio. Soon. It was spectacular. I still don't think he has a winning stage presence, though. He's a real snooze to watch. But like Simon says, this is a singing competition.

Kevin. Talk about a dark horse. They don't come much blacker. I thought he did a wonderful job with his song. Barry's fine advice was showcased beautifully in this unlikely little package.

Lisa, hate to say it, but she's hasn't captivated me for a couple of weeks now. Her song was cute and her voice is lovely, but I thought there was something a little off about it.

Paris: I don't know why everyone thinks she's singing songs that are too old for her. Yeah, I guesss they are, but that's not a real judgement to me. She can do it. She can do anything. But again, she's a little robotic. Simon called her a wind-up bunny and I can see where he's coming from.

Ace. Sorry. Can't stand him. He might work for me as a girl.

Taylor: George Clooney, Jay Leno and Phil Donahue. Ahahahahahaha! *snort* *wheeze* Ryan nailed it there. What can I say, I love the guy. He's awesome. He took a totally boring song and breathed his special brand of life into it. Not his best night, but he'll bounce back. Loved his suit.

Kelly: if she never ad libs again it'll be too soon. I'm thoroughly sick of the golly gosh schtick. However, her performance rocked and she gets my vote for the best outfit of the night. Was it my imagination, or did her face look puffy?

Did I forget anyone? Oh yeah, Katharine. IMHO Simon missed the boat. She became a star last week.

Time for more coffee. Ciao!

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Multitasking: does it work?

My friends, the time has come to stretch my capabilities. Will they break under the strain? Who knows.

Do ya'll remember the Totally Awesome Book (TAB) I wrote with my fencing partner, Karen? No?? Hello! Pay attention, class! Well, I just got off the horn with her and she gave me the green light to go ahead and rewrite the story for today's market. So I'm gonna. And it's gonna kick ass!

*gg*

It is I tell you!

That is, if I can work on two projects at the same time. See, there's this little problem of a sequel I want to write for Out Of This World. The plot is solidifying. The characters are taking shape and starting to breathe and ask me when-the-hell I'm going to engrave their story--part of which is already engraved on my brain. Frankly, they're yammering.

But the old characters from the TAB are yammering too. And I'm so excited about it I could explode.

Technically I'd be writing a new book and revising an old one. But the revisions will be so extensive they'll constitute a rewrite. So many questions are welling up. Do Karen and I want this book to be exclusively in my voice? Can I rewrite while preserving what she originally brought to the table? Will the story lose some of its punch from the changes we brainstormed or will those changes strengthen it? Can I set one story aside after a few hours and effectively get into a different one?

Do I know what the hell I'm doing?

All these questions and more will be answered in the coming months. It's an experiment. An experiment whose time has come and will, hopefully, make me a better writer. Or at least give me insight into my limitations.

How about you? Do you work on more than one project at the same time? Or do you, like I did historically, put your all into one thing at a time?

Does multitasking work for you?

Monday, March 20, 2006

The Sopranos and Romance Writing

It's one of my favorites shows. I love the writing and the edginess and the actors' abilities to make you care about them even while they're killing people. I guess my love for that show is all about the art. All about taking a step back and admiring what creative, intelligent people can put together when they're allowed to.

Last night it managed to get me on a personal level.

Tony was in limbo. That mythical place between life and death when he had the chance to review his life, and sort of become the person he'd wished he was. Somewhere along the line of real life he'd lost his identity. And he couldn't get it back. But he wanted to.

I think we all go through that. Preferably before we die or become homicidal maniacs. ;)

We lose ourselves and then have to struggle to get us back. Tony didn't know who he was anymore, but he knew he was loved. He also knew that he loved someone. That message filtered through. And it underlines the power of love.

My grandmother died at 98. For the last 3 years or so of her life she didn't know who she was. But she knew she'd been someone and that knowledge sustained her and brought her joy whenever she found out who that someone she'd been, was. She knew she'd been important. That she'd been loved.

In the end, that's all there is folks. I often think of the phone transcripts from the doomed people caught up in 9/11. Every single phone call held the same exact message: I love you.

Every single person involved wanted those words to be their last legacy on earth. They wanted to leave love. Why? Because it's the most important thing in life.

Makes me proud to write about it.

Friday, March 17, 2006

A Heads Up

Ya'll might wonder why you sometimes come in here and see I've removed a previous post. I do this sometimes because there's a web element I don't wish to attract.

I don't have anything against them, it's just that I prefer to maintain a light-hearted, funny atmosphere here.

'nuff said.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

MisKate-n- Meme

Four

4 jobs you have had in your life:

Radio weathergirl
Newspapergirl
Bartender
Author!


4 movies you would watch over and over:


The Road Warrior
The Godfather
The Princess Bride
The Thin Man

4 places you have lived:

Westbury, Long Island
Hicksville, Long Island
Oakdale, Long Island
East Islip, Long Island
(a regular gypsy, that's me)

4 TV shows you [- love to] watch

The Sopranos
Frasier reruns
American Idol (this year only)
The New Detectives

4 places you have been on vacation:


Egypt
Israel
Hong Kong
Thailand

4 websites [blogs, duh] you visit daily:

Everyone on my blogroll


4 of your favorite foods:


Spaghetti
Sushi
Bean burritos
Any kind of soup--I love sooooooooouuuupppppp!

4 places you would rather be right now:

On a Eurorail train
In a London pub
In a greasy spoon on Route 66
On a slow boat to China


4 friends you are tagging that you think will respond:

I don't play tag *smug smirk*

I Just Know There's A Happy Ending Here Somewhere

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - A Mexican couple were recovering separately after a marital spat got out of control and saw them firing guns, throwing knives and hurling homemade bombs, Mexican daily Milenio said on Monday.

In scenes taken straight out of hit romantic comedy "Mr. and Mrs. Smith," starring Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, Juan Espinosa and Irma Contreras fought until their house blew up in a homemade gasoline bomb explosion, Milenio said.

Police called to the home in the indigenous Mayan Indian town of Oxkutzcab in the southeastern state of Yucatan arrested Espinosa. Contreras was taken to hospital with third-degree burns.

A local police official confirmed the report but declined to provide further information.

In the violence-filled movie about the fictional Smiths, Pitt and Jolie play married assassins ordered to kill each other.
Espinosa told reporters he was glad his wife had suffered burns, while Contreras said she was only sorry she had not "hacked off his manhood" during the fight.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

McPheever

Was Katharine hot last night or what? I couldn't believe this was the same semi-awkward gal I'd been watching all this time. Didn't think her choice of neo-hippie-wear went with the torch-singer style of the rendition, but otherwise she kicked some major AI ass.

Then there's Taylor. OM freakin' word. The guy is awesome, and even Stevie Wonder "saw" that the music comes from his soul. He's a joy to watch and listen to.

Those two totally made history last night.

I liked Mandisa, but thought it took her half the song to find her groove. The judges didn't mention this, so maybe it was just me. Love that she went barefoot.

Bucky sounded constipated.

Kelly: meh. And she's playing up the country gal thing a little too hard.

Melissa: very good, I thought. Child number 2 thinks she looks like a weasel. I agree.

Kevin: he's having a good time with his unlikely sex-symbol image. I thought he did very well with his song and stepped out of his comfort zone. But I fear this is the last we'll see of him.

Chris: Nice pipes and definitely took ownership of the song, but I should've closed my eyes. His physical performance bored me and I kept wanting him to put the damn mike down.

Elliot: meh.

Paris: Apparently it was just me, but I thought she was out of sync with the music. Her vocal range was nicely showcased, however. I also thought she seemed a little too packaged. Didn't come across as natural last night. To me.

So, although Katharine and Taylor carped the diem, Mandisa's still a frontrunner. Hate to say it, but Chris might steal Elliot's slot if he continues to be so original. Again, so hard to guess who the ultimate winner will be.

Never realized until last night how freakin' hard those Stevie Wonder songs are to sing! Stevie makes it look so easy, but you could hear the idol contenders stretching themselves with the extreme note ranges within the songs. I was disappointed no one sang "Yester-me, Yester-you", my SW favorite.

You know what else? Simon is an awesome alpha character. Just the type you'd love to see brought to his knees by the right woman *gg*. Actually, that woman might be Ryan Seacrest. Heeheehee.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Okay, so...um...well...Screeeeeeeeee!

It's late and I haven't blogged today, so I came home from work and Googled my name. Again.

FabDame clued me in to the "quotes" trick and how it keeps all the words together and enhances your result. I hadn't realized this before.

Thank you FabDame for taking me to a whole nother level of hell.

One hundred pages and two chalices of Yellow Tail Chardonnay later, here I am. None the wiser, really, but rather aghast (yet kinkily pleased) that every word I've ever written on the Internet is available to anyone who knows the "quote" trick.

Actually, I am a little wiser. Remember when I confessed that David Wenham was the physical model for Coop Masterson of Coffee, Tea, or Lea? That confession made it onto a DW Fansite, as well as an excerpt of the description.

Which is all well and good. I'd love it if DW saw it and felt complimented. But what if Jim Carrey stumbles upon the fact that I'd sell my children to do him?

...hehehe...j/k JC. You know how it is. Writerly exaggeration and all that...

Or if King Kong sees what I wrote....

Oy Gevault! Come to think of it, I get alot of hits from the LA area on this blog...

And, heeheeheehee, well, EC discourages bestiality....

Not that there's anything wrong with that...

*eyes clock and bottle* (the new Moose and Squirrel)

Say goodnight Gracie.

Goodnight, Gracie.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Revisions: the continuing saga

Well I found my fifty words and then some this morning, first thing. Ended up ramping the emotion in a scene near the end, which also served to underline a downplayed theme throughout the story and remind the reader it existed.

Why I couldn't do this a few days ago is beyond me. But it was important to find the right spot to add the words because added words have to serve the story. They can't just be tossed in willy nilly.

I was pleased to have these particular words serve several purposes. Makes me feel like I've done my job and makes me feel rather mature as a writer to have had the patience to wait for them. *gg*

I'm finding that as I travel along this "professional" road, my approach to writing has changed quite a bit. I spend far more time thinking and far less time writing. The books are getting done in the same amount of time, but as a result of all the thinking, I'm getting them down in an edited state and what's emerging is a strong draft right out of the gate. It's a good and bad thing, because I appear to myself and others as doing a whole lotta nothing. It's something I'm having to mentally adjust to.

How is your process changing as you mature in your craft--whatever that craft may be? Are you still using the same techniques that have worked for you in the past, or are they evolving? Do you have to keep telling yourself that as long as it's working, it's okay?

Friday, March 10, 2006

Bill Napoli and "Acceptable" Rape

Apparently, only religious virgin females who were saving themselves for marriage can be acceptably raped under South Dakota law. Rapists should take note. If you want to do your job and do it well, you must ascertain your victim's level of Napolized Purity beforehand. Otherwise you're just a poor, second-rate rapist. And who would want that black mark on his resume?

Ican'tstanditCan'tstanditCan'tstandit

Where Can I Get Your Book?

A while ago I blogged about people assuming I'm a children's book author. Haven't run into any more of those assumers lately, but there's another strange theme that seems to be following me around.

Inevitably, people ask where they can buy my book. When I say, "A bookstore." They say, "Really?" And a moment of shocked silence follows.

Um, yeah. I want to say. It's a book. You buy books in bookstores.

Am I the only person in the world who knew this thrilling little secret?

It's so funny. I really wonder what else they expect me to say. Maybe they expect me to say, "Radio Shack." I just don't know. Maybe, I'll start messing with them a little and tell them my book is only available in airport kiosks in third world countries. Or that they'd easily find it at Ticketmaster. Or that Trader Joe's has exclusive distribution. Because they really are utterly surprised they can get a book at a bookstore.

Life is so strange sometimes.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Of Queen Bees and Kate Walker

Just got an email from a dear, old friend Kate Walker and was reminded of how she's influenced my writing, how much I learned from her, and how much freakin' fun I had meeting her at Betty's Tea House in York, England (Anna Lucia was there too!).

Kate taught me how to write emotion. Whenever I was stuck, whenever I was paralyzed with fear of delving into those uncharted depths, I'd read a Kate Walker novel. And the next day I could write the scene.

It was like taking a magic pill. She'd show up on eHarlequin.com to dispense her hard earned wisdom to hopefuls like me, and her very presence leant a credibility to the pursuit that few others could do.

And if you ever have the pleasure of meeting her in the flesh, she's like a queen. All regal and quintessentially British, sarcastic and black as hell, but also warm and intelligent and beautiful to look at.

Her drone is pretty hot too *gg*.

The VERY first time I met her was at RWA Denver. I was standing outside the hotel, smoking, and wearing the Bee Pin all of us "wanna-bees" had gotten in order to recognize each other. I saw her sweep out of her taxi, take a look at me (and my breast, where the pin was) and suddenly I was tackle-hugged by not only a woman I'd never met, but a published author. That's how we all felt about each other--multi-published or not. And it taught me alot about the romance community. Could it have a better ambassador?

If you want to write from the heart, to know what such writing looks like, smells like and feels like, I'd recommend her as a good place to start. And, no. This is not a paid advertisement. *gg* Nor is it payback for all the books she dedicated to, or mentioned, The Bat Dame in.

It's just a simple and humble acknowledgement of an author and woman who's had a tremendous and unselfish impact on my career.

Long live the Queen Bee!

Still Glomming American Idol

My POV has changed.

Mandisa, Mandisa, Mandisa.

The woman is magic. When she strutted out singing "I'm every woman" I just about lost all feeling in my legs from the chills running up and down.

That's how I get when I hear a song I like. My legs get little electrical surges. FabDame's arm hair stands up. What happens to you?

I LOVE her.

My new list includes Mandisa, Kelly and Paris. I think in the end it'll be Kelly vs Mandisa. To choose the winner you'd have to think about how you'd rather bond with the artist. Through a concert (Kelly, because she must be seen to be appreciated) or through a record (Mandisa, because that voice and enthusiasm negates the need for her kick-ass presence)

Personally, I'd pick Mandisa.

I LOVE her.

While I felt badly, and even shed a tear for Ayla tonight, in the end, she wasn't as original as the others. I think Melissa and Lisa will be kicked off next for the same reason.

This is the year of the individual on AI, and it's as exciting a competition as I've ever had the honor to behold. There's no way to guess the winner! I think it comes down to who gets better and who gets worse as the pressure builds. IMHO Mandisa and Kelly are the coolest cucumbers in the produce section.

Unfortunately, I missed the men this week. So, I'm still rooting for Taylor and Elliot. Kevin is so the underdog and it's an utter joy to see him make the top twelve. But he'll be weeded out.

What are your thoughts?

The Bat in the Belfry

Today's rant is in The Belfry

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Coming in May!


Is this not the BEST cover in the world? We are so gonna sell a billion copies *gg* I just love the way the artist incorporated all the symbols from our stories. Total Man magazine for Jaci, the red MG for Shannon, and the airplane for me. The sunset gets me everytime I look at it!

The Creative Habit

FabDame introduced me to The Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp. This book takes some of the mystery out of the creative process and gives all artists some practical operating tools. Absolutely a must read. Take a look!

That's all, folks! I gots work to do.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Aging 101


Me, Mom and FabDame at Kerry Park



Seattle skyline and Mt. Rainier as seen from Kerry Park

You haven't lived until you've spent a weekend partying with a bunch of eighty-somethings. If not for the fact that they typically go to bed shortly after dinnertime, I'd be dead. I'm sure FabDame will second that.

Here's the lineup:

Mom = 81
Mom's Boy Toy, Bill = 88
Mom's friend, Ginny = 84 (I think)
Mom's friend, Naomi = 80 (possibly 81)

And all of them swilling beer, martinis and double-shot espressos like it was the end of the world. Maybe because it's the end of the world. They all have better figures and better social lives than me, too. Bitches. Guess tighter skin will just have to satisfy me for now. Neener neener. Oh, and I can stay awake longer -- although not by much -- and Bill, I still have my teeth. Heeheeheehee.

Ah. Small pleasures.

So, the weekend was spent laughing, drinking, eating, then laughing, drinking and eating some more. We paid a side visit to a casino for some rousing hands of blackjack and only lost half our money. The sun shone the entire time. It always shines in Seattle when I'm there. I think it's my influence but FabDame argues it's hers. The last day Mt. Rainier came out and from Kerry Park, which is about three blocks from Mom's home, we took pictures.

The highlight of the weekend was when Mom told me and FabDame how our maturity impressed her.

*checking calendar*

Not sure, but I think I achieved that about twenty years ago. Well, at least ten. Okay, who's laughing? Stop it now.

Still, mother-love rocks and it's kinda nice to still be considered a kid in your mid-forties!

Now it's back to normal life until I can return and get more lessons on how to grow old. I can't think of a better, more beautiful place to do it, either.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Leaving On A Jet Plane


Going to Seattle for a girl's weekend with Mom and FabDame. See you when I get back!

Simon Uncovered

On Romancing The Blog and others in the blogosphere, there's been a discussion about Simon Cowell--THE judge on American Idol. Some think he's too nasty, others admire him for being a straight-shooter.

I think he's both. But his appraisal of Ayla last night gave me a whole new insight into him. See if you agree.

I though Ayla kicked ass last night. She'd been totally unmemorable to me until then. But yesterday she came out on stage looking like a freakin' goddess and proceeding to belt a Celine Dion song out better than the diva herself.

When it came Simon's turn to critique her, he told her she was a hard worker and he bet she became expert at everything she'd ever done--through sheer determination. He also told her she was still too mechanical and that she still didn't have what it takes to win.

Did anyone else get the subtext there--that she doesn't have what it takes to win. But she has what it takes to get what it takes?

He's drawn a bead on her psychological makeup. He threw her down another challenge and appealed to the hard worker in her. It's an extremely subtle manipulation. And very, very smart. Now he's going to wait and see what she does with it. I think he's betting that next week she won't be mechanical anymore. He's testing her and I think he has a high level of interest.

Let me tell you, it gave me a whole new respect for Simon. What do you think?