Sunday, October 31, 2010
B next to the river!
B holding baby brother S.
B doing his Iron Man imitation.
Ahhhh, Trick or treating!
As you can see we've been having a good time in Sunny Florida. One more day and we'll be back on the road for home!
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
I was dressed as a little Dutch girl. Since I already had blond butt-length braids and a pair of wooden shoes (a gift from some furloughed missionaries), it was a fairly simple matter to come up with most of the rest of the costume. My mother--a fantastic crocheter--crocheted me a lacy winged cap.
My brother was dressed as my little sister. Even at seven he was NOT impressed when more than one homeowner remarked on his fantastic eyelashes (the real deal!) He couldn't wait to get home. Not even the prospect of candy made him happy.
That was my sole foray into trick or treating.
I'll admit after all these years I really don't see the attraction in Halloween. For those who are Wiccan, I certainly respect the celebration of Samhain. But trick or treating and the other ways of celebrating have very little to do with the observation of Samhain.
Of course, when you get right down to it, as a culture we secularized all our holidays. Christmas and Easter are a weird mix of pagan and christian. Other holidays are odd observations of what we think might be right.
And ninety percent of it is commercially driven. What if everyone sat back and just decided "NO!" What if we refused to buy into the faux holidays? What if we observed only what we truly believed in--sacred or secular?
Am I the only one sick of seeing Halloween stuff in August and Christmas stuff in October? Surely I'm not the only one who is baffled by all the hustle and bustle of Christmas shopping. At our home we have a twenty dollar limit on gifts. And some years that's a real burden. Why on earth would anyone spend money they don't have?
Heh. A couple years ago my father and his siblings set a two dollar limit on what they could spend on each other. The two dollars had to cover everything--including the wrapping. And the two dollars had to cover six people. They had to be creative and really think about what the others would treasure. And in the sharing on Christmas day they created new memories--something far more valuable than any gift they could buy.
Sunday, October 24, 2010
On Thursday and Friday this week I'll be on the road to Florida to visit my new grandbaby. Two days this week I also have doctor appointments. And of course there's the ever present packing and laundry before then so blogging just might be sparse. Hopefully, I'll have some pictures to post around Halloween!
In the meantime, don't be surprised if I'm not around as much!
Friday, October 22, 2010
In the past four years I've spent time on the internet "talking" with new friends from Australia, New Zealand, Great Britain, and Canada. Just when I'm sure I have the communication skills down, one of them will pitch a new expression into the pot.
Today it was "knickers". For me, knickers calls up a vision of long-legged pantalets women wore in the 1800s. But overseas, knickers are what we in the States call panties. That's quite a different picture.
What do you suppose a budgie smuggler is?
I have it on good authority it's a very brief men's bathing suit...with emphasis on brief. Other words...bathers, thongs, trunk (car), bonnet (also car), petrol...
We no doubt also have puzzling words in our lexicon. Occasionally, someone will ask exactly what this word or that word means. So our shared common language is not so shared. And definitely not so common.
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
When Danamara Higgins is attacked by a vampire, her life turns upside down. Vampire Bootcamp class seems to be the answer to her prayers. In her wildest dreams, she doesn’t consider meeting not just one, but two hunky vampires who take her—in the car, in the shower, in the living room, in the hot tub, in hand—as they teach her everything she’ll need to know about her new vampire life.
For centuries, Pierre has loved and pursued Julian with no success. After a hostile takeover of Julian’s financial assets, Pierre is positive Julian will have nowhere else to turn. Julian, though, chooses to teach the Vampire Bootcamp class rather than surrender to Pierre on unequal terms. When one of Julian’s students approaches him for help identifying her sire, Julian is stunned that she is his alpheli—an extremely rare mate whose blood will allow him to subsist on real food. What will that mean to his love-hate relationship with Pierre?
There are just one or two problems. Danamara is descended from Pierre’s bloodline. And she’s on someone’s hit list. Julian and Pierre find unexpected erotic rewards and eternal love when they join together in a brutal war to protect their alpheli’s life.
I'm so excited~~my first vampire novel is available today! I fell in love with Julian, Pierre and Danamara. Check it out at Resplendence Publishing.
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Webster's definition of a Sundial : ‘An instrument to show the time of day by the shadow of a gnomon on a usu. horizontal plate or on a cylindrical surface.’
Sandra's : ‘An instrument used to travel through time.’
“Saura…” The voice echoed in her head, more sigh than whisper. Sarah jerked the wheel causing the car to swerve across the line. The driver of an approaching red SUV lay on his horn.
Sarah swerved back into her own lane. “Who’s there?”
“Saura, where are you?” It was the saddest sound she’d ever heard, filled with infinite pain.
Her eyes filled with tears. Barely aware of what she was about, Sarah whispered, “Here,darling, here.” She gripped the wheel so hard, her knuckles whitened.
And then there was nothing. The voice, the presence, was gone.
She slowed down and stared out the window. Stately old homes lined the street. Daffodils waved gently in the breeze. Whatever she’d heard, seen, was no longer present.
Heart pounding, Sarah downshifted as she approached a red light. She leaned her head against the steering wheel and took a deep breath. God, what is going on?
For a chance to win an autographed copy of Sundial, a ‘seeing’ pendant and a $10 gift card from Starbucks, just go to Sandra’s blog at www.sandracox.blogspot.com and leave a comment mentioning Anny and Sundial.
The contest will run from October 15 – Nov 14 at 5:00 p.m.
The winner will be randomly drawn.
Virtual Sundial tour hostesses welcome to enter.
Thanks so much for hosting me, Anny!
Monday, October 18, 2010
In the last year I've had six or seven editors. At three publishers. It would be easy to look at the circumstances and feel like I must be a difficult writer to work with, but the truth is in most cases the editor moved on for reasons that had nothing to do with me. I wasn't even on their radar.
In this most recent case, the editor is "retiring" for health reasons. The fact that we are in the middle of the editing process for the book I have with that publisher is just a sad lonely coincidence. No doubt there are other authors who are also in editing limbo. Taking it personally is not productive.
What to do in the meantime?
As my sister-in-law said, "Keep writing." That, after all, is what I do. While the vagaries of editing and publishing are worked out for that particular book, there are other publishers and editors waiting for other books.
Allowing myself to be paralyzed by the randomness of publishing serves no purpose. So write. Write. Write.
Friday, October 15, 2010
It's very, very cool here today, but the sun is shining. After our heavy rain yesterday, it's definitely a blessing. Funny how a rainy day will get you down. A rainy day when you have to go shopping is much worse.
A couple days ago I wrote a post about punchlines and how they could make or break a story or book. Last night I finished a much anticipated book...that not only didn't have much of a punchline, but left the entire story unresolved.
I'm still scratching my head over this book. It took me three days to read it. And after three days (and three hundred fifteen pages) I confess I'm left wondering what the book was about. I thought it was a romance.
I thought it was a mystery.
Based on all the other books I've read by this author, there was a reasonable expectation of a romantic suspenseful story.
Somehow, I feel the author broke the contract she had with the readers. She sort of hints at a romance but never resolves it. Since the couple starts the book in an intimate relationship, it seems a reasonable expectation that they would at least kiss more than once by the end of the book.
Yeah, the mystery is solved, but quite frankly I wasn't terribly involved in that part of the story. The backdrop of a traditional horse race in a small Italian town was interesting, but it was the backdrop--the setting. Or was it?
The result of the race was how the author chose to end the book. What happened to the hero and heroine, you ask?
Nothing. No resolution. No happy ending.
I reached the ending and just couldn't believe that was it. So in addition to a good punchline, the author has to complete the contract they have with the reader. Otherwise, those beautiful word pictures they painted are so much dust. And that's sad.
Thursday, October 14, 2010
The same thing happens when I'm writing. Up to the point that I sit down in front of my computer, I have fabulous, creative ideas. And then, poof! They disappear into the ether or deep space or in the bowels of my closet.
Wherever they go, it certainly isn't anywhere near my work in progress. Actually, I believe the computer is sucking my ideas right out of my head. If I truly want to be creative, I print out my manuscript, grab a red pen and head out to the dining room or even outside if the weather is nice. There I commit murder and mayhem on my ms. I scribble cryptic notes in the margins. If there are multiple character revisions, I even use several colors.
When the rainbow massacre is over, when the sheets bristle with brightly colored stickies and a sea of exclamation pointed comments, then I creep back into my office and settle in front of the computer. Only then do I dare return to the digital story.
I still forget what I was going to write. But I have my notes. As I pore over the scribbles and crossed out sentences (or even paragraphs), my mind settles back into that creative spot I lost. New ideas well up. Quickly, before the ideas disappear, my fingers fly over the keyboard, recording my brilliance.
I know the computer is so much more efficient but I miss the days of hand writing my stories. There was time to ponder and mull over the vagaries of my characters. Something...some indefinable creativity was lost when I went to typing. Perhaps my fingers type faster than my brain. Or perhaps my brain works faster than my fingers.
In any case, my compromise between printed word and digital is the best I can do. It gives me the opportunity to think while providing the speed necessary to keep up with the rest of the world. So if you see me hunched over a writing tablet--I'm just rediscovering my story.
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
In the perfect romance, the HEA (happy ever after) is a flawlessly delivered punchline. It makes us laugh or cry or sigh deliciously and wish for more.
Of course, it doesn't have to be the main plot line that carries the punchline. I'll never forget one of Linda Howard's books that ended with the words "What were the odds?" Those four words perfectly rounded out the book and resolved a plot line. They made the book.
Not too long ago, I wrote a book that made it all the way through self-edits, revisions, submission, edits and finally to the final line editor. Three pages from the end, she pointed out a paragraph with the note, "I loved the book until this point. This paragraph ruined the book for me..." and followed it with a detailed explanation of how I delivered the punchline too early--and out of synch.
In effect, the punchline was the end of the book and I telegraphed the ending. Unintentionally.
When I first read the note, I didn't see what she was talking about. Then I went back and read that last chapter, purposely blocking out that paragraph.
She was absolutely correct.
Without that paragraph, the inevitable reunion scene had far more punch and significance. It let the reader sigh and think, "Awwww."
For me (as a reader), the ending can make or break a book. I can deal with poor punctuation and grammar, plot holes big enough for a truck, illogical actions on the part of the hero and heroine, almost anything else if the ending is great. Conversely, it can be a beautifully written book, but if the ending is "meh", I'll put it down wondering why I spent so much time reading it.
How about you? What makes the book for you?
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Come one, come all. If you're a published author bring your excerpts. Door forfeit is to post at least one excerpt! If you're a reader, aspiring author, or just want to hang out, come and read and chat! See you then!
Monday, October 11, 2010
Cindy Pape and I seem to be real trucker magnets. This is the second year in a row we've spent time explaining our chosen occupations to fascinated 40+ truckers. Was it something we said?
Cindy Pape, Regina Carlysle and a bunch of other delighted young women won awards this year, much to their surprise!
The Cavemen entertained us in fine style from a 20's style dance to dressing up as seven foot tall Trek Mi Q'an warriors (and they were fine warriors!) to wearing silly hats for the Bingo/Pizza party.
We laughed. And laughed. And laughed some more.
We talked. Shared ideas. Attended or taught workshops. And learned.
And sometimes we even caught a catnap.
If you didn't get to attend this year...start saving your pennies for next year!
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
Part of it is also probably just nerves and excitement about traveling to RomantiCon, the conference Ellora's Cave organizes once a year in Akron, OH. What's it all about?
There are workshops for both readers and writers. Ahem...Cindy Pape and I are presenting a workshop on World Building. If you're attending RomantiCon please come on in.
And there are dinners and special evenings. This year the focus is the 1920s. I suspect there will be some pretty wild outfits. There's usually a fancy "awards" type dinner.
I don't want to fail to mention the Cavemen, some of the nicest (and sexiest) cover models around. They're all lovely gentlemen that have a great sense of humor. Oooooh-la-la.
On Sunday, there will be the booksigning. Imagine about seventy authors in one room all more than eager to talk to you the reader about their books. Of course, that's not the only opportunity there is to visit with authors. After all, they're busy roaming around the hotel for four days. Grab one and say "hello". Please. We're a pretty shy group.
All of which leads me back to the twitchy legs...we ARE a shy group. Mostly, we're stunned when a reader tells us they like our books. Actually, mostly we're stunned when we meet a "real" reader, period.
Yesterday I went to have a couple book covers printed to frame. One of the gals at the copy center was all excited about the new covers. She casually mentioned she had a bunch of my books--both print and e-book. Color me floored.
When her co-worker expressed some curiosity, it wasn't me explaining my books, but my secret reader. Wow! Isn't that what we pray for? Word of mouth.
So if you're hanging out at RomantiCon and wondering how to meet your favorite writer, please come right up and introduce yourself! I know all of us would love to meet you...even if the idea does give us twitchy legs!
Friday, October 1, 2010
Coffee. (Or the caffeine of your choice). Does not work.
Breakfast. (Oooooh, wouldn't a Panera's bagel be good about now?) But instead you have something healthy like an egg sandwich or a bowl of oatmeal.
BUT! That doesn't seem to fix the pumpkin brain.
At that point, I usually shut down the computer and find something else to do...like laundry or dishes. Funny how you have a brilliant idea the minute you're someplace you can't do anything about it.
What do you do for pumpkin brain?