Monday, November 28, 2011

Monday Morning Musing

Sorry, I don't have any SIFWIW news. I didn't do anything but sit around all weekend watching movies, looking at pictures of cats with funny captions and trying to turn my brain into gel. It either didn't work or it's already so gelatinous that it didn't matter.

I'm here today because I always post on Monday unless it's a holiday. I don't have to tell you that. Not that I particularly wanted to get up because I worked so hard editing last night that when I finally went to bed, my arms and hands tingled and wouldn't let me sleep and now I'm so tired I might as well be a zombie. Wait--that's unusual how? It's Monday, after all. I just wish I had a donut. I think I could really make it through today if I had a donut.

I forged through a round of edits, highlighted some spots in the MS where I need to add a few details. I'm getting there. I'm a little alarmed at some of the things I did wrong (particularly where I made one word into two and the frequency with which that happened, i.e. collarbone, shirtfront. Where was my brain?), but hell, it's been a long time since I had any real editing classes. Erm, I might actually read an editing book sometime.

I have a list of houses taking submissions and maybe around the first of the year I'll start that up again. Seems I have a NaNo project to finish as well. So I lost. Meh. Them's the breaks. It's halfway finished anyhow.

I don't have anything important to say, but I'll give you this: Don't ask for a light load, but rather a strong back. Someone named Anonymous said that. Smart guy. ;)

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Swan Song


A woman greeted her husband at the door after he got home from playing golf with his buddies.
“How did your golf game go today, honey?” she asked.
“It was terrible,” he answered. “Steve died at the ninth hole.”
“Oh, no. You that must have been so hard for you.”
“It was,” he confirmed. “The next nine holes were hit the ball, drag Steve. Hit the ball, drag Steve.”

I hope you got a little laugh out of that. We can all use a laugh from time and time. You see, I've been the recipient of bad news.

Twenty-six days ago, I got the news that The Treasure Hunter's Lady was coming out as an e-book. Thursday I got an e-mail saying that the publishing house had closed its doors before it ever got a book out there.

Contract signed. Cover designed. Edits in progress. Release date announced.
I can't decide what's worse, the dissolution of a dream or that I told everyone I know. Or if all rolled into one, the whole thing is one of the worst experiences of my life. Not the worst, by any means, but ranking pretty high up there on the chart.

Here I have half-edited manuscript with no home. And I have an announcement coming out in my alumni newsletter. Well, color my face red.

I quit NaNoWriMo because I was editing. It was off somehow anyway, but I've completely lost my stride now. I know authors who have dozens of rejections. I have a few myself, of course, but this is a thousand times worse. It might seem weird, but I compare the creation of The Treasure Hunter's Lady to watching a caterpillar turn into a butterfly. It marinated in its cocoon, metamorphosing from a novella into a full-blown novel. It emerged with a set of colorful wings and got set to taste flight. Now a bird has snatched my novel/butterfly from the pretty rosebush where it fluttered its new wings for the first time and crushed it into gooey bug guts and unrecognizable bits of trash.

And I start to question what I'm doing. Something like this should light a fire under my ass, make me more determined than ever to get a novel out into the world. But maybe God doesn't want that for me. Maybe I'm fighting for a chapter that isn't in my story.

It feels like someone I was close to has died. The sleeplessness, the jarring reminders that I won't see this thing when I expected to see it. The restlessness which makes me think I should be doing something, but then when I start to, I wonder why I'm bothering. The urge to be alone because I hate faking happiness, but when I'm alone all I want is a distraction. The saying 'once bitten, twice shy' comes to mind. This is the last thing I ever want to go through again. Remember how I hate November? I lost my dad, I lost my grandma and now I've lost my book. I hate November.

Life's knocked me on my ass a couple of times before. I might have to lay there for a while, wallowing in my sadness while I search any kind of light, but sooner or later I'll pick myself up and go on. You can knock me down, but I'm too stubborn to stay there forever. As Jean Kerr says, “Hope is the feeling you have that the feeling you have isn't permanent.”

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Friday Five - Too Bad To Be Real

I have to go visit the in-laws Friday, so you get TFF two days early. It's like Christmas a month early, huh? Maybe you should reserve judgement until the end...

I have a kind of weird obsession with cartoon characters. Particularly male cartoon characters who are badasses. I think watching cartoons is what stimulated the type of heroes I gravitate toward. My favorites are always the ones who jump into a situation without a plan and can pull off snarky dialogue. Let's take a peek.

#1) Raphael from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1987) - Described in the theme song as "cool but crude". He's highly aggressive and prone to wanting to kill Foot Soldiers. While he doesn't challenge the leadership of his brother Leonardo, he often quips about Leo's decisions and he has a soft spot for the youngest turtle, Michaelangelo. Let's put aside for a moment the very weird fact that he's a turtle. For all his dark emotions, deep down, he really feels loyal to those he loves and he'd go out of his way to protect them.

#2) Wolverine from X-Men: The Animated Series (1992) - This one's human anyway. Another one of those guys with a serious attitude. Funny, but somehow I always think of Canadians as cute and cuddly. Well, maybe the cuddly part is right, but there's nothing cute about a guy with razor sharp claws that spring from his fists. There's a lot I could say about the way Hugh Jackman portrays Wolvie in the movies, but the cartoon on FOX was what first drew me to this hero. He's a loner with a mysterious past. Come to find out, he's actually quite old and the reason he likes being alone is because every women he ever loved died horribly. There's something about a sad man that makes my heart go "awww". In spite of the fact that  he goes around making enemies and killing people and sometimes going feral. It could happen to any of us. Well, it could.

#3) Gambit from  X-Men: The Animated Series (1992) - Oy, don't get me started on Gambit from Wolverine. Sure, that guy was cute, but he was not my idea of Gambit. Thing thing that drew me to Gambit was his charm. I'm a sucker for an accent; it will get me every time. I loved his infatuation with Rogue, even though she denied him at every turn. Obviously he has a shady background, what with being raised by thieves and all, but he's the kind of man you call to cover your butt in a fight. Witty, good-looking and full of Southern charm, he can join my team any time.

#4) Matt from from Digimon Adventure (1999) - Let's just say I had a lot of free time in the afternoons while I was in college. I would sit around watching afternoon cartoons and I discovered this geeky anime cartoon similar to Pokemon, which I never could stand. It was eight misfit kids battling evil with weird digital monsters. It's a bad premise, thank God they had decent characters. My favorite was Matt, this tough blond-haired, blue-eyed kid who had a stubborn streak and looked out for his little brother, T.K. He's not the leader of the group and sometimes clashes with Tai, who is the leader, because Tai tends to be a little reckless. I think that's why I liked Matt. He had a good head on his shoulders: he grew up to be an astronaut.

#5) Jonah Hex (2010) - Erm, I ran out of cartoon characters. Sorry. So I decided to go with a stand by and pick a movie character since all of these other guys appeared in movies. He was in some Batman cartoon and featured in Jonah Hex: Motion Comics with Jim Cummings as the voice, he's sort of a cartoon dude. I haven't seen it, but Jim Cummings does awesome voices, just sayin'. So basically what I know about this man is based on the movie which did very poorly in the box office. Probably because it was western-ish and the world has fallen out of love with westerns. I had to beg my husband to let us see this in the theater. Anyway, in the movie, Jonah is scarred and left for dead after he kills his war buddy and war buddy's powerful, angry daddy finds out. Supposedly, angry daddy dies, but then Jonah finds out he's still alive and about to wreak havoc on the U.S. of A. So he sets out to get his revenge because he couldn't save his family in the first place, but it's best served cold, or so they say. Ignore Megan Fox, she was only there to supply a healthy dose of boobage. If you want to save that movie poster, open it in Paint and scribble her face out, that will work just fine. My favorite lines from this movie are these (courtesy of IMDB.com):
Dumbass outlaw: Hey, Hex! What happened to your face?
[a gunshot blasts him through a window, and Hex lifts his hat off the bar, revealing his pistol]
Jonah Hex: Cut myself shaving, what happened to yours?

There you have my cartoon preferences and a plus one. You don't even have to examine them very hard to see that they're pretty much the same person with a different face and the one's a turtle.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Stuff I Find While I'm Walking - Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid

Welcome to November. This month brought some rain and cold with it, not to mention that dratted time change, which makes walking after work an impossibility. Walking before work you say? Ha ha. No. For starters, it's cold and for seconders, it's cold out there. Did I mention it's cold? What am I, an Eskimo? I think not. So I slapped cold in the face and went indoors to find you some awesome pics that we should actually call 'Holy crap, those photos are like nightmares come true'. Okay, one of them was taken outdoors when I went walking yesterday and I brave treacherous rocks and snake pits to get it. You'll see it in a minute.

I want to start off with this one because it is utterly terrifying. Yes, that is a ventriloquist dummy sitting in a chair, patiently waiting for someone to stick his or her hand up its bum so it can possess them for eternity. You think I'm joking, don't you? Well, the risk is yours to take, but when your head is spinning wildly and a dummy is issuing your every order, don't say I didn't warn you. Ugh, it's so eerie, it probably already possessed my phone and it's coming for me next.

Let's move on to something a little more warm and fuzzy. Like an alligator. Yes, that's a real live, honest-to-God breathing, fishing eating, swamp living, scale wearing, rock laying, bite-your-hand-off-if-you-dare-cross-the-wood-and-plexi-glass (are these people insane? Plexi-glass?) barrier alligator. Inside a sporting goods store. I knew that'd get your attention. I have seen hoards of small children freak the hell out when their parents tried to drag them past this display. Most kids throw tantrums when they don't get a new Barbie doll or a Hot Wheels. These kids literally go into flight-or-raise-the-roof mode. This bad boy, named Big Al, is 10 feet long and seemingly very lazy. That's how they get you, you know. One second Al here is cute and cuddly, munching on some perch and the next he's having grown man thigh for dinner. Next horrifying photo, please.

I learned my lesson about touching things that are poisonous when I picked up a bottle of actual arsenic from like, 1943 or something, at a military supply store. It was leaking, for crying out loud. Why are they even selling that? I have no idea. What better way to clean arsenic off your hands than to wash up with some Skat Hand Soap? I think there's a reason they don't make this anymore. The correct spelling is scat (you were thinking it too), but who am I to nitpick?

And I leave you with a picture of some awesome toadstools. But what is so scary about toadstools? *Ahem* Being the adventurous sort that I am, I'm walking along and see a path. Or something that I think is a path. I climb to the top of this path, overlooking the Crane Creek area, a lovely view on a foggy day. Then I see it. This awesome fallen tree with fungi as big or bigger than my hand. And I want a photo. Problem: there are moss-covered large, jagged and small, unstable rocks blocking the way to this tree. I don't care. I'm gonna do it anyway. The angle is a bit sharper in the photo than it actually was. By maybe 10, 15 degrees. I crawl, huff, climb and slide my way over to the tree. Then, when I get this lovely photo of awesome fungus in a line growing up (or perhaps down?) the tree, I decide it would be easier to climb over the tree trunk (which is bigger around than I am and that's saying something) and climb up the rocks rather than go back. Needless to say, I survived, but there could have been snakes out there under the leaf piles and a couple of places I stepped were wobbly at best. Okay, the dummy still wins it as scariest picture here.

Friday, November 18, 2011

The Friday Five - Romantic Comedies

I love a good laugh. Keeps me going through good times and bad. As much as I love to kick a character when he/she is down, I like to give them good dialogue and witty personalities so that they come across as real to the reader. I know I'm sometimes inspired the romantic comedies I've watched. Let's take a look at my five faves.

#1)  Fool's Gold - Um, I'll just say it. My favorite part of the movie is where Donald Sutherland and that girl who plays his daughter are talking about why the boat is named 'Precious Gem'. She makes a great bimbo. I love this movie because Matt and Kate have beautiful on-screen chemistry. They portray an excellent couple, especially when they're at odds. Props for Finn for never giving up on his dream, boo because it almost cost him the woman he loved. My husband says that Tessa is unforgiving, but I think that's because men's minds and women's minds don't run on the same tracks if you know what I mean. Ah, I love a HEA where everyone gets rich in the end.

#2) A Knight's Tale - Not listed on Wikipedia as a romantic comedy, but what does the Internet's biggest free encyclopedia really know? I don't care, there's love in it and it's very nice love because Jocelyn is willing to run away with William even if it means being poor. And also it has the coolest soundtrack. You're humming David Bowie's Golden Years right now, aren't you? Do the disco, you know you want to.

#3) When In Rome - There are some things about this movie I can't stand. Like Dax Shepard, so for the sake of this blog, we'll pretend he doesn't exist. Poor drunk Beth picks up a handful of coins from the fount of love thingy in Italy and thinks she's enamored Nick by holding on to his coin. But it's true love. So sweet and I love that he's willing to give her one of the most embarrassing photos ever taken of him to show in the Gugenheim to prove that he'll do anything for her.

#4) The Proposal - I'm a Ryan Reynolds fan. The man just has the ability to pull off sarcasm like no other. Not to mention muscles. Sandra Bullock I can take or leave. The real treasure in this movie is, of course, Betty White. She pulls it all together. I'll admit it, I rented this out of Redbox and didn't expect much. It surprised me. Margaret's desperate plot to force Andrew into marriage was a hilarious ride that took some real issues to hand--like the disagreements between Andrew and his father. It all comes out all right in the end. I think it would have been a great novel.

#5) Pretty Woman - Ah! One of my very favorite movies. I remember it was all the rage when I was in elementary school, but my parents wouldn't let me watch it because of the S-E-X. There are parts of it that are really terrible, like the fact that Vivian is a hooker and she "quit doing drugs when I was 14." 'Kay, how old were you when you started? But the fact that Vivian breathes new life into stuffy old Edward, showing him that there is more to life than business, makes it worth watching. She never takes advantage of the fact that he has money. She's pretty naive about that, bless her heart.

Et tu, readers/writers? Who are your favorite couples to share a laugh with on screen?

Monday, November 14, 2011

Stuff I Find While I'm Walking - More Hats


Hey, it's windy out there, you don't want me to get blown away. So I scoured the shops again and found for you more hats. I don't think I'll ever be able to top that chicken hat/face mask thing though. I did find something of interest while driving through Webb City, Mo. A giant set of praying hands. What in the world? The idea of building them was introduced in 1971 by a young art student. You can learn more about them at The Praying Hands Statue.

The other day my husband and I went to Gordman's, a great department store that brags about having the same brands and designs for less than the higher department stores. I don't know about the same stuff, but they do have some good things. I got a new purse for $9. What a bargain! And I got to try on some really great hats. Like this poofy fake-wool and pseudo-suede one. That could keep you warm on a winter day. It's very jaunty, don't you think?


I'm always a fan of the cloche hat from the '20s and '30s. They're always too big for me (I have a small head, I hope that doesn't reflect on the size of my brain) and fall down over my eyes, but they're so cool because I think the fashion from the '20s and '30s was ultra feminine in a simple way.

This is another one of those old fashioned looking hats. A big spray of feathers on the front really dresses up a cloche hat. I think that one goes great with the outfit I was wearing. Of course, I typically don't buy hats because I end up never wearing them. I have an awesome black fedora that I only wear to funerals. Okay, I only wore it to one funeral, but really, I feel kind of dorky wearing hats on an every day basis.

I like this one and I should have turned the other direction because it also had a little spray of feathers. It was like a Swiss Mountain guy hat or an adventurer hat. It would look great with lederhosen. I don't own any of those, so once again, that would be a bad purchase for me. It also reminds me of this guy I used to work with. He had a Bailey hat much the same shape as this one, only the crown was torn apart from the brim. It had a red band around it that said Far Chief, because he was pretending to be a fire chief at an amusement park. He used to just beat the holy ever-loving tar out of that thing. It would wind up down on the floor, crumpled into a lump and then he'd just pop it back out and slap it back on his head. I think he finally had to get a new one because obviously it could only take so many years of that kind of abuse.

Well, there you are. Lovely hats for your Monday. Never let it be said that I don't keep up with fashion.


Friday, November 11, 2011

The Friday Five - Five Foods I Can't NaNo Without

I know, you hear NaNoWriMo and it translates into blah, blah, blah. Aren't I done with that yet? Well, unfortunately (or maybe fortunately as the holiday season is upon us) it's only the 11th. So, no. There are 19 days left for NaNoing.

Today I'm thinking about foods that inspire me to write. How do they inspire me? It's not like I write big long paragraphs about meals in my stories. But food is fuel for the body like... something something something is fuel for the creative mind (you see, I'm sitting here on an empty stomach right now and can hardly think). There are monks somewhere in the world reading this post, saying that I indulge my sweet tooth far too often to compensate for the amount of work I do, but oh well. You only live once, you might as well enjoy pie.

While I sit and write, I usually have a beverage at hand. This allows me to pick up a cup and do something with my hands while I struggle to think of the next witty thing for a character to say. I actually just did it while I was struggling to think of something to say. See how that works?

Okay, deliciousness. Let's go.

#1) Lemon meringue pie - I'll be honest, I hate meringue. I always peel it off so I can reach the tangy goodness of lemon flavored filling. That bright yellow color snuggled under the puffy white meringue makes me drool. Even naked, the pie filling gives off a look and smell like something you want to soak in. That is what sunshine tastes like, friends. I have a thing for lemons. The way they smell, the way they taste. Ironically, I hate lemons in tea. I like tea, I like lemons, but I think it's just sick the way they clash when mixed together. You might as well try to give me bug larvae and mushrooms. It's not a good combo, okay? Perkins Family Restuarant has the best lemon meringue pie I've ever tasted. Village Inn follows a close second.

#2) Carrot cake - Sans raisins and coconut. Raisins have a texture like rum-flavored boogers. Not that I go around--I'm going to leave that sentence right there. You've read enough about raisins for today. It seems funny to put a vegetable in cake and have it end up tasting sweet and a little spicy. Zucchinis can be done the same way. Man, I would beg and grovel if I thought it would get me a loaf of zucchini bread. But back to carrot cake. Nice and moist without raisins, layered with cream cheese frosting and a decorative orange and green icing carrot on top. Mmm, just the flavor for a nippy fall NaNo day.

#3) Meat - We're talking steak or chicken. I'm not big on pork. I want my steak well done and my chicken done-done. Don't bring me bloody steak or chicken because it will go back to the kitchen and I will walk away with a free dessert for my trouble. My favorite steak comes from Texas Roadhouse in Springfield, MO because whoever does the cooking there is brilliant enough to get a well done steak to come out incredibly tender. No one does it like Rodney or Seth or whatever his name is. Kudos to you Rodney/Seth/Nameless chef. I can count on one hand the number of times I've sent a steak back there. My favorite chicken comes from Perkins Family Restaurant. It's a chicken breast served over asparagus with some kind of lemon-butter sauce. It is divine. When prompted to tell the secrets of said sauce, the cook revealed it's lemon juice, butter, a dash of Worcestershire sauce, and parsley. This item is not on the menu. You have to be special to get it. Like me. Okay, fine. It's on their specials menu. Geez.

#4) Back to desserts. Strawberry cheesecake from the Springfield Pasta Company. They used to be The Pasta House Company. Or, if I happen to be in the area, I'll go in for cheesecake from McFarlain's in Branson. They make the cheesecakes in two layers, one with cream cheese and whatever else goes in cheesecake and the other with sour cream and whatever goes in that. The perfect blend of sweet with just a tangy bite.

#5) Strawberry crepes - Ah, breakfast. I'm not much of a breakfast eater myself, owing to acid reflux, but we all know that breakfast is really an any time meal. When we go to Village Inn, I usually end up with the VIB, which allows me to choose four delicious items. It's a pity I can't just get crepes, crepes, crepes and crepes, but they make you pick four different dishes. VI has the best strawberry crepes I've experienced. Maybe I'm not worldly enough.... Anyway, thin golden crepes wrapped around cream cheese and strawberries is like dessert at breakfast. Every forkful is like creamy bites of heaven. I know there will be crepes in heaven. And deer made entirely of tenderloin, but that's a story for another time.

I have to stop at five because it's in the rules. But I could go on and on. Let's talk about you instead. Foods that keep you going while you're pounding out a novel. Are you a secret cheeseburger fanatic? Do you guzzle au jus? Stock up on Hot Pockets? What gets you through the next chapter?

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Wednesday WriMo Woes

Here we are, middle of week two of NaNoWriMo. It's been going well. I don't feel desperate crazy like I have in the past. That makes me suspicious of next week, as it well should.

If I've learned one thing from expanding THL, it's that I have often rushed into the really awesome actions scenes. I am plying The Sky Pirate's Wife with lots of excellent detail and dialogue. No, I will not have SPW finished when the end of the month rolls around. It will be shy of about 30k, which I will attempt to add on in December depending on what kind of edits The Treasure Hunter's Lady needs. Should THL need copious amounts of edits that take up a great amount of time (aha! I knew there was a reason I had all those vacation days saved up!), I will attempt to finish SPW in January. If some miracle occurs (i.e. unicorns pooping rainbows that magically turn into words in my document, Dr. Pepper fountains springing up in my living room and give me motivation and the entire story, getting another set of hands that aren't in crippling pain) enabling me to type really, really fast and plot even faster, I might, in fact, finish SPW by Nov. 30th.

Maybe if I don't sleep at all this weekend... I could put bottles of caffeinated beverages around my chair, get a box or two of Cheerios, strap ice packs to my wrists, gather some toothpicks to prop my eyelids open... I mean, it's only 30k, right? It takes me, what, an hour and a half to write out 1k if I'm not too distracted or have to search through the thesaurus for an alternate word or look up a meaning. That's like under 40 hours and it's a three-day weekend, so that leaves me plenty of time to... end up with my face on the keyboard, drooling.

Okay, maybe I am a little desperate crazy. I get so jealous of all the WriMos who have 30k+ words in the first week. What is the matter with you people?! I hate to be shown up. I have a competitive spirit and if I wasn't trying, if I was writing jibberish instead of something that halfway makes sense, I could probably type out 30k in a week too.

As it is, I'm not one of those crazy college kids writing a book for a lark. I'm actually trying to get something out of it. A story line that makes sense. I check my word count frequently because I often forget that I'm writing a story for the story. I'm trying to make my daily word count goal, I'm trying to stay above it by a day at least (competitive spirit, remember?).

Right now, the skies are clear, the sailing is smooth. My deep-seated hope is to hit 20,000 by Saturday. My rookie year, the 20k's were the most dangerous part of my journey. Last year I breezed through them and almost perished in the 35k's.

I'm not ahead today, I don't feel motivated. I really hope I'm not coming down with something, but I don't think I am. The weather is kid of icky and (say it with me!) I hate November. There's ol' Lief, the muse, ready to do some heavy lifting this weekend. It's supposed to warm up (the weather, not Lief), so maybe I'll be reenergized by the sun. Fight, battle on, whether you're a WriMo or a writer or something. We can see the end. It's kind of far away, but it's there.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Stuff I Find While I'm--Oh Shoot, I Didn't Go Walking

I had an ORA meeting Saturday and then I spent a couple of hours upping my word count for NaNoWriMo on Saturday. It was a lovely day and we hadn't set our clocks back yet, so it wasn't like I didn't have daylight hours in which to walk, I just didn't.

Yesterday, as we were trying to adjust to the time change, we slept in late and I finished a book I was reading before we decided to take in a movie. Puss In Boots. It was all right. Not the same story quality as Shrek, perhaps, but I had trouble getting my mind around a cat as a hero. Humpty, however, was an eggs-cellent villain. Bad pun? Oh, sorry. No, I'm not.

I should think you would pardon me for not walking as I experienced my first earthquake Saturday night. Actually, I guess it was an aftershock, but it still scared me. I was about to run for a doorway. While I was sitting in my chair and reading, the propane heater started to rattle. Then the floor started to shake. I looked at my husband. He said, "It's just the dog scratching outside."

The floor started to shake harder and the chair under me was trembling. Some noise outside sounded like low thunder and the house groaned. I said, "I think it's an earthquake!"

He said, "I don't feel anything."

I stared at him blankly. It was an earthquake, how can you not feel an earthquake? I've experience this sensation one other time in my life, but I was asleep and thought I was dreaming about earthquakes, only to later find out there had been a tremor. The shaking this time went on for probably a minute or two, didn't knock anything off the walls or anything serious, but it was a little nerve-wracking. It was probably twenty minutes later or so that we heard the first reports on the radio. No one was killed or serious injured in Oklahoma, which is always a relief. Geologists are saying it was a 5.6. It's just that you expect to hear about tornadoes out there, not earthquakes.

I couldn't believe when I looked out in the yard yesterday how bare the trees were. It's been pretty windy though, so it makes sense. Blah, I hate fall and winter. The trees are skeletal, the sky is gray and pretty soon there'll be snow. Go away cold weather!

Just to prove that what I've said about my instinct to hibernate must be true. I am, in fact, part bear. I found these weird hair decorations at a department store and thought, those look like bear ears! So I had to try them on. I have some other hat pictures for another time.

I have to call this blog good for today. I've got a flare up of tendinitis because of serious typing this weekend. Peace, love and good writing to you all!

Friday, November 4, 2011

The Friday Five - Romance Authors Who Shaped The Way I Write

Today I wanted to take a look at some of the romance writers that inspired me to write romance. 'Course there are a slew of writers who inspired me, but these are special for couple of reasons. Oooo, especially the last one. Just wait.

#1) Rosanne Bittner - In The Shadow of the Mountains
This is the first romance novel I ever read. I was 12 and it was summertime and we were at a used bookstore. It has been many a year since I read it, but I always remember what the poor heroine had to go through to marry the man she loved. First, despite the fact that she looks blonde on the cover, she's part Native American. Second, she was forced to marry a man who was cruel to her while her little sister was perfectly happen to have relations with him. Third, this other guy she might possibly have loved got killed by an arrow and lastly, her step-mother wouldn't allow her to see the man she loved because he was Mexican. It was a story and a half. But it had an HEA. I don't know, but it made me want to write romances. There it is.

#2) Leigh Greenwood - Rose (Seven Brides #1)
This is the second author I recall reading. The thing that sticks out most in my mind was when the circulation clerk at the library accused me of stealing one of the books from this series. Turns out it was on the shelf the whole time. That was a terrible story. Sorry. I recently reread Fern, because it was on the freebie shelf at the library. I'd love to read them all again. I haven't read a lot of romances by men, but Mr. Greenwood is wonderful in his detail and his romancin'.

#3) Linda Lael Miller - The Women of Primrose Creek Series
To me, Linda Lael Miller brings to life characters I would love to meet. Her heroes are usually cowboyish men who uphold the laws of the land. It's been many, many years since I read the books centering around the women in this anthology, but these are the ones who got me started on her books. More recently it's the McKettricks and the Stone Creek books, since those are the newest ones out. Beautiful characters, vivid details. Just love everything about them. I'm never disappointed when I finish one of her books.

#4) Leigh Michaels - On Writing Romance
I read this in the summer of '09, right around the time I was getting back into writing. I was delighted to realize that I understood the basics of writing a romance just from reading them for many years. Leigh's tips and instructions really helped me out. Well, okay, not so much with the novel I was writing then, because I still haven't properly finished it, but it's helped with THL. Her great advice reminds you that it is entirely possible to plot, write and give a HEA to your characters. A must-read for beginners.

#5) Norah Hess - Caleb's Bride
Oh God, what can I say about this one? I picked it up at a $1 Shop in Branson, Mo (the live entertainment capital of the world, I believe they're calling it now. You know, the place where famous singers come when no one cares about them anymore. Andy Williams, The Oak Ridge Boys, Tony Orlando, Mickey Gilley to name a few.) I thought, yay, a book for a buck.

I got took. This is possibly one of the worst romance novels I've ever read. It was badly written and it was vulgar. There's no other way to say it. Vulgar. The heroine has to have sex with the hero (who's a class-A jerk and remains that way through the entire book) in front of a bunch of natives, then she teases him by pulling out her boob and playing with it at the breakfast table one morning while her male cousin is there. Male cousin makes lewd faces to enhance the scene. I finished it, but I swore to myself I would never write a book as bad as this one.

So, the question of the day is, what romance novel(s) hooked you into writing romances or hooked you on the writing thing in general? Favorites? Books you'd like to burn?