Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Character Profile - Abel Courte

Discussion for today: a character profile. By and far, my favorite male character that I've written yet. He's funny, smart and above all, relentless when it comes to getting what he wants. From tracking down mythological jewels to chasing the woman he loves, Abel Courte is the cowboy with kick, the hunk with a heart, the man with a plan that goes sadly awry in The Treasure Hunter's Lady.

Behind the character:
Name: Abel Courte
Age: Mid to upper 20's
Gender: Obviously male
Occupation: Biologist

If Abel were one actor this is who he would be (get out your gene-splicing tools, folks): A Lucas Black (let's tone down that 'Bama accent just a hair)/Eric Close (without extensions)/young Tom Selleck (only with less chest-fur, because to be honest, that freaks me out a little bit) kind of guy. I'm not picky. No, I'm really not. Okay, I am.

Abel's name comes from: the Bible. I'm a huge fan of Biblical names. I have used others such as Jonah and Jacob. I like Abel because it's short and in the Bible, the poor kid doesn't really get the fair deal. Murdered by your own brother? That's awful. The name means "breath". I don't really know if that relates to the story line or not. I don't think so. Courte, on the other hand, is French and means an enclosed space. I like to think that means he's a 'safe place' for his true love to rest.

Using the Mary Sue Litmus Test, Abel received a score of 36. That means he's a Mary Sue. He and I don't think so, even if some test says he is. I like him anyway. And certainly his true love, Romy does. I think it had something to do with his sad past.

From what we know of Abel's background per The Treasure Hunter's Lady, his mother died when he was young and his father wasn't exactly the fatherly type. He was taken in by his father's older brother, Caden Courte, who later married a Southern belle named Patience. They have two children of their own, twins named Roger and Rowena. None of those characters have lines in the book, aside from a letter written by Caden to Abel that expresses Patience's love.

He went from angry youth to awkward young man to annoyingly certain of himself in the space of a few years. Good-looking enough to turn Romy's head in spite of his sometimes bold statements and relentless teasing. There's no real discussion of his past love life in the book, just that he hasn't been with a woman in a while and he's not drawn to the dainty, fainting types.

For me, there was no other option in The Treasure Hunter's Lady than to pick out a cowboy. From the start I planned him to be a little abrasive, a little shock-worthy--characteristics I wanted to show because he's a character with nothing to lose. He's short on time and knows that every day could be his last. Abel is a one-track mind kind of character, until he literally runs into Romy. Obviously his mission can't take the back seat, but he goes from being stuck on gotta-find-the-answer-to-my-problem to I-want-this-woman-and-I'll-marry-her-if-I-have-to-die-trying. Not in the creepy stalker kind of way though. If it's not enough that he has to overcome a life-threatening illness and save the life of a loved one, a ride on a somewhat rickety airship, charm Romy, and destroy ancient evil, he has to leap over social barriers too. Quite a mission for the handsome Texan, but as you'll see in The Treasure Hunter's Lady, there's not a quitting bone in him.

The Treasure Hunter's Lady - Coming to Kindle, Nook and Smashwords February 10, 2012

Monday, January 30, 2012

It's My Cheesecake Fantasy

I can do all things if I suspect I might get cheesecake out of it.

Seems we've come to another Monday. Well, okay, I guess if we have to. No, I can tolerate it because it's pay day. That means cheesecake in my future. It's only one more Monday until The Treasure Hunter's Lady comes out. I'm sure you all have your calenders marked. I spent this weekend reading it again. That's it, I'm done. No more. Make the madness stop.

I uploaded the .epub file to my e-reader. It looks fantastic. I said so to my husband, who sort of rolled his eyes. I've learned a lot about file conversions this last week. I am happy to share this knowledge, should anyone desire it. I cheerfully accept payment in cheesecake.

I intended to share with you an excerpt of THL, but I went and left my computer at home, so I guess you'll have to wait until later. Gee. May I, instead, offer you a thought about the novel? I thought you'd like that.

At the first of the novel, Abel is confronted by a fortuneteller. He attempts to get out of a palm reading, but she's having none of that. She tells him that he's in great danger and the only thing that can save him is if he finds love. Abel has a line that goes something like this: "Love, danger and despair--almost the perfect fortune, darlin'."

I think that line pretty much sums up the book. It is, first and foremost, a love story. But it has its share of action and adventure to keep things interesting. Counter says 11 days. I'm sweating bullets. I hope it will do for you what it did for me--change your life forever. Even if it's the most unbelievable thing you've ever read and you vow never to write such drivel. I had fun with it. Every one of those 85,000 words which sometimes came grudgingly. I thought writing was the hard part until I got to the editing. I thought editing was the hard part until it came time create a cover. That was really easy compared to formatting. It was a lot of work, but in the end, it's this amazing creature that is a book.

Abel's line kind of sums up how I feel about writing, editing, creating a cover and formatting as well. Lots of love because it's such a goofy story in some ways and the characters are real to me. Danger because I really had no idea what I was getting into. Despair because there were times I thought I'd never get through some parts of this adventure.

A couple of days ago I mentioned I thought the second will probably come easier. I really think that's true. There won't be any of this panicked flailing while I stumble through some formatting that I had no clue about in the first place. I feel like a wizard or something. It's magical.

Also, Katheryn Lane awarded me with the Irresistibly Sweet Blog Award. Aww, that makes me feel all fuzzy inside. You'll want to drop by and visit her and say 'thanks' like I did, for visiting this blog.

And I went for my first walk of the new year yesterday. The weather was gorgeous, but the trail was muddy. My poor shoes are filthy. I enjoyed the fresh air though. Happy Monday! Rest assured, I will be having cheesecake soon. Cheesecake dripping with strawberry sauce. You know, to offset the calories I burned while walking.

Friday, January 27, 2012

The Friday Five - Five Great Lines from The Treasure Hunter's Lady

Well, we're officially less than two weeks away from the release of The Treasure Hunter's Lady (Feb. 10), so it's time to start talking about it more often. Yeah, you're probably gonna get a sick of it as I am, but I hope not. So here are five lines from the Treasure Hunter's Lady for your Friday.

#1) A singular thought pushed its way to the front of her mind. Trampled in the street of a bloody city by an over-glorified pony instead of sacrificed to native gods in the jungle. If she survived, Papa would expect her to go to the party anyway. Life wasn't fair. Not at all.

#2) She arched an eyebrow at him. “Do you have a plan to confront it?”
"As a matter of fact, I do. You're sitting on two grosses of dynamite."
Romy leapt up, scattering the papers. "Two grosses? Do you intend to blow up Bismarck?"

#3) The inquisitive part of her wanted to see him, touch him, savor him. And the feminine side she’d hidden from the world for so long quivered with the anticipation of being held and loved.

#4) Romy's heart skipped a beat. Papa had reported her missing. The paper trembled in her hand as she turned to Abel.
“What?” he asked, half-rising from the bed.
“I'm afraid you're a wanted man.” The words came out in a squeak.

#5) And last but not least, the poem Romy discovered in Abel's papers about the Horned Serpent.

On a river with an old name,
A stone's throw if you've fine aim,
Where silence falls,
'Tween broken wall,
There's a canyon where you'll find things.
Within golden eye,
The truth doth lie,
Be careful what your heart brings.

If you want more, and you know you do, remember to mark your calenders, Blackberries, your bathroom mirror in red lipstick, heck, tattoo it on your forehead. The adventure beings February 10, 2012. Keep your eyes peeled, because on February 3rd, you're getting an exclusive character interview with Romy and Abel!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spires who neither enjoy much nor suffer much because they live in the gray twilight that knows not victory or defeat.
-Theodore Roosevelt

Pull up a seat. I'm just reflecting on the things that brought me to where I am right now.

Per the count down box on your left, we're 15 days away from the release of The Treasure Hunter's Lady. And I'm more than a little nervous. I couldn't be more nervous if you asked me to sing the national anthem naked in front of a huge crowd.

I started writing THL in April of 2009 while working on a historical romance. It was whim, brought on by re-watching The League of Extraordinary Gentleman. I told my husband I'd like to write a story like that some day. "Like what?" he asked. "With Sean Connery?" 

Well, okay, who doesn't want a character like Sean Connery in their story? But that's not what I meant. I was referring to the technology they used in the movie. And other movies like Sleepy Hollow (let's don't even take the Wild, Wild West route, okay?), Hell Boy, Around The World In 80 Days (granted I've only even seen previews for it), Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, Sherlock Holmes, Jonah Hex, et cetera. 

What I put down on paper and what I saw in my mind amounted to two very different things. I got through the first draft in record time and was pleased as punch at this wacky world I'd created full of airships and laser guns, legendary creatures and two strong characters. I sort of stuffed it aside, thinking no one would really want to read it because it was pretty far-fetched. I had some critique partners look over it and they loved it, (you know who you are) but I didn't really intend to do anything with it.

I worked hard at my first novel, until I was convinced it was sucking the soul right out of me. That was in late 2010 and I just couldn't manage it anymore. By then I was working on the follow-up novel to The Treasure Hunter's Lady, which was going way better than my first novel. That quirky little critter I'd played with expanded into something bigger.

Upon reading The Sky Pirate's Wife to my husband he said, "I think you found what you're supposed to write. You're never going to stop writing these kinds of stories." Mind, this after he said he wanted to strangle the heroine from my first novel. Yeah, it was that bad.

But he was right. It felt good (writing steampunk, not strangling the heroine).

I know The Treasure Hunter's Lady is a little strange. It involves myths that most people have never heard of. It tosses true Victorian value out the window and throws history a curve ball. I've had a great many people look at it with questions in their eyes and find it wanting.

I just wanted to tell a story that was different. So as the time ticks down to the release date, I hope if you're looking for something off the beaten path, if you're willing to disbelieve what you already know for just a few hours, that you might take a look at the pages between the virtual covers of The Treasure Hunter's Lady. I'm not asking for Pulitzer, just a chance to take you out of the norm and into something that's special to me.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Monday Morning Mayhem

Well, not really. I just like the word mayhem. It's sinister, but sort of goofy at the same time.

I wasn't here, but I wish I was.
I banned myself from editing/revising The Treasure Hunter's Lady at the end of the week. Too much work and no play makes me bug poop crazy. Right, like I don't ever play. You know I've been busy with things though, so I took the weekend off. I read a couple of books I downloaded to my e-reader, went to a baby shower, ate cake that was supremely excellent and generally ignored my computer. It was nice.

Reading allows me to not think so many days until The Treasure Hunter's Lady comes out. Which I do constantly. I think, I need to do this, this, this and this. It's like a little record playing in my head. I still have one area that needs a little bit of work, but I think I've smoothed the major kinks while at the same time, I'm freaking out about all the little typos I may have missed.

I keep telling myself the next one will be easier. Kind of like having babies? Not that I have any experience there, but I'm sure with a little self-publishing experience under my belt, things will go smoother. I keep telling myself I will learn to write and edit faster. Uh-huh. Sure I will.

I only added about another 1,000 words to The Sky Pirate's Wife and that was done last night. I think it's an interesting scene and it outshines the previous one, so I may end up cutting about 1,000 or a little more. Counter tool says we're at 70%. I cringe at the idea of cutting those words and having to write new ones, but sometimes these things are necessary.

Something deep inside of me believes that The Sky Pirate's Wife might be better than The Treasure Hunter's Lady. Maybe it's a little more serious and the creatures are a little weirder than, yeah, that's right, weirder than an angry serpent, but I guess we'll see. I'm really going to try to finish it this summer and have it out by Fall 2012. They tell me the key to good sales in self-publishing is putting more and more books out there. Which means, that I'll need to get started with the serious writing of The Turncoats Temptress right around the time I start edits/revisions for SPW.

Who's going to be really busy this year? Oh, it's me. But you know what they say. The best laid plans of mice and men, something something something. I'm going to do my best to stay on track though. All this planning makes me nervous as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs. I'm a go-with-flow kinda girl. Planning scares the tar right out of me. Must... make... goals... must... meet... goals.

Friday, January 20, 2012

The Friday Five - Fantasy Movies That Inspire Me

This Friday seems to have taken its time rolling around, huh? That's because it was a short week with MLK Jr. Day and somehow instead of seeming short, it feels like someone actually added an extra day in there somewhere.

And another thing? Will winter ever end? I feel like I'm going crazy for want of a little warmth. I can't really remember what it's like to walk out of the house with a t-shirt on. My legs have gone this frighteningly pale color that reminds me of corpses. That is... when I actually see my legs which amounts to maybe once a day. I suppose I shouldn't complain too much because I've only had one snow day. The February snows are lurking, prepared to laugh an evil laugh and mess with me. Just like last year.

Anyway, back to TFF. Today we're talking about five fantasy movies that shaped the way I write. In no particular order. And go!

#1) Alice in Wonderland (2010)- I assumed I would hate this movie because the previews for it looked insane. It's the Chessy cat. That cat is just C-R-E-E-P-Y. Also, I could do without Tweedle Dumb and Tweedle Dee. They annoy the snot out of me. Johnny Depp won me over though. Maybe I'm imagining things, but when the Mad Hatter looks at Alice, you can see how much he loves her. Only the end bothered me because all the characters reflected another character she knew in her "real life". I think she should know the Mad Hatter there too. I really love how this girl who leads a plain life where she's expected to do one thing is thrown into another life and she has to take up the mantle of a hero in order to save Underland.

#2) The Postman (1997) - Largely hated by audiences everywhere and known as another one of Kevin Costner's long, post-apocalyptic movies, it didn't get very good reviews. But you know what? I freakin' love this movie. It's long all right, but the hero's journey in this one is amazing. The Postman goes from a Shakespeare-spouting wiener to a man who has to bring down a tyrant. From a man with nobody and nothing to a much-loved hero and father. Who says one person can't make a difference in the world? FYI, hated the book this movie is based on. It had something to do with some super-computer, although it's been so long since I read it, I can't really remember it.

#3) Van Helsing (2004) - This is another one of those movies that didn't do terribly well in the box office despite a decent cast. Somehow I thought we'd see a sequel, but it wasn't meant to be. What I liked about it is the subtle steampunk inventions used to capture beloved literary characters. I'll admit, going into this, I didn't know who Van Helsing was. You kind of have to feel bad for the guy, because pretty much everything he touches turns to poo. Get attacked by homicidal monsters? Well, now you have a hole in your hat. Think a girl is hot? Oops, too bad, she's dead. Forced to live forever? So sorry, you're going to bend to the will of the Church, which keeps us safe from monsters. Sucks to be you.

#4) Pirates of the Carribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl (2003) - Johnny Depp aside, what drew me to this movie was not pirates (in fact, I used to loathe pirates), but in fact the ghost story aspect. I heart me some good ghost story. Cursed treasure, angry pirates, damsel in distress, I can go for that every time. With those details in mind, it was that anything, absolutely anything (I'm really pushing the use of italics today, huh?) could happen in this pirate-y universe. Looking at all the sequels as well, it was fantastic and insane all at the same time. These are the perfect movies to take you out of the real world for a while.

#5) The Warrior's Way (2010) - Honestly, for the most part, I already had The Treasure Hunter's Lady written by the time I saw this movie. So it wasn't really an influence on that writing, though it followed some of the same themes as I wanted for THL. Western-y, full of odd characters and a hero who will fight to the death for something he believes (but all the best books and movies are crammed full of these things). I like this one because the heroine, Lynne, played by Kate Bosworth, reminded me of Romy. Stubborn, dead-set on her goal, but feminine at the same time. I kind of hated the end because I'm a romantic, but it was traditional in the western movie way. It has a wonderful cast as well.

So those are the five that I can watch over and over and draw inspiration from. Each of them, if you'll notice, has a bit of a love story in it. It might not be the traditional man and woman fall in love kind of romance, but they all have heroes and heroines ready to make sacrifices and face down big nasties to make the world better. I supposed I should've thrown The Princess Bride in there as well. Ah, you know it's one of my faves.

 Now tell me about your favorite fantasy movies.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

I've Been So Busy, I Haven't Had Time to Write

And that is a darn pity. I'm so caught up in final edits and revisions, I'm going nuts. Wanting something to be perfect isn't a crime, but when it's stealing attention away from other things, it is. Earlier in the month when we had our mega write-in/critique at ORA, I didn't do much writing. Instead, I worked out some kinks on The Treasure Hunter's Lady.

I admittedly have not worked on The Sky Pirate's Wife as much as I should have. I really should have finished the first draft by now. I've spent the last week working on guest blogs, which has taken up some time as well. It's tough, coming up with good topics and trying to sound intelligent.

When I sat down last night with the intention of working on SPW. I got out a paragraph I hated. I'll have to go back and rework that one. I'm lacking in action and it's not carrying the story. I had a great (great is my most favorite adjective ever, my crit partners probably want to strangle me when I use it) confrontation scene and then (insert raspberry noise here) nothing.

I did re-read my short story, Cluitie and the Feast (no, that's not the final title. I swear I can do better *mutters to high powers* pleasepleaseplease let me do better than that) and decided the next part of it. It needs more romance. I've been working on that for about two months, it's time to get it done. I need something to distract me from running over THL again, because one of these times I'm going to over edit. I just need to pacify the worrying side of myself that it is flowing smoothly. Deep breathes. In with the good air, out with the jive.

It's going to be okay. It's not lame. It is Awesome, yes, with a capital a. I am author, hear me... write? Cut the apron strings, let that baby go into the world. Okay, 22 days and counting down. I will rock you, indie publishing world, like the expensive cradle of a rich, pampered baby. Or a rich, pampered older lady's rocking chair. Because I couldn't find a picture of a cradle. And I really like rocking chairs.

I will rock you and then I will continue to write and rock you some more. Like the Chuck Norris of the indie world. Only scarier, but with less hair.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

My Great Photo Shoot Adventure

I knew it would just make y'all's day to see pictures of me, so this is my gift to you.

Sunday I met up with my mom to finally get my author photo done. My mom is hella good with a camera. Unfortunately, she let her battery go dead on her expensive one. We played with my brother's camera phone. There are some very interesting shots from it. With a little Photoscaping, there are some decent pics here.

It's exhausting, looking beautiful. You know, standing around, striking a pose. I hate smiling with my mouth open, I look like a gigantic dork. The shirt I picked out to wear was from this awesome resale store called The Clothes Mentor. It was a good brand and my writer's group buddy, Leann told me I had to wear something blue because it shows confidence. It brings out my eyes too, so that worked out really well. The necklace is one my grandma had and I got after she died. My husband said, "Why don't you ever wear any jewelry I buy for you?" Hello, honey, I'm wearing your rings. Aren't those the most important jewelry from him?

This bridge, but the random
stranger is long gone.
I was standing in one spot, on this bridge inside Bass Pro Shop (I swear this place is always doing construction, they're never satisfied with the way it looks on the inside. I remember when it was just a store with a bunch of stuffed animals and now it's like this indoor nature park or something) and this total random stranger guy comes up and stands beside me, smiling and ready to have his photo taken. My husband said, "I was looking at this woman's butt and I look over and there's a guy standing beside you." There's something to be said for honesty, I guess. Sometimes you just can't fail to notice nice-looking butts.

Random stranger didn't get a photo because the camera battery was dying, but it was funny as all get-out. I said, "Look, total strangers love me!" If only they recognized me as the SIFWIW girl. Ah, maybe some day.

I tell you, it's amazing what a little make-up can do for you too. I got some of those cosmetic sponges to apply regular liquid foundation beneath my eyes, threw a little loose powder and some white stuff that has light-reflecting properties over that, it's like I'm a whole different person. One that doesn't resemble a raccoon. 

Shouldn't I look scared instead of mildly amused?
In real life, I would need new pants.
 A bear on the other hand, much harder to hide a bear-like personality. Ha! Not me, never. 

Unfortunately, I don't look as hot as I did when I was sixteen. These last three years have been a little bit hard on me (I'm just 19, remember? You know, ten years running). 

Friday, January 13, 2012

The Friday Five - The Reasons I'm Exhausted

It snowed yesterday and Allison don't do no snow. After that little spinning/wreck-y thing last year in my car, I'm jumpy about driving on snow. It might be different if I had four-wheel drive, but I doubt it. I'm a wiener, I know.

So I stayed home while my husband went to plow snow for the state.

Reason #1) I got up at a little after 8:00 am and sat in my chair with a few potty breaks and a lunch break and pet-the-dogs and check-on-the-snow breaks. Sat there until 9:00 pm. I'm gonna get a blood clot or something.

Reason #2) I poured over the last few chapters of THL that I hadn't gotten through on my reading, went over a beta read and corrected those little errors that my brain and eyeballs refuse to acknowledge anymore because I've read the MS so many times.

Reason #3) There are only so many positions you can take up in a chair. An arm chair. I don't use a desk. Around 6:00 pm, my legs were screaming "If you ever want to walk again, you'll get up and move around." I told them the same thing I told my stomach, "Shut up and eat some fat." I know, it doesn't really make sense.

Reason #4) I worked on formatting and uploaded it to my e-reader. Word was being it's usually &%$# !* self, so I had to use OpenOffice to change the document to a .pdf to upload. I lost my italics somewhere along the way and ended up having to put them all back. On top of that, I decided to make the chapter headers bigger.

Reason #5) By the time 9:00 pm rolled around, I was still wide-awake, oddly enough. My legs had given up hope of ever being stretched, my stomach decided to eat some fat, and my tendinitis arm was threatening to talk my right arm into amputating it, except right arm doesn't think it can do the job alone. I started actually reading THL on my e-reader, but my eyeballs warned that explosions were unavoidable if the madness didn't stop. But it just looked so nice in my e-reader. The cover and title page, the dedication and the about the author section. The italics I put back in. Stupid, human body that needs food and rest. My immortal mind laughs at your weaknesses. Um, I think also I maybe didn't get enough sleep because I feel kind of loopy.

I rewarded my poor, abused body with some make-shift yoga (i.e. I copied some moves I saw on The Karate Kid) and danced to the PFI Bandana Boot Sale jingle. If you haven't heard that commercial, thank your lucky stars, because it get stuck in your head and repeats over and over until you want to tear your hair out.

This morning I feel like I've been rolled by a Pepsi truck. It's like the hangover without the alcohol. I keep typing the wrong words and I'm not even sure there's a screen in front of my face. This could all be dream... or not. There's a reason I have a day job, because if I stayed at home doing that every day, I'd be certifiably insane before a week was up. Oh, that's why God won't let me win the lottery. It makes sense now.

Happy weekend, y'all. Go out and get some fresh air if the weather permits.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Why I Didn't Love One Day

It was bound to happen--I'd stumble on a movie I for sure didn't like. It happens to be One Day, starring Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess. I read on the Redbox description that it was the "most romantic movie of the year". Compared to what? Seriously, I think Tucker and Dale vs. Evil had a more romantic feel.

I'm going to break the rule and spoil the move for you right now. So if you don't want to know the supposed climax of the movie, you might skip this paragraph. Anne's character Emma gets hit by a bus in the opening scenes. It's been my experience in movies that women riding bicycles die. So stop riding bicycles in romantic movies if you want to live a long and healthy life with your soul mate. I mean, what was the point of foreshadowing her death like that? It felt pointless to me. I didn't dislike the movie because she died, I disliked it because of the way the "romance" unfolded.

If you skipped that paragraph, let me start by telling you the next scene. Emma and Dexter went to school together, but didn't hang out. As they leave their graduation (or a party, I can't tell, but they seemed kind of drunk, so must've been a party), they decide to hook up. Emma goes to the bathroom and tries to get her nerves together, then comes back to find Dex about to leave. Instead, they cuddle up together and talk about July 15th, St. Swithun's Day (never heard of it until now).

One of the things that irked me so much is how the movie progressed years at a time. This made it feel more like a plot-driven movie instead of character-driven, which is how I prefer my stories and movies. One day they're graduating and the next scene is Emma moving to London while Dex is going to India. The next thing I know, he's living in Paris and she's working at a Mexican restaurant.

They get together for a vacation in Paris and Emma applies some rules like no flirting with her or other women, no skinning dipping, etc. Well, he does flirt and they do end up skinny dipping and they also tell each other that they think they might have had a relationship together except he isn't ready. He's hosting a TV show and is sort of the host that everyone loves to hate. Which leads him down a path toward drugs and wild lifestyle.

While they continue to maintain their friendship, they go in different paths. Emma shacks up with a guy she worked with at the Mexican restaurant, but isn't happy with him. She writes a book and kicks him out. She runs into Dex occassionally and finally at her former roommate's wedding, he tells her he's getting married and has a baby on the way.

He works hard to be a father, husband and has become a chef. His wife leaves him and he and Emma have a one night stand, which they don't bother to show you in the movie. Emma, now living in Paris, is dating a jazz musician. Dex comes to stay with her and she tells him that they can't be together, it was for one night. As he's getting ready to go back home, she runs to him and they decide to be a couple. They end up married and when she tells him she wants to have his baby, I swear it's the best part of the movie. They should've started the entire movie from the point where Emma and Dex were in love. The rest was a snore-a-thon.

Then there's a terrible black moment, if you skipped the paragraph above. In the end, Dex's dad gives him some good advice and he takes it to heart. Then we get to do some flashbacks that show how Emma and Dex decided to be friends. Really, why not just reverse the entire movie and go backwards rather than forwards?

Ugh. C-. Not romantic. Seriously, the best part was when they were happy together as a married couple. It did have a few funny lines (thank you, annoying boyfriend Ian, for the little gem: I miss you here. (holding the center of his chest) Or it might be trapped wind.).

Go spend your Redbox money on something else. Trust me.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

The Friday Five - Reasons Why I'm A Good Writer

Last night before I went to bed, I cut 7,500 words from my novel. From my novel that I fully intended to self-publish on February 10th. This wasn't an impulse, it wasn't a moment of hysteria (although I'm prone), but I suspect it had something to do with Shoulder Devil and Evil Internal Editor.

Evil Internal Editor tells me I can't do this. That I'm crazy for trying. That it's only a month and four days until February 10th and I might as well go to bed and stay there for the rest of my life. 

I really hate you, EIE.

So I'm going to look very carefully at the 7,500 words I cut and I'm going to revise, revise, revise. But I'm not the crappy writer those little internal voices say I am. This is something I really want. *Deep breath* What's the goal, Allison?

She's so evil, she walks on the points of
her heels and only has six fingers. See? Evil.
And for God's sake, put on a bra.
She kind of looks like she wants a hug.
Sometimes it's okay to say no.
This is one of those times.
To sell 10 copies. 

How many friends do you have?

At least enough to sell 10 copies (some of you might have to buy twice. Just sayin'. Have I told you lately that I love you guys?)

So, for FF here are five reasons I'm not the shit writer EIE and SD tell me I am. (And neither are you.)

#1) I love what I do.
If I didn't love writing, I don't believe characters would come to me and beg for stories of their own. They wouldn't come with their names already in place, a (sometimes) vague background and their own personalities. Sometimes they grab a moment and carry it away--and then I have to go back and fix it, but it's so worth it--making me forget there's a real world. I can't help it, I'm addicted to my own writing, which probably sounds a little narcissistic, so I apologize. It's like Field of Dreams. Only in my head and without Kevin Costner.

#2) I have already improved.
You should see some of the drivel I wrote after my long break. It was like I'd forgotten everything I ever learned about writing. Which is weird, because I'm an avid reader. Actually, not so weird. You catch a lot of readers who think they can write. And they probably can, but they need guidelines. I got some. Cannot stress enough--get a critique partner. You'll learn better looking at your work through someone else's eyes. True story. 

I wrote THL about two years ago. I can tell you what's original and what's more recent. And the more recent stuff is stronger, reads better and is more grammatically correct. 

#3) I'm funny.
Admit it, you laughed at the Paint drawing of EIE, didn't you? Or at least the captioning. Refer to #1 because half the funny stuff that shows up in my writing is courtesy of a character. Or at least my brain transmogrifies it into funny characters. I learned a long time ago that I don't morose characters very well. They're annoying and you kind of want to smother them with a pillow or chuck the MS across the room and find something more valuable to do with your time. Humor is my thang. Kind of like how action isn't.

#4) I'm not afraid to rewrite.
I'll admit it--I'm awful at beginnings. I'm all info dump this, forget interesting dialogue that. Left character alone with thoughts here, made up some really terrible dialogue there. Going back to #2, sometimes you just have to realize (or get someone else to tell you) that you didn't do a very good job. If you're very, very lucky, your critique partner can figure out what you've done wrong and how to improve it. I've learned to never be proud of a first draft. Bad idea. I might whine and moan because I have to rewrite it, but I know better than to ignore good advice.

#5) I won't let myself quit.
I read this quote one time: Hard work spotlights the character of people. Some turn up their sleeves, some turn up their noses and some people don't turn up at all (Sam Ewing). In 2009, I set out to write a novel. I put the first few chapters on Authonomy and while it was terrible, someone said they'd like to read more. Which spurred me on. I finished it. It was #$%^ing awful, but I turned right around and wrote another novel for NaNoWriMo. And turned right around and wrote THL. And turned right around and wrote another novella. By then it was time for NaNo again, so here came another one. Eventually I figured out I was going to have to start editing, but I had the time of my life writing crazy stories. I don't want to quit (see reasons 1-4). I have determination.

Those are building blocks and they're firmly in place, so go take a long walk off a short pier, EIE. Take your ugly high heels and bra-less triangle body and big Jersey-style hair and beat it. 

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

New Year, Old Times

Hi everyone!
As part of Carrie Ann Ryan's New Year's blog hop, today we're discussing New Year's memories. And giving away fabulous prizes including an $80 gift card to Amazon and a Kindle Fire (insert colllective 'oooooo' here).
If you leave a comment for me, you can win your very own copy of One Day In D.C. More about that in a minute.

When I was a kid, we always had big family get-togethers on all the major holidays. So I have several New Year's memories, but the one that stands out most to me is 1999. You know, pre-Y2K. I was 16 years old and for whatever reason, my parents (read: my mom convinced my dad) to let me have a slumber party with two of my closest friends. In our house, alone.

My parents and my older brother went to stay at the motel where my mom worked and left three teenage girls at home by themselves.

I'm not saying this was a bad idea, because it's not like the porn channels weren't blocked and there wasn't any liquor in the house and we were sworn to not go anywhere or enter my parents' bedroom, which was supposedly locked anyway (my dad had a gun collection). It was more like, here are some rented movies, here's a Super Nintendo, and all the Dr. Pepper/Pepsi and snacks you can consume. Which might be a little crazy, giving teenagers that much free rein.

We played Uno and Crazy 8's, watched movies and got big ol' sugar highs. Ah, the age of innocence. When midnight rolled around, we listened to Auld Lang Syne and sang along to the parts we knew--which amounted to Should old acquaintance be forgotten and never brought to mind... we'll drink a cup of kindness yet... something, something Auld Lang Syne. *Clears throat* music isn't really my area.

Man, I miss the metabolism I had back then and the care-free hijinx of youth. This year I was practically nodding off before midnight rolled around. Husband and I watched a movie and I sat there wondering if he'd notice if I closed my eyes.

Putting the past back in the past, let's see about making one lucky commenter a winner! Tell me about your New Year's, past or present, or heck, just say anything at all and leave your e-mail address or send ME an e-mail at allisonmwrites@gmail.com and we'll try to fix you up with a copy of my novella, One Day In D.C. Here's the blurb:

Katlynn works hard in order to achieve her dream of someday opening her own daycare. When she meets Duke at the all-night diner where she's a waitress, she's drawn to his physique and his sense of humor. But she doesn't believe him when he tells her he's a secret service member in charge of watching over a presidential candidate.

Duke's attraction to the quick-witted redhead starts from the moment he looks into her eyes. He never picks up women for a one night stand, but he wants Kat bad. They spend a very special day together at her apartment where he tries to convince her that he really is with the secret service. But then she slips out in the evening, seemingly unwilling to continue what could have been the relationship of a lifetime.

One snowy evening fate brings them together again and this time Kat must make a choice that will make them a family or leave them out in the cold.

And don't forget to drop by the other blogs and comment to increase your chances of winning the gift card or the Kindle Fire!

Thanks for dropping by! Happy reading and writing, y'all!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

You'll Want to be Here Tomorrow

I don't have anything important to say today except that I know you'll want to be here tomorrow because I'm taking part in a New Year's Eve memory bloghop. There are prizes including an $80 Amazon gift card and a Kindle Fire. No joke. All you have to do is leave comments on the participants' blogs to be entered. You don't want to miss all the fun memories too.

So be sure to be here tomorrow and I'll have the linky list posted. There are 64 other blogs besides mine, so you'll want to hop around and meet all the other fabulous authors as well.

Good luck!