Friday, February 29, 2008
I did it! I typed 'the end' last night! Which--who knew??--is an extremely controversial act. Right up there with whether to type two spaces or one after the period at the end of a sentence. I dunno...to tell you the truth, I've never typed 'the end' on any of my other manuscripts. I guess I figured if the reader gets confused, then I've done something wrong. It just so happens that this book ends in a unique way (can't reveal details y'know, cuz then I'd have to kill you), so apparently I felt a need to give the reader a heads up.
In any event, squee, huh? Let's recap the novels I've written to date:
The Mystery In The Treehouse--Nancy Drew rip-off, written at age 10.
A romantic suspense whose title I can't remember, written at age 22.
Logan's Daughter, a romantic suspense aimed at Silhouette, written at age 40.
And in the post-modern era (AKA after I discovered RWA):
Fit For Love
Lights! Cameras! ...and whatever that third word ends up being
Now, to you non-writers out there, this may add up to one big heap o' failure, but trust me, it doesn't. Lights! Cameras! Whatever! (hey, maybe THAT's the right word!) is a far better book than Logan's Daughter which in turn was a far better book than The Mystery In The Treehouse (gee, ya think?). Seriously, though. With each book, I learn so, so, much. And all four of those could still sell...maybe.
Anyway, I'm basking in self-congratulatory cyber champagne today (cyber hangovers are snap to get rid of, in case you didn't know), and gearing up for the next phase: revisions, revisions, revisions.
Oh, and queries! LOVE crafting that killer query letter. (Not.)
Cross your fingers for me. This may be THE ONE.
Thursday, February 28, 2008
Yesterday, it lay flat against my skull, aging me by decades. Today it's light and fluffy, kinda Farrah Fawcett-y but updated.
And, I got to thinking: why can't I be consistent? I mean, I go through the same steps, use the same tools, glop on the same product...so why is it one day I look like crap and the next I look...well, better?
Same thing with clothes. One day I wear a cute outfit, and the next I'm sure people are saying what was she thinking?
And my handwriting. Some days I write backhand, others straight-up-and-down, and still others...well, whatever you call normal.
Am I schizo?
Not the first time I've wondered.
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
Anyway, that's what finishing this book is like. Pulling teeth. If I were maternally-oriented, I'd offer up the birthing metaphor, but well...as y'all know, that's a foreign one to me.
The good news? The tooth is loose, it's hanging by a string, it's ready to fall out any moment. I know I've said it before (prematurely, as it turns out) but I swear to God, this time I'm sure.
Two. More. Scenes.
That's it. Plus, they're practically already written in my mind. All I have to do is get 'em to the page. As a bonus, over the last couple days, I worked in the completion of the hero's growth arc. (I know, tech talk.) AND, I've figured out a way to make the ending echo the beginning for that full-circle effect we readers know and love so well.
Yeah, pure genius.
Can't wait to type "The End"
...so that I can get down to where the REAL work begins.
Editing. Revising. Shoveling dirt into plot holes, cramming glue into character gaps.
Doncha just love the process?
Yep, as Jenny Crusie would say, I'm livin' the dream.
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
And what do I have to show for it?
Um, nothing...far as I can tell.
Oh, I thought I saw progress. On Friday night, I even wore a pair of jeans that came out of the part of the closet known as the "pray first" area.
Alas, according to the scale: nada. (Which also explains the results of yesterday's post.)
And yet, I persevere. (Well, what else can I do??) Even though (sob, sob) my favorite Monday high/low class has turned into (oh, the horror of it all) a hip-hop class. ::Sigh:: I gave it the old (operative word being OLD) college try...but as you might guess, this ancient white woman don't do no hip-hop.
Without a class to take, I headed for the machines last night. Naturally, the treadmills were all booked up, leaving me little choice but to...oh, no...not the ellipticals! More specifically, the NEW ellipticals! (Yeah, those machines that in order to maneuver successfully, one must imitate a Clydesdale. Those ellipticals.)
Two minutes in, I concluded...well, that two minutes were enough, so I stopped. But then, I dunno...something got me going again. Somehow--truly, I don't know how--I managed fifteen minutes. Then (whew!) a treadmill opened up. Man, the difference was like a surprise vacation.
Yes, fans...I soldier on. Tonight is "Abs and Assets," the toughest class of 'em all.
After last night, I even look forward to it. (Wait a minute. Did I type that out loud?)
Monday, February 25, 2008
My mother has gotten it in her head that I should run-not-walk to Macy's to purchase an outfit she's seen in an ad. For extra special enticement, she's offered to PAY for it (never mind that I make plenty of money and can buy my own clothes). It's a sweet sentiment, right?
So off I go to the Mall.
Only I arrive to an empty parking lot. What? Malls don't open at 10 a.m.? Who knew? Already I feel like the foolish untrained shopper that I am.
Luckily, JC Penny's IS open. (Savvy execs, those Penny's people--snatching all the ignorant early birds.) I wander in and try on a few tops. Find one I could live with until I look at the tag. Pretty pricey for Penny's, in my humble opinion. I leave it in the dressing room.
I decide to investigate Part B of my plan which is to catch a showing of No Country For Old Men at the multiplex.
Only there IS no multiplex. Okay, so when did they get rid of the movie theater?
I kill a little more time, waiting for Macy's to open. Finally, they push back the iron gates and I enter, armed with the name of the department (Choices) and a vague memory of what the outfit looks like. (Long, black coat. Black pants. But, like they go together in a set.)
Meanwhile, I try on other stuff as I search for Choices (yeah, the irony is killing me). Today I'm feeling rather confident, thanks to the four weeks at the gym I've put in.
Only, nothing--and I mean NOTHING--fits.
I get seriously depressed.
Plus, no sign of Choices.
I move to head upstairs, but the escalators aren't working, which I interpret as a possible sign from God. I spy another set outside the store, make my way to them, and nearly trip over a toddler playing--yes, playing--on the first step. Clueless dad watches from above, laughing at his son's delight. Both seem oblivious to the potential for instant digit dismemberment. I wait until the fun's over, then climb past them.
Once I reach the second floor, I see the Choices sign beckoning from across the room.
Eureka, I think.
Only I find, like, four dresses hanging beneath it. Clearly not the pants and jacket in the ad.
I circle the perimeter, discovering more Choices departments along the way. Apparently, Choices isn't the name of a department at all...? Not certain. The only thing I'm certain of is that I don't see what I'm looking for.
At least, I don't think so...because by now, I have no idea what I'm looking for.
I haul out the cell phone and call. First my dad describes it, then my mother gets on the phone and gives me all the pertinent details: the designer, the white piping along the front, blah, blah, blah.
I still don't see THE OUTFIT anywhere, so I try on other stuff, the whole time wondering how ANYONE could LOVE to shop...I mean, let's face it: where are the perks to seeing yourself naked from every angle under harsh, unflattering light? And if I wanted to spend the morning hanging up clothes, I could have stayed home and cleaned out my closet.
Thoroughly frustrated, I abandon the quest, jump in my car, and head to Aaron Brothers for a picture frame.
Wait a second. Where did Aaron Brothers go??
I give up and drive home where at least I know where things are. Kind of.
Did I mention I detest shopping?
Friday, February 22, 2008
No, you don't have to send money. Just watch the video. Then watch it again...and hey--what the hell, might as well watch it again.
Monday, February 18, 2008
Why, cleaning out my make-up drawers, natch.
Ah, yes...a veritable treasure trove. Picture this: two skinny drawers, side-by-side, one deeper drawer below. Here are some the nuggets contained therein:
Eighty shades of blue, purple, and green eye shadow.
Assortment of leadless eye pencils
Approximately 12 compacts, all the wrong shade
Lonely earrings without their mates
Lighters long past their usefulness
Three term papers from graduate school (I know. In my make-up drawer.)
Signed escrow papers. (I know. In my make-up drawer.)
Tossles (tassles?) from three graduation ceremonies: high school, BS and MS. (When I found the first one, I got ready to toss it; however when I discovered the complete set, I figured I was meant to keep them--I mean, what are the ODDS I'd still have all three? I know. And in my make-up drawer.)
A bracelet made entirely of safety pins.
A million Q-tips.
Many, many, dried-out, used-up, tubes of mascara. (Okay, I know what you're thinking: why not get rid of 'em as I replace 'em? Here's my reasoning: sometimes the current tube gets so bad, you wish you had it predecessor 'cuz you're pretty sure it still had more goop in it. Ya just never know.)
Numerous baggies containing freebies--sample lipsticks, lotions, balms. (Toss, toss, toss.)
A receipt for the bus between airports in Argentina
A spiral notebook--blank except for three pages of notes from the first day of a vacation in 1995
Pair of mittens, still joined together by the plastic thingy
And last, but certainly not least--and my personal favorite, by far--a tube of prescription acne cream with a date of June 6, 1983.
D'ya think it's expired?
Saturday, February 16, 2008
Just so you know. The scatterbrained, disorganized woman is NOT based on ME.
Just so you know.
Friday, February 15, 2008
Here's the way it works if I've tagged you:
1. Link back to the person who tagged you.
2. Post these rules on your blog.
3. Share six unimportant things about yourself.
4. Tag six random people at the end of your blog entry.
5. Let the tagged people know by leaving a comment on their blogs.
Okay, I'm not sure what unimportant means...trivial maybe? Anyway, here goes:
1. I appeared on a game show in 1978.
2. I read seventy-five library books during the summer of 1967.
3. I sleep with... my remote.
4. People think I'm tall, but I'm not. It's the ever-present 3 to 4" heels.
5. I can't donate blood because I picked up hepatitis in Mexico (the cooties are gone, but still...no one wants my blood and I'm tellin' ya, my blood's a little pissed about it.)
6. I wrote my first novel-length manuscript when I was nine years old.
Whew. Fascinating stuff, huh? Now I'm tagging Brooke...and...um...hm...Reagan (as soon as I figure out her blog address)..and...well, if I think of anyone else, I'll come back and add them.
Thursday, February 14, 2008
Well, too bad...today ain't the day. (Nor the week.)
Anyway, for some reason, blog topics--and their associated openings, zingers, and life-shattering epiphanies--usually pop into my head at night when I'm busy working on the novel stuff. Of course, if I were an anal, post-it note keeper, I'd have a stack of material at my fingertips just waiting for the free moment in which to assemble the little gems into fascinating prose.
But anal, I'm not.
And, see, here's what else happens: Little snippets of ideas flash through my mind. Not enough for a full blog post without taking a little time and effort, but worthy ones nonetheless. Like this: Men, please don't buy your ladies slutty lingerie for Valentine's Day. That's a present for YOU, not HER.
Sigh. Yes, Valentine's Day deserves a lot more attention than the above one-liner but, sadly, I don't have the time to figure it out, so you'll have to make do.
Oh, and I stumbled over a huge new pet peeve this morning which I instantly filed in my mental storage cabinet...only to lose it in the shambles I call my brain.
A shame, really.
But what bothers me most are all the writing discoveries burning a whole in my gut and dying for expression. Oh, hell. Indulge me. Allow me to spew without conscious regard for form and structure.
So I was writing a scene in which my heroine is walking across a studio lot on her way to a new position--the one she's dreamed of all her life. I portray her as apprehensive, a little scared at what the future holds because I knew in advance how it would end: with disappointment that the reality of our dreams isn't always what it's cracked up to be.
I could have left it at that.
Then I remembered what Robert McKee has to say about positive and negative values--that, for instance, if a scene starts on a negative, it should end on a positive, and vice versa. Following his advice, I knew I had the scene wrong. It went from a negative to a negative. So instead, I went back and portrayed my heroine as bursting with optimism. Excited at the prospects of her new future.
THEN I slammed her head-first into reality.
Positive to negative.
A better scene, I'm convinced.
Which leads me to something else I've been thinking about a lot lately. Robert McKee insists that just because you've read a million books, doesn't mean you can write one. Likewise, just because you've been listening to music all your life, doesn't mean you can sit down and whip out a symphony. You have to study the craft. Now, I know I'll get arguments from authors who "pants" (write by the seat of their pants), and it's true that I believe some aspects of craft sneak into the subconscious by virtue of constant exposure to the structure. But, here's what else Mckee says: when a writer relies on those skills and to the extent they result in a satisfying story, guess what else happens? The work is imitative.
Sadly, I think his conclusion is borne out by much of what passes for movies and novels marketed to the masses these days.
Craft is everything.
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
Hm, I thought. Maybe I'm kinda outta the "girl" category.
Okay. "I was the woman..."
That didn't sound right, either. More mature than I give myself credit for.
Which is when I started running through the synonyms.
Lady? Too prim and proper.
Gal? Too forties.
Female? Too clinical.
Chick? Too young, hip, and probably used only by men.
Broad? Ditto that last part (and I'm sure there are a variety of other alternatives used by men we don't need to consider).
I tell ya, I'm stymied.
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
An end-goal after all. We scoured the websites and checked all the deals and at long last, the Senora and I have finalized plans for a five-day trip to Puerto Vallarta.
Approximately nine (count 'em, NINE) weeks to zero hour...and y'all know what that means...stayed tuned for diet reports.
Saturday, February 09, 2008
DAVID SHUSTER: Bill, there's just something a little bit unseemly to me that Chelsea's out there calling up celebrities, saying support my mom, and she's apparently also calling these super delegates.
BILL PRESS: Hey, she's working for her mom. What's unseemly about that? During the last campaign, the Bush twins were out working for their dad. I think it's great, I think she's grown up in a political family, she's got politics in her blood, she loves her mom, she thinks she'd make a great president --
SHUSTER: But doesn't it seem like Chelsea's sort of being pimped out in some weird sort of way?Okay, aside from the questionable logic of Shuster's inquiry (meaning, I see absolutely nothing wrong with Chelsea calling whomever she pleases in support of her mother)--his choice of words got him suspended and forced to join the 2008 mea culpa tour.
Give me a break.
And check your urban dictionary.
"As an adjective: If somethin' is pimpin', it's pretty darn cool. It's probably something "normal" that's tricked out ghettolicious and gawdy. Basically, you look very ghettofab and blingbling.
However, as a verb
1.) to pimp something out is to *make* it look very ghettofab and all that nifty stuff in the above paragraph.
2.) to pimp is to advertise (generally, in an enthusiastic sense) or to call attention in order to bring acclaim to something; to promote.
Somebody buys some hideous plaid pants and then adds about five pounds of metal chains ... well, that's pimpin'.
A friend creates a collage of ... Angelina Jolie's various tattoos ... you pimp the collage to others, so that they'll see her work."
In this Myspace world, we "pimp" our myspace pages at sites like www.pimpmyspace.com.
We watch a TV show called "Pimp My Ride"--and, guess what? It ain't about men selling women's bodies.
So, let's all relax, huh? Let's not ruin another career over two words that didn't mean what y'all are thinking...and get back to the more important stuff like...I dunno...what's Britney up to today?
Friday, February 08, 2008
So, I happen to be in the front office when one of those annoying coupon-book-for-charity morons shows up at the window, interrupting my conversation with a co-worker. She starts yapping about free pizzas, cheap lube jobs, blah, blah, blah...all for the low, low, price of a tax-deductible twenty bucks.
I'm not in the mood so I foist her on the company upstairs.
A few minutes later, she flounces out the front door, a sour look on her face. I notice her trotting away and figure at least she's enthusiastic about her crappy job.
Cut to: An hour later...
I happen to be in the front office again, and I notice a bulging purse sitting by the reception window. "Whose purse is that?" I ask another employee.
"Oh, the people upstairs brought it down. That girl selling the Dare books left it behind."
But that was an hour ago, I think. And it comes to me: by now the chick must realize she's lost her purse, and she doesn't have a clue WHERE.
I picture the hysteria. The panic. How will I go out this weekend without my I.D.? What am I gonna do for money? Where's my Lascivious Lavender lipstick?
Her cellphone chirps and I unearth it from the bottom of the purse, hoping she's had the sense to call herself, but no. The missed call is from the wrong area code. Oh, and additional chirping indicates a low battery. If I'm gonna do something smart, I'd better do it quick.
I browse outgoing calls for one with a name instead of a number, figuring this fledgling entrepreneur has mostly friends on her contact list.
Preparing for an awkward conversation, I call someone named Bernie. "Okay," I say, "bear with me here. I have Nicki's cell phone because she lost her purse. Do you know her? Can you get in touch with her?"
A little confused, young Bernie nevertheless rallies. "It'll take some work, but I can probably track her down."
"Great," I say. "Give her my phone number and tell her she left it at..." I recite the address.
Another hour goes by with no Nicki. I picture myself losing sleep over this poor young girl who can't hit the clubs this weekend. I start wondering whether I'm more worried about this turn of events than she is.
Nicki's phone rings and I pick it up, instantly cognizant of how terrifying it might be for the caller to reach a stranger rather than their daughter/sister/friend. I immediately identify myself with something catchy like, "Hi, I'm the person with Nicki's phone."
It's her dad.
He doesn't sound too worried, so apparently Bernie (the hero in this story!) has gotten a-hold of someone who's gotten a-hold of Nicki. Sounding a little sheepish--like he's expected to reach Nicki but now realizes his error--he confirms the address and hangs up quickly.
Next, Nicki calls. "Where did I leave it?" she asks breathlessly.
Like, she still doesn't know? Didn't Bernie tell her? I rattle off the address, emphasizing that her battery's about to give out. This is a one-shot deal.
A half-hour later, she's shows up with a carload of gal pals, all sipping on Diet Cokes (well, I'm assuming the diet part). She thanks me profusely and off they go.
I'm thinkin' that tonight, across a crowded dance floor, some young stud's gonna spy Nicki and muster up the courage to buy her a drink, maybe flirt a little, and get her phone number. They'll date (under the watchful eye of Nicki's dad, of course), they'll get engaged, they'll get married and have a family.
Yep. That's me. Saving one person's world at a time.
Thursday, February 07, 2008
Anyway, so I'm at the gym last night (uh-huh! again!) and I stumble into the locker room after a "body blast" class (hence the stumbling), and I catch a glimpse (a mere glimpse, mind you) of a woman in street clothes brush past.
Hm, I think. Why did that nano-second of visibility provoke a memory of Sally? I mean, I haven't seen Sally in nearly thirty years.
Now, usually, I'd shake it off, walk out to my car, and let myself wonder for eternity. But this time something stopped me. Maybe because the book I've been living inside of takes place in a setting similar to the one in which I knew Sally.
So, I go for it...fully expecting that slightly quizzical (and faintly apprehensive) look you get from strangers when you ask the question. "Is your name Sally?"
She turns, affording me a full view of her face, and before she can even answer I think, hey...this really could be Sally.
"Yes," she says with a tentative smile. "You look familiar."
I state my full name, instant recognition appears in her eyes, and we embrace.
It is Sally. The same Sally I first met when I was 25 years old and a newbie on the lot at Golden West Broadcasters (Gene Autry's company at the time and home of KTLA-TV and KMPC radio plus a bunch of production companies). Hell, I'd even been to Sally's wedding to the guy who directed the show I worked on in 1980.
We lost touch circa 1982. Twenty-six years ago.
At one point, during all the catching up, Sally says: "That seems like a lifetime ago."
"It is," I point out.
Okay, so back to life imitating art etc. etc....see, like I said, "Lights! Camera! Love!" (okay, that's probably not the final title) has some very autobiographical components. Running into Sally helped me re-experience in a visceral way the stuff my protagonist feels.
Oh, and may I just point out that the fact Sally and I recognized each other proves we both still look fabulous?
Wednesday, February 06, 2008
Okay, I confess. I'm guilty of checking TMZ for the latest. But at least I stopped poking fun at her. I mean, sure, it was entertaining when we all thought she was a spoiled pop star doing the diva thing. But now that we know she suffers from a mental illness, isn't it plain rude to keep jabbing at her?
Do we make jokes of someone diagnosed with cancer?
On the radio station I listen to in the morning, the hosts were asking people to call in with their theories of WHY we pay attention to any of this. Well, here's MY theory: we love to witness proof that money and fame don't guarantee happiness.
And, man...if Anna Nicole wasn't proof enough, take a look at Britney.
Monday, February 04, 2008
...but what about tomorrow night when the clock strikes eight?
Y'know...after the polls close? What then?
Do I have to wait till November to hear from you again?
(It's a joke, folks...equating politicians with inconsiderate lovers...get it?)
Saturday, February 02, 2008
Well, you'd be wrong!
I've actually made great strides, thanks to an email challenge I received mid-January. Yes, indeedy, I'm not only racing for the backstretch, I'm ON the backstretch and heading for the wire. Only about 50 more pages to write!
Suddenly, 50 pages sounds like a whole helluva lot of words...not to mention butt-in-chair-hands-on-keyboard time. Still...
Oh! AND, ladies and gentlemen, are you ready? I have a working title!! Yes, at long last...something to call this sucker other than WIP...or "that piece of crap I've been working on."
Are you ready?
(Drum roll, please)
"Lights! Cameras! Love!"
That's it. That's the title. Too schmaltzy? I think it may be too schmaltzy. But so far, two writing friends have given me the seal of approval.
Then, my imagination ran rampant. Hmmmmm...I thought...the partial with an editor at Dorchester? That's Fit For Love.
Love, love, love (hey, if it's good enough for the Beatles, it oughta be good enough for me).
Then, I thought...maybe I should change "Leftovers" to "Leftover Love."
Three books. Three loves.
Am I onto something?