Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Snippets of what makes me insane

A post from yesterday evening:

I don't wanna cook dinner.

Actually, I want to just cook. But I have to grill. With charcoal. And I'm pouting, even though I had a nap and coffee. And chocolate.

Someone slap me please.

My cabinets come tomorrow...I hope.

First let me tell you, I can cook, but I cannot BBQ. I need a pot between the food and flames.

So I pile up the charcoal and squirt on what I feel is a sufficient amount of lighter fluid. Then I can't find a match, and after looking for 15 minutes for something that makes a flame, I call Dh, swearing a blue streak. He laughs, the fecker, and tells me where he has this secret stash of things that make flames.

I play with the lighter till I get the damned thing to work, light a match for fear of torching my hands, hair, what have you and throw it on the pile of lighter fluid coated charcoal.

Not much happens. I get a mild flame.

At this point the jerk calls me back to see if I'm doing OK and I start swearing again. At which point he laughs again which makes me promise bodily harm. He tells me to squirt more fluid on it, and so I do, creating a flame that could be seen by an orbiting satallite.

He tells me that it was too much and now I need to wait twenty minutes till it burns down. Fine. He asks that I not hurt him, and I tell him I'll think about it.

Then I tell him the story where I walk into the kitchen and see the guys using liquid laundry stain remover on the skylights because it looks like the glass cleaner.

We both laugh.

I finally get the chicken breasts onto the grill and they are about done. I fish a plate out of my tub where I have temporarily stored the sink drain and goback out to get the chicken. It's now POURING in some freak rain storm, I grab the tongs, take some of the breasts off, one lands on my hand burning it and I drop the plate.

Chicken everywhere.

I brushed it off, and we ate it.

Now you know why I was whining about cooking.

Apart from that bit of insanity, I decided what other ms I'm going to work on with the 70 days of sweat writing challenge. I had this contemp set in Brazil that I had written a while ago, and I've decided to expand it to 90k. It can withstand it. It needs it. It's crying out for it.

Now allI need is a damned title for it.

Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?

Monday, July 9, 2007

Things that have finally melded...

cre·a·tiv·i·ty /ˌkrieɪˈtɪvɪti, ˌkriə-/ Pronunciation Key - Show Spelled Pronunciation[kree-ey-tiv-i-tee, kree-uh-] Pronunciation Key - Show IPA Pronunciation
1. the state or quality of being creative.
2. the ability to transcend traditional ideas, rules, patterns, relationships, or the like, and to create meaningful new ideas, forms, methods, interpretations, etc.; originality, progressiveness, or imagination: the need for creativity in modern industry; creativity in the performing arts.
3. the process by which one utilizes creative ability: Extensive reading stimulated his creativity.
[Origin: 1870–75; creative + -ity] Unabridged (v 1.1)
Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2006.

I was reading the August/Sept copy of my favorite magazine, Mary Engelbreit's Home Companion and in her forward note she says, "Creativity is an elusive quality, hard to pin down. Dozens of studies have been done over the years in an attempt to explain it. The dictionary defines it as the ability to use the imagination to develop new and original ideas or things, but I'd like to expand that definition a little.

There's really nothing new under the sun. To me, creativity is the gift of seeing the familiar world with new eyes, a vision that empowers us to constantly reinvent and renew our surroundings."

You see, a while ago I'd been dwelling on this Muse thing. You know, the artists (and authors are in this group known as artists-we create with words) that always say things like, "The muse has left me." Or...whatever.

I used to believe there was no Muse, also. Just like Shelli, I thought it was an excuse until my family hit a few weeks of tailspin and I couldn't write for the screeching *Warning!* alarm going off in my head. I mean No Writing. Not a comma. Nada. All I could manage to accomplish was staring at a wall, and while I was staring, I realized that art, or creativity, comes from a very special place within us that is precious and needs guarding. Which is why books like The Artists Way are needed, and still held in high regard by many people.

Because creativity comes from this special place and is nurtured (and we do nurture it, with expressing ourselves in other ways apart from writing, reading, making collages about our stories, taking a nap-all are ways of nurturing our creativity. (Bring on the naps, I hear ya.)) it is something that we care for, and by caring for it, we give it value.

When we value something, after caring for it and protecting it's ability to grow, we open ourselves up to pain and hurt feelings when that...Thing (Dare I say baby? No, but I can see why the analogy has withstood) is released into the public. Some of us have held our talents to our breasts, unable to share them for fear of ridicule, and others, incredibly brave, have perched on the cliff and thrown them into the air hoping that they take flight. When we see those nurtured Things stomped on by others it's hurtful beyond belief. Someone didn't see the beauty in our work, that has come from that creative place inside us. Someone didn't give value to what we gave value to.

This is why I cannot believe that an artist and their work can be separated. I've come to think that people who truly believe this are looking for justification to compartmentalize and then attack an artist's work. Authors who believe this-I think-are telling themselves a lie for damage control purposes. Because to care about something means you are vulnerable enough to get hurt. And we know after a few rejections that it's the brave souls that win in the publishing industry. The ones that face the rejection over and over yet salvage the shred of hope that makes it to the point of publication.

All these thoughts have been swirling in my head, stirred by the pitchfork of the Mean Review. I'm not talking about a review where someone pointed out some holes in your writing, or didn't sympathize with your characters the way you'd hoped and pointed those out in a review. I'm not using Precious Precious as an excuse to not grow a thick skin and be able to take a critique (believe me, when you love Precious enough and want to see her fly, you'll take the critique). Nor am I excusing the inability of some artists to see any perspective other than their own. What I'm talking about is the WebBully and her minions. Bullies exploit weakness when it's exposed and leave others silenced as they protect themselves from ridicule.

Maybe back in the day of Hemmingway he heard about people talking trash about his books, maybe some of them even had the audacity to write scathing letters, but the web has brought us all closer. Close enough for a whisper of criticism to be heard, and it's seemingly stripped people of their civility. Where once people would never say such things face to face, now it's all just a click away. We've all heard the about the flame wars, the rudeness and the justifications that's it's all in the vein of being honest. Let me give you a hint-you can be honest without being rude. You can say what you think without leaving people picking up the shards of their hearts. And what sickens me the most is the pleasure these bullies take in leaving people like that, just like in Highschool with their Popular Girl Minions standing around giving each other high fives over the amount of blood spatter on the walls.

I haven't before given much thought to why the bullies do what they do, but if I were to guess, I would say that they're protecting themselves from being bullied. It's an offensive tactic rather than a defensive one. Zeek said something interesting that applied today, "Broken people who hate what they do to numb the pain and can't seem to stop melt my heart. Broken people who show no sign of wanting to change make me want to scream in frustration."

Yes, bullies are broken. They are so afraid of being transparent and vulnerable that they eviscerate and attack so they are never put under the microscope themselves because they are not only afraid of someone else seeing them for the truth they are, but that others would see and find them lacking. Their minions are no better. Maybe even worse because they are so paralyzed they can only follow.

Like I said in my title, these thoughts have been brewing after reading blogs and a few articles and searching myself for my own truths. I was always one to sit with the ostracized, and to befriend the new kid on the block. I'd been there 13 times, I knew how scary it was. And now that I've been published I feel the need to reach out to the authors that have had their dreams dashed and privacy invaded by bullies who reach through their screens to attack.

When people have asked me why I write, I've often sarcastically responded, "Because I have to." In a certain sense having to is true, and in another much more important way my answer is, "Because I can." I've allowed myself to. I've not listened to those who told me I couldn't, or worse, that I shouldn't. I've silenced my inner ...bitch, for lack of a better term, that always tells me that I'm a hack. I listen to my husband who when I told him I was going to get involved in a multi level marketing business said, "No. You're almost there. Don't lose focus now because you're almost there."

In having children I've learned that that ability to silence the demons is a strength and maybe we should feel sorry for the bullies because they aren't that strong.


So, finally I'm running a contest for Fortune's Fool, an anthology I'm in with Bianca D'Arc, Selah March, and Cassidy Kent.

Here's da Rulz.

One person to comment on this blog will win a free copy of the e-book by way of random drawing by my youngest Hatchling. Not that that isn't a great prize in itself *g*, but wait, there's more!

Once you've read it, post a line or two abut it on your blog (love it or hate it!), e-mail me the link and I will put your name in a drawing at the end of the 5 week contest, to win a one of a kind, hand lettered, hand painted erotic love letter written to the lover of your choice. This will be made and signed by me. (I'll post up the background soon) Once your name gets picked, I'll need you to fill out a small questionnaire (nothing graphic, just like your favorite vacation spot together, first date, etc.) and I will send it out as soon as it's done.

I am going to run this contest for 5 consecutive weeks, so five people have a chance to win.

Let the contest begin!

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Shot Me Now

I joined up for Alison Kent's Seventy Days of Sweat

1) Book Title
2) Hero Name / Occupation
3) Heroine Name / Occupation
4) Setting
5) Length

Love Falls In
Declan Murphy-Owns a bar
Laurel Murphy-owns a home furnishing store
small town USA

Coming up with the rest...

Saturday, July 7, 2007


So, yesterday the Dh decided to have a one man party. And I let him until he opened up our last, chilled, bottle of Veuve Clicquot.

Did I tell you we have no kitchen? Yeah. So I drank my half out of a Solo cup while he swigged off the bottle. No writing, nor editing got done last night. Come to think of it, I should have swigged the bottle, too, but he wasn't going to leave me any and I filled that cup up. Then he began to go through iTunes. From Fairies Wear Boots to How to Save a Life. Hee. We laughed and laughed till our sides hert.

What were we celebrating? Sanity. It's a precious thing 'round these here parts and it's cause for a party all it's own.

So we're hanging with the hatchlings today outside, getting doused with the sprinkler and ordering Chinese.

That is SO the perfect day.

Ferfe wants me to entertain her. I'm thinking, I am...

Thursday, May 18, 2006

The Dirt.

No, seriously, this post is about dirt.

And Lasagna.

I've been researching (I could get LOST in research) for a short I'm doing set in Brazil and it deals with the fabulous Terra Preta. HERE is another great article.

Many of you may have seen the Discovery Channel's show on it, or have heard of it before. I did, but I never investigated until now. This stuff, and the ability to make it anywhere, has the can revolutionize farming. Like, no more fertilizer. (The organic freak in me is dancing) So I'm going to make some over the weekend with my son and have him do a report for homeschooling. Fire and Dirt are good for teenage boys. (With supervision of course) I'm excited because my soil where I live is really sucky clay which refuses to grow anything no matter how much I compost. All I can grow is weak Haricort Verts.

This thing, where I recreate or do something I've researched is not new to my family. I also learned how to make soap this way. My herione made it in a historical, and I needed to know how. Anyhoo, the soap is awesome and I made so much I haven't bought soap for a year. Almost time for the next batch. The homemade is far better than store bought. Teenage Hatchling also helped with that experiment and loved it. It's way cool and we add all kinds of pretty stuff.

Hopefully I will be able to do this (the dirt thing) tomorrow because I have to make a lasagna or two for my MIL. She fell and busted her arm up good. They've been eating take out for weeks, and not good take out at that. Just thinking about it makes me crave salad. So I'm off to the Specialty Italian Store where I get the best damned parsley and cheese sausage in the whole world. That is the STAR of the dish. We're also making a huge salad to get some greens in there. My kids are macaroni and salad freaks. I make a ginormous salad every Friday in the warmer months and it is gone in no time flat. I would do this more often for her but she lives three hours away and this is our first time down since her fall. I didn't want the hatchlings clammoring all over her and hurting her arm again. My oldest famale hatchling has decided to make her Nani fudge too. Which she will lurve. So hopefully she will be set for awhile.

I was thinking of makeing her some other food that my FIL can take out and warm up for them.

Any ideas?

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Some Interesting Discussions

So. It's that time of year again. You know, the all het up over RWA's lack of erotica and what the Sisters of the Immaculate Sex Scene (PBW's name, ain't it grand?) deem worthy of calling romance? Yes, convention is in the air.

Alison Kent and Julie Leto have something to say.

Cripes, sorry for my numerous typos in comments and double posting because my PC is fritzy for some reason today.

Angela Knight has a brilliant post from March but it sums up a why sex scenes are important.

My personal belief is that somebody who writes mechanical sex solely to placate a publisher and make money is a lot more guilty of being a pornographer than I am.

No matter how much some writers might like to pretend otherwise, at their core, romances are about a sexual relationship between a man and a woman, not a purely spiritual union of souls. After all, when was the last time you read a romance staring Ghandi?

I’ve heard writers argue that their readers don’t care about sex, that in fact, they skip the sex scenes. My response is: then you’re doing something wrong. Anytime a reader can skip any scene in a book, the writer has screwed up. Every scene should advance the plot, characterization, or conflict -- preferably all three. That includes love scenes. A scene your reader can skip needs to be rewritten.

[...]Every time the hero and heroine go to bed together, it should reflect where they are in their relationship. In fact, ideally you should be able to read through the sex scenes alone and track the progress of the romance through the book.

[...]Remember, too, that each love scene should not only mark the progress of the relationship, but advance it. The characters are sharing a deeply personal interaction, exposing themselves to each other emotionally as well as physically. It should change how they relate to each other.

I was talking to my Dh about this yesterday. (Yes I talk to him about everything) And he had an interesting perspective. He said, "Then they aren't getting it good enough."

I pushed his arm. "Stop it, that's not nice."

"No. Really. If it isn't making an impression or cementing your relationship it isn't good enough."
He's right. Sex, like any other aspect of a relationship needs to grow, and that growth shows within and without. As writers we need to portray that honestly.