Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Silver Unchained

I've been sneaking off to the movies on Tuesdays, because it's $5 all day at my local theater. With the Oscar noms out, I've put those films at the top of my watch list. Last week, I saw Silver Linings Playbook and yesterday, Django Unchained.

I don't have to tell you they're very different movies. Silver is a very dark romantic comedy, while Django, well, it's pure Tarantino.

In Silver Linings Playbook, Bradley Cooper plays a bipolar man whose mother, played by Jacki Weaver, gets him released early from the mental facility the court sent him to after he attacked his wife's lover. He has to live with his parents, but his obsession about getting back with his estranged wife has him seeking out contact with her in every way possible. When he agrees to have dinner with an old friend whose wife is still in contact with her, Cooper ends up meeting Jennifer Lawrence, the wife's black sheep younger sister.

There's the romance.

The humor is dark, but the characters scream normal. Real. Both leads are broken individuals, though Lawrence has my favorite line in the whole movie: "There will always be a part of me that is dirty and sloppy, but I like that, just like all the other parts of myself." She's unapologetically screwed up, and she pretty much dares Cooper to take it or leave it. Their romance isn't about fixing each other. It's about accepting each other for all their flaws.

All four principals were nominated for Oscars. Cooper doesn't stand a chance. Daniel Day-Lewis has Best Actor sewn up this year. Jacki Weaver isn't bad, but she just got caught up in the rush that surrounded the movie's nominations. Jennifer Lawrence is very good, and considering how she's cleaning up on most of the pre-Oscar awards, she could very well win (if she doesn't, it'll go to Jessica Chastain for Zero Dark Thirty). Robert DeNiro is very good, and if he won, I wouldn't mind, but...

...man, do I want Christoph Waltz to win for Django Unchained.

He plays a German ex-dentist now bounty hunter who buys Jamie Foxx's freedom because Foxx will recognize a trio of brothers who have heavy bounties on their heads. They team up, and when Django (Foxx) shows an affinity for the trade, Waltz offers him a partnership. All Django wants is to find his wife who was sold off after they were caught running away. The two strike up a deal and the movie charges forth in typical Tarantino fashion.

Waltz's character is genteel, erudite, and clever, but what I love--man, do I love it--is how beneath this seemingly temperate exterior breathes a man ready to explode. It's a mesmerizing performance, both over the top as Tarantino characters are and still utterly believable.

Most performances are much the same, and as violent and too-long as the movie is, I preferred it to Silver. I don't think either will win Best Picture, but it would be nice to see an acting award go to each. And if they both managed to pick up a writing award (Silver for Adapted, Django for Original), well, I wouldn't complain.

Monday, January 28, 2013

The next step in recovery

I get my stitches out today!!!

I'm, ahem, a little excited about it.

It seems silly. I mean, it's not like I get to wear shoes right away. In fact, my doctor would prefer if I wait another six weeks before putting a shoe on that foot. I'll still have to wear this clunky, orthopedic shoe, which makes it very hard not to clomp like Frankenstein around the house. The only plus to wearing it as that all those lone socks I've accumulated over the years are getting some attention again.

But...there are definite advantages to getting these stitches out. Not the least of which is I don't have to play shower Twister any more trying to wash up without getting my foot wet.

I won't be able to exercise properly until I can get shoes on, but with the stitches out, I'll at least be able to do some calisthenics. I need that. As much fun as it's been having an excuse to sit and put my feet up for hours at a time, my jeans aren't too pleased with the end result. I have one pair that isn't speaking to me at all right now.

And when all is said and done and I'm back to wearing shoes on both feet again, I will very likely have to buy some new ones to accommodate my new left foot.

Like I really needed an excuse to splurge at DSW. :)

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Sweeter m/m romances

When I wrote A Simple Charm, I knew it wasn't going to be like a lot of my other stories. First of all, I wouldn't classify it as erotic romance. There are two intimate scenes, and yes, the language can get graphic, but in regards to how erotic material usually plays out in m/m, it's very innocent.

Honestly, I wouldn't have it any other way.

There's no doubt about it. Sex sells. Sweeter romances don't usually do very well in the e-market, though I have hopes of that changing now that the market has expanded. But to add more sex, or kink it up, for this particular story would've done it a huge disservice. One of the heroes is a twenty-year-old virgin in middle America during the Great Depression. It's just not realistic for him to turn into a slut overnight, and, at the end of the day, I'd rather be true to the story than try to add elements in hopes that it'll sell more copies.

But it wasn't an easy choice. I write stories in hopes that people will read them. Anybody pursuing publication does. If I'd added more sex, though, it would've changed the tone of the story. It would've colored an innocent young man in a different light. I couldn't do that to Levi, no matter what else I might want.

It's the same trap I fall into because of my inability to brand myself. I write about people finding each other. Sometimes they're two men. Sometimes they're a man and a woman.

And sometimes, their story is more sweet than erotic. And that's okay by me.

Besides, we need more sweet m/m romances in this world. Do you have any favorites?

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Splurging

With my first new release in almost a year, I splurged last week and ordered a couple pieces of jewelry from the new catalog from Stella & Dot. I absolutely adore their stuff.

So what did I get?

This was my first pick:

I have a real weakness for Native American jewelry, and the beads and color in this really pays homage to that. It's actually a longer necklace, but it comes with the taupe suede strip to convert it into the layered look you see here.

The other necklace I picked out was this one:

Angel wings! Plus, I love that it's slightly off-beat by having the darker detail to give it some real depth.

I must confess, my wishlist is a little insane over there. I do like the shiny. :)

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Putting it together

When I decided to write a noir story, I wanted to embrace everything I knew about the genre in its written form. Incorporating visual elements is easy enough - the moody settings, the chiaroscuro imagery - but it turned out to be a lot harder than I thought it would be. Part of the problem is that classic noir is the opposite of everything romance should be. It's meant to be doomed. You're not supposed to have anyone to root for. The people in it are supposed to be greedy and corrupt, and ultimately, condemned to failure.

So I opted to pull back from some of the harder elements and more closely follow what's consider classic noir film. Those tend to lean more toward what's considered "hard-boiled" stories, with endings that aren't quite as bleak and redeemable characters. It was easy to harden characters, both secondary and primary. People are often motivated by superficial things, especially when crime is involved. For instance, I had Carlo, my struggling actor, willing to not think about the moral implications of getting involved in what's obviously a shady deal by having him focus on what he hopes to gain from it - his big break. But I could counter that with his involvement with Joe, a good man who's been hardened over the years by loss. I could even get my HFN for them.

I still had a problem, though. I still wanted to pay tribute to classic noir fiction. The best way I could see how was to mimic that writing style.

Gone was a lot of my longer, winding sentence structure. In its place were shorter, terser sentences. More of them are simple and declarative rather than complex. Vocabulary is tighter. Action tries to take center stage. I don't think it reads like much of my other work, but I also don't believe that's a bad thing. It's my love for the genre found form.

I'm proud of the story, but my reasons are so entwined that I can't pinpoint a specific reason. I do know that when I re-read my galley before it came out, I ended it as wrapped up in and in love with Joe and Carlo as I'd been while writing. That doesn't always happen. Sometimes, it takes some distance from a story to rekindle that first blush of love because the work that's gone into momentarily eclipses the emotion.

Not so in this case. Not so at all.

Don't forget! Comment for a chance to win the DVD set I'm giving away. :)

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Back to real life

Today, my kids went back to school, and my husband went into the office. That means this is my first day since my surgery I'll be alone all day.

I've officially lost my waitstaff. Well, until three this afternoon, anyway.

Lucy (our Boston Terrier) better not be too needy today. She'll be out of luck because I'm not traipsing around the house for her every whim just yet.

Hopefully, this means good things for my word count. I've started my story for the music pax coming out at Amber Allure this spring, and it's flying by. Nothing historical this time, though. This time it's sci-fi.

AND...I've blogged over at the Amber Pax Collection blog today, talking about how my love affair with noir began. Head on over and comment. Everybody who comments on the blog this week gets a chance to win the entire collection. Plus, any comments made on my post will get their name thrown in on my DVD giveaway, too. How can you say no to that?

Monday, January 21, 2013

Another excerpt from The Low Between


The excerpt on the Amber Allure website comes early in the story, and I'm dying to share more of my guys with everyone. This comes later in the story, after Carlo and Joe have agreed to work together. Carlo has crashed at Joe's place while Joe took care of some business. Joe is on his way back...

*_*_*_*

The six-block walk to the store was swift. Though traffic was starting to pick up, the distant horns and growling engines disappeared once he was inside. He relaxed automatically. This was his haven, the one place he felt secure. It had been since his discharge from the Army, when he'd been struggling to find a new home in the city determined to haunt him. Everywhere he'd turned, he seen reminders of Emmett. Buying the business from old Mr. Morgan had been his last resort at starting fresh.

The sanctuary still worked. When he started up the silent staircase, he almost felt like he could handle anything Carlo might throw at him to add to his headaches.

More silence greeted him as he let himself into the darkened apartment. For a moment, he wondered if Carlo had decided to try and survive on his own, but as his eyes adjusted, he saw an outline stretched out on the couch. Rather than turn on the overhead light, he crept around the edge of the room to flick on the bedroom light instead. Enough spilled through the open door to reveal Carlo, fast asleep, the army blanket Joe used to hide the sofa's shabbiness pulled tightly around him.

He shouldn't stare. It wasn't his right. But Carlo Baresi truly was a gorgeous young man, and it had been too long since anybody but Joe had slept on that couch. Besides, he didn't have an audience. Nobody could see him appreciating the fine slope of Carlo's nose, or the way his hair fell boyishly across his forehead, or the soft full pout of his slightly parted lips. Only Joe would know, and he was too tired to care about the right or wrong of it.

With a sigh, he leaned against the doorjamb and drank his fill. If he'd been bolder, if they didn't have this business hanging over their heads, he would've liked to kiss Carlo when they traded places in the cab. Hell, he would've liked to do a lot more than that, but kissing would've sufficed. Carlo had the mouth for it, lush and ready to burst at the first nibble. With those dark eyes tilted up at him, Joe would've been a goner, incapable of refusing a single request, be it simple or sexual.

He hadn't kissed anyone since Emmett. For all his fantasies, he doubted he'd be kissing anybody any time soon. It was ridiculous to even consider. Carlo had the looks to be a real heartthrob if he ever got a decent break with his acting career. If by some miracle he wouldn't refuse a man's advances, someone as battered by life as Joe would never catch his attention.

Yet, in spite of what should've been common sense, he wondered. There had been moments when Carlo's gaze lingered a moment too long, or his nostrils had flared as he fought for some kind of control. Joe had caught Carlo watching him on the ride back to the store, too, not to mention the blush at Carlo's unfortunate assumption they'd be sharing the apartment.

The corner of his mouth quirked. Looked like Carlo had been right on that count.

When Carlo shifted in his sleep, Joe stepped back into the bedroom and shut the door to temptation. He could use a couple hours himself before opening the store. For all the anxiety Copper caused, there was something comforting about knowing Carlo was in the next room. He might even invade Joe's dreams if Joe could relax enough to slip that deep.

It wouldn't make tomorrow any easier, but it sure would save tonight from being a complete disaster.

*_*_*_*

Don't forget about my giveaway! Leave a comment, and your name will be throw in the hat for a chance to win this collection of classic noir films on DVD.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

New release - The Low Between

I have a new release today! My noir m/m, The Low Between, is now out at Amber Allure:


It was supposed to be simple. 
All struggling actor Carlo Baresi had to do was pick up a man in a taxi, drive him to the location he specified, then report where he’d taken him. The only problem is, the man isn’t who he claims to be...and they both know it.

Bookstore owner Joe Donnelly has a reputation for helping those in need, but this plan has been a bad one from the second he stepped in. Discovering someone has switched out the taxi driver is one more complication he doesn’t want, especially since Carlo is the kind of distraction that can get a man in serious trouble if he’s not careful.

But the men have something in common other than their mutual attraction. They’re both loose ends, struggling to find out what is really going on.

And murder is always complicated, even when you’re on the same side...
Head on over to Amber Allure and take a closer look!

In conjunction with my new release, I'm giving a DVD set of classic noir films. All you have to do to enter is leave a comment on this or any post until February 15. A winner will be selected at random on the 16th. For details about this and my other current giveaway, check out my giveaway post.

Giveaways

Okay, so my recovery this week took more out of me than I anticipated. Everything is going great, though. I had my follow-up with the doctor on Thursday, where he looked it over and redressed it. My stitches come out a week from tomorrow, but I'll be in this shoe for weeks yet to come.

But my plans clearly got derailed. I had hoped to be active in blogging this past week to talk about A Simple Charm, but that obviously didn't happen. So, I'm going to run two different giveaways at the same time, and keep them active until my next release comes out in February.

For my carnies story, I wanted to do something a little bit different. I'll be giving away two matted 8x10 prints:

I found them at this seller on Etsy. She's got some great stuff. The prints are done on aged dictionary pages, so they have this wonderful sepia tone to them. It's much stronger than in my pictures. And in case you can't read what it says on the tree print, it says, "We do not see things as they are. We see them as we are."

The second giveaway is in conjunction with my release out today, The Low Between. This is my story in the Amber Allure Noir pax, five stories all centered on a noir theme. For this, I'll be giving away a collection of classic noir films on DVD - The Asphalt Jungle, Gun Crazy, Murder My Sweet, Out of the Past, and The Set-Up.

Unfortunately, because of shipping costs, the prizes are only available to those in the US. That doesn't mean you can't participate if you're from elsewhere, though. If the winner ends up being outside the US, I'll substitute a $40 Amazon gift voucher for them instead.

All you have to do is comment on any post between now and February 15. Your name will get thrown in every time you comment. I'll announce the winners on the 16th.

Monday, January 14, 2013

New release!

I have a new release today! My m/m carny story, A Simple Charm, came out this morning at Liquid Silver Books.

In 1934, life in Brookburn, Indiana is quiet, simple, and peaceful, but young dreamer Levi Beckerman yearns for more. When the carnival shows up for the Fourth of July, he’s entranced by its many temptations. None is more seductive than the charismatic barker, Sebastian Gustineau.

Seb’s been a part of the carnival for almost a decade. Once, it provided him the escape he needed from a life he thought he didn’t want, but now, he craves things it can never offer. Flitting from dusty town to dusty town, he loses himself in pretty dalliances. Levi seems like the perfect distraction, until a single conversation convinces him that preserving Levi’s innocence and way of life is more important than his momentary satisfaction.

However, his plan to discourage Levi goes horribly wrong. When Levi’s family is threatened, Levi fights to protect them, doing what he can to hide the secrets he’s sheltered his entire life. The only person he trusts is Seb. He’s just not sure if the growing bond between them is enough to save them all.


I'm going to be blogging all week about it, plus tomorrow, I'll be posting the details for a giveaway I'm having. Anybody who comments on a post made from today through Saturday will be eligible to win two matted prints.

Over at Liquid Silver, you can read the first chapter to get a taste, or just go ahead and buy if you're already intrigued. I love these guys. I hope you will, too.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Home and recuperating

My surgery went very well yesterday. It started a tad late, so the prediction I'd be home by 10:30am was off by an hour, but I really can't complain. The staff at the facility was wonderful, especially all the nurses. My doctor was his usual monosyllabic self, but hey, his job is to fix people not entertain them, so I'm all right with that.

I slept for a part of the afternoon, but my pain meds don't really have an averse effect on me, thank goodness. My need for sleep was mostly from the lack the night before. My daughter took care of dinner, though she came in at one point and jokingly asked me if I wanted my job back. I'm sleeping in the guest room so I don't have to worry about disturbing my husband and also because it has an ensuite so I don't have to hobble as far for a bathroom. My daughter watched TV with me in the early evening, and my son is bringing in games to play with me tonight.

This afternoon, they have a piano recital I don't get to attend, but I will get to hear/see, thanks to Skype. We were early adopters, mostly because of all the transatlantic communications. It's tough on grandparents when you move their only grandchildren from one continent to another. But we've used it for so many others things, too, like getting play-by-play information on the World's Cup from my father-in-law in the UK while we were driving cross-country several years to see my family. Kind of beats having to sing for hours in the car to keep ourselves entertained when we were kids, lol.

Anyway, hopefully today will be as good as it was yesterday. I don't have any numbness left in my foot, though my toes are so swollen, they look like fat cocktail weenies. I took a tracing of my foot Thursday night, and when I'm standing properly in a few weeks, I'm going to take another one to see what the difference is. Silly, I know, but I kind of want to be reminded of the difference.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Another excerpt from A Simple Charm

Four more days until the release of A Simple Charm, so I'm going to share another excerpt for everyone to get a taste.

This is in Seb's (the carnival barker) POV. His second encounter with Levi, when Levi has snuck out of his house in the middle of the night to watch the carnies.

-----


“So tell me what your favorite part of today was,” Seb prodded. It felt important to keep Levi talking, utilize the one skill he could guarantee to wind a proper web around the moment and cocoon it safely away.

“The whole day.”

Seb laughed. “Oh, come on, there must be something you liked better than anything else. The rides? The games? The acrobats?”

“What do people usually say when you ask them that?”

“Ah, now, you’re making assumptions that might not be true. I don’t go around gathering up comment cards when people shuffle on back home. My job is just to get them onto the midway.”

“You do more than that.”

“Did you see me leave my stage at all today? No, you didn’t, because that’s where I work from. I get to see everyone when they’re still excited about what’s to come, not after they’re hot and tired and want to go home to sleep until Tuesday.”

“That’s not what happens.” Levi’s sudden vehemence came with a roll onto his side, more of their limbs coming into contact as he propped his head on his hand to stare down at Seb. Their closeness finally gave him the chance to see the pale brightness of Levi’s eyes, burning again with a fervor that stole Seb’s breath away. “What you do, it’s magical. It really is. People love you.”

The corner of Seb’s mouth lifted into the semblance of a sad smile. “They love the carnival. There’s a difference.” One he’d learned too late.

“And you’re part of that,” Levi insisted. “Some of them wouldn’t even go in if you weren’t there to tell them how wonderful it was.”

His estimation of what lit Levi up had been wrong, or rather, incomplete. It wasn’t just that he was smart. Innocence radiated from every pore, the type that would wither at the first sign from the real world that the dreams he concocted could never come true.

“What is it you do?” Seb asked, changing the subject. “You’re too old for school, right?”

A quick frown pulled Levi’s brows together. “I hope so. I’m almost twenty.”

“Practically ancient.”

“Not that much younger than you.”

Only in biological years. “There’s more to age than a number.”

“I know that, but you don’t or you wouldn’t tease me like I’m some kid.”

“And what kind of experience could life have possibly thrown at someone like you to make you capable of even thinking such a thing?”

His lashes ducked, and his gaze slid to the side. Avoidance. Brought on by shame? Fear? Seb craved discovering why, though at the same time, a curl of anxiety wound through his gut at finding out the answer. He didn’t want his ideals of Levi shattered, just like he knew Levi wouldn’t want his fantasies about the carnival destroyed. Out here, they could live in a bubble where both existed peacefully together, but only if they took care not to burst it with the wrong words.

“I’m sorry,” he heard himself say. “That was rude of me.”

His apology had the desired effect. Levi let out a long, ragged breath, and lifted his eyes to Seb’s again.
“I work in the general store,” Levi said, going back to Seb’s earlier question. “I’m kind of an apprentice there. Working my way up.”

“Does your family own it?”

He shook his head. “My mother’s the teacher in town, and Pap works out on my grandfather’s farm. I’ve always been better at books than baling hay.”

“Bookworms belong in college.”

“Is that how you see me?”

Such a simple question, but more simmered behind those eyes, an almost desperate hunger that had nothing to do with college, everything to do with Seb. The walls around them strengthened, willing away the rest of the world for at least a few minutes longer.

“It’s my job to notice things.” The corner of his mouth tipped. “And I’m very good at what I do.”

“You said that this morning. About noticing things.”

Had he? His exact words eluded him, but apparently they hadn’t done so for Levi. “Because it’s true.”

“But sometimes, what looks like truth is really magic.”

“Ah, we’re back to that again. At college, they’d teach you different, you know.”

“I can’t go.”

“Why not?”

“We can’t afford it. But that’s all right. With the store, it’s all still good. It’ll work out for everyone in the long run.”

Seb didn’t believe him. Someone who stole out of his bed in the middle of the night to watch carnies sleep would never be happy stuck behind a counter, waiting on old biddies and cranky farmers until some girl convinced him to settle down and lock himself into an even duller future.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

It's only Wednesday?

I've been a little AWOL the past few days because I'm in frantic mode, preparing to be unavailable to my family for a bit. Why? Because on Friday morning, I'm having surgery on my foot. That means Mom (my alter ego) won't be able to do any of the driving, wrangling, cooking, or cleaning, for the next week. I'm prepping the husband and kids for how to handle that, without forgetting that I'm going to need some TLC, too, as well as handling all my pre-op stuff.

It's been a tad busy.

I'm also getting ready for my upcoming releases. On Monday, my m/m historical short novel, A Simple Charm, comes out at Liquid Silver, and the following Sunday, my m/m noir long novella, The Low Between, comes out at Amber Allure. I'm going to have giveaways for both, so more details about those to come.

Today is more running around. While I can. I even volunteered to do all the dog walks this week. Because I just know the weekend and next week where I'm not really supposed to be out of bed are going to drive me insane.

Plus? I can't put a shoe on that foot until March. The boot I have to wear is NOT cute.

That's a good excuse to go shoe shopping when I'm all healed up, right?

Sunday, January 6, 2013

The Bourne Legacy

I missed this in the theaters, though that's hardly surprising since we weren't around for much of the summer. So last night, we watched this as a family. Well, all right, my husband and I picked it out and told the kids they just had to put up with it. We had different reasons. He loves the Bourne movies, and I love Jeremy Renner. It was a win/win all around.

Until it was over. Then I was the only winner.

See, I'm not a fan of the first three movies. Not because they aren't done well, but mostly because Matt Damon leaves me cold. I don't think he's got a lot of range as an actor, and frankly, he always comes across as too smarmy for me. So without liking the star, it's hard for me to get involved in the story.

That's not the case here. While I'll freely admit it's far from perfect, there was enough right about this movie for me to get swept up into it. Jeremy Renner portrayed both aspects of his characters well - the enhanced soldier and his not-so-enhanced original identity, while Rachel Weisz handles the smart yet handy heroine with ease. The first half of the film is smartly done, too, forcing a viewer's concentration to try and figure out how these three disparate threads are ultimately going to come together.

Where it starts to fall apart is the last hour, with the overlong motorcycle chase and the non-ending. I understand the latter. They need it open-ended for the series. But the movie is too long as it stands, needing a stronger hand to cut down on the action sequences so they don't begin to drag.

I'll be on the lookout for the others when they come out. With Jeremy Renner in the lead, I can finally care enough to watch.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Why are we still arguing about this?

Yesterday, I read an article in the Wall Street Journal, claiming print was "here to stay," and that e-books will serve a role similar to audio books and nothing more.

I got pissed.

Not because it's true or anything, but more because of the obvious bias of the article's author. He's the writer of The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains, a 2011 Pulitzer Prize finalist in general nonfiction. He's a proponent of the philosophy that we're losing the ability to think deeply as a result of having too easy access to tools that will do the thinking for you. I'm not saying I disagree with him on that, but the fact of the matter is, he has a definite lean toward getting rid of technology because it's ultimately detrimental in his eyes. This shines through in his conclusions in the WSJ article.

In it, he proposes that the decline in e-reader and e-book sales means that print is still king, that we've "misjudged the nature of the electronic book." It's just a more disposable paperback of lightweight entertainment, and thus, "real books" are going nowhere. What he fails to even mention is that print is still on the decline, as reported by Publisher's Weekly. But doing so, I'd bet, would weaken his headline.

Genre fiction is the bread and butter of the publishing industry. It always has been. Literary fiction, while worthy and often notable, doesn't sell in the same numbers the vast majority of the time. He's weighing them all equally when evaluating statistics about who has read print and e-books in the last year, when in fact, they're not.

Don't get me wrong. I don't think print is disappearing at all. But relegating e-books to a novelty format is a  mistake, perpetrated by ideals that don't match the direction in which society is marching. The two can, and should, live side by side, supporting each other, rather than competing against each other and attempting to tear down the other in order to bolster their sales.

I don't think he's ever going to believe that. I can only hope that the reading public is smart enough to see the holes in his arguments.

Friday, January 4, 2013

When is paranormal not paranormal?

A week from Monday, my m/m short novel, A Simple Charm, comes out from Liquid Silver Books. When it shows up on the website, it's going to show up under the genre heading "paranormal."

Except it's not. Not really. But paranormal is the best category fit for it, so unfortunately, that's the one I have to live with.

See, I wrote the story with magical realism in mind. Magical realism is usually defined by the introduction of the magical into the mundane, where something shouldn't be happening but is, without fanfare or explanation. Think...Chocolat. Vianne's magic is subtle, accepted by her without question. Her issues with the community stem from the fact that she's a single mother more than anything else, that mundane overtaking the magical in terms of importance. It's only paranormal in the sense that things other than normal happen in it.

That's much the same with A Simple Charm. Levi is different than anyone else in town, but he lives the life he's expected to. His greatest fear in the beginning is that his father will discover he went to the carnival, when his father dislikes it more than anything else. He's a simple young man, innocent though not afraid, and the magic that sets him apart is less important than his hopes for a future where he can experience life rather than watch it. There's no monsters for him to overcome. There are just men with their own agendas, who aren't necessarily bad guys as they are looking out for themselves.

And yet, you'll find it under the paranormal category. Because honestly, it doesn't fit anywhere else.

Its singularity is one of the things I love most about it.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

A little bit of Burlesque

Last night, I watched Burlesque with my daughter. She likes Christina Aguilera, and she'd been seeing the commercials, so without much else to do (since my husband was firmly ensconced in front of his copy of Halo 4 in the family room), we curled up on the couch together to check it out.

Surprisingly, I didn't hate it.

I'm pretty sure that's because I had such low expectations going into it.

It's hardly original, and most of it is just excuses to string together music videos for Aguilera, but she acts better than I would've given her credit for, and Cam Gigandet, the actor who plays her male roommate and would-be love interest, is pretty darn delicious. I mean, look at this guy...

The eyeliner pretty much does it for me.

But in case this doesn't toot your horn, he's also the guy in this shot, which I think a lot of women are pretty familiar with:


I'm not likely to ever see it again, or catch myself humming the music, but I don't feel like it was a total waste of two hours, either. Enough pretty abounded to distract me from the unoriginality, and sometimes, that's all I need.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

The first day of a brand new year

I love beginnings. It appeals to the obsessive in me. Having a firm starting point makes it much easier to embark on a journey, whether that's literal or metaphorical.

But hand in hand with beginnings are ends. Everything leads to something else, whether it's a destination you expect or not. I often refuse to have regrets, because sometimes those poor choices we made in our past have led to something completely glorious. Taking those away would strip us of our greatest achievements and gifts. For instance, I wouldn't have the most important person in my life - my husband - if I hadn't been a complete idiot about a previous relationship. That ex goes down in the record books as truly horrific, but because of where it put me in life, I was in a place where I could meet the man I'm married to now. That wouldn't have happened otherwise.

I don't do resolutions, but instead choose goals to try and meet. The difference is, I have permission to alter the goals based on real life unpredictability. Things happen we can't control. Modifying our goals is the best way to accommodate them without abandoning progress entirely.

So my top 5 goals for 2013, in no particular order:

1. Have 7 new published titles. Three of those are already done and ready to come out in January and February, while two more are scheduled later in the year with Amber Allure. That leaves me two others to get in there somewhere. I don't know what they'll be yet, but I prefer aiming for published titles rather than word counts since a) stories are often so fickle about length, and b) it's a more definitive result.

2. Blog at least 4 times a week. I'm not good at it. I often forget. But it keeps me involved rather than stuck in my stories, which is always good.

3. Make 1 new jewelry piece a week. I love to bead, but it's something that's really fallen by the wayside this past year with everything. I'm getting back to it.

4. Lose 40 pounds. I have surgery on my foot in less than two weeks, which is really going to lay me up for a couple months. But that makes it all that more important for me to eat smarter and get the weight off to help recovery.

5. Learn 5 songs out of my daughter's favorite piano playbook on my guitar so we can play together. I have no idea what those songs will be. I just know I haven't pulled my guitar out in too long and she wants me to do it with her. It'll be especially fun because she's so good on the piano now that we can pick interesting songs rather than simplistic ones.

I'll add more goals as the year progresses and modify these if necessary. But the important thing is, I'm starting from somewhere. Right here. Right now.

A brand new year. :)