Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Feeling like a writer again

First of all, my sincerest hope that everyone is safe and well in the aftermath of the worst of the hurricane.

Secondly, I have more writing news. I have a release date for A Simple Charm. It'll be out with Liquid Silver on January 14, 2013. I'm in edits on it right now, and they're going well. I've also been assigned a cover artist, so as soon as that's done, you'll be the first to see.

I also sent in a new submission today. There was a call I've been meaning to write for, and I spent the 16-hour drive back from Albuquerque last week getting it all plotted and done in my head. That's what I've been working on since I got back. I won't jinx it with specifics, but it's a 15k m/m/f story that, if it gets contracted, will end up being the prequel for the full-length novel I want to write to explore this relationship. This short is essentially how these three hook up. I love these characters.

It's kind of nice being back on the wagon. I'm feeling like a writer again.

Monday, October 29, 2012

2013 Epic E-book Award Finalists go live

The complete list of the Epic E-book Award finalists is now up. So exciting to see some of the people there, including the fabulous Rick Reed and the talented L.A. Witt.

Go check it out! They've linked to where you can buy the books, too, so you just might find something new to read.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Six Sentence Sunday

Welcome to my SSS! I'm currently at GayRomLit in Albuquerque, and driving back to San Francisco today and tomorrow, so my apologies about being slow to comment this week. If I could find a way to do it from the road, you can bet I would. It would make the long drive more bearable, lol.

For the next two months, I'm featuring my RT Award Nominee, the het paranormal/time travel-ish erotic romance, Two Lives in Waltz Time. Maddy and Cash have been sucked into a 1940s private club milieu where Maddy's a dancer, Cash is the bouncer, and the whole world thinks they're engaged. Cash got a drunk Maddy back to their home in this other world, where she woke up with a terrible hangover. He gave her a brief explanation about magic being the cause, a story she has to buy because nothing else comes close to explaining what is going on, and then Cash offered to teach her how to dance so she doesn't have to play barfly at the club all night.

She stood there silently, long enough for the first song to end and the second to begin. Cash never made a move, waiting patiently by the record player, dancing eyes watching her with growing amusement.

“You know this only works if you're actually within touching distance, don't you?” he asked when the second song ended as well.

“I'm still thinking about it.”

“Think a little bit closer then.” With long steps, he marched forward and took her hand, leading her back to the open space in the middle of the room.

To check out all the other six sentence contributions, head over to the official website.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Epic Award finalists

After a truly horrific day yesterday, I got some great news in my email last night.

Two titles I entered in the Epic Awards this year are finalists!

One is the Jamie Craig title, A Line in the Ice, a romance set in Antarctica. It's a finalist in the Science Fiction Romance category.

The other is one of my own, my Christmas short from MLR last year, 'Tis the Season. It's a finalist in the Short Story category.

Needless to say, it brightened a truly dismal day.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

List of hacked B&N stores

Did you hear about the recent PIN hacks that happened at some Barnes & Noble stores? I did, mostly because several of the stores that were affected are near me.

Just in case you haven't, the list of stores have been made public.

I shop a lot at B&N, but luckily, the one I go to wasn't hit. Hopefully, yours wasn't either.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

New contract

So while I was away at GRL, I got some fab news. Remember that historical m/m I submitted a couple weeks ago? Well, it got accepted! Liquid Silver Books is going to publish "A Simple Charm," probably some time in early 2013.

Here's the blurb, for those who might be interested...

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 love this story to pieces. What's better, it's going to have a sequel, a project I've slated for next year.

But yay! I'm so glad it's going to see the light of day now. :)

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

GRL - Saturday

I meant to get this up yesterday, but I was pretty wasted. See, I did the insane on Sunday. I drove the whole way home from GRL instead of breaking it up over two days. That means a 17-hour drive in 15 hours. I got in at 2am. Yesterday is kind of a blur.

Saturday started out with the french toast breakfast where we got to eat with our wonderful reader friends we'd been hanging out with. I then headed to the Amber Allure spotlight, where I sat on the panel with writer friends and told everybody how great AQP is. They really are, you know. The one thing that was driven home by being around the other AQP writers is just how much freedom we have to write the stories we want, that stories that might not see a home at other houses can find one at AQP. Like Lynn Lorenz's story about 70 y/o gay gentlemen. It's a wonderful story, but because they're not young and pretty, they would be a hard sell anyplace else. AQP trusts us to tell good stories.

After that, I stuck around to support Carolyn as she did the Loose Id spotlight. I had to sneak away at the end to start getting ready for the signing, and skipped lunch for the most part to do that. I was pretty panicked about the whole thing, I'll admit. I get overwhelmed by so many people and having to speak to strangers on the spot, but in the end, it worked out great. Everybody who stopped at my table was so gracious and wonderful. I had a blast getting to talk to so many different people.

Carolyn, Elyan, and I skipped out of the hotel for dinner, but got back in time for the final cocktail party. Though it was crowded, we got to decompress some by hanging out with our four new friends, one of which won one of the giveaways!

I'll admit, though, I was done after that. I just kind of wanted to decompress and relax. That was one reason why I drove straight through on Sunday. I missed my family and my life. GRL was fantastic, but I had so many creative juices flowing that not getting to write as much as I wanted was really bugging me.

Next year it's in Atlanta. Carolyn and Elyan are talking about finding a way to go again. I might, too. It's hard not to get excited about it when we had so much fun.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Six Sentence Sunday

Welcome to my SSS! I'm currently at GayRomLit in Albuquerque, and driving back to San Francisco today and tomorrow, so my apologies about being slow to comment this week. If I could find a way to do it from the road, you can bet I would. It would make the long drive more bearable, lol.

For the next two months, I'm featuring my RT Award Nominee, the het paranormal/time travel-ish erotic romance, Two Lives in Waltz Time. Last week, Cash and Maddy experienced the alternate world they got sucked into for the first time, the 1940s private club milieu where Maddy's a dancer, Cash is the bouncer, and the whole world thinks they're engaged. Maddy drank a little too much as she struggled to understand what was going on, while a jealous Cash looked on.

This week's six comes very soon after. Cash has managed to get Maddy out of the club, to get her safely home, but as he stands on the street and thinks about what's going on around them, the reader learns their current situation might not have such innocent roots...

It had been a long time since he had witnessed magic powerful enough to create an entire world to this detail. Nothing appeared out of place to the time period, not the forties' fashion, not the architecture, not the sounds of the city around them. Whoever created the painting had even gone as far as to create alternate lives for him and Maddy, and while he certainly wasn't complaining about the idea of being engaged, it reeked of motives far sneakier than made him comfortable. He'd done everything he could to ensure he wasn't found. The last thing he wanted was for an innocent party to get dragged into his own private war. Especially if it was Maddy.

To check out all the other six sentence contributions, head over to the official website.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

GRL - Friday

Friday morning started with a workout.

Yes, you read that right. I got up at 6am so Elyan and I could hit the exercise room at 6:15. Considering how many calories I'm sure I'm consuming here, I know what I did was a drop in the bucket, but I figured it was something, right? And honestly, I felt better after I did. I would've been up anyway, and it worked wonders to get me started.

We weren't originally going to bother with breakfast, but then changed our minds. The three of us headed down to the Samhain Build a Burrito breakfast, and wouldn't you know it, but we ended up eating with the same four readers from Thursday night! They're a fantastic bunch, let me tell you. So nice and funny.

I had my Q&A at 11:20, but I wanted some down time first, so Carolyn and Elyan went to work elsewhere while I escaped to my room. To say I was nervous was an understatement. Thankfully, I had Jet Mykles, Belinda McBride, and Marguerite Labbe on my panel, so they held the whole thing up marvelously. I was so relieved that Carolyn and Elyan were so fantastic to show up and support me.

Lunch was in Albuquerque, but rather than take the bus, we'd already decided we wanted the freedom of driving ourselves in. We got to meet some new readers at the lunch, a pair of sisters from Pennsylvania and an 18 y/o girl who had come to the con all by herself. I was amazed. That's a pretty cool thing, going to something like this at such a young age.

But then, a late bus arrived, and who would walk in right at the moment? Our four reader friends from before! And lo and behold, we had four seats still left at our table so they joined us again.

It happened again at the cocktail party in Albuquerque. And then, when we were back at the hotel, we went down to have drinks, walked in, and there they were again. So we joined them this time. I have to say, they are amazing. Getting to hang out and laugh and chat with them was entertaining, informative, and probably one of the best parts of the con already. Considering how much has gone on, that's saying a lot.

The book signing is today. Carolyn and I are going to get in early to grab a table together. I envision I'll be a lot less stressed about that.

Friday, October 19, 2012

GRL - Thursday

My con reports are going to be short, lol.

Thursday was all about registration and finding faces. After getting our packets in the morning, Carolyn Gray, Elyan Smith, and I hit the swag room to look around first, just like everybody else since it was right next to where we signed in. Tons of people, tons of freebies from pens to chocolates to bull squeeze toys. I got to see a lot of people I rarely get to see in real life, and was excited to chat with Lynn Lorenz, T.A. Chase, Tina Burns, Z.A. Maxfield, and Adrianna Dane, among others.

But you know what was probably the coolest person I got see all morning? Elisa Rolle. I'd known she was going to be coming, but forgotten because I'm a ditz like that. Carolyn was talking to her, and she asked me to sign the Jamie Craig card for her. I said sure, signed it, and it wasn't until I handed it back to her that I saw her nametag and went, "Ohmigod, you're Elisa!" She's done so much for m/m romance. It was an honor to finally get to meet her.

Carolyn, Elyan, and I went and chilled until the Riptide publisher's spot at 1:00, where Carolyn and I hung out in the audience to support Elyan's first real author appearance at GRL. I have to say, I was really impressed by Stephanie Grobes, Riptide's marketing gal. She's literate, knowledgeable, and highly articulate. Clearly a great asset to the company.

Afterward, I went to Z.A.'s Q&A. She was on the panel with Cat Grant, Isabelle Rowan, and Karenna Colcroft. I didn't ask any questions but just hung to listen. Cool stuff, but then I adore Z.A. and knew it would be. She's as warm and funny and nice in real life as her books can be. It's always a delight to see her.

Then, I do what I always tend to do at cons. I escaped to my room for a few hours of quiet and to work. I just get very overloaded being around so many people all the time. Plus, being around creative people makes me hunger to write. So that's what I did until MLR's cocktail party.

I sat with Carolyn and Elyan, and we were joined by four wonderful readers (who were an absolute blast to listen to), as well as Kaje Harper and Edmond Manning (so nice, the both of them). MLR ran a scavenger hunt, where people went around looking for MLR authors and their tattoos, so I ended up signing a lot of cards. Being so quiet usually meant I was one of the last signatures a lot of people needed, lol. Then I'd usually point them out to the few other faces I could help them with, like Kaje, T.A., or Rick Reed.

There was another party after that, but I, being my usual self, went back to my room. I wanted to call home and say good night to my family, as well as get some writing done. I'm a chapter away from finishing my noir story so the urge is strong.

Today, I'm on a Q&A at 11, but after that, the day is pretty wide open. Maybe I can finish it!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Day 2 of driving

I made it all the way to Flagstaff my first day of driving, which means I only have five hours of driving today and can check in right at three if I time it right. Tonight, I'll get my swag out and just hang, though honestly, the idea of sitting in a bar right now is not appealing. I sat on my butt for twelve hours today. It doesn't want to take any more, lol.

Next time I want to drive so long, I need to be smarter about entertainment options. I took my husband's car so he could have mine for getting the kids around, and I forgot it didn't have my music in it. I was scrambling for CDs to take, ending up opting for soundtracks. I figured, I knew all the music, and getting to sing along and maybe replay scenes in my head wouldn't be so bad.

Problem was, I picked depressing soundtracks, lol. Too much sadness. For long, boring drives, bouncy is best.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Off to GayRomLit

I leave this morning for GayRomLit. I'm driving rather than flying, for lots of reasons though one of them is not because it's faster.

Am I ready? Oh, hell no. Will I make it work? I'll try my best. :)

The goal is to blog about GRL this week while I'm away, but that all depends on time and connectivity at the hotel. If I can't, there will still be a Six Sentence Sunday post (because that's not dependent on GRL activities), and I'll do a recap post when I get home next week.

If you're going to be there, please don't be shy about saying hi!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Who's got the X Factor?

Contrary to what it might be about to sound like, I'm not rabid about X Factor. We let them pile up on our DVR over the past few weeks and ended up watching a lot of them all at one go, just to make room for other shows to get recorded.

In the process, I discovered I have favorites. Who knew?

The ONE guy who makes me ache, who gives me goosebumps every time he opens his mouth, is Vino Alan. I liked his blind audition a lot, and he's just gotten better with each subsequent performance. L.A. wonders if he's got the package, if people are going to vote for him or if he's too tough. My answer?

Oh, hell yeah.

Yes, he's got tattoos. Yes, he's got a metal edge to his voice sometimes. But he's riveting. And there's something so hot about that tough exterior around all that pain. He didn't pursue music all this time so he could raise his kid, for goodness sake. If America doesn't react to that, then they just don't deserve him, frankly.

The performance he gave of Pink's "Sober" last week at L.A.'s house was just amazing. So if you didn't see it, here it is.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Six Sentence Sunday

Welcome to my SSS! For the next two months, I'm featuring my RT Award Nominee, the het paranormal/time travel-ish erotic romance, Two Lives in Waltz Time. I have a real soft spot for this one. It combines a lot of my favorite elements in romance - time travel, paranormal, snarky banter, and a lot of action. It's the story of Maddy Cardinale, an art restorer at a prestigious NYC museum, her co-worker, the irrepressible Cash Vinci, and what happens to them when Cash receives a mysterious painting.

Last week, we met Maddy at the start of a really bad night at work. A painting of a 1940s nightclub arrived for Cash, and the pair find themselves sucked into it. Cash ends as a bouncer in a tux, Maddy is one of the dancers, and much to their surprise, everyone in the painting world thinks they're engaged. Maddy does not take it well. Cash's reaction to her is a little more mixed.

In this place, she was his. Every guy wanted to be him because they knew, at the end of the night, Madeline Cardinale was going home with him.

Then she'd hit the bar. Three straight shots later, she was laughing too loudly, flirting with an ever-growing circle of men, allowing herself to be led out to the dance floor only occasionally when the band launched into a slow waltz. He had to watch as hands found their way to her ass, as arms held her against bodies that weren't his. It was ridiculous, but every time it happened, Cash's jaw tensed, and the thunder in his gut threatened to ball his hands into fists.

To check out all the other six sentence contributions, head over to the official website.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

My contributions to GayRomLit

I leave for GayRomLit in Albuquerque in four days. Too soon! I'm not ready! But I guess at this point, it's too late for any moaning and whining. I'll just learn better for next year.

As the schedule currently stands, I'll be participating in a Q&A, 11:20am-12:15pm on Friday, with Marguerite Labbe, Belinda McBride, and Jet Mykles, as well as the book signing on Saturday from 2:15-4:30pm. Don't hold me to that, though. They keep warning us that the schedule can change all the way until we actually arrive, so double-check it when you get your registration packet.

I'm taking stock of what books I'll be bringing with me for the book signing. I'll have both Vivien Dean and Jamie Craig titles for sale, but for whatever reason, I can't find one of my boxes of books, which means some titles only have a single copy. That doesn't make me happy. However, I will have at least one of each of the following:

In addition, Samhain will have copies of A Hidden Beauty.

I went out today and bought See's krispy's (orange, latte, and mint) and lollipops for my section in the swag room, to go along with the various goodies I'll be giving away there, as well as a box of chocolates and variety pieces for the signing. For everyone who purchases a book from me at the signing, though, I have a special gift. I won't say what just yet. I'll keep that a surprise for the day.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Project Runway Finale, Part 1

If you didn't watch Project Runway last night and don't want to be spoiled, stop reading now. I plan on talking about it.


Are you gone yet? Good.

Can I just say how pissed I am?!? Believe it or not, I've enjoyed this season. It didn't have a lot of the manufactured drama of recent years, and there were more than a couple designers I really liked. I have a favorite, sure, but I genuinely like a couple of these guys. And some of the designs this year have been stunning.

I only had one hope when I started watching last night. That Dmitry would make the top three. Thanks to Tom & Lorenzo's blog, I'd seen pictures of all the collections, real and mock, that were shown, and while his didn't blow me away, he's been the one I've loved the most throughout the process. I love his drama, I love his structure, I love his tailoring.

And I'm glad his is a final collection. Really. But c'mon, did I really have to sit through ninety minutes (okay, maybe more like seventy since I watched it after it was done and fast-forwarded through all the commercials) to discover the judges were copping out and sending them all to Fashion Week?

Apparently, yes. It's starting to feel like Anya's win all over again. Remember Anya? The one the producers kept changing the rules for every time it looked like she'd be eliminated?

I have never thought Dmitry was going to win. I love him, but to me, it's seemed like their favorite has always been Christopher. Don't get me wrong, he's made some really pretty designs, but based on their mini-collections, he very much should've been the one auf'd. Two generic shorts outfits and the skirt/bustier combo? Boring. The judges knew it, too. Their pet screwed up when it was most crucial he didn't.

So...they changed it up to accommodate him staying in.

I fully expect him to win next week, and as all right as I might have been with it before, it's going to leave a bitter taste in my mouth. Because it'll feel like preferential, undeserved treatment. Unfairness to the extreme. One of my biggest hang-ups ever, because I really loathe that. I want winners to actually deserve their win.

Ha, maybe I should stop thinking about it until the show airs.

Oh, hell, I just realized I'm in Albuquerque for GRL when it's on. Thank god for Slingbox and hotel wifi, lol!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Vitamin sunlight

While part of my taking charge of my health has been eating better and exercising, another part involved getting myself checked out by a rheumatologist. Arthritis hits the women in my family hard, so I want to be prepared. I'd been having aches and pains in my joints for a few months, so it seemed like a natural step.

What the doctor discovered was that I had a severe vitamin D deficiency, something that apparently is on the rise in the US. I was put on a supplement to try and get my levels into a healthy range.

I don't know if that's happened yet. I get my blood checked again in December. But I do know that it's working. It's almost amazing how different I feel (when I'm not suffering from a cold and an ear infection, that is, lol). I'm sleeping better and less. I have more energy throughout the day. Most of my aches and pains are gone.

This week, I discovered another bonus side effect. I had a hair appointment on Tuesday, and the second I sat down in the chair, my stylist--who I've been seeing for two years now--said, "What have you been using on your hair?"

Now, I knew my hair was growing faster. I'd figured that part out on my own. But apparently, it's also getting thicker, enough so that she knew before she ever laid on a finger on me. Because I've changed nothing in my routines except for that vitamin D.

Honestly? Figuring out and addressing this deficiency has been the best thing that's happened to me in a long time. Who knew it could create such problems?

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The same old fights

Yesterday, Dan Savage posted his must-read for the day, a 35-year-old episode of All in the Family called "Cousin Liz." In it, Norman Lear introduced a lesbian to the American public. It's amazing watching it now. Yes, the show can get a little preachy, but the edge and honesty it brought most of the time sets it apart from most sitcoms.

So I'm doing my part, as Dan requested. I'm spreading the word on it. Some of what Edith says just makes me tear up. And why are we still having these same fights, thirty-five years later?

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

One down, the next to go

So yesterday, I finally got around to feeling happy enough about my latest short novel to send it in for submission. I won't say to where for fear of jinxing it, but I'm quite pleased with how it turned out. It's a 46k gay historical romance called "A Simple Charm." I didn't mistype and forget to put in erotic. It's not, not really. There are two short scenes in the middle that yes, get graphic, but not in the sense that it qualifies with the stronger label. It's set in 1934 in rural Midwest America, and, with where the main character is in his life (as well as the setting), making it sexier just wasn't appropriate.


I plan on writing a sequel to this one. It's got an HFN (my wonderful beta who reassured me it didn't suck thinks it still qualifies as an HEA), but I want to see the next step in the relationship too badly not to continue exploring. I couldn't write it all as one, either. Thematically, they're two very different stories. It just wouldn't flow.

In other writing news, I have 22k on my noir story due into Amber Allure before 12/1. I'd hoped to finish it before GRL, but I've got a busy week ahead of me and I'm not convinced I'll make it. By the time I get home, hopefully.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Six Sentence Sunday

Welcome to my SSS! For the next two months, I'm featuring my RT Award Nominee, the het paranormal/time travel-ish erotic romance, Two Lives in Waltz Time. I have a real soft spot for this one. It combines a lot of my favorite elements in romance - time travel, paranormal, snarky banter, and a lot of action. It's the story of Maddy Cardinale, an art restorer at a prestigious NYC museum, her co-worker, the irrepressible Cash Vinci, and what happens to them when Cash receives a mysterious painting. At the start of the story, Maddy has arrived for her midnight shift after getting caught in a downpour. Her best friend Ava is offering to help her out before Cash shows up.

It wasn't much—just a faded white T-shirt that said, “I'll show you my motherboard, if you show me your hard drive” and a pair of navy cut-off sweats. Maddy chewed at her lower lip as she held them up.
“No offense, but if I wear these, I'm going to look like a clown.”
Ava smiled brightly, steering Maddy so she was forced to look at her reflection again. “Yes, but you'll be a dry, non-transparent clown.”
“And suddenly I see the appeal.” 

To check out all the other six sentence contributions, head over to the official website.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

The shoeman cometh

I love shoes. LOVE shoes. When I was in college, I worked for a year at a shoe store, which completely triggered my obsession ever since.

Meet my latest acquisitions. I just bought these yesterday.

Aren't they adorable? Both are suede, and they're in my two favorite colors, red and green. And one of the nicest parts about living in California is that I can wear the green ones pretty much all year round if I want.

The red ones are just plain hot. ;)

Friday, October 5, 2012

When shooting a gun just isn't enough

Plot holes. I hate 'em.

It's my own fault. I try to make things too complicated sometimes.

Okay, more than sometimes.

Last night, just as I was getting into the meat of a scene, I got stopped dead in my tracks by a question I hadn't asked myself yet about the plot. Well, not so much the question, but the answer to that question. Because that answer made much of what I was planning seem completely and utterly ridiculous. It unhinged the logic I needed to make it believable.

And if the reader doesn't believe what you're doing, you're pretty much sunk.

When my ex-writing partner and I would be plotting, she very often said something along the lines of, "Why doesn't he just shoot him?" Meaning, why was I suggesting a convoluted route to solving a problem rather than the more direct method. It's like the scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark when Indy is facing off with the sword-wielding ninja-like guy. It looks impossible to beat, until Indy pulls his gun out and shoots him.

Simple. Direct. Straight to the point.

Not my forte.

I'm actually a big fan of simple and direct when it's used effectively. But I like to think that people and situations are more complex than that. I hate the obvious. Add it all together and you get...

...a big hole in the internal logic of my current WIP.

So I took a break from it for the rest of the night to let my brain stew over how I could fix it. I'm halfway through the story, and the thought of going back to try and rework everything was almost enough to give me a panic attack. There had to be something I was missing, a different path I could from the step I was currently in the midst of.

I think I found it. I think. And I'll be at it again today with the new ideas in place.

I can guarantee, however, that I'll be advancing more carefully for the next 10k or so. I need to be sure that I've sufficiently covered the hole. I don't want to fall into another one.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Make it all matter

Yesterday, one of my favorite girl geeks had a spread on Lifehacker about how she worked. I'm talking about Felicia Day, one of the forces behind The Guild and Geek & Sundry. She's an actress, a writer, a producer, a reader, and so much more. Yes, I'll freely admit to having a major crush on her. I mean, who wouldn't? She's smart and adorable.

One of the things she said really hit home for me. When asked what the best advice she'd ever received was, she had this to say:
"The way you do one thing, is the way you do everything." I heard that in an acting class and it resonates with me every day. Especially when I'm feeling tempted to half-ass something.
I think that might be some of the smartest advice I've ever heard, the kind I'm definitely going to pass on to my kids. I mean, it's applicable across the board. Creative pursuits. Relationships. Education. Apply the same levels of respect and diligence to everything that matters in your life, and your odds for benefiting from them grow exponentially.

For writing, that can mean not cobbling a story together just for the sake of doing so. Invest in the characters and emotions in all of your work. Make every word matter.

Make everything matter.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Pasta with Roasted Cauliflower

Okay, so I'm not a photographer, lol. I thought about taking this picture way too late, and no amount of trying to crop it made it look any better. So I'm putting it up there in all its original not-so-glory, and letting the recipe speak for itself.

I made this for the first time Tuesday night, and let me tell you, my ten-year-son---who has turned up his nose at every variation on cauliflower I have ever thrown at him---ate every lick of this and asked when we'd have it again. That's a success in my house. Plus, it just tasted good.


1 head cauliflower, cut into bite-size pieces
2 tbsp olive oil
5 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
Kosher salt and ground pepper
8 oz uncooked farfalle
1/2 cup black olives, coarsely chopped
1 tsp finely grated lemon zest

1. Preheat oven to 450F.
2. Toss cauliflower with olive oil, garlic, and 1 teaspoon salt, and spread on a baking sheet.
3. Roast until golden and tender, about 20 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, boil salted water for pasta. Once it's boiling, add pasta and cook for designated time on package until done.
5. Reserve 1/4 cup of the pasta cooking water and set aside.
6. Drain pasta.
7. In large bowl, toss pasta, cauliflower, olives, lemon zest, and reserved pasta water. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.

Serves 4. It's light, but filling, and did I mention my picky son ate all the cauliflower in it?

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

At the end of the series

Remember that book I bitched about last week? The one where I hoped the author would fix what she wrote?

I finished the series yesterday. And yeah, she did fix it.

There's only one problem. I'm in serious mourning for the characters. I want to see more of them, damn it. This arc is completely done, so I don't want more story there, but you know, these characters were too vital for me not to be curious about the rest of their lives.

I'm not going to get it. I know that. That doesn't change how I feel.

I deliberately picked up a book from a different genre that is entirely standalone to read next. I'm not ready to get sucked into another series any time soon.

I have to get this one out of my head first.

Monday, October 1, 2012

It's all about momentum

The hardest part about being sick isn't necessarily the fact that my head and neck feel like they're getting chiseled from the inside out. It's the time I lose because I can't concentrate on my WIP. Because nothing kills a story faster than losing momentum.

I'm not one to write a lot of drafts. However, I'm also not one to do a ton of editing once I'm done. I fall somewhere in between, polishing a little as I go, slowing down when a scene takes a little bit longer. I literally cannot leave a blank space with a note, "Sex scene goes here," because for me, every scene counts toward the character's ultimate ending. How do I know that particular scene isn't going to be somehow crucial in a way I can't predict?

So sometimes I might slow down to get through a section of a story, but I always trudge forward. It's that energy that drives me on, that sense of being in the thick of it that dissipates when you have to leave a story for too long. I know writers who stop and go back to polish, polish, polish, and while I have tremendous respect for them and their work, that kind of approach completely kills my creative drive. I need that urgency that comes from the next moment in the story, and then the next one after that.

It's like making a lifechange, whether it's in adding exercise or modifying your diet. People often fail because they make a mistake, or get interrupted, and then decide to give up entirely. It's easy to throw in the towel on a story when you're not wrapped up in the urgency of it. You've had time to talk yourself out of it, or lose the fire.

It's all about the momentum. You can't reach where you're going if you're not always going forward.