Saturday, October 30, 2010

Scaredy Pants

Since we're having movie weather in Utah and it is Halloween weekend, I'd like to share my picks for some of my favorite "nail-biter" movies. Notice I didn't say Horror movies. I can't stomach the super-gory stuff very well, although there are a some from the genre I have to give kudos to.

In no particular order:

Rear Window - A classic from the great Mr. Hitchcock with the sublime Jimmy Stewart and Grace Kelly. Guaranteed to make you shout at the screen at least once.

Halloween - Flashes of the silent but deadly Michael Myers still invade my consciousness on occasion. I wouldn't watch this if it came out today, but viewing it with my friends as a teen evoked many girlish screams.

When a Stranger Calls - *spoiler alert*
"The calls are coming from INSIDE THE HOUSE."

The Sixth Sense - Creepy and one of the best surprise endings ever

Duel - Still hate semi trucks today because of this movie

Misery - I have adopted some Annie-isms such as cockadoodie and Mr. MAN. You authors out there better get the ending right.

Scream (only the first one) - A great job of blending humor with truly scary moments

Jaws - Who hasn't had a moment where you feared a shark would suddenly attack you in the pool?

The Terminator - I'll be back!

Psycho - Mother recommended it to me.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Pumpkins say a lot about people

I'm just saying that these pumpkins reminded me of these Inkers at first glance. Feel free to agree or disagree as you see fit.

The Tart for sure.

Blush all the way.

Vixen and Sir Kirk A Lot...must be the ghoulish grin.

Last but not least Rose and me.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

New Focus

Hello Dear Friends,

I am suffering from serious LACK OF MOTIVATION.  So I need a new drive to help me feel the love of writing . . .

So, I am going to attempt to write a short story suitable to be entered in LTUE's contest.  You can find all the info here.  It is due January 15th, 2011.  And I am going to send something in.  My 6th grade daughter is too.  Neither of us have "finished" anything, so it will be good for the both of us.

Anyone care to join me?


Monday, October 25, 2010

How Convenient

The other day I went to my nearest LargeMart, you know, one of those industrial sized, one-stop stores. It happened to be when I didn't bring children and I really had the time to look before mindlessly shoving items into my cart, just so I can get out the door before someone throws a tantrum/has to go to the bathroom/starts a chorus of, "I want..."

But that's a rant for another blog.

Anything I could ever need, as long as I'm not picky about brands, stared down at me from the aisles. Everything from groceries, to linens, to toys, to books, to car parts, all packaged and waiting for my shopping cart. In one store, I can literally do all my shopping, get my oil changed, eat lunch, get my nails done, and top it off with a haircut. Convenient, right? But it makes me wonder. Are we becoming too trapped and dependent on convenience? One day, we will have some population destroying apocalypse that will take out all the LargeMarts and we will be forced to live on our own. When that happens, I'm going to DJ's house.

But until then...what is your favorite modern day convenience? Mine is my laptop. Not having to be chained when I write, surf the web, etc, is something I hope to never give up!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Standards & Practices

My most recent writing delimma involved a character needing to say something scandalous during a TV interview which would have repercussions for my protagonist. Sure, it would be easy enough to have him drop the F-bomb or similar, however, my personal standards prevent me from doing that (not trying to act holier-than-thou, just telling it like it is). And, really, it's hard to shock in our society today with language or sexual behavior. The boundaries of what is acceptable in entertainment have been stretched pretty far.

Just this month, I've heard a few things in the news which have proved this point. Example #1: A 17 year old actress named Taylor Momsen (Gossip Girl) posed for the cover of Revolver magazine wearing lingerie with thigh-high stockings while holding a couple of guns. The editor excused this during an interview by saying in essence that we all did crazy things when we were teenagers. Um, does that mean it's okay for adults responsible for publishing a national magazine to make money off the "crazy " behavior? Example #2: Miley Cyrus, also age 17, joining the club of female former-Disney stars who think the only way to continue their careers in adulthood is to make a video where they are barely clothed, writhing around on a bed and bumping and grinding male dancers to show they are now "adults". Example #3: The show Glee, which I don't watch, but is about a high school glee club and was billed as a "family show" had an episode featuring a girl-on-girl make-out session.

Turns out, the best way to shock these days is to be politically incorrect, which works well for my character in question. So it was an ongoing debate with me, myself, and I for awhile, until a discussion at our writer's group meeting this week helped lead me to what I hope is a good solution that works for the story, but doesn't cross my standards line.

With all the political correctness in our society today, many approaches could actually work. As it turns out, there is more than one way to skin a cat (easy PETA, it's just an idiom).

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Mutineers vs Mutant Ears

Spell check can only take you so far. Check out this typo from one website trying to post the lyrics to "Rotten Town" from Ludo's latest album. Today's post is a cautionary tale.

Lyrics posted on the hack site:
"The mutant ears are plotting against the captain as I'm rotting in the goo"

Yep, that is supposed to say (The mutineers are plotting) of course since it is Ludo it took some research to confirm that its a typo.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


Being in a writers' group means that your work is critiqued on a regular basis.  That means sometimes you hear things you just don't want to hear.

Sometimes, it feels like they are telling you that your baby is ugly, or even that you shouldn't have had that baby in the first place, or even worse, cut that baby's arm off and replace it with a cyborg tentacle capable of pushing your OK WIP into a Best Seller.  It hurts, it sucks, but generally, these people are trying to help.

Other times, their words are amazingly helpful.  The Inkers have great capabilities and we see things all so differently that brainstorming helps end that writer's block.

Plus, even the bad critique's are better heard from someone who cares than someone who cares not.  It is an easier pill to swallow coming from a friend. 

 Many times when I am critiquing someone's WIP, I think before I speak and I am trying to help them, so when they come back with defensive maneuvers it makes me not want to speak at all.  If they know so much, why did they ask for my opinion?

(But there is the occasional time when we are having almost a debate and its fun to whip out ideas without much thought) hee hee

So, what can we do as the person receiving that critique? Here are some of my thoughts, share yours too.
  • Listen, really listen without thinking up your defense.
  • Take notes.  Maybe when you reread them they you will see their point.
  • Take it with a grain of salt.
  • Realize these people are trying to help.
  • And if all else fails, eat a brownie.
Have a great day and Happy Writing.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Minor Catastrophe

And just like that, my daughter had to have 6 stitches in her ear. It's moments like these that remind me of what makes a great story great. In real life, I was getting my kids ready to go out and choose a pumpkin for Halloween, but then this one little catastrophe hit. Grace fell into an end table and we had to take her to the urgent care instead. The question is, what would've happened had we gone to choose a pumpkin? In what way would my story have changed if the plan remained intact? In writing, plans turn on a dime and characters' paths cross or remain parallel at the author's discretion. Are we so focused on the plot we've laid out that we don't see the diversion, that little bit of real life, that will lead our characters down the more natural and believable path? Tell me, what are some of your favorite scenes in books or movies that illustrate this concept? What sorts of literature and media inspire your writing?

Monday, October 18, 2010

What's Your Sign?

I've been thinking a lot about the signs of the Zodiac lately. I find it very interesting that people born in a certain month can all have similar personality traits. People can be as varied and unique as can be, but still share certain Zodiac qualities.

So I'm curious, what's your sign? And what about your Zodiac applies to you personally? (If you're not sure, check here or here.)

I'm a Scorpio. Even though there are several examples of phrases that fit me, I picked this one:

"Scorpios are very weary about trusting anyone, a person needs to gain their trust and this gets built up over time and once all the 'trust tests' have been passed, Scorpio loves deeply and intensely."

This is very me.

Let's get this discussion started. Tell me, Baby, what's your sign?

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Well Helloooo Mr. Thomas Hardy

I'm currently reading Far From the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy. I probably should have read something by Mr. Hardy prior to this point, but I haven't. Although I'm only just over halfway through it, he'd have to do something really screwy to make me not a fan. It's considered a classic, and so far I would rate it worthy.

What has impressed me most about Hardy's style is his great way of describing a character's feelings or setting the emotional tone of a scene. His choice of words and wry observations make his writing easy to relate to. Set in one of my favorite time periods for writing, the 1800's, this story demonstrates again that human behavior doesn't vary much from era to era.

Here are a few examples. Hope you enjoy!
  • Mr. Fray here drew up his features to the mild degree of melancholy required when the persons involved in the given misfortune do not belong to your own family.
  • Silence has sometimes a remarkable power of showing itself as the disembodied soul of feeling wandering without its carcase, and it is then more impressive than speech. In the same way, to say a little is often to tell more than to say a great deal.
  • He brimmed with deep feeling as he replied in a steady voice, the steadiness of which was spoilt by the palpableness of his great effort to keep it so.

  • For a moment Boldwood stood so inertly after this that his soul seemed to have been entirely exhaled with the breath of his passionate words.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

You Can Do Anything For 15 Minutes

Last night I watched mesmerized as the Chilean miners were hauled from the earth.  I watched the wives' anxious expressions as they waited for their husbands to emerge from the deep.  Tears streamed down my cheek as I thought of how I would cope if my husband were in similar circumstances.

Then I think about that trip out.  I would have to work extremely hard to convince myself that I could endure that tube for fifteen minutes.  I don't know if I could.  Of course, I can hardly handle cave tours, so I probably wouldn't be down there in the first place.

But in truth, you can do ANYTHING for 15 minutes.  So, you CAN write for 15 minutes a day.  Anything is bearable in 15 minute increments.  Just ask these men.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Word Choice

The following is a sad tale of when spell check doesn't work...

A couple of weeks ago I was reading a random blog. That's not something I do often, but every once in a while I catch a few stray words from an individual I don't know.

As I was reading, a particular habit of the blogger bothered me. She really liked the word, "definitely" but instead of spelling it correctly, she kept writing, "defiantly."

"That is defiantly the case."
"I defiantly agree."
"You can defiantly say that again."

It really changed the entire feel of the sentence. I wondered if perhaps she actually meant "defiantly." I came to the conclusion that she just had a spelling issue.

The blog problem made me think about word choice, and how imperative it is to choose your words wisely. Do you say "old" when what you really mean is "antique?" Do you say "something smells" when you want to convey that there's a "mouth-watering aroma?"

This is where having a writers group is invaluable. If Blogger Chick had someone say, "Hey, you're spelling definitely wrong..." she could have fixed the problem before it even started. In my current WIP, I can't tell you how many times a member of my group has mentioned that I'm not quite expressing what I want.

So the moral of the story is this. Definitely is spelled D-E-F-I-N-I-T-E-L-Y.

That mistake is a defiant no no!

Saturday, October 9, 2010


I got a new cell phone for work this week, the Droid2. I am concerned it is giving me both OCD and ADD. So many apps, so many ways to communicate. I can't stop thinking about it. The most exciting part is I'm going to organize all my email accounts and social networking accounts so one update can go to all of them at once. It makes me giddy with anticipation.

However, I realize already I need to have boundaries with the Droid. I find myself worried about its status almost as much as I worry about my family. Where is Droid? Is it charged? Are there messages wanting my attention? Is there a new app that would make my life easier?

Once again, with our fabulous technology there must be balance. There must be quiet time. But, when I get a message alert in that cool robotic voice that says "Droiiiid". It makes the Star Wars loving geek in me smile.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Towers of Midnight Book Trailer

So most of us are looking forward to the second to last installment of the Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson: Towers of Midnight, which comes out November 2.

A quick aside. I have some some really horrific (and not in the Nightmare on Elm Street sense) book trailers out there. Ones that make me wish YouTube had never lured authors to the idea of book trailers in the first place. At work we've talked often about whether book trailers help authors promote their books, and I would wager that a bad or mediocre trailer would hurt more than help. And I'm just not seeing many great book trailers.

And that's where I get back to Towers of Midnight. Here is a phenomenal book trailer that (1) hooks the targeted audience (me and other Jordan/Sanderson fans), (2) is SIMPLE and elegant, (3) doesn't use phony gimmicks or stunts, and (4) uses the most captivating teaser text they could possibly pull from the book: the note from Morraine to Thom Merrilin. So check it out. Book trailers' benchmark:

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


find image here

Do you remember the time when if you wanted to talk on the phone you had to sit by the phone?

My family's first computer cost more than three new computers today and it didn't have a hard drive on it.

I thought for sure that when I grew up to be a mom all the cars would fly and I would have a robot that cleaned my house.

I have no robot, but I have three small ones who mess up my house, and do occasional chores.

My car doesn't fly, but on occasion it has felt like it did--rushing to the doctor with an injured small one, I flew down the street.

Times may not be as advanced as I thought when I was a small one, but it is fun to remember what I imagined life would be like in 2010.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Word of the Day

Bodacity- the measure of one's bodaciousness.

For homework I want you to come up with your best sentence using this word.

(Yes, I've been watching Kung Fu Panda again). :)

Saturday, October 2, 2010


I was touched by a news story this week about a 64 year old man who survived six days in Joshua Tree National Park in hundred degree temperatures without food or water. Writing notes to his loved ones on his hat is credited with helping him to survive.

It just reaffirmed for me the power of writing and the emotional connection it can have for people. And, from this day on, I vow to always carry a pen with me.

On another subject, R.I.P. to Stephen J. Cannell, a talented writer/producer of some great TV shows, including two I enjoyed growing up - The Rockford Files (my Mom had a thing for James Garner), and 21 Jump Street (helloooo Johnny Depp).