Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween

Saw this clip and thought it was pretty funny. So I'm sharing. Don't watch if you can't take a woman calling Halloween the pedophile's Christmas.

Happy Halloween everyone :)

Saturday, October 29, 2011


With some trepidation after my bad experience with American Horror Story, I watched the pilot episode of the new NBC series Grimm.

The premise is, while investigating the grisly murder of a college student (who was killed as she ran in a wooded area while wearing a red hoodie), a detective discovers he is a descendant of the Grimm family, of fairy tale fame, and that he has the ability to see the true identities of the monsters and villains of the Grimm tales (e.g. the Big Bad Wolf), lurking beneath normal human exteriors in his midst. It seems they are not just fairy tales after all.

Although I found a couple of the key actors to be on the weak side, this episode totally hooked me with great pacing, genuine suspense, and the intriguing premise. I literally jumped in my seat several times, yet it was not too gory or scary, just creepy good. My favorite is a supporting character named Eddie Monroe, who puts a new twist on the Big Bad Wolf. He provided an unexpected dose of humor.

I don't know exactly where they are going ultimately with this, but I will be back for episode 2.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Ultimate Showdowns

Had an interesting conversation about cage fighting tonight. As I thought about posting, I wanted to have a match up of great white shark vs gorilla or something. I am not going to the animal kingdom for this showdown though. So here are your match ups, cage fight style:

1) Cruella DeVille vs Professor Umbridge in a cage who walks out?

2) Angry Birds vs Pikachu in a cage who bleeds first?

And finally:
3) Thor vs Wolverine in a cage? (I'll admit to alterior motives on this match up;)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Once I Get To Know You Better

Have you ever read a book?
Really, you have?

I am so proud.

Have you ever read a book and once you finish it, you want to read it again?  Now that you know the characters better, do you want to go back and see all those character traits again?

Kind of like when you finished watching Sixth Sense and (spoiler alert) you find out he's been dead the whole time.  You want to go back and see how you missed that through the whole movie.

I just finished a book with four young men as the main characters (with a two girls as well).  They are all immature and wealthy.  (I am sure you can imagine where that leads to.)  Their interactions were so fun.  Towards the end  of the book I was laughing hysterically.  I had to stop reading because I was blinded by tears of joy.

Now I want to go back and re-read it.  Now that I see how they are, I want to see their interactions in the beginning, when I hadn't fully appreciated them.

When I write, sometimes I want to spill the beans completely.  "This man is bad!" "This girl is a heartless flirt!"  But sometimes the joy is in savoring the reveal.  Taking time to let us know the characters.

So may we write so that our readers want to reread our books.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Time Management

Like many of you, I often feel that I don't have enough time for the things I want to do. My responsibilities wreak havoc on my time and the things I really want to do get pushed to the bottom of the to-do list. My children are getting older and need me more for homework, chores, a shoulder to cry on and a ride to where ever it is they need to go, but the side effect is that I have to use a schedule and calendar more to manage what precious time I have. Happily, I think I'm making some headway in this arena.

In previous posts on this subject, you probably heard me whine and complain about how I can't manage my life and find time to write, too. Not the case today! I had about a dozen things needing my attention before noon today, writing included, and they all got done. Why? Because I was willing to schedule my time. I'm talking writing it on the calendar, setting alarms on my phone and making my family the number one priority.

None of us likes feeling like we're letting our loved ones down, me least of all. So the needs of my kids came first today. Preschool snacks were prepared, field trip lunches were made and rides to school were in order to allow my oldest a wee bit more time to work on that paper. My family taken care of, I turned my attention on what I needed. Today, I needed to go to the temple. For those of you who may not know what that is, think of it as focused meditation time combined with spiritual nourishment and an opportunity to make commitments with God. I hadn't been in a long time, so today I needed to carve out that time for my own health. My iPod blinked at me and I knew it was time to get there, no excuses. It was open when I got there, but only for cleaning. So what did I do? I helped cleaned the temple. :)

That done, I headed back to pick up my daughter from preschool with some time to spare. Enough time, in fact, to stop at Starbuck's for hot chocolate and a bagel and work on an article I'm writing for a magazine. I looked over my notes, settled in for a solid 25 minutes of writing and still got to the preschool on time. And then, to wrap it all up, we spent the next 45 minutes at the dentist.

Home at last, eating lunch with my preschooler, I'm happy to say that it's been a beautiful morning. Busy, but beautiful!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Family Time

Spending this weekend visiting my mom and one of my sisters, both of whom I haven't seen in over two years. Also get to see my brother, who I saw briefly this summer, and two of his kids. Always great to catch up with everyone.

Our families are like characters in a long-running book series. You're introduced to these folks and witness all their experiences over the course of life - the highs, the lows, the weird, the amusing. Some change dramatically over time, some are consistent, reliable.

I will admit that some of my characters have been inspired by family members (some heavily). Who can pass up such an intriguing cast that you know so well?

I'm curious to know what fictional families you think have been written well, either in literature, movies, or TV.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Psych Out

I love the TV show, Psych. In my opinion, hands down the best comedy currently on television. So, in honor of the new season that just started, I thought I'd blog my favorite Psych-isms.

5. You know that's right.

4. Wait for it...

3. Gus, don't be a... (fill in the blank. Could include "myopic chihuahua", "crazy hooligan", "rabid porcupine", or "incorrigible Eskimo pie with a caramel ribbon".

2. I'm a sympathetic crier.

1. I've heard it both ways.

If you read this list and it makes no sense, check out Psych when you get the chance.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Regency Life

I'm reading Sylvester by Georgette Hyer, on loan from Inker Donna after a soujourn at Inker DJ's house. It has been refreshing after reading a very good, but emotionally heavy story followed by three other books that I started but did not care to finish.

What is it about the Regency period that makes these stories so good and enduring? Is it the lifestyles of the rich and famous aspect where we get to live vicariously as the wealthy of the period did, with nothing to occupy our days except riding in a phaeton or curricle or taking a leisurely stroll through beautiful countryside, attending parties and balls in London, studying music, art, and languages, and calling on friends. Certainly we sympathize with those characters who are not of the acceptable birth or wealth in society and are made to feel not worthy. However, for most there is almost always a happy ending.

Shannon Hale's Austenland revolves around a woman takes a Jane Austen themed vacation and gets to live the Regency life. I think Hale should take things a step further and create a Jane Austen theme park inspired by the book (a la the Harry Potter park). I could see it doing well because for whatever the reason, this era and the stories set in them speak to people (ok, mostly women). I haven't heard of plans for a real Austenland, but there is an Austenland movie coming soon...

BTW, I know the photo is not of Sylvester, but of Mr. Darcy. I can't help it.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

I've Been Appendixed

I just showed up on a podcast called The Appendix. Check it out if you dare:

We talk about my trip to Worldcon and about speculative fantasy. Plus, we recorded this on Rob Wells's book launch party day, so go check out his national debut: Variant. He couldn't be there for the podcast, because he is now famous and happy.

The Appendix crew includes Sarah Eden and Marion Jensen--two of my favorite people--and so it was a blast. Sarah Eden writes excellent Regency romance novels and Marion writes superhero, go-West dystopia, and comedic books (thus far, but nothing is stopping him from writing swashbuckling pirate adventures . . . wink, wink).

Never Give Up

This school year found me working.  It was kind of a crazy road to get there, but I am enjoying it.  I work in a Special Ed class with 5th and 6th graders.  There are 9 kids and 4 adults.

These kids are so fun (and so hard all in the same breathe).  But they never give up.

Two of the boys in there are determined to make friends with another boy.  Let's make up names for them all.  "David" is the short 6th grade boy.  "Aaron" is the tall 6th grade boy.  And "Henry" is a 5th grade boy who doesn't interact with the other kids.

David and Aaron both try to make Henry their friend.  They will come by and hold his hand.  Henry doesn't even notice.  Aaron brought Henry a bag of cookies with Henry's name written on it (mom must have done that).  Henry didn't want any of the cookie.  David tries to talk with Henry (David is only partially verbal) and Henry doesn't look up.  David will shake Henry's shoulders in a friendly way trying to get Henry to look at him.  And Henry doesn't.

Henry can be disruptive.  He can scream with high pitched screams.  He takes the full time attention of one of the adults (me) in the class.  He gets food when the other kids don't. 

David and Aaron could look at him with a jealous eye.  They could easily resent him for not being friendly.  But they don't.  Each day they try again to get Henry's love.

They NEVER give up.

Sometimes, as "functioning" adults, we give up too easy.  We stop trying to be nice to someone (I'm guilty there).  We stop trying to figure out a difficult puzzle.  And we stop seeing the beauty in everything around us.

I challenge you to find something you've given up on and try again.  Is it running?  Writing?  What? 

For me its writing.  I must keep plugging away at it.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Time To Suffer

On Saturday I heard someone speaking about trials in life. She said that trials make our lives interesting, and when the time comes to share our life stories, we don't want our tales to be boring.

What a great point.

The same goes for the stories we write. When our characters suffer, struggle, and fight, it makes the story much more interesting. No one wants to read about someone who goes through life without a problem in the world. That's the person we all hate.

So as you're going through those hard times, feel relief that you aren't the person that everyone hates. Then channel it into your story because it'll make a great read!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Horrified - Part 2

I owe you an apology. Last week I blogged about the new TV series American Horror Story. After watching part of the pilot episode I realize I should not have given any space or time to this vile, depraved mess.

What I did see of the episode literally made me sick to my stomach, and it wasn't even because of the horror elements. I cannot believe this show is on a non-premium cable channel, and in our time zone it airs at 8 p.m.! In the theaters this show could warrant an NC-17 and yet it is on at a time where kids could easily happen upon it while channel surfing.

I wish there was a way to purge my mind entirely of what I did see of this disaster, but it is too late for me. I am sorry if my bringing this show to your attention here caused you to watch it. If when the credits rolled there had been an Executive Producer credit for Satan, I would not have been surprised.

Can you tell I didn't like it?

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Stick With It

This year I've spent a ton of time in my car.  My kids' activity level jumped from near lazy to almost over-booked.  Plus my eldest is in Middle School and my middle has several activities at the Middle School as well.  (Said Middle School is 13.5 minutes away.)

So what does this have to do with writing?  I drive the same stretch at approximately the same time many days of the week.  As I pass on neighborhood I see the same woman out walking.  Again, so what?

She's impressive because to leave her neighborhood she has to climb an impressive hill (that'd be enough to keep me walking in circles and not leave my streets).  She also has a significant limp.  Yet she's out walking every day with a huge smile on her face.

Often, when it comes to my writing, any sort of obstacle is enough to stop me dead in my tracks.  Any minor hill, or hiccup in my skills and I am ready to take a break.  I've decided that every time I see this inspiring woman I am going to remind myself to write.  I am going to ignore my limps and weak writing.  I am going to ignore the giant hills that occur in character or plot and I am going to trudge on through.  Because I'll get better if I keep writing.  My limp may never go away, but I will become stronger.

So to you, dear faithful reader, take on something and conquer it.  Ignore the obstacles and power through!!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Avenge Me

It might be a little early to start talking about the forthcoming movie The Avengers but I must admit, I'm excited for it.

First, it's written and directed by Joss Whedon, who is a genius. Anyone who hasn't seen Firefly needs to. Like immediately. There's also this episode of Angel that is so heart-wrenching that I'll never forget it. Joss definitely knows how to build a character. I'll be interested to see his twist on a character that didn't come from his mind, and I'm sure he'll do great.

Second, the return of Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man. Of all the superhero movies, it ranks high on my list of favorites. He's funny, smart, and completely believable in the role.

Third, and most importantly, the return of Thor's abs, hopefully in a longer moment than the few short seconds we got last time.

Here's a reminder:


Sunday, October 2, 2011


There seems to be a horror trend in TV right now, what with True Blood, Walking Dead, Dexter, etc. being hits. I have not seen any of those programs since I am a bona fide scaredy pants. However, there is a new show starting this week I plan to check out, to see if I can take it.

American Horror Story airs Wednesday on FX, starring Dylan McDermott and Connie Britton (pictured above with, um, that girl, as their daughter). Premise is a couple in a shaky marriage move to LA for a fresh start, right into a haunted Victorian surrounded by strange neighbors.

It's from the creators of Glee, another show I've never watched, but is supposed to be authentic horror/suspense. The part that interests me? In spite of being part of a horror trend, it's supposed to be very different from the usual TV offerings, and after seeing its very intriguing preview, I'm willing to give it an episode.

I may not last five minutes, but I'm hoping its hyped blend of horror and humor will be heavy enough on the humor to keep me from peeing my pants a little.