Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorable Movies for Memorial Day


Today is Memorial Day. A day when we celebrate the brave men and women who gave their lives in service to our country. A day of parades and parties, beer and bratwurst. A day when we can put off the I-don't-want-to-go-back-to-work blues for one more precious day. It is a day when we gather around barbecues and bonfires with family and friends (and the above mentioned beer) or curl up on the couch and watch a good movie. My father is particularly fond of Band of Brothers. For this Memorial Day, I would like to share with you, in no particular order, five of my favorite patriotic movies.
1. The Patriot. Despite the fact that Mel Gibson is crazy, I really like this movie. Of course, Jason Isaacs and Heath Ledger might have had something to do with it.
2. 1776. What can I say, I love a good musical.
3. Captain America: The First Avenger. What’s more American than a man in tights beating up Nazis? Err…
4. My Fellow Americans. A true mark of our freedom is the ability to poke fun at our own government.
5. What Did You Do in the War, Daddy? Have you seen this movie? It’s flipping hilarious!
As you can see, I’m not the huge fan of gritty WWII movies that my dad is. But whatever you decide to do or watch on this Memorial Day, remember to give a thought to the real heroes this day commemorates and to those who are currently serving our country. To those brave men and woman, I say a fond "thank you" for your sacrifice and your service.
 
Emily Siler

Friday, May 25, 2012

The Rules

Apparently when it comes to writing and getting published there’s this idea among writers that there’s a golden set of rules that one must follow.  Not ideas, or suggestions, but The Rules.  Some of which, to be totally honest, are beginning to bum me out. 

I write because I love it.  I write because it’s fun and it’s a way for an otherwise really, really, really shy girl to share her words with the world.  Sure, I understand that in order to get published there are certain things I’ll have to do and ways that I’ll need to tweak.  I’ve been a fanfic writer for the past thirteen years so I’m well aware that transitioning to the published world is going to mean changing up my style a bit. 
Writing fanfic is like writing for a soap opera that goes on and on, while writing for publishing is like condensing that soap opera into a movie.  Those slice of life chapters that really just serve as filler but aren’t really needed for the plot will have to be cut.  That, I can handle.
But when I talk about The Rules, I mean those things that every writer who blogs seems to talk about when giving advice about writing.  Those things that while although true for some simply aren’t true for all and yet somehow continue to be The Rules.
A blog post I read recently basically said that only the well known big name famous writers are “allowed” to write in first person.  Everyone else has to write in third person if they have any true desire to be published.  I call bullshit on that.  I truly don’t understand why some people hate first person so much.  I’ve heard people call it the “easy” and “lazy” way of writing (ridiculously untrue, IMHO).  People say that unless you’re writing for Young Adults you can’t possibly sell a first person book.  I read a lot of books, and I can tell you that not every first person book I read is YA or was written by one of the big names.  I personally enjoy reading and writing in first person.
It’s not that I’m opposed to third person; I just don’t have as much experience with it.  I’m still working on it, and have plans to keep building my skills.  But to say that the way that I happen to write is lazy, easy or flat out forbidden because it’s not the way that you write, isn’t cool.  Not at all. Not everyone likes to read the same things, so why the heck should writers all aim to write the same way just so it’s easier to get published? 
I don’t like when a book starts out too fast; other people insist that there be absolutely no backstory in the beginning of your book at all.  I don’t enjoy overly wordy descriptions of settings; some people love to read about the tranquil way that the waves pounded on the sandy shore causing the heroine to fall into a hypnotic dream-like state as she watched the froth of the waves form miniature bubble baths for the crabs digging their way out of their sandy homes. ;)  We all like what we like!
To tell me that I’m not “allowed” to write how I want to because I’m not a big name basically isn’t going to work for me.  I’m the one writing the book.  I’m not saying that I’m closed to learning or growing.  I’m definitely not going to be like Susan Minot who likes to write in run on sentences,  leave out punctuation, and have extremely unclear narrators.  (I seriously couldn’t get through one chapter of her book Evening because of her writing style and yet she’s supposedly one of the great writers of our time.) But I just want to write what I love and if I get bogged down by too many rules that will suck all of the fun out of it for me.  I find it hard to think that everyone who has been published, whether by a big name publisher or something smaller, has followed The Rules to a T.  In fact, I know they haven’t! 
Go walking through a book store and you’ll see all sorts of different books.  Sure, you’re going to find a slew of them that follow The Rules and many of them will feel like the same book with different characters and settings.  But you’re also going to find books that broke the mold in that bookstore.  You’ll find those writers who said, “Screw The Rules! I don’t want to write like that, I want to write like me.”
Did you know that Kathyn Stockett who wrote the book The Help had her manuscript rejected sixty times before it was published?  SIXTY TIMES!  But you know what?  She believed in her story and kept trying until it became a huge best seller and then an amazing movie that won Oscars.  By the way, it’s in first person and it was the first book she ever got published.  :) 
So what’s my point?  Write what you love and how you love to write it!  If no one wants to publish it because you didn’t follow The Rules, you can always self publish now, right? 
Happy Writing and Happy Long Weekend!
:),
Kellie aka Kelsey

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Arianna Skye's Cover Reveal

From Arianna Skye:

Hey all! I am excited to reveal the cover to the next Fey Chronicles novel. I know the book isn't quite finished yet, but when I came across the stock photo of the couple in the cover , I knew I had to design it. I was able to locate the fonts used in book one and tried to replicate the text as much as possible. Even though it isn't quite the same, I am still pleased with the results.

Without further ado, I present to you both the eBook and POD versions of the cover for Winds of Passion.  Let me know what you think. Anyone who comments will be entered to win one of three PDF copies of the first book, Wings of Desire.



Thanks for giving me a little SQUEE time!

Hugs,
Arianna
      

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Funk Removed

Last time I blogged here, I was eyeballs-deep in a nasty writing funk. I had no motivation, no desire, very little love for writing. And the whole time I was furious with myself. I mean, I have the best job in the world. I get to sit around and make stuff up. Who wouldn't love that?

But for a while, I didn't.

I was fried and there was a whole lotta "what's the point" feelings.

But then something awesome happened.

I went to the Romantic Times conference. It's only the second one I've attended, but it was fantastic. I had an awesome time and I hung out with people who made me remember why I loved writing in the first place. I met some other people who actually love what I write. Not only that, they want more!

I don't know, this may make me sound needy, but there's something gratifying to have people like what you create. Not just your friends and family, but perfect strangers.

By the second day of the conference, I actually felt like I could finish the book I'd stalled out on for so long. (Spoiler Alert: I totally did)

By day three, I was considering pitching the "book of my heart" to agents and editors at the pitch sessions. But, I'd almost talked myself out of it, because that nasty hag, self-doubt was coming back. But my wonderful friends talked me back into and I thought, "What the hell - I did pay almost 500 bucks to be here. Might as well."

Here's the weird thing, I wasn't nervous at all. I think it was because I really felt like I had nothing to lose at that point. I've never had pitches go so well. I mean, never. Out of four pitches, I had four requests. Granted, one was sorta "meh" about it, so I won't be sending it to her. The other three were very interested, and one of them was downright excited about my project.

I think I really needed to recharge and get out of my own head for a while. And writing conferences are a great way to do that. Sometimes you just need extended periods of being with your own kind.





Sunday, May 20, 2012

Thank You

Thank you GRRWG for your kindness, support, and generosity. A family fire is devastating, but the kindness of you and so many others gives me hope and inspiration.
I've found it's often the hardships in life that make you a better writer. This is one of many things that I keep reminding myself.
Thank you again!
Terri

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Free Books!!!

I'm still in vacation mode, so I'll spare you a lengthy post.  You'll have to go elsewhere for views on the Dept of Justice vs Apple, or my views on why are you still trying to validate your writing through traditional venues.  (I made 3 x as much in one month via self-publishing as I did in three months through a publisher)
Instead, here's the best link I've ever found.  Add it to your RSS feed.  They post free books morning, noon and night.
Ready?
http://www.pixelofink.com/

That's pixel of ink, not pixel 'o fink.
So many books, so little time....

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Finding your Genre

Have you ever though about your favorite genre of fiction? Did you realize there are multiple sub-genres to the bigger categories of Romance, Fantasy, Sci-fi, and Mystery (to name a few)? I'd love to come with a book at some point that fits a SteamPunk/Historical/Romance/Sci-Fi/Mystery/Cozy, but I can't imagine how that would work.

I've been working on my first novel (and series really) for many years now, never knowing quite where it would fit in terms of genres.  Actually, all of my writing, except for one series, is a bit difficult to decide on what genre fits best.  I've explained my first series as a "sorta-cozy-thriller-paranormal-funny-mystery", because I really didn't know where it fit.  How to you explain a book where the main characters is a foul-mouthed, recovering-alcoholic adult orphan who interacts with the dead and who's BFF is closeted Drag Queen?

Thanks to a contest I entered, I now know where it fits: paranormal cozy. Even though the first book delves into an uncomfortable murder mystery, the judges all tagged it as a Paranormal Cozy Mysterm. At last! I have a genre, well for at least one of my series.

Next up is another complete re-write of the book, and based on my recent review/editing process that highlighted the same issues the judges pointed out I have a bit of a guideline to follow. Makes me happy to know at least I'm going in the right direction.

Now to figure out what genre the rest of my series belong in. The one series that I think I know what genre it belongs in, plain old Mystery. It's based on an former UK spy, who spied for the US during World War II. Granted, he's much older than he appears physically, and he infiltrated Hilter's inner circle well enough to know that the man his granddaughter is set to marry is the grandson of one of Hitler's henchmen, whom is determined to permanently remove from the world, once and for all.

The others are a bit more diffcult. Where do you place a Fey hybrid who's a supermodel in the human world, and a Fey ambassador in the Fey world? She's also incredibly tall, beautiful, and an annoying environmentalist. I actually kind of hate her, but I do love her BFF/companion, who's a hardcore vegan and miracle worker when it comes to managing their lives.

Then there's the controversial one, one that will probably never be published, but simply written for my own amusement. Merie is one of God's Chosen, somewhere between an angel and human, God's a woman, and Jesus is her half-brother. In her series no religion is safe, key religious figures are still alive, here on earth, and are all God's Chosen. Is there such a category as "Religious Fantasy"?

If you've got any suggestions on where any of my series may fit, let me know, because I'm still trying to figure this out.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Couldn't think of a topic, then duh...

I spent most of the day agonizing over a topic for this blog. Okay, I was agonizing mostly because I ran the River Bank Run on Saturday, but I couldn't come up with a topic. Then I remembered, hey, I have a new book!  So here it is:
The Warden's Lantern
Dark, creaking trees. Cracking thunder. A ghostly orb.

Barbara Milanowski couldn’t have picked a worse night for her amateur paranormal investigation, but she couldn’t let her longtime crush Elmer Derecho’s skeptism go unchallenged. When Elmer runs her off the road with his motorcycle and scolds her for being out in the inclement weather, her happily ever after drops with the barometric pressure and the loss of her keys and glasses. While spending time alone with Elmer was one of her fantasies, the dream date didn’t entail diving into the mud and untangling herself from a raspberry bush.

While trying to protect Barbara from the storm, Elmer’s eyes are opened to all the things in his life that are missing. Elmer had gotten comfortable with his maps and pictures and chasing tornadoes after the fact. But Barbara reminds him of his forgotten zest for adventures, and ignites his interest in the Warden’s Lantern and for Barbara
While sheltering in a dilapidated guard house, Barbara and Elmer are drawn out of the protection by the Warden’s Lantern, the ghostly light Barbara had been trying to document. Elmer dismisses it as a trick of the electrical storm, but together they attempt to find the true source of the light. Will their shared talents solve the mystery and start a lasting relationship?


Buy Links:

Friday, May 11, 2012

Mirror Mirror


Why are mirrors part of fantasy and fairy tales? From the mirror in Snow White, proclaiming the fairest in the land, to the looking glass in Alice in Wonderland, mirrors draw us in to imagine more behind the glass. When we look in the mirror, we don’t even see ourselves as others do, we see the mirror image, kind of an opposite of how we look to others. 

Who do we see as we gaze at our reflection? Sometimes I see my physical form, my hair as I brush it or pulled back as I get ready to wash my face, or a close-up of my eyelid as I apply eye shadow or mascara. Other days I see myself as a mom, an employee, a sister, a daughter, a friend. I’m laughing, smiling, frowning, talking.
Looking in the mirror gives me the chance to figure out where I want to go. Shedding my different roles, I want to see myself exactly as I am, and that gives me a road map for where I want to go, how I want to be. If I want to see a writer in my reflection, I can figure out what actions I need to take. I can take my mental writer’s cap from the closet and wear it, focusing on what I need to do to be that person. 

Mirrors can be magic if we use them to see our potential. Leave the judgment and distortion behind. The time is now – if you don’t see the reflection of everything you want in your life, gently discard what doesn’t work and embrace what you need. Being the fairest in the land isn’t just about physical beauty, but the beauty of your life. You are the fairest in the land. Indeed.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

New Release!

by Suzanne Graham

UPDATE:
I have new cover art. YAY!


I am so excited to announce that Anna and the Three Generals, the first book in a new sci-fi erom trilogy, will be releasing a week early!

Coming May 16 at Resplendence Publishing!

Blurb:

Having spent the last twenty-five years devoted to science, elite bio-researcher Anna is now faced with her mandatory mating on the unbreathable planet of Profortuna. Anna’s research on how to sustain life in the bio-domes is vital, but it also makes her a target of the Open Air Society.

Convinced the Council has found the most appropriately brain-heavy men on the planet for her mates in order to perpetuate their superior intellectual genes, Anna is shocked to find three high-ranking military men waiting for her in the reception room.

Just as Anna’s sexuality is awaken by a kiss from one of her mates, terrorists from the Open Air Society attack her lab, and the three Generals act quickly to protect her. As they shuttle her to the other side of the planet, Anna comes to know her mates intimately as three men of distinction. But can they fulfill her secret wish to find old-fashioned romantic love?

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Valley Girls in the Hood -- Sidney's Further Misadventures in Dating

Well that's what the movie version of this ordeal would be called.

Chuck--that's not his real name, of course--was a real piece of work. You think after my last experience with Yahoo, I would have just given up. Chuck again looked good on paper, and he had a decent profile picture. I invited Chuck over to my apartment where he saw my various piles of computer parts (I worked as a computer tech back then) and grabbed one of my hard drives off my desk.

"Western Digital, He said, picking up the disk. "I work for them building hard drives."

I look down at the hard drive where it reads, Made in Malaysia. "Wow, that's a long commute."

"No, their factory is only twenty minutes from here." That should have been my first inkling that something was off with this guy.

"Since when is Malaysia in Michigan?"

Finally he admitted he worked in a factory making doors of some sort. And then there was the issue with the odor that emanated from him. I was way too understanding back then, I suppose.We went bowling, ate some burgers and had a pretty decent time. And he paid for his own food and entertainment, so bonus there.

The next day Chuck calls and asks if I want to hang out with him and his friend. Bonus, my best friend happened to be at my apartment, so I decided we could double date. We drive out to meet Chuck and Bob (again, not his real name) at their house--which happens to be in a rather rough part of town. For some unknown--and utterly stupid reason--my friend and I decided we'd leave her car at their place and take Bob's car to go and hang out. Chuck drives for what reason my mind has since blocked out.  We went to lunch and decided to go to the movies.

It was now that Chuck decides to tell us all he has no money. Bob flips out on him about it. I decide to pay for it so everything calms down. I go buy the ticket and popcorn and snacks. When my friend and I come back Chuck is no where to be seen. Neither is  Bob's car. Bob is cursing and fuming, saying words I wouldn't dare repeat on this blog. It's safe to assume now that not only is Chuck a few fries short of a value meal, but Bob has his own serious control issues as well.

WTF! Was I such a lousy date that Chuck had to steal his friend's car to leave? Seriously?

Anyhow, My friend, Bob and I were stranded at the movie theater with no way to leave. Thankfully the theater refunded our tickets, but still! HE STOLE HIS FRIEND'S CAR!! Not only that, some things my friend bought were in that car. Cops were called, and reports were filed. It was not pleasant. 

After a few hours of calling Chuck with no answer on his cell or home phone, Bob  manages to get a hold of another friend who arrives in a pickup truck with a stick shift. Bob isn't a small guy, and my friend and I weren't small girls. It was not a pleasant ride back. Getting jabbed in the leg with a shifter will do that.

We arrive back at Chuck and Bob's place where we see Bob's car peacefully parked. I was pretty upset. My friend wasn't far behind me. But Bob, we could hear him screaming and hollering like a raging bull at Chuck--who left because he didn't have money for tickets (even though I'd already told him I'd pay). "Those nice ladies won't ever seen us again, and it's all your fault," he yelled.

My friend got her bags from Bob's car. We quickly got in her car and sped off--the sooner we got away from that flagrant display of crazy, the better.

And Bob was right. We never saw them again. 


  

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Learn From the Best

Are you looking to improve your writing skills, launch your writing career, or find  writers you can relate to? If so, you have found the right place. Grand Rapids Region Writers Group is the place for you. Every writer that participates in this group has experience and knowledge that is very beneficial.


Just come to a writers group meeting and meet the crew. Join in on the activities by setting goals... and then accomplishing those goals. Need a mentor? We can arrange having someone help out. Or while you are here take a writing challenge- we have several types of writing options. After the writing challenge, freshen up your skills by attending a writing conference. Meet more professional writers and skilled individuals that can guide you along your journey.

It doesn't matter what you are looking for. As long as you are striving to become a writer, or want to socialize with writers, come check out this group. They are some of the best of the best writers in Grand Rapids... and they will positively rock your world.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Librarians Solve Mysteries Every Day--So cool!


By W.S. Gager
On April 21 I was happy to participate in a really neat program through Sisters in Crime called Booksellers and Librarians Solve Mysteries Every Day. The program is part of the 25th Anniversary of the Sisters organization whose mission is to promote the professional development and advancement of women crime writers to achieve equality in the industry. This is a great organization and if you write any type of mystery you should be a member. But I digress...
The event was to showcase how in my case libraries solve mysteries every day. I spent two hours in the downtown Jackson Carnegie Library hanging out in the mystery section. I dusted shelves, talked to patrons and had a ball. I helped a high schooler find biographies for a book report. I suggested books to patrons looking for new mystery authors. That was fun but the highlight was when the library employee checked out my book to read. I came across it by accident when looking for another author. I thought they were shelved somewhere else in an area designed for local authors.


All the library people were so friendly, helpful and we just had great fun talking about books. Talk about a dream job! Another great thing was I was given a behind the scenes tour of the building. The downtown branch is an old building with a marble staircase with letters of the alphabet on each step for kids to sing as they climb to the children’s area. It has a fantastic fireplace with a copper hood. The other cool thing was a spiral staircase that goes to each floor that is only available for employees. They can travel from floor to floor without any patrons seeing. Cool huh? Stay tuned. That has my interest peaked and I think Mitch Malone with have to solve the Case of the Spiral Staircase just like one of my favorite Nancy Drew mysteries, The Hidden Staircase.

In the afternoon I spent time at the Meijer Branch in Jackson which had a very different clientele. It was families coming in for books and they were just finishing a book sale from donations. People were filling bags of books for a dollar. It was fun to see what they got. I also got to color with some kids. Fun.

Overall my day at showcasing that librarians solve mysteries was so much fun I would do it ever Saturday. The next time you are in a library. Thank those great people behind the desk. They are fun and love books. What more could you ask for?

W.S. Gager has lived in Michigan for most of her life except when she was interviewing race car drivers or professional woman's golfers. She enjoyed the fast-paced life of a newspaper reporter until deciding to settle down and realized babies didn't adapt well to running down story details on deadline. Since then she honed her skills on other forms of writing before deciding to do what she always wanted with her life and that was to write mystery novels. Her main character is Mitch Malone who is an edgy crime-beat reporter always on the hunt for the next Pulitzer and won't let anyone stop him, supposedly.

The Dog Ate My Homework - er -- My Blog Post

Okay, so I was supposed to blog on the 3rd.  I knew it, I planned to do it, and I even started my post.

So, why on May FOURTH is my post still not up there?

I could make up a really convincing story (after all, I am a fiction writer) about computer troubles, losing power in last night's thunderstorm, or even a tale that Sophie, my helpful Yorkie, hit the off button on Mama's computer before she had saved her work.

I could do that, but I won't.  Instead, I'll tell the truth which is a combination of several things.

First, I decided to indulge myself with some relaxing reading after four long days working on numbers and reports (obviously, I still haven't figured out how this retirement gig is supposed to work yet).
Next, a couple of phone calls from friends distracted me -- although one of the callers did help me gel the idea for a short novella I need to write.

As a result of that, I ended up on my iPad, typing out some story ideas before they vanished into that infinite abyss where great story ideas escape to if we don't write them down.  Man, I can't tell you how many times a wonderful idea or bit of dialogue popped in my head, and I thought "Oh, I don't need to write that down, I'll remember it."  Wrong!  So, last night, having learned from my past mistakes, I jotted down my ideas.

Which resulted in me looking at the date today and feeling like the dinosaurs in the picture above.

But you know what?  I'm not going to beat myself up over it. Instead, I'll be grateful for my blessings: that I have a job that gives me extra pin (or in my case shoe) money, that I have good friends who will brainstorm with me, and that I captured my story idea -- YES!

So instead of feeling like those dinosaurs, I'll post this (even though it is late) and take a lesson from Charlie Brown and Snoopy.

Want to join me in a Happy Dance?

Keep Writing,
~ Stephanie

Friday, May 4, 2012

Spring Fling Has Flung

by Andrea Dickinson

Chicago-North's RWA chapter lived up to all expectations and delivered another thoroughly satisfying Spring Fling conference. The workshops provided a great mix of craft, business, inspiration and entertainment. The author headliners (Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Simone Elkeles, and Dianne Love) were fantastic, and the opportunities to network with authors, editors and agents were plentiful.

One of the highlights of the weekend was meeting my idol, Susan Elizabeth Phillips. Susan writes amazing contemporary romances with richly detailed characters and lots of humor.

Equally thrilling was participating in my first book signing.

The only thing that makes me sad about this conference is that it's held every other year. Now, I have to wait two whole years to go back. :(

For more Spring Fling pics, visit my website.


Baltimore Heat now available
from Resplendence Publishing.


At the end of a busy workweek, young businesswoman Raquel Walsh merely wants to shorten the distance between her and the train station while she searches for a taxi. She never expects to find herself lost in a rough Baltimore neighborhood, the victim of a mugging and the unexpected houseguest of the grandmother of a retired, professional basketball player.

Marcus Jones isn't in the market for a new woman as he nears the end of his self-imposed year of celibacy after his vicious breakup with last gold-digging girlfriend. Having to play host to a homeless woman for the weekend is messing with his plans, as Raquel distracts him with her curvy, womanly figure and her tendency to land on her face.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Intrusions

At the risk of sounding like that wonderful old curmudgeon, Andy Rooney, I'm about to air my latest pet peeve and with far less charm and wit as Andy.

I'm so annoyed with the number of intrusions into my life mostly by strangers who think they have the right to trod right into my time and thoughts from the throw away junk mail we get to the telephone solicitors and now even to the fact that someone got the right to sell my cell phone number to these people so I get to pay for having them call when I didn't want them to call me in the first place! Whew! Got that off my chest and all in one sentence. Okay, so it wasn't good writing and I didn't really get the peeve off my chest as much as I wanted.

I especially hate the stranger on the phone who wants to know how I am? Like I'm going to tell him, I have a boil on my ass and I'm constipated. Maybe I should go into a litany of my health problems. My sugar is up, my vitamin D is down and my lumbago is acting up. I went to the doctor and --- yada, yada, yada. Would the word get out. Don't call this number, that old woman is crazy. Or maybe I should tell them my family history. My niece ran off with a tattoed, bald headed Hell's angel and she's expecting his baby in three weeks. I'm afraid she'll have it on the back of his motorcycle. My cousin, Louise, shot her husband dead because she thought he was a burglar or so she said and as soon as she collected his insurance money ran off with her insurance agent. I don't know, maybe it would work, but if they call me on my cell phone I have to pay for such concoctions.

Then there are the e-mails. Just to get to this place to write my blog, I had a pop up that asked if I wanted to list my mobile phone because something unpleasant would happen without their having it. The button to decline was small and hidden under the blaring, brightly color button to accept. When I declined, I was given another page that asked if I was sure I wanted to decline. That annoyed me!! If I managed to hit that tiny decline button once already, it should seem obvious that I don't want to give out any more personal information about myself. And there was no room for me to complain and annoy them with my health problems. We seem to be losing ground in our personal rights when it comes to the communication media. Even at the movie theater where I've paid to see a movie on a big screen with no commercial breaks, they still shove in their ads.

Then with the elections coming up, the problem seems to double. I don't mind getting calls from my own party, but when the opposing party calls, I'm greatly annoyed. What makes them think I want to listen to one of the politicians tell me what's wrong with the candidate of my party? I didn't invite them to call them with their opinion and I don't believe them anyway. If I wanted to know their opinion I'd listen to CNN.

It's all gotten crazy and so out of hand and we have no say about it. What's happened to our world? Our privacy is invaded, our rights ignored. Courtesy has become an archaic word. Fairness is a word everyone is quick to use and slow to practise. Honesty! I'm not sure a lot of people even know what that stands for anymore. Well, I'm going overboard. I just wanted to rant a little about unwanted intrusions in our lives and I managed to cover only a few on that subject. How does this relate to writing? I'm sure I will regurgitate my annoyances and they'll be revealed in my next chapter!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

What's in Your Purse (or Pocket)?

 
This past weekend I had the pleasure of attending the Spring Fling Writers Conference in Chicago, Illinois. This is a conference sponsored by the Chicago North chapter of Romance Writers of America. I went there determined to squeeze every ounce of information I could from this experience, and attended some wonderful workshops. There were sessions on craft (writing a synopsis, research, dissecting a novel) as well as marketing (media marketing, preparing a pitch).
One of the best was one led by Susan Elizabeth Phillips on discussed character-driven plots. She talked about character archetypes and then gave us a challenge: we had to choose one archetype and then write a half dozen details about this character's life that might have helped to shape her (the hour long discussion had us limiting the session to heroines). After that, we were asked to describe the contents of this character's purse. That led to a lively discussion about what those items could tell us about this character.
This exercise led me to wonder what my purse told people about me. I looked, and I found:
1. my phone, with the battery almost dead
2. my wallet, with absolutely no cash
3. a small bottle of hand sanitizer
4. a pair of scissors
5. a bottle of aspirin
6. receipts from things I bought a few years ago
7. two pens and a marker
What do these things tell you about me? I'm not sure what you see, but if I'm ever stuck in an elevator with a cover model I'll be clean, clear-headed, and ready to cut off a lock of his hair for a keepsake. And then I'll be able to write an apology to tuck in his pocket.

                                           Patty Kiyono