Thursday, September 30, 2010

When I can't sleep I read...oh and a spoiler too!

I couldn't sleep last night.  

Not, "Oh I am not tired so I think I will read."  This was more like, "I am over tossing and turning for two hours, I am getting myself up and doing something constructive." 

So I read.

I had started reading an author that I had never read before because she had been recommended to me and the premise to the book sounded okay.  Yes a little contrived, but sometimes they can be fun and surprise me. 

I didn't like anything about this book.  The characters were juvenile and this wasn't young adult.  There was a lot of crude language from both the male POV and the female, which I just thought was unnecessary.  There are ways of making your point without being so graphic.

I never could get behind the female character because she was completely unlikeable.  The book was more erotic than anything else with the sex playing more of role than the relationship.  Now, don't get me wrong, I am a huge Jill Shalvis fan and she writes a lot of Desire books.  But I think there is a line between tasteful and distasteful and this book seemed to stay on the latter side of that line.

At 2:30 this morning when I was finally...finally finished with this book, I found myself a little bit angry.  I spent the better part of two weeks trying to get through this and it is time I can never get back.  I am a book buyer, but I think this one taught me a very real lesson.  From now on I am going to the book store to check out new authors before I buy them.

This book has two more in the series.  Normally this would be difficult for me.  When I am disappointed in the first one I feel anxious about not going after the next one or I will convince myself to give an author another chance.  Not this time.

I am not writing this post to dis a published author or any of her fans because she does have them and it was through twitter that this book was recommended to me.  I just felt the need to vent and since this is my blog, I am allowed.  But here is a question since I am in a book club.  What if I hate the book we are tasked with reading?

For the month of October we are reading Beauty by Robin McKinley.  Have you read it?  If so let me know what you think.  I have not started yet.  I like to wait until the actual month starts before I get my reading started.  So far our Book Hungry club has covered The Hunger Games and Gods In Alabama.  Both great reads, but both were not books I would have selected to read on my own.

Want to join the discussion and read with us for the month of October?  We will be posting our reviews on October 21, 2010. 

So here is my question today.  How do you handle it when you read a book that you find to be dissatisfying?   Do you read it through to the end or do you stop way before that?  

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The one where we have cake...

Today is my 100th blog entry.

Wow!  I can't believe I started this blog only this past April and now here I am writing my 100th post.  I thought this most auspicious occasions was worthy of cake.  So there it is.  Cake.

I was going through some of the my earlier entries and had myself laughing last night about some of the things I have actually posted on this site.  I guess at the time they seemed like a good idea.

To date my hardest entry was undoubtedly yesterday's post where I shared with you guys a snippet of my writing.  (First off I want to apologize for the grammatical errors that I did not catch before posting.  I was a little nervous.  At least that is the story I am sticking to.) Right now I am not sure why I was so freaked out to do it, but there it is.  I wrote the post the night before it was due to go up and scheduled it so I could not chicken out.

You would think that would have been the end of it, but no.  I made quite a few forays into my office during the evening and late into the night trying to decide if I should post it.  With my hand hovering on the mouse and the mouse skirting around the delete key, I made myself a nervous wreck.  Now that I have done it, I am kind of disgusted with myself.  What was the big hairy freakin' deal?  Besides the fact that I am a total wuss.

I didn't send out a book to be critiqued.  I sent out a few paragraphs and while everyone was so wonderful in their support, there wasn't enough there to really see what I am made of.  Putting out a few paragraph's is completely different then submitting a piece of work for feedback or acceptance.  So while I do not have anything near ready to be read by an agent, I am going to continue with the Teaser Tuesday's.  

I am also going to finish the WIP I have currently been slaving over and get it ready for the beta readers.  Yes, I am going to take a chance.  

So wish my luck.

And to all you who stop by on a regular basis whether you comment or not, I really do appreciate you.  So thanks!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Teaser Tuesday

Okay here is a sneak peak of  "It's Always Been You."

Chapter One

IT was a pretty shitty day for a funeral.

Or at least it should be.  How the hell was she supposed to stand at a graveside and say goodbye to Sophie with the sun shining.  Shaking her head in disgust, she turned her eyes up toward the cerulean blue sky and wondered why she couldn't get a roiling black one spitting rain when she needed it?

Sighing, she tried to concentrate on the words the pastor was saying, but his lips seemed to be moving in slow motion.  In fact everything around her seemed to be moving in slow motion.  Had it only been three days since her life had so completely changed? 

Looking across the casket she took in the family picture that included Seth, Sean and Brenna.  Sophie's family.  How were they going to live without her?  How were they supposed to get up everyday knowing they were never going to see her again.

Seth lifted his head and looked directly at Shea and suddenly she was grateful for the sun which had forced her to wear the dark sunglasses.  Sunglasses that she had only donned to help her red rimmed pained eyes and maybe hide her guilt. 

Guilt that she was alive and Sophie wasn't.
Suddenly a small hand found it's way into hers and Shea looked down to find four year old Sean looking up at her with eyes mirroring her own pain.  Feeling her heart pinch, she leaned over and scooped him up into a tight hug.

How was she ever going to leave them?  God it was so unfair, but she didn't have a choice.  She really never had.

SIX hours later Shea was moving through the house that Sophie had been so proud to call home.  Picking up the cups and plates that littered every surface, she found her first smile of the day.  Sophie would have been so pleased with the turnout, knowing all of those people had come to pay their respects.

It seemed as if everyone in the whole town had shown up in their best marrying and burying attire.  They had come under the guise of saying goodbye to Sophie, but Shea suspected the majority of them wanted to see the new widower up close and personal.  

It had been one of the hardest days she had ever lived through, but she was fiercely glad she had been here.  For the kids.  For Seth.  

"Hey." Seth said softly from the stairs.
Facing him she prayed for inspiration on how to break the news.  "Are they down for the night?"  It would be so easy.  To stay and fall into the routine of acting like a matched set. 

Showing her a small smile, the one that had just recently made her heart take flight, he nodded.  "Brenna fought it until the very last second, but eventually she lost the fight."

Making their way into the kitchen Shea deposited the paper products she had collected into the trash can.  Closing her eyes for a moment, she silently sighed and turned.  Before she could find the words, he shook his head and said, "I know."

And in that moment as she looked into the eyes of her best friend from childhood she knew that he did.  He already knew she was leaving and probably even the why of it too.  It didn't matter that her plans had been made before the accident.  She still had to go.  

In that moment she realized that today hadn't been her hardest day after all.  That one was still to come.

Okay that's it.  All of the tease you guys are going to get today.  I am not even sure how I feel about showing this and between now and when this is supposed to post I may still change my mind.  

Okay, I am not going to change my mind.  I made a promise and here I am following through, so tell me what you think. 

Monday, September 27, 2010

New Music...New Medicine

A couple of weeks ago I won my very first blog contest.  

It was even more exciting since I had never won anything before.

My prize?  A New Medicine CD along with a poster.

New Medicine?  Hmmm??? I had never heard of them.  No worries, I am a music lover.  I still know all of the songs from the soundtrack Seven Brides for Seven Brothers along with Singing in the Rain.  When I was a teenager my Barbara Streisand and Barry Manilow cassettes (they were cheaper than vinyl) sat right up against my Def Leppard, Cyndi Lauper and Rick Astley.
As I have gotten older my music collections has only become more uncontrollable and diverse.  I love everything from country and jazz to hip-hop and ska.  I am fascinated by the talent it takes to not only dream up music but to put lyrics to it as well.

I guess it's not so different when you write stories.  For me they are just there.  Now I am a plotter through and through and wear my "Team Plotter" shirt proudly, but when a story starts the ideas and conflicts are just there for me in my head.  I can see the characters and hear them as they speak to each other and ultimately to me.

Anyway, since I was jamming to New Medicine on Friday as I partook of the twitter #wineparty which is seems is fast becoming a tradition, I decided that today's post should pay homage to my first blogger contest win and thank Candy.  You can check her out for yourself over at her blog The Misadventures of Candyland and you can also find her here @candylandgang on twitter.

So thanks Candy for my New Medicine CD and poster even if it is addressed to you.  In your honor, and because I am such a huge @Candylandgang fan I hung it up too.  It resides in a place of honor right next to my desk as you can see by the pictures I have attached here.  
So what is the best thing you ever won in a contest?  Tell me, I am dying to know.

Friday, September 24, 2010

And the winner is....

Last week I launched my very first contest!

Yeah, I know bring out the band right?  And today I am announcing the winner.

My husband is starting to get into this.  Last night as I explained my dilemma on how to select a winner, because I want this to be fair and impartial, he offered up his services because as he explained to me he wants to support me in my blogging any way he can.  (What a guy!) Besides, that is just the way he rolls or so he said.

I should have been suspicious right away.  At that very moment my BS radar should have gone off.  But no, sucker that I am, I eagerly asked what his idea for selecting the winner was.

And he eagerly told me.

Strip Poker.

He thought this was absolute genius and ran off to find the cards even as he explained the rules to me.  Each contestant was to be given the number in the order in which they commented.  At the end of the game, however many pieces of clothing the winner still had on would dictate who won the book.  Simple really.

Strip Poker?  Huh? I really didn't see that one coming.  Immediately, I thought it was just a very obvious attempt for him to get to see what dirty girl lingerie I was rocking last night.  And you know what?  I was right?  But I really had no other way to fairly select who should get the prize.  

So ladies and gentlemen, I took one for the team.  Literally.  Cuz that's the way I roll.

So without further ado, the winner is Elizabeth Flora Ross.  Congratulations!  Just direct message me with your address and I will get your copy of Gods In Alabama shipped to you.  

I bet you guys want to know who won the card game right?  Let's just say we both did.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Because I said so.

Follow Friday is a trend on twitter that really irritates me. 

I don't know why.

Oh, yeah I do.  It makes me feel that if I leave someone out I am saying they are not good enough to follow.  Which of course is just such  I am trying to keep it clean today.

So I am officially opting out of follow Friday on Twitter.  Not because I don't appreciate all the folks who offer me up as their example of a great follow (does that sound dirty?) but because I hate leaving people out.  If they said you can only offer up one person as a follow Friday that would have more meaning but to just jump on the band wagon because everyone else is doing it...well I just can't anymore. 

What I am going to do is high light some of my favorites.  The ones that I follow and I why I do that.  They are all worthy, but each for different reasons.  Since I spent about an hour last night trying to figure out who should go first, I finally devised an Excel spreadsheet and had my husband pick a number.    I logged them in no particular order than sorted them alphabetically.  I have serious problems, I know.

So without any further ado...I give you the first of my many follow Friday recommendations. (I am posting this today instead of tomorrow because I am picking a winner for the book contest tomorrow.)

We are going to start with Ms. Karla Nellenbach.  (Your number was 69 and my husband giggled when he picked it.) (Of course I have no idea why.) (And of course I should not have been surprised when he picked that one.)

Okay so why do I think you should follow Karla or @LastWord0524, well for starters because she is my Ninja sparring partner and there is nothing like a good Ninja sparring partner when you are feeling down.  We tweet our Ninja greatness back and forth (sometimes she wins but its mostly me, of course if you asked her she would say she mostly wins but since this is my blog...well you get the drift.) 

Her blog is pretty awesome too.  You can find her here at the LastWord.  She likes to tease us with little tidbits of her writing, which so far as I can see if pretty awesome.  She also writes great book reviews.  I know I listen to her. 

She always makes me laugh and is a total smart ass.  (I know I said I was keeping it clean.  Sue me.  There is no other way to describe her.  I even tried looking up another word in the thesaurus just in case there was a better way to say it and the only word that jumped out at me was cocky (and she is) but I think smart ass just says it better!)

So if you don't follow Karla, you should.  And if you already do than you know what I speak is the truth.  And since I am always looking for new people to follow please offer up one of your favorites so I can go and follow them today.  Not fifty, just one.  I am listening.  And I promise to follow.  Wow, that is some power I am handing out to you guys today!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Be Brave, or just fake it!

A recap:  On Friday I launched a book giveaway.  Check it out here and make sure you leave a comment and follow my blog to enter.  I will be announcing the winner this Friday.  So check it out.

I am always amazed at the posts that resonate the most with my blog readers.

I giggled a little bit when I wrote that.  I have blog readers.  I feel so special.

On the days when I am really fired up and have something that I think the masses want to hear I get a smattering of comments.  And don't get me wrong, I appreciate each and every one of them.  On the days where I am not trying to be funny but sending out something, anything into the vast cosmic void that is my blog site, things to which I think none of you dear readers could care anything about, I get the most responses.  

I am amazed and to a certain extent it amazes me that I can still be amazed by these thoughts that I have.  I think that is the thought progression that eventually got me going on the whole should I show my stuff after all.  If you guys don't respond to the stuff that I think you are going to respond too than how can I be sure I am any good after all?    Yes I am quite aware I am writing myself in circles now.  Welcome to the daily grind that is also known as my thought process.

Hello Kelly's Thought Process.   Are you waving to me right now?
After the all of the great responses I got yesterday I have decided that I am going to put my stuff out there for your feedback.  That's right I am aiming to let it all hang out.  Okay, I am going to try.  I said TRY!  Try to work up the nerve to post something next Tuesday.  I picked Tuesday because it is a good day for Teasers according to my good friend Karla Nellenbach over at her blog LastWord

She likes to tease us with little snippets and then stop writing said work in progress so I have to wonder about the cast of characters for months on end before I am forced to finish the story in my own mind just for closure sake.  (Okay I will get off my soapbox.  Karla finish the damn story already!) 

So come back next week and see if I don't puss out and strap some lame ass video up there instead.  Keep your fingers crossed for me okay.  Or anything else for that matter that you may be able to cross.  
Also any words of encouragement would work right about now.  Because since I am saying it today I am really going to try and put myself out there but I am not going to lie, I could totally puss out.

Just saying!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Time to Fess Up

A recap:  On Friday I launched a book giveaway.  Check it out here and make sure you leave a comment and follow my blog to enter.  I will be announcing the winner this Friday.  So check it out.

It has recently come to my attention that even though I think I am brave, I am actually a big chickenshit!.  How is that for a way to start off the blog for today?

I am a writer.  No, really I am.  I think up wonderful stories and I can spend hours with the music going, hanging out with these really awesome characters that matriculated inside my somewhat twisted, very fertile imagination.

But when it comes time to showing my peers or even my friends these amazing works of art (hey it is my story after all) I can't seem to go through with it.

I am not sure what it is that keeps me from passing on my written word for feedback.  I can take constructive criticism in every other area of my life.  But when it comes to this, I am just not comfortable letting someone else pass judgment on the stories I have created and nurtured.

Today I am thinking I can live with the cowardice.  Maybe even embrace it.  I look good with a red ribbon in my hair, although I may be too old for that.  I know this, if I was stuck on a deserted island I would never be bored because I could entertain myself for hours with the stories I have in my head just waiting to be released.

So tell me dear friends, how did you get up the courage, or gumption, or grow a pair in order to open yourself up and let others read what you had written?  Yeah, I really want to know.

Monday, September 20, 2010

I used to be a Massage Virgin...not anymore

A recap:  On Friday I launched a book giveaway.  Check it out here and make sure you leave a comment and follow my blog to enter.  I will be announcing the winner this Friday.  So check it out.

Sunday is not a day of rest for me.

This is the day that I do the laundry, clean the bathrooms, vacuum, mop, dust, grocery shopping, etc.  Yesterday was no different and I even added getting my pedicure and a massage to the itinerary.

Just so you know, I have never had a massage before.  I guess I always thought it was just too extravagant.  I was unable to justify paying someone to basically rub my back.  After said massage I am now aware of one glaring fact.  I am a moron.  

A big bonafide card carrying MORON.

Where has massage therapy been all of my adult life? 

This was the best thing that I have ever done for myself.  I have been basically blackmailing friends for shoulder rubs because I have a tendency to store stress in my shoulders and lately my shoulders have been harder than cast iron.  My IT Manager finally put his foot down last week and insisted that I make arrangements to get a massage done.  So I did.

Before the massage I had pretty much convinced myself that I didn't need it.  It was Sunday and I wasn't tense or stressed.  Yeah, I had that wrong.  This guy had magic hands.  From the moment I was shown into his massage room he had me completely at ease.  We spent a few moments discussing problem areas and what type of massage I would like.  Swedish is for sissies and while he recommended a deep tissue massage, he wasn't going to go as deep as he usually does because this was my first time.  Yepper, I was a massage virgin.  To say that this was the beginning of a beautiful new relationship is an understatement.

In was so awesome that as I was laying on that table getting the toxins pushed and prodded out of my body I got a new idea for a story line.  Normally that would have had me itching for pen and paper to get it down, not this time.

After my massage I felt like a new person.  I was loose like a goose and just about slid myself out to my truck. 

I got the best night sleep of my life last night and can't wait to get this day started.  Of course I am a little sore, but they warned me that it would be like that and even though I am moving a little slower, I can't wait until the next one.  It is scheduled in two weeks.  I promise to keep you guys posted, but in the meantime if you have the opportunity to get one, don't hesitate, get your butt on that massage table and let the pros do their work.   If you have had one before I am curious as to what you thought.  Did you love it?  Let me know.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Book Hungry Book Contest

I am part of an amazing book club called The Book Hungry Club.

We came together via twitter and it has become one of my favorite things.  Mainly because I am passionate about reading.  Through this book club I have been tempted to step outside of my regular reads and pick up things that I would never check out on my own.

With that in mind I have decided to do my very first give away.  Yay!   I know.  You are all excited and can't wait for this so let me tell you about how this is going to work. 

Every month we review a book.  The day after we post our reviews I will be doing a give away of said book.  This will be a brand new book, hardback if it is available and the condition to entering is you have to comment on the blog question that I l ask and be a follower.  That's it.

I have not decided how I am going to select the winner yet, but I will find a genius way to be sure.

So this month up for grabs is Gods In Alabama.  It is a great book.  Sorry to say you will not be getting my copy because I have it on my kindle, but you will get a brand new copy of your very own delivered right to your door.

In Gods In Alabama Arlene takes us on a journey through past and present and we learn who her very first crush was.  So today you need to tell me about yours.  Who was the very first boy/girl you had a crush on?  Name, age when it happened and maybe a quirky little story just for fun.  Next Friday I will announce our winner.  Pretty easy, right? 

So get to it ladies and gentlemen.  Tell me about the first time those hormones woke up.


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Book Hungry: God Is In Alabama

The book review below was a Book Hungry Club read.  All of the Book Hungry Members are posting a book review today on their blogs.  They are all listed in my blog roll to the right, so after you read mine, go check them out too! 

This months selection Gods In Alabama, by Joshilyn Jackson comes to us from the Fabulous Cynthia Reese.

I should tell you this is anther book recommendation that I would never have picked up and read on my own. 

The title Gods In Alabama had me wondering if God resided in Alabama or if our author was saying there are Gods in Alabama.  Either way works here from Arlene's point of view, but mainly it just meant that their are Gods residing in Alabama and they just happen to play high school football.

This book takes us on the journey of Arlene Fleet who escaped her small town roots and traded them in for the vastness of the windy city.  Her motives, totally not-altruistic, were based on the deal she made with God.  No more sex, lies or even returning to the scene of the crime as long as He keeps the body hidden.  

The body in question belonged to one Jim Beverly, the local reining God of the football field.  The reveal comes to us in a series of flashbacks and present day story telling, a format I have not been over found of in past books but keeps this story moving extremely well without confusing the reader. 

After ten years of excuses, when a visitor from home (looking for Jim Beverly) leaves Arlene believing God may be slipping on his end of the bargain, she decides to head back to the tiny town in Alabama she called home.  Coming along for the ride is her boyfriend Burr who also happens to be African American.

This book had all the earmarks of embracing every stereotype, instead it made fun of them.  Ms. Jackson's characters jumped off the page at me and I was there with them from start to finish.   Ms. Jackson's ability to write characters that resonate comes through from the first page and kept me entertained until the very end.

Once again, I step out of my reading comfort zone and the result is another satisfying read.  Thanks Cynthia for the recommendation and don't forget to check out the other members thoughts on this book at their blogs as well.

The Devils real name is Toby

Because I found this to be very amusing and I have been trying to figure out how to add video to my blog.  

Yay me!  I finally mastered it and since I was so proud, I though I should share something that would make you laugh.  Trust me it's funny.

Check back tomorrow for the next book review from the "Book Hungry" Book Club.  You really don't want to miss it.


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Always Pay It Forward

One of the things that I love living on the Gulf Coast besides the Gulf Coast is our boating community. 

When you live on the water you are either one of two types of people.  People who boat or people who don't.  For those of you who know me and have been following my blog for sometime, I am part of the former.  Boating is something that we started doing in 1998 after the purchase of our first bow rider, "Little Boat".

We love everything about it.  I think because it reminds us so much of our time in the Navy.  You never meet a stranger on the water.  If you are in need there is always someone to give you a hand and when you want to be part of the party you can always find one.  On the flip side when you want to be alone, it is very easy to find a spot where no one is, or a beach that no one has landed on. 

This past weekend we decided to take advantage of the absolutely AWESOME (sing that when you read it, okay?) weather and head out for a day of sun and fun.  We are pretty quick to get out on the water but we were moving a little slower on Saturday because we did not have everything packed Friday night.  (Season Seven of NCIS arrived and I spent the evening being anti-social and watching the first disc.)

But once we were out it was just another awesome day.  Beautiful beaches, clear water, and no one around for miles.  We puttered around for a while because we like to take a ride before we settle on where to park to enjoy the sun and the water and thank goodness we did because we came upon a trio of Navy guys who were in distress.

The three of them had boarded what appeared to me to be no bigger than a surf board for an evening of fishing and beer drinking.  They made it safely to the beach and caught quite a few fish, unfortunately Saturday morning when they attempted to head back in they found themselves in a bit of trouble, their motor did not start.  

In September our currents are pretty strong.  And on this particular Saturday it was no different, but these three guys were attempting to swim/push their 12 foot surfboard/boat which I should mention was completely loaded down with all the things three guys would need for a night on the water fishing.  Coolers and fishing rods. 

Captain Kid, who is always on the lookout for boaters in distress noticed them and got within in range to see if they were okay.  They were all new to our area and had been pushing/paddling/swimming their boat for the past hour and really hadn't gotten very far.  They were so thankful for our help that once we returned them to the dock they had jettisoned from they offered to pay us for our troubles.  So I had to school them on the ways of boaters everywhere, no payment required just pay it forward someday.

Kind of how I feel about this community of bloggers and tweeters that I follow.  These men and women who support and praise and reinforce why I do what I do when it comes to this writing thing.  Because everyone has something to say and sometimes when you get lucky enough, you just might find someone interested in hearing/reading what you have to say.

Thanks guys.  You all rock!

Friday, September 10, 2010


Well tomorrow is just another Saturday for many of us - me included.

But as I was sitting down to write this posting I was reminded of what tomorrow will mean to the families of the victims that perished during the terrorist attacks on 9/11.

Some people will be visiting grave sites that hold no bodies.  Other will hold family BBQ's to remember their loved ones that are no longer here with us and all of them will remember.

I remember that morning like yesterday, rushing, on my way to the office.  Stopping at the Naval Air Station and picking up some new plans for a job we were working on.  I remember being on my cell phone arguing with a subcontractor about wiring for controls when the radio announced a plane had struck one of the trade towers in New York City.

It had to be a joke.  This radio station was renowned for their jokes even when it wasn't April Fools Day.  But then the DJ's partner came on to assure the listening audience that it was indeed true.  

I remember getting out of my truck and running into the office because there was no way a plane accidentally hit the trade tower.  There was immediate pandemonium as we gathered in one office to watch the news reports that we could pick up via the Internet.  After about twenty minutes of speculation, we all piled into my truck and headed to the boss's house to watch the news that would for the next forty eight hours dominate our lives.

I remember sitting in her den, on that cold leather couch and watching horrified as the second tower was struck in front of our very eyes.  Than later watching as the first tower fell and then the second.  The hours ticked by with all of us shell-shocked, past horrified and overwhelmed by the images on the screen. 

My husband had worked the night before on some gear installations so his clock was set to wake him up around 3:00 pm. I drove home in a daze and had the unfortunate job of waking him up and telling him about the events that had transpired while he was sleeping.  We turned the TV on and sat glued in front of it for the rest of the evening hoping that survivors would be found.

I remember getting into bed that night and my heart literally aching for all of the people who lost loved ones that day.  And my husbands final words before sleep took me were, "I went to sleep this morning and the world looked one way, when I woke up it was changed, you were changed, I was changed.  I don't think we will ever get that back."

Stop and take a moment to remember.  Remember how the world was changed that day.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Writing Remarkable Hero's

Writing a fascinating character can be challenging.

I was telling you guys earlier this week about my weakness for my latest bad boy creation, Seth.  

Today I thought I would give you guys a little bit of a background on how I get the fleshing out completed.  

I have a worksheet that I use for each and every new work in progress.  The things I need to know about my guys and gals before I sit down to put their story to paper.

I always start with the character that is speaking to me the loudest.  In fact the WIP I am in right now has been put on hold because last week I suddenly started to hear a new voice.  And believe me when I tell you he was insistent that I stop what I was doing and get his personality down on paper.

So my worksheet is pretty basic.  It always starts out with Character Background.  Where did he grow up? Where was he born?  What is the name of his parents? How old were they when he was born?  If they are not alive, what was the story behind the death or deaths.

The next thing I spend time on is flaws.  What are the flaws this character has?  Come on, he has to have some flaws.  A perfect character is a boring character.  

Physical attributes of your character.  What does he look like.  Description here is completely up to you.  You may not want to give the reader to much and that is alright.  Is his ear pierced?  Or does he have a tattoo?  I need to know this before I start.

Working on Seth, I wrote almost a book just on his background.  I know everything from who his first girlfriend was to why he doesn't like motorcycles, even though he is a bad boy.  Hmm, a bad boy scared of motorcycles.  Now that is interesting right?

So what is one of your secrets for character development?  I won't steal it.  Okay, maybe I will, but I love new ideas and learning how everyone else does it.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Being my own leading lady = scary

Yesterdays post about my new favorite bad boy garnered some awesome feedback from my twitterati.  One of the most common pieces of advice was give the new female lead some of my own character traits.
I have to tell you that one is a little scary for me, let me tell you why.

My very first attempt at romantic comedy involved Peyton and Joshua.  He was a lawyer and she was a doctor.  They had grown up together and gotten married after they graduated from college-before law school for him and med school for her.  

Their relationship deteriorated after a miscarriage while she was interning.  The loss of the baby set off major insecurities and resurrected ugly things from her child hood.  She closed in and the marriage suffered.  It also didn't help that they were young, with no life experience outside of each other.

After the miscarriage, Josh took a job with a law firm on the other side of the country with the idea distance would help her heal.  All it really did was drive them further apart, which resulted in a divorce.  Something I am strongly against.

As I was writing the story of their reunion at a family funeral I found myself starting to distance myself from Peyton.  All of her insecurities started to bug me.  She had grown and changed in the years since her marriage, but I was mad that she had allowed something from her past, something that she had no control over to fester and ultimately be the thing that doomed her relationship.  

What I learned was that I had made her too much like myself.  The very qualities that I had given her that were mine were the very ones I had to work the hardest at overcoming.  While the manuscript ultimately sucked, I ended up learning more about myself during that process and the kind of marriage I wanted.  It was wholly refreshing and very cathartic at the same time.

Every once in a while when the hubs and I are fighting I will go back and reread something from that MS and remind myself how much I have grown.  As a wife.  As a writer.  As a friend and know that I am now a better person for writing that really awful manuscript that I promise will never see the light of day.

So, tell me about the really bad one that you wrote.  Come on, I know you have one.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

My new favorite bad boy

As you know we just had a long three day weekend pass.

Mine was wonderful, thank you very much for asking.  Hope yours was great too.

One of the things I was really looking forward to was my extra day off this weekend because I was convinced that I would have the time to explore the relationship I am having on the side.

No, I am not cheating.  Not really.  Or at least not in the traditional sense of the word.  

I am talking about my story.  And the leading character Seth.  I love Seth-right down to the bone love him.  He is the guy I dreamed about when I was a little girl.  He is dark, with a wicked sense of humor.  He has a code of honor that is so deeply ingrained from his military days.  He works hard and plays harder.  He is a bad boy who embodies the idea of what an alpha male is supposed to be.  Get it?  I.  Love.  This.  Guy.

Okay, so whats the problem?  I have tried on three different leading ladies.  Not one of them fit.  How do I write a leading lady who would be his match or his equal in some way that would work?  My problem is simply, none of them are good enough for him.  They come across as two dimensional and unlikeable. 

That's right folks I am stuck.

Then this weekend it dawned on me.  I think I am jealous of them.  I love spending time with Seth in my head.  I have created this guy and no female character has been able measure up.  Plus I don't think I want anyone to be good enough for Seth?  Have I completely gone around the bend?

Tell me what you do when you find yourself in this type of a situation?  Because I do not want to find myself obsessing over Seth and his bad boy ways.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Happy Labor Day

Labor Day is fast approaching, and like many Americans I would normally just spend the day sitting on a beach or lazing around the pool.  

I will not post on Monday as it is a day of rest and even though this blog is a labor of love, it is still a labor.

So in the tradition of observing the holiday I wanted to take a moment and wish all of you who stop by today a Happy Labor Day and I hope all you enjoy it.  For those of you who are not so fortunate to have the day off, well I hope Monday still turns out to be a great day for you too.

The US Department of Labor tells us "labor day is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers.  It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well being of our country."  

I disagree, I believe that Labor Day was created to pacify an American work force that was unhappy with working conditions and the reining president of the day needed to do something to get the country back under control.

Today more Americans than ever before are facing lay-offs and unemployment lines.  Normally my postings would not be so somber, but this year with the economic down turn being what it is and some of my friends, and co-workers facing similar possibilities I could not just pass this off as a day of celebration.

One of the great strengths of our country has been in it's ability to rally and rise from the ashes.  We have seen this on numerous occasions, so while I have no doubt we will rebound, my heart hurts today for the thousands of men and women across this great nation who are faced with similar circumstances. 

So this year I salute the men and women who have dedicated their lives to building this country.  The blue collar workers who have worked in the trenches, who have stood a post and who have picked up the trash.  The men and women who never believed that any job was beneath them and that is was enough that they lived in the land of the free.  I hope as a country we can get back to that again.  To a time when baseball, apple pie and hot dogs were the norm for keeping up with the Jones and not the idea that everyone had to have a McMansion.

Today I salute each and every one of you and I hope Monday is a good day for everyone.

Happy Labor Day.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

My Last Breath List

The idea for this posting came courtesy of Jessica Lemmon, so thanks Jessica.

Yesterday a blogging friend of mine did her post on her bucket list, or what she referred to as her "Last Breath List".

It got me to thinking.

Instead of writing a list of all the things she wanted to do before she died she composed a list of all the things she would be grateful for as she took her last breath.  By the way you can read her post here.  

View from Our Beach
So here is my "Last Breath List" and all the things I want to remember.  I think, no I know I will remember, because these are those moments that have helped shape me into who I am today.

  • Leaving home for good and venturing out into the world on my own and having Gram pass on these words of wisdom, "You learn to take care of you before you look for someone else to share your life with because you need to know you can do it."
  • Seeing Bon Jovi in concert for the very first time.
  • The day I joined the Navy and took the oath.
  • First date with the hubs sharing wine coolers while sitting on the sea wall in Okinawa, Japan.
  •  Hosting my very first Thanksgiving where I did the cooking of the turkey and realized that I left the bag of extra parts in the cavity.  Yum.
  •  Buying our very own home.
  •  Holding my godson and smelling that baby smell.
  •  Saying goodbye to my Gram for the last time.
  •  How I feel when I write.
  •  Sitting on "our" beach and feeling like the only one for miles around.
  •  Being awed by fireworks.
  • Hearing my husband say "I love you" and knowing he means it.

So come on, now you gotta do it.  Share you "last breathe list" or just give me one.