Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Breakfast of Champions

I just wanted to take a moment to give a shout out to Marjorie M Liu.  She is an author whose earlier work was one of my biggest inspirations for writing.  As a matter of fact the first book of hers that I read had me running into the other room to tell my hubby that this author is already writing almost exactly how I'm going to write!

Once I even had breakfast with her, just the two of us.  We met at a reader/author conference thing in Cincinnati and I tried my hardest to play it cool.  Apparently I played it cool enough that she was willing to meet for breakfast in the hotel restaurant.  It was a huge moment for me, one that I will always remember.  We talked about writing and publishing but also about life and family.  Turns out bestselling authors are regular people, and that was the coolest thing of all for me.  She was normal and I'm (relatively) normal so what is there to stop me from being a writer?  Nothing!

So thanks, Marjorie!  Someday I intend to dedicate my first book to you (and my family, of course).  You may never see it or know it but it will be there.  Because sometimes it only takes some eggs and toast to provide a life changing perspective.  

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Artistic Explorations

Okay, I have been putting off this post for way too long, but now I need to just get it off of my chest -
Gena Showalter's book Last Kiss Goodnight was not her best work.

There, I said it.  Gena Showalter, who I love and look to as an example in good writing, made a book with flaws.  It wasn't as much of a fall-on-your-face problem such as Lori Foster's My Man Michael (which was well and truly awful), but it was not what I had come to expect from such a talented writer.

First, my thoughts on the book - it was okay.  Lower case 'l'.  I dug the whole beauty and beast thing, the addition of demonic forces was worth a small nod and the circus environment was very cool.  The hero was tough, vulnerable and worth rooting for.  The heroine was...ok.  I saw that I was supposed to see her as tough and vulnerable since she was abused by her father, had no place to go and yet maintained her compassion but I still never really grooved with her.  She was a bit of a caricature to me: pretty + spunky + abused + gentle = perfect romantic novel heroine.  Meh.

But since I am such a sucker for the beauty and the beast story line I was totally willing to roll with it.  Until the angel and devil popped up on the hero's shoulders.  Really?  Angel and devil speaking into each ear trying to tempt a man into good or evil?  I kind of got my fill of that back in the Warner Bros days of my youth.  If felt like it was a writing short cut for the hero's inner turmoil, his change of heart and ultimately his survival of the climax.  (Oops, spoiler alert - but then the hero always survives so it's not exactly a big surprise!)

And so even though I wanted to write my 'review' since the day after I bought the story I have held off. I even read the story again, hoping  that it would be better.  But not really.  Still the same decent story sprinkled with way too much out of place hack.

But then, after coming upon a scathing review of My Man Michael on Amazon I realized something - writers, even writers that you love, have no obligation to write the story that you want to read every time.  They are artistic and creative people who are free to experiment, play and stretch their figurative wings in whatever way makes them happy.  If an author stays in a place that I find to be weird and do not like then I don't have to read their work anymore, even if I might mourn the lose of what I thought they could do.

Here's a secret, I'm married to a professional artist.  Really.  And he is always working to see if he can draw better, paint better, write better or try a new medium.  If you don't live with and artist then that might seem flaky but here is the thing - art comes from the soul and the soul is constantly changing.  Sure the basics are the same but the world and the input that you give yourself in books or art are always affecting it.

So I am not a huge fan of Last Kiss Goodnight but I admire the fact that Ms Showalter tried something a little different.  And as for Ms Foster...I think that I am not her only fan to say, "Nice try, but I'm going to pretend that this never happened".

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

The 5 Stages of WTFness.

Time for a little sharing, not too much, so don't worry!  My dad has been diagnosed with a nice, slow growing cancer.

That is what we in the writing biz like to call 'Bullshit'.  Also, as a bit of history, I have a lovely slow growing cancer that is pretty much gone but refuses to look like it on blood work.  So that makes this bit of news upsetting but kindof old hat.  I know how this works, I know that the news is the most horrible part of it and I know that eventually life will go on as normal.

But first there are stages of getting through it that must be lived through.  Forget the Stages of Grief, to call this Greif is to give it too much power.  I prefer to make my own names, my own ways and my own stages.  And so I present to you...The Five Stages of WTFness!

Stage 1.  You just found out something truly life changing.  Your child has autism (been there, got that t-shirt), you can't have anymore babies (that t-shirt is a lovely pink), you have cancer (a red t-shirt), your mother won't be getting better and will need a nurse to care for her when you and your dad are at work (wow, I have a lot of t-shirts!),  your dad has CLL...  You get the point, those moments when life HAPPENS to you.

Stage 2.  Shock and Awe.  Numb, numb, numb.  Your brain, who loves you, realizes that you need time to 'process' before you can reeeeally process and so it shuts you down a bit.  You may or may not cry but you will probably end up on the floor staring at the wall at some point.  It seems pathetic, but don't worry, it's all part of the process!

Stage 3.  Cry.  Your.  Eyes.  Out.  I mean cry until your sinuses swell shut, you can't put contacts in past your puffy eyes and you stop bothering with Kleenex because you are wearing a perfectly good and absorbant long sleeved sweater or shirt.

Stage 4.  Reason.  Research your guts out on the internets.  Read the facts and then read them again.  They are bricks to tie to your ankles to keep you on the ground in case Stages 2 or 3 pop up again.

Stage 5.  What the hell am I doing with my life!?  Any issue that is traumatic enough to trigger the Stages of WTFness is traumatic enough to effect your life whether in thought or deed.  And so you can and should take the opportunity to look at your life with a critical eye.  Kid has autism?  Make sure I know how to love him in a way he understands and what I can do to be his biggest champion.  No more bio kids?  What is required for adoption and how soon can I start that process?  Cancer?  How do I simplify my life?  My dad's cancer?  What am I doing with my life that I would love to change?

You see, for me and my dad we are not super emotional people.  He is treating his cancer like I did mine, it's just a pain in the ass to get through and a warning to live with purpose.  But since this is my second walk down C Blvd, I am feeling a bit more existential than that.

If my life is full of crap to get over and live with then what am I doing to make sure that I am making the living part worth while?

That is the question for this week's homework.

Good luck.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Just found this quote and really like it.  I think it explains what I was trying to get down in my post a couple of days ago.

“You live like this, sheltered, in a delicate world, and you believe you are living. 
Then you read a book (Lady Chatterley, for instance), or you take a trip, or 
you talk with Richard, and you discover that you are not living, that you are 
hibernating. The symptoms of hibernating are easily detectable: first, 
restlessness. The second symptom(when hibernating becomes dangerous 
and might degenerate into death): absence of pleasure. That is all. It appears 
like an innocuous illness. Monotony, boredom, death. Millions live like this
(or die like this) without knowing it. They work in offices. They drive a car. 
They picnic with their families. They raise children. And then some shock 
treatment takes place, a person, a book, a song, and it awakens them 
and saves them from death."
~Anais Nin

Sunday, December 30, 2012

The joy of a new release!

I am so excited right now!  There are many authors that I like, many more that I think are 'meh', but only a handful that I absolutely love.  One of those few beloved authors, Gena Showalter, has just released a new book and I am about to download it.  Yay, me!  :)

One of the things that I look forward to on this blog is talking about books and authors that I like.  It's sad but I don't have any 'real life' friends who read paranormal romance, romance, sci fi or urban fantasy.  All of my excitement is shared with my kindle and my hubby, who is patient enough to listen to me gush about stories that he has no interest in.

But here on a blog that others may or may not read I can share as I please.  It's going to be great!

The book that I am about to start is The Last Kiss Goodnight by Gena Showalter.  Here is the back cover summary -

Black ops agent Solomon Judah awakens caged and bound in a twisted zoo where otherworlders are the main attraction. Vika Lukas, the owner’s daughter, is tasked with Solo’s care and feeding. The monster inside him yearns to kill her on sight, even though she holds the key to his escape. But the human side of him realizes the beautiful deaf girl is more than she seems—she’s his.
Vika endures the captives’ taunts and loathing, hoping to keep them alive even if she can’t free them. Only, Solo is different— he protects her. But as hostility turns to forbidden romance, his feelings for her will be used against him . . . and he’ll be put to a killer test.

I am going crazy about this story already!  Special Ops is super hot!  The fact that she is deaf makes her more vulnerable and therefore her strength will be even more sharp and touching!  The zoo thing is cool!  The fact that the author shortened the primary's name to Solo is lame!  But it's Gena Showalter so I'm sure she pulls it of nicely!  

Geekfest at my house!  

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Life isn't about finding yourself, it's about creating yourself.

The new year is coming and with it the inevitable look at what I am doing with my life.  The last two years or so I have batted aside this instinct and decided that it was better to not look too hard at myself.  It was a wise choice I think, because I was doing what needed to be done and that was all that I was doing.  I was working third shift, trying to be a decent mom and wife, trying to take care of an ailing parent and get a little bit of ever elusive sleep.  Even though I liked the job that I had my life was a dogged march forward to get us through some tough times.  I gave up my writing, all college plans and refused to feel bad about it.  I still don't.  It was necessary and good, I feel a little proud to have survived it.

But now it is December 2012 and things have changed and settled into a nice comforting rhythm.  I have a different job that I have come to like even though it is not in a field of my choosing.  The schedule is fabulous and the company is really great to work for.  There is a free gym in the building and lots of nice coworkers to make the day go by nicely.  The kids are great.  The hubby is doing well and his work is picking up.  Everything is good.  ...yup.

Let me be clear, I have no complaints about current circumstances.  They are better than I would have dreamed two years ago.  But now that things are comfy and good I find that I am restless, sometimes cranky, sometimes grabbing a beer just to feel settled.  I don't feel confident in myself as a person and don't really think of myself as a person per say, more like as the body I am in that does stuff.  Not cool.

So here it is, December 29 and the new year looms.  What am I doing with my life?  Well, lots of good stuff!  But it's the things that I am not doing that tell the true tale of Rose.  I am not striving for a dream. I am not writing, not creating, not working toward a goal that is outside the normal and inside my soul.  I feel it and it is a major source of my frustration.

Problem identified, solution in progress.

First of all, I need to come out of hiding.  I shut myself off from all of my writing stuff because it was too frustrating and painful to feel that I was failing at finishing stories or missing out on web seminars and blogs.  So I just dropped it all.  Again, no regrets, but I need to get back into the world of writers and publishers on the web.  I need to participate and be a part of the group even if it's just by commenting on blog posts at first.

Second, I need to break out the stuff that I left unfinished, finish it and send it out.  I had such hopes and dreams for which agency I wanted and publishers I would like to work with.  Those hopes and dreams still apply, now I need to follow through.

Third, I need to remember to be proud of who and what I am right now.  No more coasting on the good times with no sense of self, I need to stand up straight and be me.  Because I am awesome.

So here goes, step one of step one is this post.  I need to just plain get back into getting my thoughts down in a (hopefully) clear way.  And since this blog actually started in 2009 (whoa) I think that it will be fun to have a history to look back on.  My journey in words and pictures.  My biggest hope and desire right now is to see that this continues.

And it will.

Because I rock.


Sunday, September 19, 2010

Review:Happy Snak by Nicole Kimberling

I confess, it has been quite some time since I have read Happy Snak by Nicole Kimberling and just as long since I have owed her a review. But here it is and I must say, it is the same today as it would have been all those months ago...

I found the book Happy Snak by Nicole Kimberling on the blog for Marjorie M Liu. After winning a contest for a free copy. I quickly read the book and then, I confess, got too caught up in circumstances to finish the review that I had started. So allow me to correct my mistake by telling you now that Happy Snak is an incredibly entertaining book!

Short but engaging, I could not stop reading this weird and off beat story that takes place on an alien ship. I have decided to not go back and get actual names from the text as I feel that I would be too tempted to give spoilers, so let me tell you the gist of the story like this -

An Earth woman who runs a snack store decides to sign up to be one of the people that are taken into an alien space station to travel to an alien world and learn about their race. She is an underdog, her advertising is not as slick as her competitor and she is her only real employee but she plugs along until one night when she witnesses the death of a very important alien.

Witnessing that death puts her in a unique position and makes her the guardian of that alien's 'ghost'. A task which does not stop her from her primary job as snack seller to anything that might have the munchies.

From there, secrets are found out, plots are uncovered, alien androgynous sex is explained and all sorts of hijinks and mayhem ensue. It's an enjoyable read and the concept of that world sticks with you. For me, if a world sticks with you and engages you imagination then it is a book worth reading!

So pick up a copy or download it today. It's an easy read that will entertain you immensely and you will not be sorry! Remember, I read this story months ago and am still able to recall the whole thing - high praise from someone who reads as much as I do. :)

Happy Snak by Nicole Kimberling --- A happy and fun time!