On the road again

No, I’m not taking a trip.  After months of ditzing around, I’m think I’m finally getting back to my book.  For some strange reason, while brushing my teeth this morning, I figured out where I was going wrong on my story.  So for those of you who haven’t given up on Tears, I hope to have a section ready for the next critique.

Usually, when I get stuck, it’s because I’m in the wrong POV.  This time, I’d tried writing from both POVs but couldn’t get to where I needed to be.  Then like a bolt from the blue, I realized I needed to be in the POV of my villian.  I’m so used to writing the short categories with only two POVs, that I didn’t think that I could use more than two as long as I don’t leave the H/H too long.  Anyway, we’ll see how it goes.

Another good piece of news is that a co-worker showed me how I can open a Word document at work (Shhhh!  Don’t tell my boss!), so for those few shifts when it’s quiet.  Not only that but I can email what I write to myself and not have to re-type when I get the new stuff home. 

Up to now, it wasn’t unusal for me to write out bits and pieces on paper towels, blank doctor’s order sheets, etc.  It’s absolutely decadent to be able to work like a real author at the hospital.  I really hate when I get a fantastic section to set up in my mind, but can’t long-hand it fast enough.

I do have an Alphasmart that I use for when I’m away from home, but it’s kind of hard to take it to the hospital…and hard to keep TPTB from seeing me write on my shift.  Now, I open a document in the morning, keeping it minimized for my quieter moments.  And I don’t feel a bit guilty!  My kids get me first, of course, but I figure that if my co-workers can text all over town, then I can work on my stuff.

And just think what the hospital is saving on paper towels!

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Men….

This week I’ve had the extreme pleasure of having my son visit. What amazes me is that small rascally boy has grown to interesting man! Yeah, I know, kids grow. they make our hair turn gray, shave years off OUR lives with their antics, listen to different music, have their own language and strange sense of humor. Then **poof** they morph. I saw this with my darling daughter, but she’s always been focused (and a ton of fun!)

But my son a man? Men are wired differently than women. Directions? Who needs them. That bolt won’t come out? Use a bigger hammer. And they way they dress? In my humble experience, my guys still need Garanimals! Clothes shopping yesterday with dear son was not a total joy–DD & I both found new shoes and clothes. Dear son went to the rack, selected two pair of shorts and a shirt and was finished! His three selection cost the equivalent of three pair of shoes and two shirts! He’s a man, he doesn’t care about sales and percent off. I tried to tell him that math is an intregal part of shopping!! And chemistry is involved in perfume and clothes, therefore he ‘must’ check labels. I’m pretty sure this bounced off him as he rolled his eyes and quickly walked to the nearest available space he could park his butt.

So what does this have to do with writing? Everything! Men aren’t the same. Not in their speech, mannerisms, walk, and well, most of the things they do. It bothers me greatly to read a male character who isn’t fully formed. Just watch a bunch of guys and you’ll learn how different they are. A whole new species.

But my dear son, you will always be my sweet baby.   🙂  

A Character by Any Other Name

What do you think of characters’ names in books? Do you like the unusual or the exotic, or would you prefer the more common names?

I’ve been catching up on a bunch of reviews, and it seemed that in every one of them, one or both main characters had unusual names. In some, I had to keep looking back to see which one was the hero and which was the heroine, and in a couple, I didn’t have a clue how to pronounce the names. And they weren’t paranormals; at least in other worlds, I expect something exotic.

I’ve used a few less-than-common names before — Shay, Rory, Mariah, Easy. My current heroine is named Masiela. In my very first book, my editor asked me to change the heroine’s name from Tristan — too unisexual to go with a hero named Rafael. My original Shay was paired with a hero named Rory, and my editor asked me again to change it, since both names were (at the time) fairly unusual. She became Shanna, but a few years later, I tried Shay again (with Easy) without so much as an editorial blink.

But I tend toward the garden variety names — Liz, Joe, Beth, Tommy, Tony, Ellie. I like biblical names, too — Rachel, Elizabeth, Gabriel, Leah. I don’t want anything too trendy, and I get the giggles when I read a book with a character whose name makes me think, “Someday she’s gonna be Grandma Whatever.”  (When she was little, my niece had an imaginary Grandma Tiffany. No offense to any Tiffanys out there, but that always made me laugh. Of course, my grandmothers’ names were Golda and Florence.)

Do characters’ names ever bother you? Do you get hung up on the pronunciation or spelling? How about silly things like a heroine named Blue with a hero whose last name is White? Do similar names confuse you? (I knew a woman named Jimmie Leigh who was married to a man named Jimmy Lee, but something like that in a book would drive me up the wall.) What about young people with names that haven’t been popular in 150 years?

Do characters’ names matter to you at all? Or are we authors (and editors) the only ones who care?

why don’t I live in florida?

Most of you know I’ve spent the last week at a 5-star resort in Florida.  And while I know that living in Florida for real would mean that I would have to get off of my butt, off the beach, dust off the sand, and get a job, still if given the chance I would do it in a heartbeat.

On the way home yesterday I spent some time staring out the airplane window wondering why I was headed back to Kansas while my heart remained in Florida.  So I’m asking you all today, what draws you to this area and what keeps you here?  (Family is not a valid excuse, we all have that.)  Where would you live if you could, and why don’t you?

What keeps me here are my horses.  As much as I love the ocean, I could not afford to have my horses in such a pricey area.  So in the trade-off between beach and horses, I choose horses.  KC, signing out, sadly missing Florida.

True Story

The whispered sigh of a ghost doesn’t always come in the darkest of the night.  Spirits are not confined by time or space, sunlight or moonlight.  They flit unseen when and where they will.   And when they choose to let the living know their presence, it can be with a gossamer brush across the back of the neck, or the thunderous slamming of doors. I learned this one hot August day years ago. The bright afternoon sunlight lit the frilly Victorian gingerbread that framed the front porch of my mother’s house.  Tall oaks spread their limbs to shade the roof of the little white frame house with green shutters.  My mother’s house began as a one room log cabin built shortly after the Trail of Tears.  Over the years, a parade of owners had left their mark on the house adding bedrooms, a kitchen, an indoor bathroom, and a second story.  When my mother bought the house, she decided to redecorate, starting first with the front room, which was the original structure.  My mother had always wanted an old house to redecorate, but one day into the project she discovered she was not a big fan of getting down and dirty in the dust and the muck of home restoration.  I, however, loved to paint and wallpaper, so I happily volunteered to strip the worn mauve wallpaper from the walls.  I was amused to discover that beneath the floral wallpaper was another layer of cheap walnut paneling.  Working alone in the house one afternoon, I peeled off paneling and carted it out of the house.  The day was hot. The window air conditioning unit hummed loudly as it worked to cool the room. My mother had taken my kids grocery shopping, so I had the house all to myself. The physical labor was relaxing. It offered me the chance to let my mind wander numbly and aimlessly, to think about nothing in particular.  As I pulled back one section of paneling, I was stunned to discover a walled-up doorway.  Intrigued, I used a claw hammer to pry away the paneling, curious to see what was beyond the door.  The paneling was old and brittle, it broke off in pieces, and I tossed it over my shoulder in a hurry to see the other side of the door.  Finally, the opening was large enough to poke my head through. Just as I peered in, the front door opened by itself then slammed shut.  I jumped, and screamed like a girl.  The back door opened and closed sharply by itself. Then as if tugged by dozens of unseen hands, every kitchen cabinet, every bathroom cabinet, every bedroom door began to open and slam shut.  The thunder seemed to go on for minutes.  I stood, rooted to the floor, my heart thumping wildly, more awestruck than truly frightened.    Then just as suddenly as it began, the slamming of the doors and cabinets stopped. 

 And all I could think was, I gotta write this down.  This would make a great story someday!

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Book or Movie First?

I just finished reading Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, again. Now I’m ready to see the movie. {Hint, hint, Amy!!} I blame my HP addiction on my darling daughter. When Harry Potter first came out–all the sensation, all the controversy–how could I, as a responsible Christian parent, allow my impressionable teen to read about witches and wizards? I had to check these books out myself. At the time, I think 1 – 3 were in print, but I’ve slept since then. It took me two weeks to devour them–two really rotten December weeks where all the kids were out of school and camping here at Twisted Creek, and being a step-mom was akin to troll snot. My point is that I escaped, totally. Lost in a world where good wins over evil, but not all wrongs are righted. Even rereading or listening to the audio books, I’m totally sucked into this magical world. I love it!

When JAWS came out, I saw the movie first, then read the book. That’s when some of the magic of film dissolved for me as the book was so much better–IMHO.

So I want to know, do you see the movie first or read the book?