Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Writing Wednesday--I May Have Shot Myself in the Foot

And after that cheerful title, let's begin, shall we?

Have you ever known you can do something, but you just keep putting it off and putting it off and putting it off until suddenly you're like, "Oh, crap. I am up a creek without a paddle."? Yes, that would be where I am.

When I made the decision to push the writing envelope this year, I was not anticipating having to work a month of management shifts. And while a month may not seem like the longest time, it is such a time sucker, it deserves some sort of name I can't  think of at the moment. As a result, I'm behind. Not that I haven't been behind before, but I don't like it anymore this time than I did previous times.

I'm a planner. People joke I could plan a war or a wedding given the same amount of time for both and both would be a success. My internal schedule is thrown off right now by a variety of things, internal and external, and it's freaking me out. I can adjust to a thrown off schedule, but it annoys the ever loving daylights out of me.

So, like I said--I may have shot myself in the foot. Now the question is: do I keep letting it bleed, or do I bandage the joker and keep marching?

Three guesses which one I'm planning on doing.

Countdown to vacation: THREE DAYS.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Tuesday Buildup--New Cover for New Moon Rising

In honor of the forthcoming release of Harvest Moon Rising (mid to late April), I've done some spiffing up of New Moon Rising. My fabulous editor, Lea Ellen Borg, has gone through and done some touch up editing. And--get this--I slaved away on Photoshop and produced a new cover. See below:

Fairly awesome, yes? Let me tell you, I'm beyond excited about that. It took me some insane time--like 5 hours--and I nearly pulled my hair out. My hat is totally off to my normal cover creater, Kendra Lee Egert, because if I had to do this on a daily basis, I'd totally shoot myself. But as a learning experience and all around different thing to do, it was fun.

Tomorrow...I'm not sure, entirely. I'll figure it out. Countdown to New York: 4 DAYS!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Food Friday!--UhOh...

So. Lent has started. I finally figured out what I was going to give up, although I was down to the wire. And while some people think it's silly, I decided to give up ice cream. Yes, it's winter, but in case you've missed the news, it's unseasonably warm here in Florida--and quite frankly, I really, really like ice cream. Breyer's is my first choice, but I'll play with some Ben & Jerry's or Dove.

So, no ice cream until Easter. This will drive me a little crazy, but won't be the death of me. What will?

No meat on Friday.

I know, I completely forgot! I had actually ordered my breakfast, and was getting ready to enjoy a nice carb-free meal of country sausage and eggs when I had a table of regulars come in. I was in the middle of pouring their coffee, wondering what they'd have to do--as they're staunch Catholics--and it hit me. It's Friday.

Damn. No meat.

I'm not really Catholic. Meaning, if I feel the urge to go to church, I'll go to Mass, but I'm not an official member of the Catholic Church. Still, I do my best to observe the rites of Lent as much as possible. Which means--say it with me now--no meat on Friday.

This is a severe problem--because I'm supposed to be on a high protein, low carb diet. And if I can't eat meat, this is going to be a little difficult, to say the least.

Now, you may be wondering why I used the words "supposed to be". It's actually under doctor's orders. I was diagnosed with PCOS--polycystic ovarian syndrome. To make a long story short, my body is confused. My insulin levels are constantly screwy, even though I don't have diabetes or any of it's subsets. Since they're so screwy, my body pretty much just shunts the sugars of simple carbs into excess fat. The result--no periods (which is kind of great), excess weight gain, and infertility. I have a mild case, meaning the smallest dosage of progesterone tends to straighten things out, but it's still something that has to be dealt with. The simplest, non-medical intervention way? Stay away from simple carbs and focus on complex carbs and proteins.


Now are we seeing the problem?

So, Fridays are going to be interesting. I have to keep my carb usage to a minimum--meaning less than 50% of what the normal daily recomended allowance would be--and not starve to death. This may present some problems.

But--it's Lent. The season of sacrifice. I guess the only way to look at it is to say I'm making a super big sacrifice this year.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Random Thursday!--Almost Vacation Time!

I'm down to single digit days before vacation! I still need to buy my luggage, though. And I need Amazon to give me my money. Ok, that I don't really need until like the third of March, but I like to be prepared.

I'm still not entirely sure of everything I'm going to do while in New York. I'm definitely doing some of the usual tourist stuff--Empire State Building, Statue of Liberty, Museum of Natural History, the Met, Bronx Zoo....and then there are a ton and a half of museums downtown. I really don't think I'll get to even half of the things I want, but I'm damn well gonna try.

I'm not big on nightlife, but I'm going to hit up a few places. The owner of the business I work for told me I have to go to Don't Tell Mama. I want to check out The Stonewall Inn (for research purposes), and I'm always up to head down to a dive bar. I like dive bars. They're wonderfully unpretentious and usually have great--and cheap--drinks.

I'm also not big on shopping, but I'm going to have to do some. Hello, I'm in New York. If I didn't do some shopping of some variety I'd feel like I wasted a great opportunity. Besides, my sister's ten year anniversary and my friend's daughter's birthday are like the week after, so I can get them awesome gifts.

If I find a show I want to see--and I'm willing to pay the highway robbery prices for--I'm going to take in a show on Broadway. I'm nervous here, because everyone tells me to wait and buy tickets from the day-of booth in Times Square, but I'm such a planner, this is freaking me out. At the same time, since I really don't care what I see, this is definitely the best idea.

As of this post, I've got NINE DAYS. The excitement alone may kill me.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Tuesday Buildup--Excerpt Time!

Yeah, it's been a little while since we did a teaser for Harvest Moon Rising. Without further ado...

“Mr. and Mrs. Gravier.” The genteel looking older man, white doctor’s coat fluttering around his thin frame, extended a hand. “I’m Dr. Edwards. Thank you for coming in today.”
“Ms. Gravier. Mr. Sullivan.” Mike shook Edwards hand. “We’re divorced.”

Edwards blinked, the handshake slowing. “Well. This is different.”

“You can’t begin to imagine how.” I sank into the chair, dropped my bag on the floor. “Cari Gravier.”

“Ms. Gravier.” Apparently still stunned by Mike’s bombshell, Edwards straightened his tie, eased down into his own chair behind a massive desk. Light bounced off the shiny dome of his head, blinding me until he shifted in his seat. “I’ve had a chance to look over your file.”

“I’m sure it made for entertaining bedtime reading.” I’d given up after two pages. Not because I couldn’t understand, although there were words and phrases I’d had to feed into Google. It just made my stomach turn to read about one of the worst nights of my life, reduced to dry, medical jargon. “I looked you up. The testimonials on your site are quite impressive.”

“New Life Fertility works hard to help both couples and individuals in their reproductive needs.” Even though I’m sure the line was propaganda, Edwards delivered it with enough emotion to be convincing. “We understand how difficult the road to conception can be, and do our best to ease it.”

“Let’s cut to the chase, Doc.” Mike settled back in his chair, propped one booted ankle on his knee. “Can you help?”

“Don’t mind him, Dr. Edwards.” The look I slanted Mike’s direction was sharp enough to etch glass. “His bark is worse than his bite.”

“Uh, well.” Edwards shuffled some papers on his desk, opened a file. “I’ll be blunt, Ms. Gravier. Your uterus has severe scarring, very severe. I will tell you I’ve seen worse, but not by much.”

I nodded, swallowed once. Even Doc Morris and his outdated sonogram machine had been able to tell me that much. “But?”

“But, the scar tissue is limited to one area of the uterus.” Edwards pulled out a grainy photo, flipped it around, pointed at a spot. “This makes things difficult, but not impossible.”

“Makes what not impossible?” Mike straightened, his foot dropping to the floor. I reached out blindly, bore down when his fingers laced with mine.

Edwards blinked, looked from me to Mike and back again. “Why, conceiving, of course.”

“The doctors told me I’d never conceive. Period, point blank, end of the road.” My vision blurred and I closed my eyes, fought back tears before opening them. “What are you seeing that they didn’t?”

“Well, your miscarriage and the resulting scarring occurred five years ago, Ms. Gravier. Five years ago, we didn’t know a number of things we do now.” Edwards shuffled his papers around, tapped them together. “And like I said, conception isn’t impossible. Merely difficult. Although even that is something of an overstatement.”

“Overstatement? Doc, we’re from a small town in Georgia. Understatement we get, overstatement?” Mike laughed, the sound shaky, hoarse. His fingers trembled against mine. “Break this down, okay?”

“We can surgically remove enough of the scar tissue to ensure a better than average chance of a fetus reaching full term.” Edwards opened a drawer, withdrew a small brochure. “Nothing is one hundred percent certain, as I’m sure you can imagine, but there’s a very high success rate with surgeries like this.”

“Surgery.” I sagged back into the chair, sighed. “That may be a problem.”

“She’s allergic to anathesia. And pain killers. And pretty much anything you could give her to knock her out.” Mike dropped my hand, rubbed the nape of his neck.

“How allergic?” Edwards picked up a pen, scrawled something on the top sheet of paper.

“She could die.”

“If it’s too strong, or stays in my bloodstream for too long.” I wet my lips, dug my nails into my palm. “We’ve never tried a local.”

“Because it’s too dangerous.” Mike’s voice started to slide into a growl. He caught himself, cleared his throat. “Sorry, Doc. It’s good news, but not really.”

“How do we know it’s too dangerous if we’ve never tried?” I shot the question at Mike, turned my attention back to Edwards. “Can you do the surgery with a local?”

“I would have to check, to be honest with you. I’m sure there have been other patients with similar allergies, it’s just a matter of finding the case materials.” Edwards blinked at Mike’s snort. “Is there a problem, Mr. Sullivan?”

Before Mike could answer, his phone signaled an incoming text. Whatever he read on the screen made his face turn to stone. “Excuse me, Doc. We’ll have to discuss the rest of this at some other time. Cari, we have to go.”

“Mike - .”

Now, Cari.” Without waiting for a response, he stood, pulled me to my feet. “We’ll be in touch.”

I held my tongue down the hall, past the receptionist, until we were in the parking lot. “What’s the rush, Mike?”

He opened my door, booted me up into the passenger seat. “Selene, Georgia just became a big blip on the government’s radar.”

Monday, February 20, 2012

Media Monday--The REAL Review

So, I'm sitting here waiting for Two Broke Girls to start, and I've come to the conclusion that I'm going to have to get all of the previous season's for How I Met Your Mother. Because I've only been watching since this season started, and I'm already so invested in the characters, it's sick. You're not supposed to cry watching a sitcom, damnit, and HImyM has done it to me at least twice.

And.....we're starting.

Love the healthcare jokes--because they're so apropos. Although I'd suggest BlueCross's GoBlu, since it's cheap and relatively decent. Opening quote--"I already caught poverty, I don'tneed to catch the flu."

Ah, Jennifer Coolidge. I'm not sure if I'm in love with her characer, but she definitely fits into the neighborhood. And the idea of blind dates meeting in the restaurant is so real life. Not sure if I'm liking the way the oh so obvious gay date is going to go down, but I'm sure liking all the gay joke setups.

I will say I love the cook's obvious infatuation with Sophie--it's also the setup for a lot of good jokes. And look at Han--he's providing more healthcare than most of my bosses ever have. Love Max's constant "booyahs!" in the face of germs. I always say after working in the restaurant business for so long, the only thing that's really going to take me out of the game is cancer or a Mac Truck.

Beautiful depiction of an Orthdox Jewish neighborhood. For once, the "cliche" wasn't ridiculous and overblown, and rightly so given the religious undertones. Max and Caroline did get some good joke in, but nothing too racy or raunchy. Caroline always looks so surprised to be put in her place by real world people--I'm kind of hoping she doesn't grow out of it, because it provides a lot of ocmic relief. And it's nice to see Max taking th lead for once in the cupcake business.

And that was a beautiful ringing endorsement for masturbation--"Nobody does me better than me."

And wow--gangster Jews who throw down like they're hardcore pimps. This has to be one of the few times I've seen Max truly speechless. And poor Caroline, to be totally ignored no matter how hard she tries to fit in. All she wants is to be part of a family like she used to be, and Max, who couldn't care less, is the one being fawned over. I can't decide if I'm horrified or amused by the Holocaust joke references.

Ok, will say I love the Jewish breakdancing and the general annoyance of the kids. And "Ju-Tang Clan" was  pretty funny. And it was nice to see Max taking the high road, both by being honest and by keeping Caroline in check.

"We're not family until we have to testify against each other in a manslaughter trial."

Beautiful and poetic. And I'm out, folks! Catch you tomorrow!

Media Monday, Part One

Okay, guys--just a quick note to tell you that the real Media Monday post will be later tonight, immediately following 2 Broke Girls. That's right, I'm doing another running review, which should prove both interesting and scary. So come back a little after nine p.m. (EST, of course), to find out my opinion of Caroline and Max doing a Bar Mitzvah! Oy vey!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Food Friday!--Gumbo!

In honor of Mardi Gras (Tuesday!), I'm reposting my recipe for Gumbo. 'Nuff said.

Ok, to get super technical, it's more like Lumbo--that's to say it's Lois's version of Gumbo. The biggest differences you'll find between what I'm about to post and more traditional gumbo is a lack of celery and okra, and the inclusion of green beans and corn. Those are the vegetables I like and dislike. That's the beauty of gumbo--you can kind of adjust to suit your own personal tastes

Let's begin!

4-6 tomatoes on the vine
1 large white onion
1 large green pepper
1/2 pound fresh green beans, snapped
1 can white and yellow corn nibblets
1/2 pack Andouille Sausage (I know they sell a variety at Publix--you can go for the straight Andouille, or spice it up with one of the flavor varieties)
1/2 pound boneless, skinless chicken tenders
2 boxes chicken broth (I tend to use Swanson, but to each their own)
Garlic butter (Land o'Lakes sells it in a small tub--you'll use about half of it)
Cajun Seasoning (Tony Catchotoree is both common and good)

Dice the tomatoes as finely as possible--bascially, just don't have any large chunks. Throw them in a large boiler (really large) with about a tablespoon or so of the garlic butter and about a half cup of chicken broth (roughly a quarter of one box of broth). Cook on medium until tomatoes have essentially boiled down to juice.

While that's happening, slice and dice the green peppers and onions. (Hopefully you know to throw the seeds away--if not, you do know). Throw them in a sauce/saute pan with another tablespoon of the garlic butter and cook them until tender, usually about 5-10 minutes. When they're tender, simply dump them into the boiler with the tomatoes. Add the green beans and corn and the remaining broth in the open box, and start seasoning. This part's a little tricky--there's no definite amount you need to use, it's all up to you and your ability to handle spice. I usually start with about a quarter of the container (yes, that much) and work from there. Cover and let simmer.

In your handy-dandy pan, melt 3-4 tablespoons garlic butter. (I told you we'd be using a lot). Dice the chicken and andouille sausage and throw in the pan. Cook until done or until really, really done--I like my chicken blackened. For extra kick, add a good shake or two of cajun seasoning.When you've got the meat cooked to your satisfaction, dump it into the boiler. Cover and simmer.

If you've been keeping up with the food portion of this blog, you'll know how to make a roux. Again, the color of the roux will depend on your personal tastes--I tend to use a dark roux for a strong flavor. Once you have the roux, dump it into the boiler. Add the remaining broth, which at this point should be about half a box, and give a taste. If it's spicy enough, leave well enough alone. If not, keep adding spice until your tastebuds are singing. Turn the heat down to low and let simmer for an hour or so, until the flavor is in there pretty good.

Now, most people will serve gumbo over rice. I do about half the time; the other half I just eat as-is. Hey, there's a lot going on in that pot.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Tuesday AND Wednesday: History and Research

First, let me apologize for the delay in this post. I'd like to say I had some great reason but...really, I got home from work and fell asleep for like 3 hours. That tends to put a real kink in the schedule.

Second, because of the breadth and scope of the subject, this post is covering Tuesday and Wednesday, since as the title indicates, the topic for the two days is history and research and, quite frankly, you can't really separate the two.

It's mentioned briefly in New Moon Rising that Cari has Cherokee ancestry. Despite her mostly Anglo appearance, this really isn't that uncommon. I should know--I have not only Cherokee blood, but also Seminole and Blackfoot, and when my hair is blonde I look like "the Aryan poster child". (Yes, I was slightly offended when told that as well, but I get the point behind the statement.) There are a lot of family lines, especially in the Florida/Georgia area, that can lay claim to a Native American ancestor.

A good portion of Harvest Moon Rising involves Cari discovering and coming to grips with her Cherokee ancestry. While most of this will be in the realm of healing and mysticism, not addressing their history, especially their struggles in the 1800s, would do them a disservice.

Like most Native American tribes, the Cherokee suffered losses through disease, war and displacement by colonization. At the time of the beginning of the removal efforts, the Cherokee were actually making, for lack of a better term, a comeback. They were modernizing, adapting, and in general doing their best to make peace with white society.

In an effort to establish their position as a sovereign nation, in much the same way that states are recognized and accepted as sovereign nations, the Cherokee brought suit against the state of Georgia. The Supreme Court ruled that the Cherokee Nation was entitled to protection against state actions in 1832, reversing their previous decision that the Nation was not a sovereign nation, and thereby was not eligible for protection against state interference and actions. If you think this is confusing, well, keep in mind the three major cases in race relations--Dred Scott, Plessy v Ferguson, and Brown v Board of Education--were all decided within roughly a hundred years and cover a much broader range of opinion. The Supreme Court is notorious for changing their mind a hundred times.

Andrew Jackson's comments about Marshall enforcing his decision--oh, Andrew Jackson--are infamous, despite the fact that the actual removal of the Cherokee Nation was carried out not under Jackson but under his successor, Van Buren--who nobody really liked anyway. The Cherokee were forcibly removed from their homes in Georgia in 1838, being allowed to take little, if any, possessions. The resulting march to their new territory in Oklahoma saw the deaths of 4,000 people--almost a quarter of the population--and earned the moniker Trail of Tears.

How to incorporate this without going overly preachy in a fiction work is difficult. Also difficult is how to establish a viable history of Cherokee influence in the Georgia werewolf culture. How this is accomplished?


Research brought me to the information that a number of Irish settled into Georgia after their disembarkment in America. Further research brought to light the tendency of the Irish--and other Europeans such as the French, Spanish, etc--to marry Native Americans. Given this, and the prevalence of werewolf type myths and legends in both cultures, the possibility of settlements or enclaves being developed specifically to hide this intermarried group is not only highly possible but highly probable.

In short--history does not detract from fiction--but lends credence to the idea of it.

Yeah--I love me some history.

Next week, we'll go back to two separate posts and Thursday we'll have some randomness. Until then....

Monday, February 13, 2012

Media Monday--A Mini-Rant on OnDemand Episodes

My original plan was to talk about the series premiere of The River, since it was creepy as hell and gave me the shivers in the worst way possible. But recent events have changed my mind and have filled me with...not quite a rage, but definitely a high level of annoyance.

One of the things I loved about 2 Broke Girls--aside from the obvious humor and snark--was that the episodes were offered online for free. Let's face it--sometimes you just can't make it to the couch or easy chair at the appointed time. And I'm going to go out on a limb and say I'm not the only person in the world who doesn't have DVR. So really, knowing that I could catch up on any episodes I might have missed without resorting to shady, possibly illegal sites was awesome.

Now imagine my shock when, after missing the latest episode, I go to watch it online. And that little feature, that jewel of CBS thinking, no longer existed.

Yes. I was serverely annoyed.

And then I thought--"Wait a minute. Maybe it's no longer online because it's OnDemand." This is even better. So I go and check.

Nope. Not there either.

Now--now I'm REALLY annoyed.

Is it because of the immense popularity of the show? Did winning an award for Best New Comedy go to CBS's head? Are they themselves annoyed with the words of recent critics, and have decided to take it out on the viewers? Or are they just cheap m-f-uckers and couldn't spend a few extra dollars on maintaining a feature that no doubt helped drive viewers to their show?

Whatever the reason--ITS' BULLSHIT.

Yeah. I said it. IT'S BULLSHIT.

Ok, rant over. On another note, I'm discontinuing Sexy Sunday, for two reasons. One, I really don't feel like censoring the site for underage/inappropriate material. And while I don't think sex is inappropriate, I never want some kid to accidently wander in and be scarred for life. For two--I just don't feel very sexy after working all day on Sunday.

Alright--tomorrow, we're going to have a mini-history lesson on the Cherokee Indians and their prescence in the state of Georgia. Trust me, this is all vital to Harvest Moon Rising. Catch you on the flip-side.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Food Friday--Making Sacrifices

So. Lent is coming up. Not right away, but it's pretty darn close--February 22 to be exact. I'm not Catholic by any means (I was actually raised Pentecostal, but that's a story for a different time), but there's something about the practice of sacrificing that makes the enjoyment so much sweeter.

The first time I observed Lent, I gave up chocolate. Simple in theory. I forgot one important thing--Reese's Peanut Butter Cups have chocolate. All I craved for seven weeks was a damn Reese's Peanut Butter Cup. When Easter rolled around, I had one. Just one. And it was amazing.

The second year I gave up beef. So of course all I wanted was a burger. Third year it was pork. Do you know how hard it is to work in a breakfast place, surrounded by bacon, and not have any? Let me tell you, Easter morning I had bacon and eggs and then I had a ham for Easter dinner. I may have gone overboard there, but I really missed my pork.

Last year, I gave up all sweets. All of them. Cake, cookies, candy, pie, etc, which normally would not be a huge deal. I'm not really supposed to have them anyway, so I figured this would help get me in the habit. So, of course, this would be when my most favorite pie of all is brought back into circulation at work. I almost thought I wouldn't make it, but I did, and let me tell you that piece of pie was like manna from heaven.

This year, thanks to my vacation, I'm having a bit of a problem deciding what to give up. Since I'll be in New York with all those authentic food options, I don't want to give anything like pasta or potatoes up. Same deal with sweets. I thought about doing beef again, since it's been a few years, but again, it's New York--I'll probably want a burger at some point.

Someone suggested giving up alcohol. I told them to shut their dirty mouth. There are limits, especially when a vacation is involved.

So I'm back at square one. I've got a little less than two weeks to get this figured out. Tell me--what are YOU giving up for Lent?

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Random Thursday!

Only 22 days until New York City! My excitement knows no bounds, clearly.

Also on the list of random things today:

I have new shoes! I had to order them on-line, because no place in my damn city had black walking boots in my size. But they're here now and they are awesome.

I think I've gotten the writing goose/spirit back. This is good not just for me but for you guys, too. All things being equal, the next Cari book will be out in mid-April.

I've totally got to catch up on my TV watching. I'm behind on The Good Wife, Revenge, Luck, and I missed the premiere of The River.

Winter may have finally arrived in Florida. Which for us, means it's down to like 45 degrees during the day. Yes, we have it so hard.

Okay, guys. Got to check a few things on other things, then it's off to work. But first, I leave you with this, in honor of some really important game that happened this week. Or so I heard.....

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Writing Wednesday--Too Many Ideas, Not Enough Time

It seems like a writer would love to have an overabundence of ideas. I'm sure for some, the thought of the well running dry is enough to send them into therapy or the nearest bar.

I am currently at the point where I wish I had fewer ideas.

Don't get me wrong, I love writing about Jude and Cari and Frankie. I love the entire super secret project I have going on, for a variety of reasons. I even love writing these blogs--honest. I feel guilty when I don't have enough time to post, especially since I've gotten into the habit of doing so.

But I wish my brain would turn off a little. Just a little.

Case in point? About two, three weeks ago, I'm lying in bed trying to sleep. Since I'm a nutcase, I've imagined myself into a book series I love--not as a main character, just a nice recurring supporting character. And at some point in the imaginary scene playing in my head, I say to...hell, I don't even remember who, "How much did it cost?" The person I'm talking to, naturally, is confused. So I clarify with, "How much did it cost for them to buy you?"

From those two sentences, I had the entire idea for a movie. A movie. I have no idea how to write a screenplay. None. But what I envisioned, what came to me, was not for a novel. It's something that has to be seen, that deserves to be realized on a larger scale.

If I was smart, I would just file it away, come back to it in a few years. So of course, I don't do that. I hook up with a fellow employee who went to film school for a bit and took a screenwriting class. We're working on it in stages, and it's slow going, but I've got tricks and connections up my sleeve.

Why didn't I turn away? Because it struck me and grabbed hold with the same ferocity of any of my other projects. Jude, Cari, Frankie--they all came almost like a lightening strike. The super secret project was slower, but so much more intense, like a summer storm on the flatlands, the kind that can ruin crops and lives with little effort.

If there's one thing I've learned--don't ignore the lightening strike.

So I'll take the overabundence of ideas. The lack of time to play with them. I'll take it all, because I feel like turning away from them is turning away from something amazing.

And quite frankly, I can't afford therapy.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The Tuesday Buildup--How the Moon Rose

Yeah, that's a totally corny title, so of course I had to use it. Whatevs, people, whatevs.

I've pretty sure I've mentioned in passing how New Moon Rising came to be--basically, I was blocked in the middle of writing Shades of Desire, and started writing randomly to do what I could to break through the wall. What came out of that was the first chapter of NMR. Obviously, at that time there wasn't a whole lot going on except for getting some thoughts down on paper. Later, I had to actually think about where I was going with this idea.

The first thing I dealt with was where exactly everything was going to take place. As much as I love New Orleans, I didn't want to make the mistake a lot of authors have and limit myself to just one locale. And for some reason, I've always felt like werewolves would just naturally move toward a rural environment. I mean, come on--once a month, these are individuals that become animalistic, individuals who give in to a more primal nature. That just doesn't seem like it would be conducive to city/urban living.

So, I had to think of where to put an entire town of werewolves. Being only an hour from the Florida/Georgia stateline, Georgia seemed a natural pick. It's full of rural, low population counties, with plenty of room to roam. And, there's the added bonus of being able to drive less than an hour and do some recon work.

Next, there was the issue of Cari herself. I had a rough idea of her from the first chapter, but I needed more details. She's not like Jude--Jude, as much as I love her, has kind of brought most of her problems on herself, at least the ones not involving crazy psychotic killers. Don't get me wrong, that's who she is, but it's the truth. Cari's problems are... much more real to life. She believes her husband cheated on her, she has people in her hometown who despise her, people who love her--she suffers the sort of medical nightmare that every woman fears. Cari is much, much more normal than Jude, which also makes her more relatable.

Now, the plot. Some people may say the plot is the dreaded Mary Sue/spepshual snowflake plot. I politely invite them to kiss my ass. Yes, Cari is "special", only in the sense that she's an unattached healer. She's not the only healer, she's not even the best healer. The antagonists want her for that reason alone--she's unattached. Doesn't make her special--Cari might even say that makes her unlucky. She loses her parents, she gets thrust into a world she has no clue about, her entire life gets turned upside down. Yeah, I'd say she's unlucky.

So in the end, New Moon Rising became the story of a woman living her life, trying to deal with the past--only to have everything in that past, whether of her own doing or not, come back to haunt her. What she does with it and how she handles the changes are what makes the story hers.

Ok, guys--tomorrow I'll be talking about...I'm not sure by any means, but I'll figure it out. Catch you on the flip side!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Media Monday--Review of One for the Money

Let's hear it for Monday! Strange sentence, perhaps, but I'm finally back to normal work hours, there's a new episode of 2 Broke Girls on NBC tonight, and I just saw The Hunger Games trailer. Every time I see it, I get goosebumpy and beyond excited for the movie. March is going to be awesome, let me tell you.

Anyway--on to the review.

I'm going to get straight to the point here: One for the Money is NOT the crazy mess critics have made it out to be. I'm not quite sure what they expected from a series where the main character is always having her car blown up, her apartment broken into, and is best friends with a stripper with a heart of...hell, let's say cubic zirconia. Were they expecting, I don't know, the cure for cancer? Actually, I don't get that about critics in general, but let's not start chasing rabbits here, shall we?

If you're a fan of the series, you know the basic premise behind the movie, which is, for obvious reasons, based off the first book in the series (funny, right? Yes, I was shocked to find that out as well). Stephanie Plum, played by Katherine Heigl, has lost her job, is in the process of losing her car, and is on the verge of losing her apartment--basically, her life is sucking big time, something I think we call relate to. With desperate times calling for desperate circumstances, Stephanie begs her sleaze-ball uncle for a job skip tracing, with her eye on the big-fish price of potentially bad cop Joe Morelli. Oh, did I forget to mention Joe and Stephanie have a history, and there's a psycho, woman hating rapist/boxer involved?

Ok, I think those are the high points of the book/movie plot summary. Like I said, if you know about the series, you know what to expect. What you want to know about is how it plays out on film.

And I'll say: It plays out pretty damn well, all things considered.

Let's face it, book to movie adaptions are never going to play perfectly. Things get cut for pacing, characters get squished together, settings get changed--the people who read books are rarely the people who watch movies, and the people who watch movies usually have too short of an attention span for the loving attention to detail that book readers do. The one exception I can think of off the top of my head is the Harry Potter series, and even those had a number of things cut /squished/changed, for the reasons mentioned above.

Back to OftM--Heigl, strange Jersey accent notwithstanding, sells the part of the girly-girl turned bounty hunter. There's a subtle transition from suits and heels to jeans and leather and shoes you can run in. The unruly hair that so many fans were worried about, while not grotesque, was definitely on the more unattractive side. For some reason, I've always pictured her in my head as shorter, probably because of the constant comments she makes about weight, but it wasn't a movie killer for me.

Grandma Mazur was in full effect, although more glamorous batty than straight up batty. I couldn't quite see this Grandma Mazur knocking over caskets in funeral homes. Same deal with Mrs. Plum--she didn't seem quite so long suffering, at least not in the way I pictured. Mr. Plum, like the books, was vague and unrealized, but not in a bad way.

Not vague and unrealized? Morelli and Ranger. I will agree with critics and say the heat between Ranger and Stephanie was much more potent and real than the chemistry between Steph and Joe. I don't know if this is because of bad casting (sorry, Jason O'Mara--still love you though) or if because the principle people involved read further into the series and some of the Steph/Ranger heat leaked over. Either way, I thnk both men did a fabulous job.

I could go on and on and on but I think I've made my point. If you're a fan of the books, you'll enjoy the movie. If you're not, there's still a very good chance you'll like the movie. In a film world that's been heavy on horror and absolute ridiculousness, One for the Money is a nice, lighthearted change of pace.

Tomorrow: the Tuesday Buildup is in full effect, with a little of the motive and inspiration behind Cari Gravier and the Moon Rising series. Catch you all then!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Random Thursday!--Plotting EVERYTHING

I'm a planner. It's what I do. I plan for trips, for the day, for my evening out. Hell, I've planned for the zombie apocolypse. You would think this makes plotting almost second nature.

You would think. You would also be wrong.

I've tried plotting. Really, I have. I've created entire documents, like 5 or 6 page documents, with breakdowns of what's going to happen in each chapter. I've even included dialogue sometimes, just so I wouldn't forget those little flashes of inspiration.

For some reason, those books are always the hardest ones to write.

Don't get me wrong, I always hit a wall when writing. Always. I've discovered the earlier the wall, the easier the rest of the writing process. For instance, with Taken, I hit the wall around chapter eighteen or so. I took a few weeks off, dealt with stuff, and after that it was pretty smooth sailing. Whenever I get back to Shades of Blood, which will be the project after Harvest Moon Rising, I shouldn't have any issues--I hit the wall, I know where I'm going, and now I'm ready to burrow/climb under/over it.

But plotting? Actually writing stuff down? It kind of makes the wall even harder to climb.

I've talked about this, and one of the theories is that because I already know where the book is going, I have no desire to write it. Like, if you know how the movie is going to end, do you still watch the movie? Well, depending on my investment in the movie, yes. There have been times I've Googled a movie, not like the ending, and said "Screw this", and cu it off. But that's rare. And since it could be argued that I'm naturally invested (after all, I'm writing the damn thing), then that theory doesn't have a lot of weight.

I have no good answer for not following the plotting process. The only answer I have is: it doesn't work for me.

So maybe I do have a good answer after all.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Writing Wednesday--Getting Back on Track

Wednesday! By the end of the evening, I'll be in a lovely, vodka induced haze. Not stupor, just haze. Before then, there will be work (again), maybe some shopping, definitely a movie. And I'm going to do my best to squeeze in wome writing.

There's something about working 7 shifts a week that makes me disinclined to write. It's like all my energy goes into just getting through the week, that by the time I have time to write--meaning from Thursday to Sunday--I'm so busy playing catch up with life in general that I can't find the energy and drive to work. Does this suck? Yes. Does it piss me off? Yep. Do I feel like a total slacker? Bet your ass.

Can I do anything about it? Not at the moment.

I'm nearing the end of my lawyer-like schedule, and I can feel some of my energy returning. Not a lot, but some. I can sit down and write about 500 words or so without wanting to fall into a coma from lack of sleep. I can kick myself in the ass a little bit harder and not feel like I'm overextending myself.

In other words, I'm getting back on track.

Thank God. Because I was totally about to blow my timeline for the year. And that would have pissed me off more than the lack of sleep.