Tuesday, May 24, 2005
www.writemindedblog.com
If you read the title, you'll know where to find us now. Yep, we're moving. We considered the domain bloggersucks.com but we decided to play nice *g*

So anyway, here is the link. We're officially moved. Please come visit us so we don't get lonely. We're leaving everything as it is here for now until everyone gets used to our new home and knows how to find us.

www.writemindedblog.com




Please pretty please update your address to the one listed above and we'll see you there :)




Monday, May 23, 2005
In the swim
Summer's almost here. Yay! Except for the places that never see cold weather, swimming pools will open soon. So will the public beaches along the rivers, lakes and of course our coasts.

A few days ago I overheard a woman dishing swimming pools because they're overcrowded, reek of chlorine and the fact someone always takes a whiz in the water. For those reasons, she much preferred going to the beach because it's cleaner.


Cleaner? No way! Besides for a workout, I prefer a pool, though the overcrowded ones blow doing laps to hell and the chemicals often burn my eyes.

Now I love beaches, whether I'm strolling along the shore, soaking up some sun, or playing in the water. But God only knows how many sea critters and land loafers take a dump in the water, not to mention the commercial waste flushed. I've had seaweed wrapped around my ankles, which is a major ewww to me. I've had my shins dinged with seashells. I've cut my feet on junk semi-buried in the sand.

But in my neck of the woods, the beach is on a large lake. They are a whole different world than coastal beaches. They're small and crowded. The water ranges from murky to muddy. Fishes nibble your butt. And I've caught a glimpse of a snake swimming nearby me, which freaks me out.

I'm not a spider and snake gal, lol. I want to see what is swimming alongside me. So I'll stick with the pool and limit my beach lazing to the rare jaunts to the coast. ~~Jan

Boobphobia
My apologies in advance for such a deep topic. You see I'm contemplating the issues that truly* matter. And my mind is a truly dangerous thing and I've been mulling. Why are Americans so boobphobic? I don't get it.

And women more than men have a cat when they see a BOOB whether it be in public or on television. Hello? Honey? Have you ever looked down? Never seen a boob before?

Men flop around shirtless with more upfront baggage than many women I've seen, but it's perfectly acceptable. And in case you're wondering, I'm not lobbying for women to go topless. I'm merely curious over the public hue and cry over the BOOB factor.

Have a woman breastfeed in public and you'd think she bludgeoned her child with a stick so great is the shock and dismay. You could hear the thumps in living rooms across America during the Super Bowl halftime when viewers got a glimpse of Janet Jackson's freaking nipple rings. Yawn.

I can remember when I was pregnant with my third child hearing of a woman breastfeeding her infant in either McDonalds or Burger King (I don't remember which) but apparently the manager suggested she might be more comfortable feeding her child in the BATHROOM. My reaction? WTF?? Would he suggest feeding the kid a Happy Meal in the toilet? Did he expect the woman to sit on the pot while breastfeeding? Hell, I wouldn't even piss in some of these bathrooms and he was suggesting a woman feed her baby there.

What I want to know are actual statistics on what happens when someone sees a BOOB. Does a child grow up to be a porn-addicted crackpot if they see a BOOB? Does a man become a serial rapist? What does seeing a BOOB do to the psyche? It's a piece of flesh, in some cases a not very attractive piece of flesh and in other cases a very expensive piece of flesh/silicon. And yet this piece of flesh wields the power to cause shock and dismay, fainting spells, cries of outrage and disgust.

No, I'd prefer not to go around viewing other women's boobs, but it's not going to scar me for life if I see one. And I don't think it's going to turn my children into perverts, serial killers or rapists if THEY see one.

But then overreaction seems to be a fad in this country.


*the author apologizes for the overuse of sarcasm in this post. It would seem it is dripping from her today. But at least she has her boobs to catch what falls from her mouth. And she won't even subject you to an image.

Sunday, May 22, 2005
Revisions
I have a lot of work to do.

I'm not complaining. I got my revision letter for THE HUNT and my editor asked a lot of questions. There's a lot she loves about the book. There's a lot that needs rewriting. Not that the writing itself is bad, just that she want's more of some stuff and less of other stuff . . . like, more in my villain's POV, more backstory of the history between my hero/heroine, more investigative detail. And less sub-plots. LOL. I did go a little overboard there!

I'm excited about it, though. There's a lot of good stuff, and a lot of stuff that is just unnecessary. But I see the potential and know I can make it better.

Anyway, I read the three page letter (don't be deceived by the length; there's a lot of stuff in there!) twice and started the revisions last night on the hardcopy my editor returned which also has comments written on it. I went through chapter one which, admittedly, has hardly any changes. But I still tweaked it.

I don't think I can make a pass at any of my books and not tweak them. Ever. Even then it's done and out, I can always find something to tweak. I've read that many published authors don't read their books one they're in print for fear they'll see mistakes they didn't catch, or something they wish they'd changed.. I don't know what I'll so. I don't know how I WON'T be able to read it.

My goal is to finish the revisions in four weeks. I'm actually excited about it.

AND, the news of the week . . . it looks like I'm going to be getting my covers this week!!! I can hardly wait. My editor described them over the phone and they sound fabulous. I'll post a link when I get them.

Oh, and I found my books listed on the Random House website, and I'm kind of giddy about it.

Not a very interesting blog today, but I'm subsiding on minimal sleep (three sick kids) and everyone is clamoring for my attention right now. So I'm off . . .
Friday, May 20, 2005
Mother Knows Best...For Now
Is it wrong for a parent to brainwash her children? I mean, we all do it to some extent without even meaning to, right?

I know my parents brainwashed me early on to be suspicious of all marketing messages (they're out to get you!), to believe my hair just wasn't capable of growing long, and to think all chiropractors are quacks.

Funny thing, I grew out of all of these. I majored in advertising (now I'm out to get everyone else!) I grew my hair halfway down my back in college (whether it looked good on me or not--my hair was going to be long, dammit!) I now trust my chiropractor more than I trust most of the MDs out there (and have paid for approximately one wing of my chiropractor's house with all my business.)

So I guess brainwashing's not all it's cracked up to be. Which brings me to my own attempt, inadvertent though it may be.

You see, I've convinced my children, ages 3 and 5, that I'm the best driver on the roads, and anyone who I get annoyed at (and believe me, there are plenty) is less than competent. I don't think there's anything more rewarding than to be driving along, get ticked off at some idiot driver, try to hold my tongue for the sake of the young 'uns in the back seat, and have one of said young 'uns spout off with, "That person doesn't know how to drive!!!"

God love 'em.

I've got them snookered for now. I just enjoy it while it lasts, since I know one of these days I'm going to wake up and suddenly be the dumbest, most embarrassing mom alive.
Thursday, May 19, 2005
Mama told me--
My mom always told us to wear our good clean underwear whenever we left the house. I figured it was so I wouldn't look like a street urchin when I stripped in gym class or was in an accident. Either she was in the minority (which I doubt) or some girls in high school either didn't have nice undies (a possibility) or didn't give a shit that their panties and bras were holey, dirty or both (also a strong possiblity).

At any rate the lesson stuck. I still don nice underwear when I leave the house, though sometimes I bitch to myself that I'm only running out to the store or bank and will be back in a flash. Nobody will see that my undies have holes in them. Maybe yes, maybe no.

A news bulletin the other day hammered home the fact that what hugs your skin could be bared for all the world to see.

During a bank heist, the armed robbers ordered everyone in the bank to strip to their underwear. Not only would this be terrifying, it'd be mortifying for a good many people--me included. I mean, here you are amid a bunch of strangers with guns aimed at you. Men and women wearing a variety of underwear from subdued to sexy, clean to soiled, new to tattered.

Then the cops arrive and the standoff begins. Then the news media swarms in. And suddenly there you are on TV in old boxers with tobacca stains on the butt, holey panties, or a frayed bra with a safety pin securing one strap.

Yep, do as mom says. Wear your good clean underwear when you leave the house. Ya just never know. ~~Jan

Book Report
Earlier this year, I was in the throes of a full blown book slump. Nothing I picked up seemed interesting. I didn't read much as a result. I decided to go in search of new-to-me authors and hopefully pick up a few new favorites to add to my list.

I posted about ordering a bazillion in my own blog, and was asked to report back. I never did. Until now.

This is what I bought.

  1. Kinley MacGregor-Taming the Scotsman
  2. Kinley MacGregor-Born in Sin
  3. Kinley MacGregor-Claiming the Highlander
  4. Julia London-Highlander in Disguise
  5. Kasey Michaels-Be My Baby Tonight
  6. Emma Holly-Personal Assets
  7. Emma Holly-Strange Attractions
  8. Patricia Potter-Cold Target
  9. Gayle Callen-A Woman's Innocence
  10. Liz Carlyle-The Devil to Pay
  11. Liz Carlyle-Beauty Like the Night
  12. Liz Carlyle-The Devil You Know
  13. Liz Carlyle-A Woman of Virtue
  14. Susan Sizemore-I Hunger For You
  15. Patricia Grasso- Seducing the Prince
  16. ??-To (something) a Wolf

I also received courtesy of Alison Kent an ARC of her new release "Larger than Life," and from Jill Shalvis her new release "Seeing Red."

As I was making this list, I was surprised to see how many bombed out for me. I had thought I liked more of them. The sad truth is, most of them fell flatter than a pancake.

I LOVED Kinley MacGregor's historicals. It took me so long to try them because I was not so fond of her contemporary Dark Hunter series. I'll be buying more of her historicals. Great characters.

Julia London's "Highlander in Disguise." Ugh. Ok to be fair, it wasn't HORRID, but it was not great. Or even good. We'll call it fair to middlin' as my dad would say.

The Kasey Michaels book I bought because of a comment Allison left (at RTB I think) She mentioned it was a best friends theme, got married, heroine pregnant. I perked up. I like those themes. Oi! I'm going to bill Allison for this purchase. My reaction? WTF? Really, that's all I can say. I spent the entire book either arching a brow or crooking my lip in incredulity.

The two by Emma Holly. I bought these based on the buzz I'd heard over her books. Maybe I expected too much. Such as it is when books are hyped. They weren't terrible, but I didn't see the wonderful character development I've heard touted in so many places. In fact, I could have cared less about them as people. The author didn't make me care. It was ho hum for me.

Patricia Potter's book. I haven't read it yet. Can't make myself for some reason. Not sure why.

Gayle Callen's "A Woman's Innocence." Truly dreadful. For a full report, I'll merely direct you here since this is the book I was referring to when I talked about "the promise of a juicy premise."

Liz Carlyle. Well I've only read one of the four so far. I don't even remember which one it was. It wasn't terrible, but it wasn't that interesting. The heroine was beyond bizarre, and there was something, not sure what, that I did not like about the author's writing style. It felt heavy, a bit like trying to swim in a swimming pool full of syrup. Which is why I've been reluctant to read the other three.

Susan Sizemore's "I Hunger For You." Ok I lied the other day in my blog when I said I pretty much always finished a book I hated. At the time I was remarking that I had put down a book after about 15 pages and that it was a rarity. Ok it is a rarity, but I made it sound like a one time deal. I had forgotten that I had also done it with this book after the first chapter.

Patricia Grasso's "Seducing the Prince." Now if you want an over the top, utterly ridiculous read, this is the book for you. The heroine spent the entire book making absurd threats against other people. Her response every time someone pissed her off? I'll kill you. Seriously! Even when it becomes obvious that someone is killing off all the people she threatens, does that curb her tongue? Noooo, she keeps making absurd threats. At that point I would have had more respect for her if she HAD killed one of them. The first time was fine. By the umpteenth time she did it, it was theatrical and ridiculous.

This book reminded me of a contemporary soap opera stuffed into an historical backdrop. Nothing about the book told me it was an early 1800s set novel. And believe me, folks, if IM commenting on the lack of period feel then you can bet it's perfectly dreadful. I'm the most non anal, forgiving person when it comes to historical "feel." This book? Dreadful, just dreadful. I don't think I have enough adjectives. Oh and let's not forget the black moment. This was rather hysterical in its self. It was obvious there was no real dark moment so the author had to manufactor one on the fly. So we end up with the heroine being arrested and tried for the murders of all the people she had publicly threatened (yes, I told you she was a brilliant specimen) and we have the hero refusing to lie and give her an alibi. "I cannot tell a lie." Maybe he was a distant relative of George Washington? So the heroine gets pissed and we have the "Separation." Bah!

The last one is the one I was referring to in my blog the other day about not being able to get beyond the first 15 or so pages. I don't even remember the author and most of the title. It was "To..(something) a Wolf." I can't find the book now, probably because I tossed it across the room in disgust. It's probably collecting dust under the sofa. I'm glad it'll serve SOME purpose.

The two ARCs I received were fun, and both authors have an extensive backlist, so wading through it should be fun. Jill Shalvis wrote a really, really terrific hero in "Seeing Red." He was so very real. Female authors just don't get such an authentic male POV that often. And Jill nailed it. I wanted to sop her hero up with a biscuit *g* Her heroine I was less enthusiastic about. In the beginning I loved her more just because I felt she was so different from so many other heroines. And to give her credit, she IS different. Think role reversal, or gender reversal if you will. Actions, thoughts, etc usually written in heroes, Jill gives to her heroine, so that was refreshing. But by the end of the book, I just wanted to tell her to get over it already. Even the heroine couldn't figure out why she continued to hold back from the hero.

Alison Kent's "Larger Than Life" was a different read for me. I've been mulling this book over for a week now, so the fact that I'm still thinking about it is good. I think it was because she made me care more about the secondary characters than she did the main characters. I was more into their story than of Neva and Mick. But the best compliment I guess I can pay, is that if you want something different, something that isn't done over and over ad nauseum in the romance writing world, you should check this book out. I don't remember ever reading another romance like it.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005
Internal Goals
Yesterday I spoke with my editor about THE HUNT. Her suggestions are right on the money, just like they were with THE CHASE. I'll be getting the manuscript with her revision letter tomorrow . . . which means I have to finish THE KILL tonight. That was my personal goal, and if I have to stay up all night to do it, so help me . . . I will. It's a rough draft anyway. I know how it's going to end. I just have to buckle down and write the last few pages.

Last night I got 18 pages done. Tonight I need to wrap up the ending--I'm a little stuck on a minor point--and focus on some filler scenes that I skipped. About 20 pages. I think. But if I could write 18 last night, I can write 20 tonight. Or 25. Whatever it takes.

It's important to me to finish THE KILL so I can focus all my energy into revising THE HUNT without having another story fighting for attention in the back of my mind. But more important, it's an internal goal. No one will care if I finish THE KILL right now. It's not due on my editor's desk for months. But I care.

When I first started writing--and this is true for any unpublished, uncontracted author--only one person in the world cares whether you finish writing your book. You. No one else. Maybe your husband or your mother or your children play lip service and encourage you, but in all honesty, it doesn't matter to them (they care because it matters to you.) That's why it's so easy to procrastinate, to postpone, to put aside. No one cares if you meet your goal of five pages a night or finishing the book by summer or writing a book at all. No one cares but you.

It took me years to get to the point where I cared enough to buckle down and finish writing a book. Before, it was simply fun to write. I didn't have to finish the books, it was the ideas that appealed to me and I started dozens and dozens of books. It wasn't until I made a personal commitment to myself that I actually finished one of them. HOT LATTE will always have a soft spot in my heart because it was the first book where I typed THE END, even though it was superficial with a gazillion sub plots and will never be published.

Still, it wasn't a waste. Why? Because the hero in HOT LATTE became the hero in THE KILL. A different first name (Mark became Zack), a different backstory, but he's still a cop in Seattle who dates a lot of women but doesn't want to commit; who believes in justice and truth; who has a quick temper and foul mouth, but is the one man you'd want on your side when the chips are down because he is loyal and honest. And he's hot.

If I allow myself to slack, to talk myself into believing it doesn't really matter if I finish the first draft of THE KILL because it's not really due, then I will fall back into my old habits of not living up to my internal goals. No one else will care if I finish THE KILL tonight.

No one but me.
Tuesday, May 17, 2005
Unidentifiable Food Objects
My turn to blog, I'm late, not even sure this will post right since my computer (or blogger) is acting up, but here goes anyway.

So the last few days have been...interesting to say the least. I found out Friday that I'm allergic to food. Okay, not quite all of it, but believe me, my world has been rocked. No more dairy, eggs, wheat/gluten, turkey or...ready for this? Garlic. I'm allergic to garlic. Color me annoyed.

I'd already taken processed sugar and white flour out of my diet, and I'd suspected the gluten problem so I've researched a lot about taking it out. Anyway, we headed out to the grocery store (which has a health food section) and a separate health food store on Saturday to stock up on alternatives. Let's just say this, we're going to have to take out a bank loan to pay for healthy food.

I'm now the proud owner of a...box, I guess you'd call it, of tofu. I'm really struggling with that fact as I've always sworn I would never ever ever in a million years eat tofu. (I'm still not eating it plain...it's used as a replacement for eggs in baking recipes.)

I could go on but the last thing I'll mention regarding food is that A) in order to have a good variety of stuff I can eat, I have to bake/cook a lot of it myself and B) I can't stand baking/cooking. Since Friday I've baked a loaf of pumpernickel bread (awesome), some chocolate chip cookies (eh, maybe a 3 on a scale of 10) and some muffins. All gluten-free. And I'm baked out. (No half-baked comments, please. ;))

I have no idea what I'll do when I travel or go to National. But if you see a chick lugging around an extra suitcase full of unidentifiable food, it's probably me. If you don't make any cracks about the tofu, I might even share. :)