Friday, August 20, 2010

Boo Mercury...

Yep, we've hit another retrograde. The 3rd this year, with one more to go in December- rare to have more than 3 a year, or so I've read.

And so it begins...a time of backwardness, forgetfulness. Being clumsy, having issues with technology and communication.

Redo, reuse, rework, readjust- anything that means doing something over- Not all of that is a bad thing I guess- "redecorate" is a really good thing usually. ;o) And I've been thinking a lot about getting paint to do the living room or the kitchen, or my daughter's bedroom.

I've been watching for signs of it since the beginning of this month because usually the effects begin a few weeks before the retrograde actually begins and can last a few weeks past until things get back on a normal path. There have been plenty of things I've noticed around me in regard to the retro.

I broke a chair, set the spare bedroom back up for my friends to visit. My daughter ran her knee into the corner of the coffee table last night. We had a brakelight go out. A lady in front of us at Wal-mart nearly walked out without one of her bags and the cashier had to chase her down to give it to her. A register over, a woman almost walked out with her deposit bag for whatever business she runs.

I've had a "crick" in my neck off and on for a week now and the cashier we had even said she'd had a pinch and could barely turn her head from side to side. I've recently misplaced an old yearbook. I JUST had it but now it's nowhere to be found. I've revisited the same spots and places I "feel" like I've left it or placed it and it's just *poof*- disappeared.

I haven't started any new projects or I'd find myself redoing them, too, so it's a good thing I was planning to work on REvisions. ;o)

Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Oh, The Tangled Webs We Weave...

Recently I got the chance to read Tangled Memories by a fellow Kentucky Romance Writer Jan Scarbrough.

I had been eager to read this story for quite some time and found myself devouring it in the span of 2 days. I started it on Monday and finished it last night just before I went to bed- with tears in my eyes.

I'm not usually one to read books in electronic format, but I toted my laptop back and forth from the living room to the kitchen while I fixed supper and help my daughter with homework. In fact, at one point my 7 year-old looks up at me because she'd heard a sniffle from my direction and she jumped up to hug me, asking why I was crying. Not exactly something you can explain to a 7 year-old, but I was enjoying the story so much I sort of lost track of where I was.

Now, I don't normally do reviews, so much as recommendations, but this story was definitely worth the wait and I wanted to share. Set in modern time, it's a marriage of convenience tale, but with a twist.

Fate. Karma. Kismet. Call it what you want, but in the end, it's about two souls combined...that's why they are soul mates.

Tangled Memories find Mary Adams reluctantly wed to Dr. Alexander Dominican under the pretense of killing two birds with one stone. The tragic death of Mary's husband has left her deeply in debt thanks to his gambling addiction. Alex needs a mother for his infant daughter, who's own mother died shortly after childbirth from cancer.

Alex's proposal of marriage, nothing more than a business deal, seems the perfect answer to both their problems. Alex is content in the knowledge he's given his child a mother, and in some respects, the mother he never had, all the while Mary has been given a second chance at being a mother herself, after having a miscarriage in her youth that prevented her from having children of her own. It's a void she has felt in the years since.

Nothing could have prepared Mary for the firestorm of vivid dreams and visions she would be subjected to upon marrying Alex. The sudden uncharacteristic attraction to him leaves her weak-kneed, yet lonely for a husband who truly loves and desires her. Her fears and anxiety bubble to the surface in her new home, a gothic medieval museum to the past, made to seem even more so with the looming suits of armor, the dark rich tapestries, the hateful housekeeper, the mute servant Rufus and an invalid father tucked away in the shadows. It couldn't get anymore gothic than that.

Each time the overwhelming hallucinations propel her back in time, she becomes an invisible observer of another woman's life. A young girl who's life seems to parallel Mary's in ways that even she can't begin to fathom and awakens a desire to have a true, real marriage rather than the farce she and Alex have committed themselves to.

As the visions grow in intensity, so does the malicious attacks on her sanity. Someone is destroying her belongings, threatening her to leave, and even putting Alex's young daughter's life in danger. When Alex brushes off her concerns, her suspicions of his trusted servants, Mary has no where to turn.

A bond keeps drawing her and Alex back to each other, keeping her there when everything else tells her she should go. Could he grow to love her? There were moments when she thought so, moments when she pondered that they were the couple in the past, the ones in her dreams.

How could that be? It was crazy and she wouldn't dare breathe a word of it to Alex or he'd have her tucked away in a padded cell somewhere. Or doped up on pills to keep her crazies at bay.

But just suppose for a moment that Love IS eternal...that it transcends time and lasts forever....that two souls, who've loved once and deeply, will continue to journey through the fabric of time to find each love each other again and again, because I'd like to believe that...I'd like to believe that "love never dies."

And if that's so— wouldn't you do anything you could to make certain you found it, held onto it and cherished for as long as this lifetime would allow you?

Okay...that's enough from me. I hope I've given this book a just appraisal and I have a feeling I'll be reading it again before I know it. It's definitely a keeper for me. If you follow the link at the top, you will find your way to Jan's website page for the book, though, at the moment it is out of print, but it will be reissued the summer of 2011. If you click on Jan's name above, it links you to her Facebook author page.

Monday, August 16, 2010

The Misguided Advice Of Loved Ones...

First off, let me shout out a big ol' thanks in Shiloh Walker's direction for her blog last week on the matter of BAD WRITING ADVICE. It was a much needed and welcome reminder that writing is as individual as the person who writes it.

Are we bound by absolute indisputable rules?

No, not as some would have you believe. Not all techniques work the same or the best for everyone- not everyone writes the same stories or about the same things or in the same genres.

Thank Heaven for small favors because otherwise there wouldn't be books worth reading if we all wrote exactly the same. Where's the fun in that? There would be no such thing as a "fresh voice." What would agents and publishers do? The discovery of fresh new voices is what keeps the business alive and thriving. It's what creates best-selling authors and gives us big names to follow because they are unique in their storytelling ablility.

And guess what? I bet they didn't follow all the hard and fast rules of writing to get where they are.

I'm sure you're wondering if this is leading anywhere...Do I have some brilliant thought or idea to toss your direction today? I suppose I do, but I won't know for sure until I get there myself...hahaha!

No, seriously— I do have something I'm pondering over today and that is a little something I call MISGUIDED ADVICE.

Family and friends are always good at giving you advice, cheering you on or offering words of wisdom or common sense to help us through in life and well, all the aspects of it. Sometimes I think they step off the crazy train because they don't THINK before they speak- or write.

It wasn't that long ago that I was emailing with a friend (who's name shall not be known)- and was telling her how hard it was for me to get back into my writing, that I just wasn't in the "right" place to write the stories I love the most. Mind you, this friend is old enough to be my mother— is in fact the mother of a very dear friend of mine— but she can be very critical and opinionated about just about any subject matter you talk with her about. I love her dearly, but the conversation she and had back and forth in this email was hurtful and stirred up my defenses in regard to the genre I write.
I write romance. I'm fairly sure you're aware of that the same as I am if you've been following me for very long. I have, from a very early age, considered myself a romance novelist. I feel no shame in that, though there are days where I don't feel very romantic or feel that I have any romance in my own life. There are days when real life puts the honkers on it and makes me wonder why I put so much value in love and romance and writing about it when my own life is NOT one big neverending fairytale. I'm sure we've all been there and felt that if we know NOTHING about real love, real happiness, real joy.

There are days when I'm so tired or busy with all the other things that I HAVE to do, that I don't even want to think about it, even though I hope that it does exist. I want to believe, but there are days that I'd just as soon toss all that silly fluff out the window and be done with it because I'm just so mentally and emotionally drained from all the things in everyday life.

I thought I expressed this eloquently and in a way that my friend would understand. That writing romance is hard when you don't feel like you have a grasp on the subject matter. Instead I got miguided advice from someone who thinks she's an expert on the matter because she has college degrees in library science and business and worked for years as a librarian. I got remarks like—

"Have you ever thought about writing something besides love stories? I'm not trying to be negative, BUT....I was a librarian and we classified books in different categories and those definitely had a category. They always say to write what you know and if romance is not something you know, then it has to be hard to write about it." (OUCH! Thanks a LOT!)

"Maybe you should start calling your books under a different genre, it could make a world of difference. Maybe you should stick with the label of fiction rather than love stories. If it's just called a love story or romance, it's automatically tossed aside as airport trade; fluff reading or trash or nothing with quality. It would never be read closely enough to be called a classic. If a book is just labeled as romance it deserves a bad rap. Call them fiction and focus on the life stories but never call them romance or love stories."
Wow....just WOW.....

She also implied the only women who read romance novels are unhappily married women like she was in her youth...then she closed off by saying that she felt like she "discouraged" me though it wasn't her intention and that she guessed it would all depend on the mood I was in when I read it, but that it really was meant in a positive way..... Pretty amazing when you add to it that this friend of mine believes in soul mates. Hmmmm....Sounds bitter to me...

It's taken me MONTHS to compute this in my brain, and my HEART, that someone I consider a good friend would say such a thing...Honestly...the fact that she has college degrees and was a librarian doesn't weigh that heavily on my opinion. She's like so many others who see romance novels as trashy, bodice rippers. She devalued every romance author I know and love as though what they write is dirt and though I'm not published, that lumps me in there too and it really makes me mad because I KNOW for a fact there are a LOT of talented, wonderful writers in my genre and her "professional" opinion leaves me begging the question—
Is the misguided advice of loved ones always worth it? No- its like bad writing advice...sometimes its well-meaning, but its not always valuable in a productive, positive way. We just need to remember to weed out the bad parts so it doesn't choke and stifle our inspiration and creativity. Bless their tactless, thoughtless hearts...they don't always know what they're talking about.

It also begs the question of how much longer the romance genre will be treated like the black sheep of the writing industry family. What did we do to deserve that honor? And why does it seem more like a punishment?

Have a great start to the week Peeps!
Write On!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Has It Been THAT Long?

Wow, nearly a month has gone by since my last blog. Sadly, the reason that's the case is because I haven't had much to say.

Things have been hectic since the 4th of July, though I didn't mention it in the previous post. We had car trouble coming back from my parents' on the 4th and have been dealing with the bank, the insurance company, the mechanic, etc ever since.

Seems our Corolla's engine had taken all it could take and the o-rings gave out- as my husband called it. Of course, the car had almost 170,000 miles on it and it had done good to make it as long as it did. The quickest solution was to buy another car after refinancing our loan through the bank, but we ran into many a hiccup, not because our credit was bad or anything. No, that was great, but the bank just wanted to willy-nilly the process because we "didn't ask for enough" on our refinance- so, not to get into the long technicals, but we did eventually get a loan of sorts that actually paid off our home equity loan, allowed us to buy another vehicle and get our Corolla fixed.

As for the *new* vehicle- it's a 2002 Kia Spectra, white, with only 54,000 miles on it. The only hitch in the plan to buy it was that it had had a front end wreck and the guy had to fix it, so that took a bit of time and in the meanwhile we borrowed hubby's dad's truck for a couple of weeks.

Of course, on top of that, the guy had a couple of Toyota engines, one already out of the car body, with only about 67,000 miles on it that he said he could drop in our Corolla, so now that we have the Kia, we're just waiting on the Corolla to be done as well and we'll have two vehicles~ fingers crossed that once I FINALLY get back to practicing driving and get my license, the Kia will be mine. In fact, I've already named him- yes- HIM, since I'm female and well, if men can name their cars after women, I'm naming mine after a male- a favorite "hero" of a favorite book.

Here's my reasoning- it's called a "spectra" which puts me in the mind of a spectre, so I decided that the name Jasper suits it- from a ghost character in one of my favorite YA novels called Strut by Bruce and Carole Hart. He was a rockstar from the 60's who died too young and believes his "unfinished business" is to help redheaded 17 y/o Holly Hannah become a rockstar in a battle of the bands competition.

I LOVE that story for so many reasons, on so many levels, even at 35 and so- I'm dragging the ghost of Jasper Rollins from the book and breathing him to life- in a way, as my Kia Spectra. Call me crazy- I don't care. LOL

Mix into all this a trip to Beech Bend Amusement Park, back to school shopping for ALL those supplies & new clothes to replace what the kids have outgrown, washing all the new clothes and typical preparation- meeting the teacher at Open House, filling out forms, etc and I'd have to say I was honestly GLAD to see July go. It was too busy with not a chance to sit and take a breather.

It was also too much of a distraction to be able to work on my revisions. My determination and concentration melted in the heat or was stifled by an absolute lack of time alone to work quietly.

Yes...I can honestly say that until Sunday evening for maybe 45 minutes to an hour while hubby and the kids were gone to the grandparents' so Little Man could get his hair cut before school started, I hadn't had a moment of quiet, much cherished and sought after alone time just for me ALL summer. I was so thrilled that I threw myself in the tub for a long overdue extended hot shower that I could actually enjoy because I didn't have someone pecking at the door saying "I need to use the potty," or "What are you doing?"

It was almost like getting spa treatment! Haha!

Today was my official first day to myself though, as I'm sure you can tell.

They gotta go back, back, back to school again...whoa whoa, they gotta go- back to school.....again! LOL

So, my day has been nice- quiet... I put them on the bus, did 2 miles on the Gazelle, which I also haven't done in MONTHS, showered, started laundry, and have just been taking me time to breath time..... Going to eat lunch and then fall into one of my manuscript files and start getting my head back in the game.

Have a wonderful Tuesday, but most definitely take it easy with these scorching temperatures we're supposed to have the next few days! Drink plenty of fluids and don't be out in it if you don't have to!