29 March 2012

Character Of The Day

On my way to work this morning, some guy driving a 2010 Mustang and smoking a cigarette for a stretch of about two or three miles, pissed me off and I'm talking royally pissed. It wasn't a road rage moment either. He didn’t cut me off or anything. Didn’t slam on brakes. Nothing like that. It started out innocent enough as I drove behind him listening to Lady Gaga’s Poker Face. I was genuinely fascinated by how he smoked his cancer stick.

I watched him with his left arm out the window, cigarette pinched between index finger and thumb. You’d have thought he was smoking a joint.  The arm didn't stay out long though. It seemed like every two seconds his arm would go back inside the car for a puff, then...arm back out the window, flick ashes, arm back in car two seconds later. This went on until I had to turn. However, right before I made my left turn, this guy chucks his filthy cigarette out his car window and it hits my car! WTF??

I have a convertible, so can you imagine what could have happened had I had my top down? That butt and its fiery tip might have managed to find their collective way into my car! Why are people so inconsiderate?

Okay, imagine this.

What if it landed on my lap and I swerved off the road and hit someone? Would it be my fault?

What if I was on an errand to retrieve a gallon of gasoline for a sweet old lady broke down on the side of the road somewhere? What if said cigarette butt found its way into my car then? I don't know. What if it maybe managed to ignite the gallon of gasoline I'd just purchased, leaving my husband a widower with two motherless children?

What if these were the 1980's and I'd just sprayed a fresh load of Aqua Net onto my big hair? What if the cigarette butt managed to find its way into my car then? Do you think my 80's style hair would ignite, leaving me wrecked on the side of the road because I'd tried to save my hair from melting off the top of my head?

That was the only character worth talking about today. Why? Because I was so pissed that I’ve remained in my office the entire day so as to not have to deal with people. I'll shake it off eventually, but for now, I better remain at a distance. 

26 March 2012

My First Blog Award

A blogger friend, Lara Schiffbauer, has chosen my blog to be a recipient of the prestigious Liebster Award. Thank you, Lara! Thanks to Selma Wolfe, who also chose me for this award.

This has been traditionally awarded to honor those blogs which motivate and inspire us. It is also granted to those blog authors who have accumulated 200 followers or less. Its purpose is to summon new followers and increase awareness of other noteworthy blogs.

I humbly accept this award and will follow the steps in order to promote a continuum of this worthy cause. Here is my list of chosen recipients for this award.

Randi Lee       
Sue Seese       

To Accept the Award:

  • Thank the person who nominated you on your blog and link back to them.
  • Nominate up to 5 others for the award.
  • Let them know by commenting on their blog.
  • Post the award on your blog.

24 March 2012

Creating Character Emotions - Desire

From Dictionary.com - desire   [dih-zahyuhr]  

1. to wish or long for; crave; want.
2. to express a wish to obtain; ask for; request.

A Man's Love

The girl's legs were long and tan. Her skin glowed from the contrast of her orange neon bikini. Her laugh was audible above the crashing waves and when the man lifted her into the air and away from the foamy water encroaching onto the sand, she squealed with delight and the wind gently passed it along to the squawking sea gull hovering above.

They would be married, the girl and the man. He would adore her and she would idolize him. Her tan legs would spread one day to accept him and then they would spread again when she birthed their first child.

She would bounce their toddler in her lap and her husband would proudly snap photos of them both, laughing and carrying on. A love to be had by a fortunate few.

"It's time to change the bandages, Katie." A girl’s mother walks over to the window and closes the curtain, but not before seeing the lovely couple below, frolicking on the beach.

"Who will ever want me, mom?"

A mother kneels beside the wheelchair and embraces her double amputee daughter. "A great man, Katie. You're going to find a really great man."

If you enjoyed this, please visit the emotion of apathy.

19 March 2012

Biscuit - Painting With A Twist

I devoted three hours of my day yesterday to spend some time getting in touch with my creative muse. I've not been coming up with any material to share, at least not with my writing, so I sort of cheated and forced myself into a painting class.

Paint Your Pet was the theme at Painting with a Twist this past Sunday. I didn't have anyone to go with, so I was a bit nervous. First, I haven't painted in many years, and second, I'm not an extrovert, so I counted on being huddled in a corner all by myself the entire time.

That didn't happen. As soon as I walked in, an associate greeted me and placed me at a table with an easel and my name tag. Two other women arrived shortly after and were brought to my table. Their faces lit up with smiles and they were quick to chat. They introduced themselves and we didn't stop talking from that point. We talked about our pets and our experiences with art. They pulled out their iPhones and we exchanged photos of our darling puppies. Before I knew it, I'd turned into a class act socialite.

We put our collective muses to work - chatting, painting and oohing and ahhing over each other's masterpieces. There were over 20 students in our class. Some drank wine; others drank non-alcoholic beverages. I had two bottles of my favorite Sobe flavored water.

In the last hour, all of our creations came together. The amazing transformation of mere sketches dazzled me and it is hard to believe I pulled it off. I painted my Yorkshire terrier, Biscuit. Never in a million years would I have thought I could do something like this, but I did it and I'm going back again.

Is this progress? I think so!

What have you been doing lately to feed your inner muse?

15 March 2012

The Lucky 7 Meme

J. W. Alden has tagged me to take part in the Lucky 7 Meme. If not familiar with the meme, the rules are:

1. Go to page 77 of your current MS
2. Go to line 7
3. Copy down the next 7 lines - sentences or paragraphs - and post them as they're written. No cheating
4. Tag 7 authors
5. Let them know

I don't have enough pages to go down to 77, so I picked a page and went down to line 7, picked the first paragraph and copied 7 paragraphs since they are relatively short.

Lethal Injection

I’d run from my room down the hall to greet him, latching onto his leg, my head barely reached his belt with the secured holster and gun. He would pick me up into the air and twirl me around, "That's my boy!"
I was too young to understand when they put him on administrative leave. Mom just said money would be tight and Santa wouldn’t bring as many toys that year. Then the day came when there were other uniformed officers in the house. They put dad in handcuffs before walking him out.

“Let him go!” I cried out while mom held me back. I wanted to charge at them all, beat them with my fists. “You can’t do that, he’s the boss of the whole town!”
It was strange, you know? Because he was the big man and they took him away. I thought maybe someone else wanted to be the boss. If I knew the word for it back then, ousted is what I would have called it. Mom and I didn’t talk about it, ever. She just cried a lot. We even moved to another county when she was strong enough on her own, then to another state.
A few years later when I turned eight, we visited dad in prison. He was in a tan jumpsuit. His eyes were puffed and bruised and the glass wall between us reminded me of lines drawn in the sand on the beach not too long ago, dad daring me to cross over, teasing me. Mom handed me the phone and it was weird talking to him like that when he was right there in front of me.
“What happened to your face?” I asked. I would have called him dad but he didn’t look the same. He lost a lot of weight and he wasn’t larger than life, not like I remembered.
He said he had been lifting weights and dropped them. It was an accident. He looked sad, but I knew he would be okay because he was strong. I cried when we left him there to go back to Kansas. That’s where we lived, down the road from Grandma.


And, now I'm tagging 7 more unsuspecting writers!

Nicole Pyles
Ashley Chappell
Kimber Vale
Hillary Jacques
Lena Winfrey Seder
Kelly Hashway
Mysti Parker

11 March 2012

Review of Yesterday and Tomorrow by Candice Adams

Yesterday and tomorrow by Candice Adams

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I was bored, so I picked this up at the flea market. I'm not much of a romance reader, especially the more modern romances. But, this one was published in 1986, so I was like "Okay".

It didn't really do much for me and it's not an amazing story, but it was a quick read (a total of 2 hours). The only minor things I have to complain about is the verbiage used in writing it. I'm particularly not happy to read certain phrases that make me cringe, but in this book, those were sparse enough.

"His lips danced over hers with white-hot intensity" didn't really work as a visceral response and the visual of lips dancing is distracting in my opinion.

I won't linger much on the verbiage, but this one last sentence that sort of turned me off:

"Putting her hand on the door-handle, she opened the door."

Well of course she did! She wouldn't change her mind and decide to open the door with her foot, would she? Seriously, I don't appreciate reading the same words in close proximity of one another, let alone two! Granted, "hand" is not the same as "door-handle", but still, it was a bit jarring.

Aside from getting bored at times, this wasn't as bad a read as I thought it would be. Much better and more believable than one of the more "modern" romances I attempted to read. That's right, attempted (I couldn't get passed the 2nd chapter without calling BS). This one, at least, kept me reading until the end.

View all my reviews

07 March 2012

Rainy Day Blog Chain - Absolute Write

This month's prompt:
Rainy Days - by Absolute Write

Write wherever the prompt inspires you. It can be fiction or non-fiction, all wet or high and dry, mushy mud or hard-packed earth. If you want to go with snow, hail, boiling hellrain, biblical frograin, or some other kind of precipitation, knock yourself out. So, here's mine:

We’d decided to drive to St. Mark’s, get out on the water for a bit, and enjoy the salty breeze along the banks of the Lighthouse. When we arrived, some fishermen were assessing the sky. We could see some grayness on the horizon, but far enough away it didn’t bother me. No different than what we’re used to here in Tallahassee, Florida.

I removed my Oakleys and said, “So, what do you think?”

“I don’t know. I think we should consider a rain check.” He always sides with caution.

I tried not to show my disappointment, but my voice sounded a bit whiny, even to me, “We always do this. Come out, it’s gray, we head home, and it clears up.” I felt his eyes on me while I studied the late summer sky.

The Shell Point Fish Camp deckhands had our boat tied to the docks, awaiting our arrival an hour beforehand. I felt bad that we’d be telling them to put it back in storage. Thanks for nothing, right?

I heard Tim sigh. Then he said, “Fine, we’ll take her out for an hour. But first sign of bad weather, we head back.”

I agreed and gave him a huge hug.

We climbed into our maroon and white Q4 run-a-bout and took off. The water was smooth as glass, but I expected to reach the saltier mass and all its choppiness soon enough.

Two miles out, Tim pulled to the left of the channel, dropped an anchor into the 8-foot deep water, and retrieved a beer from the cooler. I baited one of the fishing poles we keep stored on the boat and then heard a mumbled curse. Before I could cast my rod, Tim was readying the boat for take-off.

"Let's bring her in."

“What’s wrong?”

“You don’t see that?” Tim pointed to the east. What I saw looked like an innocent hazy mist, but only for a few seconds. The encroaching wall of rain moved closer at a pretty quick speed and whirring winds and splatters of dime-sized raindrops hit us like a freight train.

Immediately we both moved to grab the aluminum poles used to frame up the waterproof, cloth cabin roof. Tim unzipped the compartment to unleash the cover and the wind pulled it from the opening and whipped it into the open air.

“Hurry up! I can’t hold this side up much longer!” I yelled into the wind, but I knew he couldn’t hear me. He was trying to screw in the bolt to hold up the opposite end. The aluminum pole wasn’t heavy, but the wind blew with such force I was losing stamina fast.

Then the lightning started. I saw the electrical bolts strike next to the boat and my stupid ass was holding up an aluminum pole. “Fuck this shit!”

I let go because we were both soaked to the bone and neither one of us wanted to become a conduit for the electrical frenzy happening so close by. Tim gave me a look that told me if we weren’t getting ready to die, he’d kill me for talking him into taking the boat out. I didn’t care. If I was going to die, I wanted to say goodbye to my friends and family.

I grabbed my blackberry and huddled under the partial dashboard to keep my phone dry. The boat rocked violently in the storm while I posted my status to Facebook, “If we get out of this alive, I promise, God, I will never go out on the water when the sky is gray!” Then I cursed myself for being Agnostic.

The lightning bolts crackled down into the body of water around us while Tim navigated the boat back toward the inlet at a creeping 10 miles per hour. All the while he was steering, he held onto his hat as the wind beat into his face. The sky had gotten so dark, but I could see the frown lines between his brows and along his mouth when the lightning flashed and lit up the area.

By the time we docked the boat, the storm had passed. Our bruised egos kept us from speaking to one another. We drove home in silence and it was killing me. So I spoke up.

“That was some Gilligan’s Island shit, huh?”

After a brief moment, we both laughed. We stopped at a local pub and ordered a pitcher of ice cold beer. Life was good.

Check out the other participating Rainy Day bloggers!

Ralph Pines
pyrosama You are HERE!
Lyra Jean
J. W. Alden 
ronbwriting - (link to this month's post)

03 March 2012

Is Your Critique Group Killing Your Story?

Since I’ve found a local writing group where I can share my work with other passionate writers, editors and published authors, I’ve grown to understand the process of sharing and critiquing. For one, it’s not that bad to hear someone say, “I don’t know; this one I didn’t like.” That first time you hear that, it’s like the clouds open up and the light bulb comes on.

We’re not supposed to like everything we read or even every style we come across. It’s why we have different genres, right? But, you should never lose sight of your story, because in the end, it is YOUR story and you must take ownership of that story, whether it spreads like wild fire in the e-publishing world, or belly flops off the desk of a slush pile reader.

If you’re in a critique group where they’ve introduced a new writer, just beware of the elements you will face when critiqued by the newbie. Everyone wants to know what the new guy thinks, how he operates, and most importantly, who will side with him. Will he attempt to sabotage your story and turn the others against you? Will you cave to his suggestions and turn your work into a semblance of something written by your 30 year old self? Or will you simply say, “Thank you for your feedback. I do appreciate your time in reading my work.” And then you mutter something under your breath like, “fucking moron.”

Either way, critique groups are great and I absolutely love mine. I’m just happy that they accepted my application and invited me into their inner circle. And, just so you know, it wasn’t my critique group that inspired this post, nor the fact that we have a new member starting this month. I chose to share this because of a video a Facebook friend posted. It’s funny how involvement with gaming in RPGs (Role Playing Games) creeps its way into my writing on so many levels.

Enjoy the video. If you’re a gamer, I think you will find it hilarious. If you’re a writer, you will understand the frustration of the Dungeon Master!

Sorry, the video will be missed!

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