Saturday, December 22, 2007

Scenes from a Holiday

Just a reminder: 10 more days until I choose a winner from a random drawing of everyone who's posted comments on my blog this month. Prize?

A new (well, once-read) copy of this book! Want to read a review of it? Click the cover, above.

And here are some scenes from another holiday, yesterday's party at school. It was so nice, really. My current students gave me a couple of lovely gifts (though you didn't officially read that here, 'cause they're probably not supposed to...), and even better, about 15 of my alumni from class years 04-07 came back to visit! Here are some pics:

Alumni from various class years

Me with two dear alumni from '06

The current class!

Friday, December 21, 2007


Last day of school before winter break...yippee!

Actually, I'm really excited, because today is our annual holiday party and alumni reunion, and a whole bunch of my former students are coming in to visit. It's one of my favorite days of the year!

And here's a trilogy of trailers for you. They're for Judith Rochelle's three western romances...she picked the music, and I love it!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Musical Connections

OK, here's a question for you that has nothing to do with either the holidays (!) or writing (!!)...

How strong is the connection, for you, between music and memory? I've been playing with my birthday present these last few days, downloading music etc., and every so often I stumble across a song that pulls me right back into the past.

Kelly Clarkson's "Because of You" always makes me incredibly sad, because I heard it on the radio in the car after I saw "Brokeback Mountain" (the first time) and I was still weeping over the movie.

The Plain White T's "Hey There Delilah" reminds me of hot weather and poolside margaritas, since, of course, it was popular this past summer and we listened to it all the time while we were vacationing in North Carolina.

And here's the funny one:

Mariah Carey's "All I Want for Christmas is You," a fairly happy, upbeat holiday song, always depresses me. Why? It must be about 12 years old now, and it came out right after I ended the most serious relationship I'd had, up to that point in my life. I walked through most days like a zombie, missing my ex so much. And that song just amplified every maudlin emotion I was feeling at the time. I was like, yes, I'll give it all up just to have that guy back in my life for the holidays.

When I heard the song for the first time this holiday season, I thought, "Oh, I like this song. It's fun. Wait a minute...why I am so sad all of a sudden?" I'd actually forgotten the connection...but something in my memory hadn't.

Weird, huh?

Any songs call up powerful memories for you?

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Writers' Wednesday: An Interview with P.L. Parker

Welcome to Writers' Wednesday! Today I'm featuring an interview with fantasy romance author P.L. Parker:

P.L. Parker is a newly published author of fantasy romance novels with a twist. Her modern day heroines find themselves transported back in time to live in ancient lands where they encounter peril, romance, treachery, and ultimately, love. She enjoys creating stories in both the light and dark paranormal. You will be captivated by the engaging and unique stories found in P.L. Parker's novels!

Hi P.L.! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
In my real life, I am a legal secretary for a downtown law firm in Boise, Idaho. For many years, I performed, taught and choreographed beledi dancing (or belly dancing as we here in America call it). I've always written, but mostly for family things and for the fun of it. I'm an avid reader, reading usually 3 books per week.

Wow, that's a lot of reading! What about your own writing - what's your latest project?
My latest project is another time travel romance, this time dealing with a young woman who ends up on a wagon train to Oregon. I am almost finished with it and have titled it "Aimee's Locket."

How do you go about developing your characters?
As to developing my characters, in school, I was heavily involved in theater and when I write, I imagine myself as each character and try to develop the emotions that character is feeling.

That's a great strategy. Do you have any other helpful advice for new writers?
My advice to new writers is to write with passion, write about things that move you, be it romance, adventure, or whatever, but write about things that excite you.

Do you have a favorite genre or author?
I love vampire stories. My favorite author is Christine Feehan.

How do you stay motivated with your writing, especially with the demands of everyday life?
I try to write some every day. In that way, I don't lose the focus of my story and it stays fresh in my mind and the ideas just seem to spring up.

Do you write on the computer? Write everything out long-hand? Dictate?
I compose on the computer. So much easier to get my thoughts down and edit them to the point I feel they are what I am truly attempting to portray.

What's your favorite movie? Did it inspire your writing in any way?
My favorite movies are either Sci-Fi or historical in nature. I love ancient history and that's what brought about the birth of "Fiona." I watched the Discovery Channel one night and they did a show on the Urumchi Mummies and I couldn't get it out of my mind. The main character "Fiona" grew from that spark.

Thanks for a great interview, P.L.!

Want to know more about this author, or her books Fiona or Riley's Journey? Visit her website or her MySpace page...

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Drafting or Revising?

Ugh...I can't decide which is harder on my brain these days, drafting new stuff or revising old stuff. I'm working on Summer's Song, a full-length contemporary, and it's the 2nd or 3rd time through. This time, though, I'm making some major plot changes. So some scenes I have to write from scratch, and others I either have to revise or figure out where to move. I've been doing a lot of shifting around of chapters, too, which is making my head spin. I keep forgetting where the characters are in their whole growth process. Hmm...maybe I should actually jot down some notes? I do have an outline, but I keep straying from it.

And I just want it to be done! I can see the ending, I know where I'm going, but darn it, the actual process of getting there is slowing me down. I'm losing patience. I'm having the hardest time lately parking myself in a chair and just WRITING.


Your Psyche is Yellow

You have a ton of energy - both physical and mental endurance.
You are rational and logical, and you can help almost anyone think clearly.
Optimistic and bright, you also have a secret side that's a little darker.

When you are too yellow: You will do anything to get your way, and no one will be the wiser

When you don't have enough yellow: you lack confidence, drive, and humor

Monday, December 17, 2007

What a Teacher Makes

Have you seen this? It's been around for a while, and I've read the text in a few places. Still, it's worth watching...'cause it's so true...

Sunday, December 16, 2007

And the Storm is Here...

The big storm arrived last night, and it's been sleeting since about 9 pm yesterday. Not a lot on the ground, but man, the ice and the winds are definitely taking their toll. I keep thinking we're going to lose power at some point, so I'm blogging quickly this AM.

Here's my birthday present from hubby!

It's a Zune, an mp3 player, and while I'm not hugely technologically savvy or needy, I'm a BIG music person. I can't wait to download music (legally, Marianne) and create cool playlists (oh yeah, I'm definitely making one of all my fave 80s tunes). Speaking of which, remember the Walkman from the 80s, with the big ol' headphones and the tape deck? Man, things sure have gotten smaller over the years, haven't they? Plus, it holds pictures and videos too: I loaded all the book trailers I've made onto it, and they play in amazing quality on the little screen.

I know, I know, many of you have probably had one for ages...but this is brand new for me, and I'm excited!

OK, I'm signing off now...have a great day and stay warm (those of you in the storm region) and stop envying me my snow (those of you who aren't) - just kidding :)