Saturday, April 19, 2008
Hope to have some good stuff to share with you tomorrow!
Friday, April 18, 2008
Name a color you find soothing.
Something in the blue or green family.
Using 20 or less words, describe your first driving experience.
I hit a bird.
(Funny, since last week I did the same damn thing. Not the same kind of bird, though...)
What material is your favorite item of clothing made out of?
My warm winter PJs - flannel
My fave warm weather t-shirt - cotton
My ultra-comfortable dressy dress - silk
Who is a great singer or musician who, if they were to come to your town for a concert, you would spend the night outside waiting for tickets to see?
Well, I live in New York, so if we're talking anytime but the summer, when it's warm outside all night long, then no one. I'm too old. However, I do have to say I can't for all the tickets to go on sale at Bethel Woods this year (former Woodstock site) - it's 30 minutes from my house!
What is the most frequent letter of the alphabet in your whole name (first, middle, maiden, last, etc.)?
In my real name: "L" (there are 4 of them)
Thursday, April 17, 2008
A couple of days ago, Marianne brought up the question of “how soon is too soon” for a hero and heroine to fall in love, in a romance novel. She got a great response from her blog readers, and I think she’s probably going to discuss it again today.
Most people who responded didn’t have a problem with suspending their disbelief and even welcomed two people falling in love over a period of days – a couple of weeks at the most. But I just can’t buy into it. Falling in lust at first sight – absolutely. But love? Love that leads to a lifelong commitment to another person? That involves discovery, a slow, fascinating peeling away of layers until you see who’s standing in front of you (or lying beside you) and want to be with that person all the time anyway.
Now, I know people who’ve met their significant other one night, thought “He/she’s the one” and ended up happily married for umpteen years. But I’m willing to bet that, in most cases, that relationship still evolved over a certain length of time…and there wasn’t a marriage proposal after a week.
Part of the problem, I think, is that the genre requires it. You have to have a Happily Ever After – it’s what the readers expect. And no, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with an entertaining story that makes us trust that true love can happen. But most of the romance novels I’ve read recently suffer from a lack of character development. As a result, the strong, sexy hero suddenly finds himself thinking he can settle down with the heroine after a couple of dates, during which she’s laughed at his jokes, maybe stood up to him in an argument, and of course walked down the sidewalk beside him with her perfectly curvaceous body. And the heroine? She’s gun-shy of relationships but somehow decides she can trust the hero after those same two dates because…well, I don’t know, exactly.
So, can a fictional hero and heroine fall desperately in love and want to spend their lives together, in a relatively quick period of time? For me, yes – but only if the author has convinced me that a complete devotion is the natural, in fact the only, outcome for these 2 people, through their character development: I have to see these 2 people grow together and toward each other as a result of the conflicts that happen in the course of the story. Then I will happily cheer for them and feel ultimately satisfied by the ending. But to put the characters together just because the genre calls for it? That’s harder to swallow.
Actually, that’s why I’m glad the genre is changing, and why the HEA doesn’t have to include an engagement but instead an interest, a serious attraction, a desire to pursue a commitment. I’m also glad the genre of women’s fiction exists. In that world, I think, the story can be more about the main character’s journey, and while love and romance might be part of it, the author isn’t forced to shoehorn in a walk down the aisle.
Finally, I’ll leave you with this poignant passage from the book I just finished reading, She’s Not There. It’s a magnificent, complicated, touching, and at times angering memoir by a trans-gendered English professor. This is a tremendous testament to love:
Years earlier, her heart had inclined in the direction of another soul, and now, against the advice of many friends and well-wishers, she’d had the wisdom to understand that when our hearts incline – often in defiance of duty, blood, rationality, justice, indeed every value we hold dear – it’s pointless to object. We love whom we love. In the past two years, for Grace, everything had changed and nothing had changed. Her heart still inclined, as was its habit…
So...what do YOU think?
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
Two things I remember most from that play: my line "Oh brave new world, that has such people in it!" and the fact that I had to "fall asleep" on stage for about 5 minutes, but the sleeves on that Elizabethan dress were so tight that my arms would fall asleep no matter how I tried to arrange them. Anyone else ever acted on stage? It's a trip, what actors go through behind the scenes. One time, in college, I was in a crowd scene on the second floor of a set and the main character leaned too far and almost took a tumble. I had to grab him by the back of the coat and yank him back into place.
That picture brought back more memories, though, so I went poring through my old photo albums for some other pics from my days in the high school musicals:
Ah, yes, the sweet Laurie singing to her cowboy Curly in "Oklahoma" ( what do I remember about this one? that some of the jocks in our school decided to sign up to play singing/dancing cowboys and promptly disappeared during rehearsals to get drunk in the school parking lot)
And my favorite role: Rose, the crazy secretary from "Bye Bye Birdie." This is the scene where I interrupt an uptight Shriner's Meeting and dance on the table. The last night of this performance, that skirt started tearing at the side slit and everyone including myself was wondering if I could make it offstage without showing too much leg.
I had a friend in grad school who always said teaching was like being on stage. It's kind of true; you have a captive audience, and you have to keep their attention. But you can also see that my love for great stories and happy endings goes back a long time...
Monday, April 14, 2008
Ah...I finally had a chance to get back to working on One Night in Napa yesterday. And I thought, since I'm pretty happy with the way the plot is progressing (for a first draft anyway), I'd share my hero and heroine with you. Now, be prepared: they're in their first stage, of course. But they're developing minds of their own, which is always a good thing, so I thought I'd spring them on the blogging world this Monday morning.
Without further adieu, I present to you...Grant and Kira(the first time we meet both of them). Hope you enjoy!
Grant Walker knew it was going to be a long day when he woke up and couldn’t remember the name of the woman lying beside him. His head throbbed. His stomach roiled. Late morning sun slanted across his face, and he squinted. Ran one hand over his stubbled jaw. Rolled over and stared at a digital clock he didn’t recognize.
Then he heard the sound again: his cell phone, beeping with a message unanswered. He groaned.
“Babe?” A manicured hand snaked out from the covers and caressed his bare chest. “Everything okay?”
“Yeah.” He slipped from the satin sheets, planted one foot on a throw rug, and ended up on his ass next to the bed.
He swore under his breath and pulled himself up. Naked, he searched the bedroom until he found the golf shirt and shorts he remembered wearing the night before. Shots of tequila, he recalled. And a blonde at the end of the bar, with a gorgeous rack and pouty lips, who wouldn’t stop staring at him. His two vices, served up neatly at Mick’s, the local bar conveniently located at the end of his block.
Grant glanced out a window swathed in pink gauze curtains. He had no idea where he was now. Clothed, he palmed his cell and checked his voice mail. And then was sorry.
“Grant? Where are you? It’s past nine.” His father’s clipped voice, cool and disapproving, sliced across the phone line.
“Shit.” He clasped his watch and glanced at the body still lying under the covers a few feet away. A perfect body too, as he recalled, all curves and soft spots and sweet smells. For a moment, he considered tossing the phone out the nearest window, stripping down, and spending the rest of the day rediscovering the places he’d visited last night...
Traffic noise outside her bedroom woke Kira March from a fitful rest. She rolled over and pushed her face into the pillow. She’d gotten what, four hours of sleep? Maybe less. They’d finished editing the final scene of Scott’s indie film sometime close to dawn. The last thing she remembered was the sun breaking over the Sierra Buttes outside the warehouse’s dusty windows.
Nonstop work for almost a month. Writing, filming, cutting, editing, all in a mad blur to get ready for the upcoming film festival. Kira yawned as a siren wailed. But it would be worth it. Scott Chapin was a film genius, as far as she was concerned. Brilliant vision, brilliant technique. She’d been lucky to find him in the tiny town of Yuba City. Or fated.
Thought I was moving here to get away. The notion wriggled its way into her mind, the way it had so many times before. Yet one hundred miles from home, she’d run right into someone who made it impossible for her to forget her former life. Kira ignored the irony.
Someone knocked on her door, and a blur moved inside. “You up?”
Kira reached for her glasses, and the blur’s edges sharpened into her roommate Ayasha. “Depends on what you mean by up. Barely awake, yes. Functional, no.”
Ayasha pulled at the long black braid that hung over one shoulder. “I started some coffee.”
“Drank about a gallon of it last night.” In fact, Kira could still feel it sloshing around her stomach, and she’d be lucky if the lining of her organ wasn’t beginning to peel itself into pieces. Should really try to cut it down to a few cups a day.
Ayasha sank onto the overstuffed, purple velour chair in the corner or Kira’s room. Her eyes brightened. “So did you finish it?”
Kira nodded. She pulled her glasses off again and rubbed at her eyes. Her fingers came away black with mascara.
Ayasha spun the silver rings on her fingers. “Is it amazing? Is it going to win?”
She shrugged. Sphinx was the best thing she’d worked on so far. She’d known it would be, from the moment she read the script over two years ago. But would it win any awards at next month’s festival? Who the hell knew. Too much relied on favoritism, and on who was due. Who’d put in their time. And who was new and sexy on the scene and would pull in the votes because it meant a cover shot on People.
Kira knew that better than anyone. She’d grown up in the business, though by birth and not by choice. No way. Yet while she’d vacillated over the years, at first loving and then loathing the spotlight, she had to admit that the film industry was so deeply rooted in her, she couldn’t imagine life without it...
Sunday, April 13, 2008
Yesterday was SO glorious here: 70 and sunny. Finally! I worked outside as much as I could and even tackled that rock wall which took a bite out of my finger a couple weeks back. Slow progress, but worthwhile. Today it's supposed to be cooler, so I hope to get some writing done!!
Speaking of which, Women On Writing has its April ezine issue up - and the focus is Freelancers. They also have something new, a monthly ezine you can subscribe to for $2 that provides info and contacts about all kinds of freelance writing gigs. I firmly believe that writing of any kind (articles, blogs, reviews, stories, etc) can help authors get their name into the public eye. So I may check it out; you might want to give it a look too.