Wednesday, March 31, 2010

But don't I get enough exercise by juggling this many irons?

I've been blessed/cursed all my life with being skinny. When I was six years old, I weighed 36 pounds and was 36 inches high. In high school, I hovered around the 68 pound mark. When I donned my wedding gown, I weighed 72-freakin'-pounds, and no, I did NOT wear the flower girl dress. But I could have.

Fast forward. Yep, that's right. Past the gall bladder surgery, where they took out the offensive gall bladder and put in an appetite. Past the adoption of The Kiddo. Past the giving up of the newspaper job where I walked everywhere, and past the jobs where I, ahem, basically warm a chair all day long. (I'm productive. I am. I just get a lot done from command central.) Past the time where my free-time was spent working to meet editor deadlines and revisions and, oh, that new book proposal. Past my big 4-0 b-day.

I am now a whopping 98 pounds.

Yeah. I heard that snort. It was, "She thinks she has a weight problem?"

It's not so much of a weight problem. It's a jiggle problem. And a belly problem (I've been told that good southern ladies like me shouldn't refer to our body parts in the same way one would refer to livestock body parts, but, hey. You can't call my tummy anything BUT a belly.)

So I should exercise. Twenty minutes a day, right?

WRONG. Now to completely overload my guilty-exercising-avoiding-conscience comes a new study which says we women should exercise 60 minutes a day to avoid packing on the pounds.

The study comes via two very interesting blogs: Steph in the City and Fitness: A Journey, Not A Destination.

Now, Karen Evans, who writes about the study in detail, does quibble with it. She makes very valid points. And Steph is right when she says it's just depressing.

What I want to know is where on EARTH I will find 60 minutes a day to exercise. That's not even touching the motivational issues or the how-bad-the-belly-looks-in-yoga-pants problem. Because, lemme tell you, I'm sacrificing sleep to The Kiddo and to The Writing, and I got no more sleep to sacrifice.

I guess, though, I should forgive myself. If I can do 20 minutes a day, it's better than zip a day. Heck, if I can do 20 minutes a week, it's better than zip, too. I'm coming to the conclusion that exercising (and general fitness) is a lot like writing. A little every day will add up over the long haul, and the cumulative effect is to make it easier.

Besides, when I'm an old woman, I'll wear purple yoga pants and have LOTS of time to exercise. :-)

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

And Be A Villain

Last week, I was the Wicked Witch of the West.

No, I didn't recently join my friendly neighborhood coven (is there one??) and I'm not involved in Little Theatre. I'm a mom, and The Kiddo wanted to take her 300-buck DS on a field trip, despite the fact that the school handbook says no electronics on school property. Last time I checked, a school bus was school property.

From 5 p.m. (when The Husband called and put The Kiddo on the phone to ask if he could run her out to Wally-World and buy her an iPod to take with her the next day) until 9:30 p.m., there was much wailing and gnashing of teeth. Basically it sounded something like, "Whhhhhhyyyyyy? All my friends are going to have electronics! You have an iPod! Whhhhhhyyyyyy? I just wanna diiiiiiieeee."

It started back up at 6:30 the next morning.

My standard response was: "Hey, it sucks, and it's not fair. But my no means no."

It got me thinking. Villains get the short end of the stick so many times. We just paint them bad and unfeeling and cold-hearted (that's certainly how The Kiddo saw me). But they have their reasons. Yes, I know. Some of their reasons are so twisted they rival pretzels, but still, they have their reasons.

And if we can remember that, and include some of those complexities, then we'll wind up with villains who possess a bit more depth.

Plus, there's always the chance that someone will tell me that The Kiddo only thinks I'm the Wicked Witch of The West, while in reality, I'm being the wonderfully consistent, wonderfully firm parent that she needs. Because let's face it. The Kiddo won't be saying anything like that until she's probably 100.

Monday, March 29, 2010

I got my MFA at the cineplex

What can this guy (the fellow with the supercilious smirk and the cool specs) teach a writer about writing?

Okay, okay. So my title has already ticked off all the MFA survivors out there, and the Dude in Black is probably a male model who knows beans about directing. Bear with me.

I love movies. I love television. Yeah, I'm a writer, and I admit that. I love both movies and television because I love, love, love a story. I am addicted to stories, and I'm not picky about format, though I am picky about quality and authors.

The greatest thing since sliced bread, when it comes to movies today, is the bonus parts of a DVD. The director's commentary -- oooh. So helpful, but time-consuming. I seldom have time to watch a movie once, much less twice. And then there are the deleted scenes.

Deleted scenes are the bestest things (yes, I know, no such word as bestest). I save them for last, when I've watched the movie and have decided whether it's a thumbs-up or thumbs-down. If it's a thumbs-down, I weep momentarily for the wasted time that I shall never get back.

Thumbs-up? I jump on those deleted scenes like a puppy on a pair of Manolo Blahnik stilettos. It is amazing to see what the director thought he (or she) needed while in the throes of creativity, and then decided, eh, newp.

And usually the decision is pulverizingly, obviously right. The scene was just so much fluff and didn't propel the story on.

Writers (uh, I'm talking to me, now) can learn a thing or two from that.

First, I shouldn't mind the effort of creating a scene that may well later be axed. Maybe I needed to write that sucker in order for me to better understand the character. Or the setting. Or the backstory. After all, at least it didn't cost me film and the salaries of a movie crew and movie stars.

Second, sometimes you don't know what you don't need until you've processed everything. That's why they chop scenes at the editing stage.

Third, like any good lab rat, I can learn from my mistakes (well, theoretically, anyway.) Maybe I can realize, as I'm writing (or better yet, as I'm planning!), that I don't need to bog the reader down in a scene that is only important to me and to my understanding of the world I'm creating.

Probably this will happen when I also find oil under the petunias and subsequently spend my days on a beach with a cute waiter bringing cool drinks and delicious munchies. But a girl can dream, no?

Friday, March 26, 2010

Friday Awwwww Moment

Found this on the web (it seems to be popping up in several places, so I'm not sure just who to give credit to.

But a kitty is an all-time best-ever writing buddy, no? (Unless you have an attack Flame-Point Siamese who demands, "Pay attention to me, or I'll chew your laptop's AC adapter cord in two." But that's another story!)

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Oh, I SO love good news!

See that beeeee-yooou-ti-ful book cover there beside this entry? Well, that just happens to be the debut YA book of a friend of mine, the best plot-hole-puncher in the known universe, Nelsa Roberto. She got her real, honest-to-goodness author copies this week. Squee!

I feel rather attached to Illegally Blonde. I saw it in its raw and unshaped form (which looked pretty darn-tootin' good to me even then.) I saw it before she got her agent, before she got her publishing deal. I knew it was a great book then, and I can ASSURE you that it is a wonderful book now.

Illegally Blonde is available for pre-order at Barnes & Noble (and pick up a cool 5% discount, just like yours truly), and all your usual on-line book outlets. It's officially on sale and available March 30.

It's also available via that dying breed, your independent book seller. (I say "your" because I do not have an independent book seller available to me.") I so wish these guys weren't going the way of the Dodo (but that is another blog post entirely.)

Go. Pre-order. Now.

Well? What are you waiting for?!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Why I Write

I skimmed a very interesting interview about The INTERN (interview here, INTERN's blog here), and one comment in it made me think:

"In the case of her fiction and poetry: realistically, INTERN probably writes because writing has always yielded more positive strokes for her than any other pursuit—much as a rat will keep pressing the button that gives it the most candy."

The quote brings to mind the first time that I decided being a writer would be cool. I was about nine or ten, bored out of my head during summer vacation, and I'd run out of books to read and games to play with my cousin. I came up with an elaborate pretend "game" where we were the staff writers for a magazine. I dimly recall that I wrote a piece on Mozart, and my cousin wrote a piece on the game of marbles. (It was an eclectic magazine, you see.)

The grown-ups oohed and ahhed (mainly because we weren't making a mess, probably), but at that time, something just clicked. I was good at something!

Amazing. The kid who couldn't hit a beach ball with a tennis racket, the kid who had no rhythm, the kid who was so clutzy that she'd trip over her shoe laces even if they were tied, that kid was finally good at something.

I wonder just how many of our best-selling authors today wound up where they are because they were like me: can't dance, can't sing, can write a little.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Why meeeee?

Doesn't the little guy I've used here look cute? He completely sums up my feelings today, so cue the violins!

Today, I have jury duty. The Husband never has jury duty, whereas I have served on at least two juries and been called for countless others during my married life.

The problem with jury duty is that you have to show up, even if, at the end of the day, you're not called because the defendants in question decide that, hey, all the potential jurors look like a hanging jury and they'll take their chances requesting mercy from Hizzoner.

Still, I never fail to come away from jury duty without at least one good book idea (but that's nothing. I find it hard to shut the Idea Engine off, much to the chagrin of my friends and family).

So maybe I will come up with THE hook that will develop into THE book that will ... shoot, I can't come up with anything that rhymes with hook and book. I'm a writer, not a poet!

Wish me luck!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Life gets in the way. Superstition to the rescue?

(Yeah, I know it's not Thanksgiving, but hey, this was too cute an illustration of supersition to pass up! Thanks to Paula Becker for the hilarious picture!)

I intended to write this weekend. I had a hot date with my hero, who was finally talking to me (because, most likely, I was talking to him). Life, however, had different plans.

My daughter's first-ever, oldest gold fish died.

I am not kidding. This is not a riff off the-dog-ate-my-homework excuse. My daughter was prostrate with grief, and every time I thought that things were going to be okay and that she was beginning to give herself permission to move on, bam! More fat tears rolled down The Kiddo's face.

So I had to give myself permission: permission that this weekend, family came first and hot dates with heroes would have to wait.

I feel guilty when I don't write, not to mention terrified, because a nagging doubt still dogs me: what if the words stop coming?

Ha! I've been creating stories out of whole cloth since way before junior high.

Still, we writers are as superstitious as any major league baseball player.

When I was writing the first draft of the novel that eventually became my first published novel, I wore the same shirt every night to ward off the cold (my cold intolerance is legendary). It was my sister's shirt, a fuzzy flannel one that she'd left by accident at my house during a vist.

I'd pull that sucker on atop the other many layers I wore, hunch down and let the words fly from my fingertips. No matter what subtle hints my sister sent my way, I wasn't relinquishing custody of that shirt.

Finally, when the subtle hints stopped being, well, so subtle, I had to confess. I laughed it off, knowing in my logical, rational brain that superstition is all bunk.

"But, hey, why rock the boat, huh? And it, uh, it keeps me warm!" I told her.

My sister cocked one eyebrow. "Yeah, and if I had it, it would keep ME warm."

I've heard other writers confess their funny little rituals. What's some of yours?

Eventually I did return the shirt, after, of course, the draft was complete. I did it in an amazingly short time. Hmmmh. Now, I'm wondering if maybe I should go pilfer through my sister's closet ...

Friday, March 19, 2010

Letho - what??

Writers, like your car mechanic and your plumber and your handy-dandy carpenter, have tools. We don't carry them in big tool chests, but they're all tucked away just the same.

Our tools are words. Sounds simple enough. You sit down at the computer. You play on FB for a little while. You update your blog. Then, with a twirl of your fingers that a concert pianist would envy, you set yourself to the task of assembling words into sentences, and sentences into paragraphs, and paragraphs into -- okay, okay. You just want the short version, don't you?

Non-writers in my family think I never have any trouble with my words (except when I'm regaling them with a story of my catastrophe du jour. Then they quibble over the length.) After all, I must know a lot of words. I was the nerdy little kid who entertained herself by reading the dictionary on rainy days.

What they don't know is that I FORGET a lot of words. Have you ever been writing along, really crusing into the scene, and then, bam! You need a word. Not just any word, but THAT word, that pulverizingly precise word, the one that is itching and twitching at the tip of your tongue -- er, fingers.

You can remember all sorts of synonyms, but they are like all so many discarded wannabe wedding dresses. They're just not the ONE.

Whenever I get like this, all writing comes to a screeching halt. I'll pick up dictionaries and dust off my Roget's Thesaurus. I'll remember a book that I read that used (maybe, anyway) that word, and I'll pick it up and flip through it. I'll remember how the word can be used in a lot of contexts and then I'll find OTHER books that MAYBE have the one, beautiful, shiny word in it.

I'll know it when I see it, but I can't for the life of me remember it.

At this point, I'll get panicky. Am I losing it? Is this a sign of the old brain slipping? Am I suffering from the early stages of dementia? Then if I'm really desperate (and let's face it, a writer who can't write can be pretty desperate), I'll start asking friends and family.

They hate this. After all, if I can name a dozen synonyms, why, they wonder, can't I just use one of THOSE words?

Because, because, because.

I never knew that there was an actual name for this disorder. But recently I learned that the word "lethologica" describes the state of not being able to remember the word you want.

Ah-ha. Now, it seems, I have another word that I can sort of remember the meaning of, but I can't, dagnabbit, remember the actual WORD.


Sorry that the blog went dark yesterday. The morning started out all wrong, the day proceded unwaveringly in that direction, and it ended with me being eternally grateful that when I lay down last night, the bed did not fall under me.

Part of yesterday's doom and gloom was the news that I was to be interviewed on TV for part of my day-job.

(Brief pause while I tend to the hives I broke out in upon hearing such news.)

I do not like cameras, at least not being on the lens side of a camera. Not film cameras. Not Polaroid cameras. Not digital cameras. Not cell phone cameras. And most definitely NOT video cameras.

Some people, it can be said, perform flawlessly in such situations. They sound intelligent, as though they have a brain. They sound like the guy on the six-o'clock news.

I am not some people.

On the TV performance scale, where you have an Emmy-award-winning star on one end while on the other, a hick witness to a tornado, I fall most definitely toward the hick witness end of the spectrum. Oh, yeah, put a microphone and a camera in front of me after a tornado touches down, and my first instinct is to prattle, "It went off like a bomb, it did. Just outta nowhere, and there goes Aunt Mabel's washing machine and her nighties, too, off in the clear, blue sky."

Which is not to say that I have not worked hard to overcome such propensities. Unfortunately, every single blasted one of my day jobs have, at one time or another, forced me in front of a camera. I have learned to talk more like the six-o'clock news guy and less like the hick witness he's interviewing.

The camera guy always says, "Just act natural, and you'll do fine."

Trust me. The LAST thing he wants is me "acting natural."

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Battling with printers

Yes, I know, I know, my blog post is late, but I have been in a to-the-death grudge match with a printer.

I was planning to blog about something else entirely. I'm so steamed from paper jams and error messages and printers taking so long with "initializing" that I didn't get lunch until 2 p.m.

Things could be worse. I could be purple with ditto machine ink, or black and blue from carbons, or sliced with papercuts from separating yards and yards of dot matrix paper. I love, love, love being able to change one word on a page and not having to correct all the pages thereafter. And yes, I AM old enough to remember a ditto machine. So I should really be grateful for printers.

Printers and I, however, have never gotten along very well. Maybe it's because I so seldom print anything out. Most of my pages stay as neat little kilobytes on a computer file (backed up, naturally). So the time comes for me to do a massive printing job, and I find myself cursing and kicking and whining -- with a background of soulful violins accompanying my sob story.

Maybe it's because I don't use them that often and I'm completely unfamiliar with them. I like to think more dramatically, though. When I am in the throes of agony, I am CERTAIN that inside that innocuous gray and black box resides a forked-tail little red devil, tee-heeing every time he sticks his prongs into the mechanism and creates yet another paper jam. He dines on printer ink and sips on my tears of frustration.

Boy, after all my frustration, does he need to take some Maalox today!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Talking to Oneself

You remember that classic scene out of ROMANCING THE STONE, don't you? The opening scene where it's a race between Joan Wilder's wrap up of her manuscript and her supply of tissues?

To refresh your memory:

Grogan: What's it gonna be, Angelina?
Joan Wilder: [voiceover] It was Grogan: the filthiest, dirtiest, dumbest excuse for a man west of the Missouri River.
Grogan: You can die two ways: quick like the tongue of a snake, or slower than the molasses in January.
Joan Wilder: [voiceover] But it was October.
Grogan: I'll kill you, bleep, if it's the Fourth of July! Where is it? Uhh. Get over there!
Joan Wilder: [voiceover] I told him to get out, now that he had what he came for.
Grogan: Not quite.
Grogan: Take 'em off. Do it! Come on!
[Angelina kills Grogan by throwing a concealed knife]
Joan Wilder: [voiceover] That was the end of Grogan... the man who killed my father, raped and murdered my sister, burned my ranch, shot my dog, and stole my Bible!

I admit it, there are worse fates than to be yanked into a Columbian treasure hunt with Michael Douglas ... as long as it ends Happily Ever After.

But the only things I have in common with the fictional Joan Wilder are that I am a writer, and that, er, I talk to myself as I'm writing.

It is a sort of new realization. One recent Saturday, The Kiddo was putting on some sort of Barbie Fashion Show in her room while I was working on my current MS in my room.

I was all snugged up with my laptop, and finally the story was beginning to flow. The explanation for this sudden "click" didn't dawn on me. I didn't care WHY my characters were finally talking again; I was just glad of it!

And then The Kiddo popped her head around the door jam. "Mommy?"

"Hmh?" Still engrossed, hadn't really looked up, DETERMINED to finish the thought before it escaped.

"Were you talking on the phone?"

"Nu-uh," I muttered. A few more keystrokes, and I'd finish this elusive paragraph.

"Well, who were you talking to, then?"

Paragraph screeched to a halt. I looked up. "I wasn't talking."

She raised her eyebrow and gave me a squint-eye she could have only learned from her mother. "Yes, you WERE."

And then it hit me. The reason my characters were talking was that, ahem, I was talking for them.

Monday, March 15, 2010

What's Good About Being Insulted?

Okay, so the title is for dramatic effect. Hey, I'm a writer. Sue me. :-)

We writers are often portayed as thin-skinned "artistic types" who can't handle anyone messing around with our "art." Honestly, though, most of the serious writers I know understand that we need to have skin rivaling a rhino's.

True, nobody likes to be told that her hero is rude or that her heroine is inhospitable (uh, both criticisms yours truly got this weekend via beta readers and critiques partners, in the interest of FULL and messy disclosure). I admit that my first reaction is, "Mmmph! Didn't they READ what I wrote?"

However, that's just the first few seconds' reaction. What it really amounts to is projected anger: I'm disgruntled more with MYSELF that they couldn't see the image or the character as I saw it in my head. In other words, what we have here is a failure to communicate.

If you can reframe your thinking, realizing that your frustration is that the reader didn't get the message you were sending, then it's easier to go back and tinker with your work. You realize, "Ah-ha! This is what made my CP or beta reader think my hero was rude!"

Usually, as in real life when someone takes offense, it's one teensy, tiny little thing. Change it, and bam, your character's been totally rehabilitated.

This "what needs fixing" approach lends itself to any sort of criticism, unless the criticism is meant in a less-than-constructive way. No, I'm not perfect at receiving criticism (just ask The Husband. On second thought, DON'T!). But I like to think that, after all these years of understanding how valuable critique partners are, I've learned something in writing that applies itself to Real Life.

And God bless those CPs and Beta Readers! I couldn't get anything done without having them reading over my shoulder!

Thursday, March 11, 2010


Okay, it's Friday, and we all need an awwww moment! This pix is stolen from . Now, go home and kiss your baby giraffe!

The real secret to writing

Forget talent. Forget the ability to string together lovely words. Forget life experiences out the wazzoo. Forget all the tips you hear about eavesdropping at Wal-Mart.

The real secret to writing? Space, baby. Lots and lots of space.

Notice I did not say "time." We writers are forevermore saying, "Oh, give me time to write!"

But what we really need is the mental space to focus inward, on our characters, on those lovely words, on that delightful insight we overheard at Wal-Mart.

Physical space is also critical. That means the fam being able to actually function without interrupting you 90 gajillion times to ask the whereabouts of something that if they'd put up themselves to begin with, they'd know where it was.

But just like a ringing phone is the universal signal for babies to cry and dogs to bark and cats to scratch at the door, reaching for that laptop is the signal that a race for Mom's space is about to start.

I have to admit, most times, if I just ask, my little household is good about giving me space.

So maybe I should ask for it more often, hmh?

(The cute pix above was taken by a friend of mine, Bill Ricks. I couldn't help but add the caption. I'm sure he would have chosen something less humorous, but hey, finders, keepers, right?)

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

I miss purple Garfields

Yesterday, as I sat in my dentist's chair, watching The Kiddo color the Garfield coloring sheet they gave her to keep her occupied, I realized that I missed purple Garfields.

I watched The Kiddo as she carefully colored within the lines, choosing the orange Crayola to properly color in the famous fat cat. Two or three years ago, The Kiddo would have dispensed with conventional wisdom and gone with purple or pink or some other wild color. And she would have not bothered to color within the lines.

But thanks to public school and dozens of grown-ups (not me, never me) telling her that the sky should be blue and the sun should always be a yellow circle, this time Garfield was his traditional orange.

I thought about that move toward safety in conventionality, thought about how it might apply to writers.

When we first start out, most of us don't know the rules. We don't know the jargon. We just throw words on the page with the abandon of a pre-schooler scribbling Garfield purple. The rush that gives us is indescribable.

But then we learn. We learn about plot points and hooks and blurbs and character development and how celebrity and athlete heroes never sell.

So we opt for the safe road.

Sure, our writing improves on some levels. Now we are paying attention to format and our highpowered sales exec hero isn't bashful and shy because we know that he wouldn't have gone into sales if he hadn't been a people person to begin with.

But we worry. As that cursor flashes, we find ourselves worrying if we've picked the RIGHT shade of orange for our Garfields. We obsess about format and plot and motivation as carefully as any third grader worries about neatly coloring in the lines.

Yes, we have to conform. Publishing is a business, after all. But let's not forget that wild feeling of power we had when we decided that Garfield SHOULD be purple.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

The oldest argument on earth

Ok, well, the second oldest, anyway, and the Permed-Dachshund and the Serious Attack Kat keep it alive. Here, the war is over the beloved arm of the sofa, and it looks like the Serious Attack Kat has maintained a firm grip on the high ground.

(And, yes, thank you, my migraine IS better! Yay! One more day, and I'll feel like writing again!)

Monday, March 08, 2010

Today I Won't Even Try

I am a migraineur ... one of the 28 million or so Americans who suffer from migraines. Lucky for me, I (a) don't have them very often, and (b) have warning "auras" before the sledgehammer pain and acute light sensitivity kick in.

Unlucky for me, today is a migraine day. Actually, it's Day 2, and you know how sequels stink.

So I give you, from (WHY WON'T MY LINK THINGIE WORK TODAY OF ALL DAYS???!!!???), my best writing/life advice EVAH:

Friday, March 05, 2010

Mighty Dog

Christmas 2009, I made the VAST mistake of telling The Kiddo that we could adopt a stray dog that was hanging out at a local store. When said stray had, er, strayed, and as I was faced by a torrent of tears and "but you SAIDs," I made another rash promise: to find her a dog.

It's not like we didn't already have a dog, a big old chocolate Labrador impersonating a Rottweiler. The Kiddo, however, wanted a LITTLE dog. A dog that was JUST hers.

I can admit, now that I'm fab and forty and all grown up and have embraced the philosophy of embracing one's limitations, that I am more of a cat person than a dog person. Don't get me wrong -- I like dogs.

Cats, however, are self-contained and not so needy. They don't call that guilt-inducing look dogs give you "puppy eyes" for nothing.

I'd promised, though, so we got a dog. It's a dachshund/poodle mix -- think a weiner dog with a perm. She's a cute little gal, and wouldn't you know it? The dog has bonded more with me than anybody else. She curls up on my feet at night. She follows every step I make. She won't go out for anybody else, and if it's raining, forget it. Even I can't make her go out very easily. She pulls the old "puppy eyes" trick on me. "Hey, lady," she seems to be saying, "would YOU go potty in the rain?"

Rain is one thing, but snow is quite another. She loves snow (as does the Kiddo, but that's to be expected.) We had a rare "snow event" in February, and a friend of mine caught this pix of her ... shouldn't she be wearing a red cape with a big M for Mighty Dog?

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Forget the experts, I'm in need of an intervention

Dang the invention of the DVR. Pre-DVR, I was such a techno-fumblefingers that there was no way I could program my VCR's clock, much less schedule recording shows and making sure I had a blank tape in there.

But oh, the ease that my DVR provides. With one click of a button, I can record a whole series of programs that I have no business watching because I should be writing in that 45-minute time span.

I can't resist, though. Criminal Minds whispers into my head things like, "Sheesh, what smart plot twist will they come up with next?"

I have to admit, I've long been a sucker for a serial killer novel. (I know, weird. I write romance and women's fiction, but when I grow up, I wanna be Tess Gerritsen.) I don't like horror, however I love to have the willies scared out of me by a good writer.

I'm also a sucker for an ensemble cast. I lie to myself and say that it shows me how you can reveal a lot about a character through showing (in tiny little tidbits) and not telling. Really, though, I watch it for the characters as much as the plot.

Criminal Minds is the best of both worlds, which is strange, because for ages I ignored the show. I thought it was about crimes told from the point of view of, I dunno, criminals. But then one day I was home, alone, and there was Season One on A&E, a marathon. Omigosh, but I was hooked. Thus began my relationship with my DVR.

I have been entirely too OCD about managing this addiction. I have a list of all the Criminal Minds episodes, and as I watch one, I strike it off. Currently, thank goodness, I have managed to watch all of Season One, all but one episode of Seasons 2 and 3, with a few from Season 4 and Season 5 still to bag. I admit, I'm looking forward to the time when all that I have waiting for me on my DVR is the one new episode a week.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

I Need An Expert

Despite what The Husband says, I do NOT think I'm the end-all, be-all Genius of Our Time. My head full of useless trivia (such as hallux is the name of the big toe, and that the Pluto we know wasn't Mickey Mouse's original dog) must annoy the stew out of him. Especially when I can spout off stuff like that, and yet admit that, "uh, I forgot the dry-cleaning. Again."

As it happens, there's a lot of stuff I DON'T know. I learn that every time I begin a new book (like now! Wee! I'm in love! Stay tuned to see if It Will Last.) That's when the yawning chasm of my continued ignorance can't be ignored, as I'm trying to figure out the answer to The Big Question (Will My Plot Hold Water?!?!)

Oh, I start out with the easy internet search, and that leads to another three or four hours bouncing from one site to another. But so much of the internet these days has fallen prey to C&Pitis ... someone has copied and pasted until the whole big Google search result is the exact same thing, or most of it anyway.

That's when I start e-mailing people I know AND people I don't know. Right now, for instance, I'm in need of the answer to one simple question about public defenders in Georgia. (Yeah, yeah, that one question will be like the heads of Hydra: once slain, it will produce two more questions.)

Most of the time, complete and total strangers will be nice enough to help out. They read my sincere question and my sincere promise that I will put them in my acknowledgements and move onto my sincere(ly outdated) website. And then they'll throw me a bone.

This time? With lawyers? Not so much. Not a single bite to my respectful entreaties. So ... guess it's back to figuring out who I know who knows someone else who knows someone else. I've heard it said that we're all just two people away from getting/finding out anything we want.

But if you know a little something-something about public defenders in Georgia, by all means, let me know! I promise! You're a shoo-in for my acknowledgements page!