Thursday, July 30, 2009


This post is dedicated to Shannon Stacey.

Seven weeks ago, Shannon posted on her blog about a new publisher with an impressive pedigree. Curious, because Shannon has also posted about new publishers that looked abysmal, I clicked over to check them out. And was impressed. I investigated backgrounds, Googled for more info, and thought, "hey, I wonder if this would be a good place to try Black Widow".

Yous see, BW is my problem child. I wrote it to target a defunct line of romantic adventure books in which the romance was often light or untraditional. And boy, did I go balls out on the untraditional with this one. But they didn't like it.

I sold the book to Inara Press because it didn't have a chance in you-know-where for a home anywhere else, and come on. Inara Press! I was still in full Firefly obsession back then. But Inara succumbed to reality before we even got to editorial.

The great thing about start-up publishers is their time frame. Query to submission to contract offer in 22 days!

I don't have a release date yet because the revisions this book requires are whew let me sit down, but I'm fully in love with the publisher and my editor and will shout the news as I have it. But you can make a mental note now:

Black Widow. Quartet Press. Coming soon.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

All in Suzuki Life of Manns

I left with some friends at noonish yesterday to head to NYC, got home at 4:05 this morning, and got up just before noonish today. It was a rockin' 24 hours!

First, huge thanks to Megan for driving into NYC, which is always an experience. We shall never forget her creative curses thrown at other drivers, many of whom also had out-of-state plates but jumped on the "moron city driver" bandwagon with relish.

Second, nearly as huge thanks to my friends. How often can people spend 16 hours together, non-stop, and not only not run out of things to talk about, but never get annoyed with each other or have any kind of tension? You guys rock harder than the bands did!

So. The bands.

The venue, Sullivan Hall, was fine. Standing only, which was annoying but tolerable, especially since we got there at 6:45 or so and there was hardly anyone there. The sound was kind of bad, but we were right up front, so everything sounded mostly okay to us, except when there was feedback.

Ace in Blind was a pretty decent rock band from New Haven, who thanked their friends and family for coming down for the gig. So cute. Sad that they didn't have more people there, but we helped make up for it by buying their CD. I also got their T-shirt for Number One, and told her wearing a shirt for an obscure band makes her look cool. Or she could tell her friends it's a band her mom went to see in NYC, which would make me look cool. But she said that would make her look like a dork. Oh, well.

Next was Andy Suzuki, who played with The Method, I think he said. He had a high, sweet voice, very emotional lyrics, and tons of energy. The band was really interesting, with the typical guitar, bass, keyboard, and drums, but also another guy who did all kinds of eclectic percussion, a backup soloist (his sister!--Mom sold his CDs for him), and the coolest, an electric fiddle. He was good. He dueled with the guitarist and his fingers flew! The instrument sounded even sweeter than Andy did.

Doesn't he look a lot like Joseph Gordon-Levitt?

Next came Life of Riley. I became a Riley fan (love that name, too, have it slated to use in a book :) ) back when Jason Manns first did a tour with them, and they were great on stage. I was disappointed when they had to stop.

Which was a real problem with the whole setup. But I'll get to that.

Finally, we got to Jason. He was accompanied by Jonah, the Life of Riley drummer, and that was a great enhancement. The backup percussion supported Jason's guitar and his incredible voice, and they had nice on-stage chemistry. I grinned every time Jason growled, and my friends looked at me and laughed every. single. time. But damn, it was WAY too short.

Here's the problem. The bill was typical--less experienced bands first, more well-known, experienced, skilled performers last. But the bar had another gig at midnight. So when the first band started nearly half an hour late and ran 45 minutes over, it pushed all the others, so the last one, the one we traveled 8 hours to see, was the shortest. Jason didn't have time to play any of his new stuff and left off many of the favorites (damn, I really want to hear "Journey" live--maybe someday).

Still, it's a minor complaint. We did have time to meet Life of Riley and talk to Jason for a little bit.

Overall, it was well worth the trip, and I'm satisfied for now. I won't have to go to such extremes to go see Jason play again, at least not for a while, though I do expect to see him again sometime. I already feel like a groupie, can't make that complete without the actual hanging around part. :)

Now, to try to recover enough from the trip to survive the rest of the summer...

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Extreme Perseverance

I'm blogging today over at Magical Musings. Come check it out! I'm giving away a free book, too, either a paperback copy of my latest, Indulgence II, or an e-book of your choice from my backlist. All comments count, even if it's just "hi!" :)

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Things that Are Annoying Me This Week

ETA: I remembered the third thing! Look below!

1. Visible bras with tank tops.

If the tank is too see-through to go without a bra, it's too see-through to wear by itself. If the tank has thin straps, it probably also has a built-in bra, and if that's not sufficient for you, you shouldn't be wearing a tank by itself. Just my opinion. I think visible bra straps are trashy and I don't want to see them.

2. Readers who try to dictate to me.

I'm really sick of e-book readers telling everyone we're dinosaurs and MUST move into the 21st century and change our ways (and paper readers who decry the push for e-books--no one's threatening your reading preferences). Today's society is all about choice, and that's what readers have, too. A choice to read an old-fashioned paper book or an electronic book. The options exist for a reason.

Case in point:
I know a guy who reads about a dozen books a year at an average of $8.00 per book. That's $96 (plus tax) to get the reading experience. So why should he spend $300 in addition to that? He's expressed interest in dedicated e-readers, but it doesn't make sense to him. I told him he can read them on his Blackberry, and he pooh-poohed that immediately. Screen too small, and he doesn't want to be tethered to an outlet when the battery zips down to nothing.

Many people I know who read avidly can't afford an e-reader or just plain don't want to read on a screen. And I also know many people who love the accessibility of their iPhones or Blackberries or Kindles or Sonys and can't imagine going back to paper. That's fine. It's personal.

So all you judgmental people, just mind your own business and leave ours alone. (Note: this diatribe stems from comments at a PW post regarding the B&N announcement of it's e-store.) (Another note: I am aware of the irony of telling people to stop judging when I did that in #1.)

3. I had another thing that was irking me yesterday, but now I can't think of it. I'll come back and edit this post if I do. In the meantime, feel free to jump in and share what's annoying YOU this week! :)

ETA: I remembered the other thing. It's magazines that have a teaser on the cover, but the table of contents don't use any of the words in that teaser, so you don't know which article it is. For example, Harrisburg magazine had "Spice up your summer" and the "Spice" font was reminiscent of Harlequin Spice, so I wanted to see if that's what it was about. The word "spice" was NOWHERE in the table of contents. I decided it was the recipe section, though that was pushing it, as there was only one recipe that had anything remotely spicy. And it took me forever to flip through the magazine. I was at work. I don't have that kinda time, you know? :)

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Books to Film

I just finished reading the first book in the Sookie Stackhouse series, curious after watching True Blood how close it came. I liked it enough that I plan to get the second book, because I'm still curious, though not enough to run right out and get it.

I'm not exactly sure why that is. It may be because the show was amazingly close to the tone of the book, overall, as well as to the events. I felt like I'd been watching the show, not reading. Unfortunately, while I really liked Anna Paquin's Sookie and Sam Trammell's Sam, I didn't care for Bill at all, and that carried over to the book. I can't tell if I'd feel any differently if I hadn't watched the show first.

So I can't say I liked one better than the other (book versus movie), which is a rarity.

It's always more straightforward when things go the other way, and I read the book before seeing the movie.


A true Harry Potter fan has to have certain expectations going into a Harry Potter movie:

1. The casting will be mostly great.
2. The atmosphere will be awesome (kudos to cinematography, set dressing, props, costuming, makeup, etc.).
3. The quality of the acting will have improved (for the young ones, anyway--the older ones are mostly awesome, too).
4. The script will suck.

We all understand--intellectually, anyway--the difficulties inherent in condensing these very chock-full books into a 2-and-a-half-hour film. But some things are just incomprehensible to us. As a writer, I get putting your own stamp, your own twist, on an adaptation. But you don't f*** with Harry Potter.

For the most part, Half-Blood Prince is very well done. I found it to be the best of the six movies, overall. I was so pleased with the smooth editing, a huge improvement over the jerking around of Order of the Phoenix. I also--after the initial moment of disapproval--liked the way they incorporated Draco's thread into the film. It couldn't have been handled the way it was in the book, it just wouldn't have worked. And to see his desperation, his intensity, was a treat. Tom Felton did a fabulous job.

There was a ton of humor in this film, too, more than most. Ron and Harry under the influence of their various potions were delightful breaks of normal character. (One fave moment was "and the pincers" with the little hand gestures and clicking.) Through the bulk of the film, I was okay with how they'd "outed" the Harry/Ginny feelings for each other and the Hermione feelings for Ron, all of which were much more obvious than in the book. Since the movie gives us more than one point of view, that was realistic and fun. And it helped solidify Harry and Hermione's sibling-type friendship, which will hold them in good stead for the final movie(s).

But it all kind of fell apart at the end. There were some elements that worked, but they were among others that, for me, didn't work at all, and left me dissatisfied.

1. That kiss. In the book, Ginny gives Harry a hard, blazing look and runs to him, throwing her arms around him, and he kisses her deeply. It's TOTALLY a movie kiss. In the movie, it's gentle, he doesn't know it's coming...and they completely drop the entire thing until the very end, capping it with a tossaway "Ron's okay with it." With what?! There's nothing going on!

So okay, big deal, at least they're together, right? But then...

2. The kiss happens while Ginny is guiding Harry to hide the potions book in the room of requirement. Grrr, because only Harry has been in there, alone, when it's a hiding warehouse, but never mind. And the changing of the reason he's hiding it cuts a lot of pages and it's believable, it fits the movie story, so okay. But she has him close his eyes so he doesn't even know where it is. This shreds any hope I have for the final movie(s). (In the book, Harry marks the book's location with a bust, wig, and tarnished tiara that turns out to be the diadem of Ravenclaw, one of Voldemort's horcruxes. Without that, there's no reason to return to Hogwarts, where the epic final battle takes place.)

And hey, while we're on the topic of horcruxes...

3. They dropped a lot of the Dumbledore/Harry discussions and exposition. Sure, it would be slightly tedious and drag out the movie, but please. Take five minutes to lay out how many horcruxes there are left and what they are likely to be, so Harry's not working completely blind. (On the other hand, nice little touch with the ring and the flash and Dumbledore's dawning expression as he realizes what it means.)

Then we get to the very end. The inciting event that puts Harry on his path to death and Voldemort's defeat. Aaaaannnnndddd...WTF?

4. Why not have Dumbledore freeze Harry under the cloak, as in the book? I found it impossible to suspend disbelief that Harry would stand by like that, or that Draco could disarm Dumbledore without the distraction he had in the book. Snape knowing Harry was there feels wrong, though I don't think that change has a huge impact. I understand why they dropped the battle scene, though I lament the loss of the connection with the other DA members. They don't want to detract from the last movie(s), and it would have been expensive and add length they didn't want to add (though I don't think a three-hour movie would be a problem; it never is!).


5. Harry's confrontation with Snape left me wanting, too. Some of it was spot on, like "Fight back, you coward!" and "Don't you call me coward!" But the "Until you learn to keep your mouth closed and your mind shut..." line was highly significant. And I was completely distracted by Hagrid's hut being aflame and Harry not at all concerned that Hagrid might be burning alive. (In the book, Hagrid is outside after the Deatheaters come past, and it's Fang inside, with Hagrid battling.)

Bottom line:

The end result is a strange mix. Every other HP movie, I've had to see multiple times. The first time is to get through the "they changed that...they changed that..." compulsion. The second time is usually a lot better than the first, and I often see them a third time, just to absorb the whole thing or catch details I missed.

This time, I feel more satisfied with the movie as a whole. It engaged me fully, so I wasn't muttering mentally all the way through. Yet I'm unhappy enough that I don't want to see it again and feel even more dissatisfied.

The one thing that hasn't changed, though, is that it made me want to read the books again, despite having just done so a couple of months ago. :)

Monday, July 20, 2009

Taking a Breath

I finally have a moment to do so!

*inhales deep*

Wanna see what I've been doing around the web?

At Supernatural Sisters, I explained why I love the classic episode "Roadkill." (Classic as in "prior to season 4")

At the Gabwagon, I expressed my disappointment at how the RWA annual general meeting proceeded last Thursday.

Coming up, I get to be a guest at the fabulous Magical Musings, talking about how evolution of a career often brings you back to basics. And about how I type with my cat stretched across my wrists. That will be on Thursday, but check out their other great posts in the meantime. I love reading what those smart ladies have to say, though I confess to rarely having comments.

So. Taking a breath? Last week was of the "incredible that I made it through" variety.

I already posted about this. It was slightly better on Friday. I also have to work a couple of days this week, and I'm feeling more confident. Though the file I couldn't find was apparently where it was supposed to be, which made me feel dumb.

Harry Potter was excellent. Mostly. I'll do another post later that has spoilers, but don't want to bury them here. I think it was the most well done of all the movies, and so much better than the last one as far as cohesiveness and narrative flow. Most of the things they changed, I understood and thought they did well. A few didn't make sense why they changed them, and two big things bothered me a lot and made me afraid for the last movie(s). But, as I said, more later.

Tuesday, of course, ran into Wednesday. When teenagers go to sleep at 4:30 a.m. (ish), they don't really want to get up in the morning. I was aiming for home at noon, but got them all delivered by 1:00. Then I barely had time to get some work done before I drove to DC with Number One, who got to go to her first booksigning ever and meet authors who write the stuff she reads, not just people who are her mother's friends first, authors second. We had a nice dinner and some great conversation, and got home about 10:00 p.m.

Up at 6 to drive back to DC with Misty Simon and Vicki Smith. It was a pretty smooth ride into DC, despite being rush hour (and just after) and we got to the hotel in plenty of time for the main meeting, which was half fiasco (see Gabwagon post). The rest of the day was awesome, though. I got to see a bunch of people (though not as many as I would have seen if I'd been attending the actual conference, which makes me sad, but maybe next year I can make it work!) and spend quality time with Agent Awesome. Cathy McDavid and Libby ICanNeverRememberHerLastName had their second annual wine party, which was tons of fun. I didn't want to leave, but finally forced myself to. We got home about 2:45 a.m.

More freelance work in a.m., outside work in p.m., birthday cake shopping that failed, birthday dinner that did not.

Sleeping IN. More freelance work. Soccer game beach party.

Two people ended up dropping by, one foreseen, one a pleasant surprise. I had a very nice visit, but spent so much time trying to get Number One's birthday present to work right that the freelance work delayed grocery shopping, which I now I have to do tonight while Number Two is at soccer practice. But the good thing is that, despite some running around and the tightness of scheduling that working outside causes, this week should be MUCH more breathable than last. :)

Funny Story of the Week:

I took my husband's car to DC, because it's a hybrid and bigger than mine, so more comfortable for passengers. The speedometer is lined up differently than mine is--that's my only explanation, unless it's flat-out wrong, because I had it on cruise and I never set it that high. Then there's the fluctuating speed limit on route 15. Not excuses--I deserved to be pulled over. Just reasons.

So it's 1:30 in the morning, three women in a car, all dressed up. He asks where we're coming from, I say DC. Asks if I'd had anything to drink. I said about "this much" wine, showing a couple of inches, a few hours before. It was actually that much twice, but in a small plastic cup--really less than a full glass overall, and I finished the last bit about...I don't know, 10:30? But of course he wouldn't take my word (and rightfully so) so guess what?

I got to do my first ever field sobriety test and BreathalyzerTM! Of course, I passed with flying colors. And get this--he gave me a warning for the speeding. That has NEVER happened to me before in my life.

Misty said it was the cleavage shirt.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

We Now Welcome You to the Survival Portion of Our Summer

My former boss called me on Friday in a panic. She needed me to fill in while a former colleague was on leave. I worked all day yesterday, and...yeah. After three years, I don't remember anything. Especially stuff I never did. It was quite a challenge. Looking forward to Friday. Right.

I currently have five animated teenagers playing Wii while they wait to leave for the midnight showing of Harry Potter. We found out that the theater had sold out theaters 1 through 9 by 6 this evening. That line will be fun. Right.

Tomorrow I have to get 5 kids to different locations, four of them after they were up past 3:00 a.m. Then I have to try to finish a formatting job before I drive to DC, mainly because I'll be in DC all day Thursday, too, and much of the night. Which will be awesome while I'm there, I'm not complaining, but oy.

I'm just hangin' on, taking everything one minute at a time. I don't know how the heck other people manage even busier schedules. I guess they just do it.


Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Status Report

I am wayyy behind. I spent much of today dealing with Verizon's nationwide meltdown, which entailed going to the library to check e-mail and retrieve a file I needed for a client for a new, rush job. The meltdown seems to have been averted, and everything is now accessible to me from home.

But I didn't get any new writing done on Zoe yesterday, and today looks bad, too.

I did the preliminary edit and most of the formatting for book 1, just waiting for some details from that client. Book 2 is in the works. Judging contest entries--well, since today's Wednesday, I should have three done. I have one. Deadline is weeks away though, so that's okay.

But lookee!

*Post to Gabwagon and Supernatural Sisters blogs

*Do short writeups for book sequels

I actually did something completely enough to cross it off!

Oh, and in other good news, a really great guy was helping me with the PDF thing and magically, it was fixed. I suspect the Verizon problem was the culprit, their glitches interfering with my PDFServlet thingy. Yes, I'm a techie, can't you tell? The new DVR receiver arrived this morning, so I need to get that installed and set up sometime. But not now. Now, back to rush job for Cool Client!

*rushes off*

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Incompetence Drives Me Insane

Last night, our DVR receiver died.

At first, it wasn't dead, it was only sick. The picture cut in and out, and it kept flashing messages about trying to connect to the satellite. Eventually, resetting it got me locked into nothing while it failed to download satellite info. So I bit the bullet and called DirecTV. He had me switch the satellite 1 and 2 cables and hit reset.

THEN it died.

"Oh, gee, I'm sorry, our only option now is to send you a replacement receiver." He totally ignored me all three times I said this was the third receiver in less than a year, and why did they keep sending us crap?

Yeah, I know, I'd switch to Verizon FiOS in an instant, but DirecTV holds us hostage with their exclusive contract with the NFL. I can't live without the NFL Sunday Ticket. Well, I can, but I don't have to, so I refuse to. That's what keeps my husband married to me, you know. :)

So that's our choice, which means I have to deal with crap and idiots. Hey, at least it happened in the summer. If it had happened during the regular season, and I'd lost the entire season of Supernatural? You'd have heard the roar of fury, no matter where on the planet you are.

But that's not all. The frustration continues. Today I got an e-mail that my mortgage statement was ready for viewing. For the third month in a row, I can't open it. I get a blank screen, no matter what browser I'm using. I double checked, and Adobe Reader is completely up to date. I can open every other PDF I try, from any other site I've been on. I can open all statements prior to May. But May, June, and July, I can't open. Last month I sent an e-mail, and got what was probably an automated response that they were mailing copies and for future convenience, I could go to the website to access my statements from my account...

So today I called them. The CSR tells me there's no problem from their end. Asks me if I consulted a computer professional. What the ? I asked for technical support and got an "I'm sorry, ma'am."

There's no upside to this one.

I'm not paying a computer professional because of this random, specific glitch. It would be different if I was having a problem with all PDFs, or even just random, specific PDFs from other sites. But it's just this one.

I supposed I'll have to go spend time I don't have looking for smart, competent people on some forums somewhere that might have a solution. God forbid the mortgage company should HIRE SOME OF THEM.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Alibi Junior High

I've been reading a lot of YA fiction lately, because there's so much good stuff out there. But so much of it is female-centric. It's a problem I only sympathize with from the outside, because I have daughters and that limits my perspective. But as a professional, I'm aware that YA and middle grade fiction targeting boys, or even about boys (because hey, girls don't mind reading about boys!) is rarer than it should be.

I haven't read Alibi Junior High yet, but I just added it to my Wish List. Spies, adventure, normal life, even a little (crush-level) romance! Sounds excellent!

Summer Swampage

I am so swamped.

I'm not quite sure how it happened. Holiday weekends can be deceiving, I guess. They're undemanding, family-oriented, relaxing, etc. Then Monday comes, and blammo.

What I have to do this week:

*Finish Zoe (about 10k or so left)

*Edit two books for clients

*Format both books

*Judge contest entries

*Post to Gabwagon and Supernatural Sisters blogs

*Do short writeups for book sequels

*Prepare for chapter meeting on Saturday

That's just the work stuff. I have to squeeze it in between Number Two's percussion lessons and soccer training, tomorrow's City Islanders game in Maryland against DC United, and all the regular family/pet/household stuff that never goes away.

Next week gets even crazier, if you can believe it. So I'm keeping this short, because even though I've been working diligently for hours, I still have tons to do.

Wish me luck!

Sunday, July 05, 2009


The kids are at the pool. I have an hour before I go get them. I should be writing.

But I'm procrastinating because nearly everything I wrote yesterday must go. Thousands of words. I don't have to cut that much very often, but it's so painful when I do. Not because I want to keep the words. I knew they were wrong as I wrote them, but my brain wouldn't go in the right direction. No, it's painful because I always keep track of word count, I always have a self-imposed deadline or goal, and setbacks SUCK. HARD.

Alas, it must be done. I'm going to force myself to stop here, before I start to ramble, and go redirect Grant and Zoe to the proper location and sequence of events.

Wish me luck.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Harper's Island, Etc.

I am very sad that this show did so poorly. Is it one of the best on TV? Hell, no. But it's been really interesting to extend the typical old horror movie format. We actually come to care for the characters before they get killed. We have people we really want to root for, and complex relationships instead of just random screaming and stuff.

I was going to comment on Sandy's excellent write-ups at Sci Fi Chicks, but I'm a couple of weeks late and my comments really exceed comment level. But go read them, she's got some excellent insight and theorizing.

The best example of the characterization on this show is Cal and Chloe. So many of us were rooting for them to die quickly. But Cal turned out to be not a silly, pathetic man desperate for the supermodel type toying his affections. He was brave, and honorable, and confident in himself despite the huge contrast between himself and Henry's macho friends. And Chloe won me over when she fought for her engagement ring. She was a weak person in her fear, but sympathetic and believable, and she found tons of inner strength in the end.

Henry and Abby are supposed to be the central focus of the show, but Cal and Chloe's deaths were harder to take than anyone else's. Cal's determination to save her, even when his chances were infinitesimal, and Chloe's four simple words--"You can't have me" when she let go and fell to her death on her own terms (kind of). Incredibly poignant, and how the heck are they going to top it?

There's been other good stuff, too. I admired Jim Beaver more than ever because I think he, himself, is awesome, and I adore Bobby. But no matter how hard I tried, I really didn't like the sheriff. I don't think I was supposed to, but it was so subtle, and then such a contrast to his final scene, when he poured so much love and emotion into his begging to Abby.

Now they've made us suspicious of Jimmy. I'm not buying it. They made us suspicious of JD with trumped-up evidence, then of the sheriff with blatant clues. So Jimmy was in jail once, and the sheriff had a file on him. Of course he did! He didn't like the guy, and Jimmy loved his daughter. Could have been a reason for her to come back, something her father definitely didn't want. He wanted her healthy and whole and away from the horror he'd lived, more than once, on that island.

As Sandy pointed out, over there on SciFi Chicks, we're in the difficult final hours, where we care more about nearly everyone, and deaths have an impact on us. If HI follows horror movie tradition, only two people will be left. So let's see who we have:

1. Madison. They're not going to kill the kid, though then it would defy tradition, so probably three will survive.

2. Shea. I don't mind if she dies, but then Madison would be alone, and that would suck.

3. Danny. He can die. Probably will.

4. Sully. Probably second only to Cal and Chloe in the character arc. He was a jerk trying to take another guy's girl. Then he let her go, befriended the guy, and saved his life. Unevenly, apparently, but then, that didn't matter much in the end. I don't want him to die. He probably will, too.

5. Jimmy. I was mad when he was apparently killed. Interesting shift, the way he was spared. I like him enough to keep me from expecting Henry and Abby from getting together. Because that seems the way things should go, doesn't it? There's speculation that he's Wakefield's child, but that would make him Abby's brother, because her mother was the Wakefield kid's mother, too, and that's just icky. Though they DID go to great pains to show us how they never had sex, and why.

6. Trish. She's been interesting. I keep going back and forth between not liking her and liking her. She's not a pure stereotype, and I've always been glad she didn't display animosity or jealousy toward Abby and Henry's protectiveness toward her. She's gonna die.

7. Henry. He's been consistent and solid, the stable centerpiece for Abby's whirling morass of emotion. I'm on the fence about him. I can see him going either way, but if he dies, Jimmy survives, or vice versa. Unless...

8. Abby is the heroine, the main protagonist, the one with the baggage and the relationship to the bad guy. So she's going to survive, and she's probably going to be the one to kill Wakefield. The only question is under what circumstances? Will she and Jimmy and Henry and Trish (and Madison, to be adopted and in therapy the rest of her life) all make it? Happy ending, hope for the future? Or will it just be Abby, alone and stranded on an island among all the dead?

I usually spend the summer watching a TV show on DVD, something with multiple seasons and stuff. This summer, it's not happening. I did True Blood and I have Entourage, but only one season of each (there is only one season of TB, and Entourage is released so far apart, I've been watching as it goes) and they aren't real seasons.

This summer, that's okay, because there's a lot I'm interested in checking out. Mostly on cable networks, but some on the big ones. Merlin and The Philanthropist I have started recording but haven't watched yet. Virtuality, a failed pilot, is sitting on the DVR, too.

Leverage and Eureka return this month. Warehouse 13 interests me. And then there's Royal Pains. I first fell for Mark Feuerstein on Caroline in the City wayyy too long ago to think about. Then I liked him in Good Morning Miami. I haven't watched everything he does, but the premise and his starring role intrigued me enough to check it out. And I happened to have four eps piled up (vacation is to blame!) so I watched three last night. And I really like it! The setting is gorgeous, of course, and his character is too good a guy to dismiss. I'm not too sure about Jill yet. She's okay acting-wise, but a bit too close to the throwaway rich beauties surrounding them, looks-wise. The other secondary characters are awesome, especially Tucker. This one's a definite winner for me!

The other show I'm recording, I don't want to watch: MTV's 16 and Pregnant. I just feel a parental responsibility to watch with my 14-year-old. I'm not going to let the fact that she spent all day yesterday working out her high school schedule (all four years!) to best benefit her into the future (subject to change) lure me into complacency. It would be all too easy. But smart, mature, forward-thinking girls, even ones who still avoid boys-as-boys, still fall prey to hormones and emotion. I'm not above scare tactics to help prevent mistakes. So we'll see what we think of that show once I force myself to force her to sit down and watch. :)

What TV are you into this summer?

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Not Battable

I always swore I would not be a cliché. That I would be open and accepting, because it's just the way life goes. But I can't help it:

Getting old sucks.

Shut up, Bicky! LOL

But you know why it sucks? It's not because of my weird tanning/freckling or the slight wrinkles on my face, or the fact that everything creaks when I stand up (that's the lack of exercise as much as the aging).

It sucks because my eyelashes have disappeared.

I don't wear makeup much anymore because it's a pain, and because it makes no difference. I only ever wore eye makeup, but now the eyeliner and shadow get absorbed in a few hours and the mascara doesn't have enough to adhere to, so instead of highlighting my eyes, it just irritates them.

So I was excited when I saw the ad in People magazine for Latisse. Even though I knew I couldn't justify whatever the cost is for a little vanity. I did some research this morning, read some reviews, looked at the before-and-afters...and it's really, really tempting.

Results, of course, vary. My lashes are shorter and sparser than most of the ones in the gallery, and one or two of the featured subjects didn't have a very big difference. Some had a HUGE difference, though, enough to make me salivate. The side effects are minimal--temporary itching and redness for some people--and the process simple and convenient.

The cost is usually $120, plus whatever the local doctor would charge (there are only 2) to see me and prescribe/provide it. And the results fade after you stop using it. Plus...who cares if I have short lashes? I mean, it would be nice to look better. I'm not totally unattractive, overall, and it's hard to see my best features (eyes, lips) fading away. I don't spend much time looking at myself, and I don't see other people all that much, and they probably aren't sitting there thinking, "I'd be enjoying this conversation so much better if Natalie had nicer eyelashes."

So I guess I'll skip it. Unless someone wants to treat me for my birthday. :)

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Five Things Make a Post

CE Murphy is always saying that on her blog, and I keep thinking of little things to post, and that sounded more interesting to put in the subject line than something generically random.

1. I have a vacation story I forgot to tell. It's not that unique, but still amazing. We were down in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, near the Great Smoky Mountains, right on the edge of the national park, and nearly 600 miles from home.

So on Wednesday night of last week, I was walking back to our cabin from the pool. There's a couple sitting on the porch of the cabin next to ours, and the guy calls out to me. A few questions about our hot tub, our grill, etc. I, cold and wet and anti-social, kept trying to escape into the cabin, but he kept calling out to me. Finally, he asked where we're from.

Me: "Pennsylvania."

Him: "Us, too!" Before I can ask, he adds, "Harrisburg area!"

Okay, that's freaky, so I stop and actually give him my attention. "So are we!"

Together: "Mechanicsburg!"

Turns out, they live literally about a block away from us. Their street is behind our house, on the other side of the parallel street. He had his granddaughters with him, and Number One had come outside when she heard me yelling across, so he asked how old my girls were. Turns out...his younger granddaughter and Number One hang out in the mornings before school.

I apologized to him for being so rude. I told him if I was never going to see him again I wouldn't care, but since I could run into him at the grocery store... He didn't really listen, so I don't think he even noticed my rudeness.

2. I'm going to say something I never thought I'd say. In fact, some of you may think this isn't me, that my blog's been hijacked.

Scratch that. Very few of you will have any idea what I'm talking about. Where's Kim W. when I need her?! Oh, well, I'll say it anyway.

Terrell Owens has earned my respect.

I know. Totally O.o and :o and whatever the emoticon is for "are you out of your freakin' mind?"

You may know I really, REALLY don't like reality TV. I don't watch any, and never have. But on vacation, the kids wanted to watch Super Stars, and I was reading in the same room (family togetherness, 24/7) and got...well, hooked. It's going to be a regular Tuesday-night family date now.

The premise of the show is that a celebrity gets paired with an athlete. The kids wanted to watch because their favorite dancer from DWTS, Maks, is one of the celebrities. And it's a really fun show, with fun personalities. All except one. And no, that one is not Terrell Owens.

T.O. is the most loudmouthed, obnoxious member of the NFL. He is arrogant, disruptive to every team he is on...and, unfortunately, talented enough to make them tolerate it. But on Super Stars, he's met his match.

His partner is some supermodel I've never heard of. She spends all her time pooching her lips and smoothing her hair off her face. She wore goggles in one of the events--the only person who did--so she wouldn't mess up her eye makeup. And she continuously harangued her partner.

EVERY other team was supportive of each other, no matter how poorly they did, and even of other teams. By last night's show, the second round of competition, there was true camaraderie among everyone--except her. She is so friggin' SNOTTY. They got eliminated in the first round, but due to injury were brought back. No matter how poorly she does, everything is T.O.'s fault. She drops non-stop F-bombs, says "you call yourself an athlete?" and "you're not worth the millions they pay you" and so on. She's HATEFUL.

And here's why I respect T.O. He's totally the kind of guy who can give as good as he gets. But it wasn't that kind of environment, and he NEVER said anything back to her. He tried, very hard, to be a good sport, to cheer her on, to be a team player. He took her crap and refrained from whacking her upside the head, which I, a non-violent person most of the time, felt was completely justified. The worst he did was say, "I feel sorry for your boyfriend" as they walked away and he probably thought they were off camera.

Good for you, T.O. Impressive stuff.

Okay, well, 5 things can't make a post when you're this long-winded. Plus, I can't remember what else I was going to post about. Hope I wasn't too boring--I promise, tomorrow I'll be shorter and more interesting. I think.