Sunday, October 31, 2010

In Which I Ramble On (and on and on) about Supernatural

I just read Mo Ryan's review of "You Can't Handle the Truth," and that inspired me to finally(!) post here about Supernatural, despite the boatload of work waiting for me and the fact that my husband is about to arrive home after several days out of town.

Caution: There is a spoiler in this rambling based on the preview shown at the end of the episode.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Guest Blogger Toni Anderson, on Imagination

Natalie very generously invited me here to blog today. Thanks so much, Natalie.

I was thinking about what to blog about when I was struck by the concept of imagination.

IMAGINATION—power to create in one's mind

I have 3 full-length novels published. The first one is set on a ranch in Montana, the next two in Scotland. I’ve written other books set in South Dakota, Ireland, Northern Labrador, NYC, and England. Sometimes I use locations or jobs I’m familiar with but no matter how familiar I am with one aspect of a book there are still myriad details to research.

RESEARCH—examination, study

So I research like crazy, everything from location details to historical fact, witchcraft, psychic powers, police procedures, medical conditions, flying helicopters, and the psychology of everything from serial killers to phobias to growing up without a father. The first story I ever wrote was called Her Sanctuary and is published by The Wild Rose Press. I love this story, but at the time I wrote it there was no information on how the FBI dealt with art fraud so I made it up—I had to. But after Her Sanctuary was published there was a whole TV series on how the FBI dealt with art fraud and counterfeits. I was so mad. :) I’m still mad because I hate getting facts wrong, and yet it is impossible to know everything about everything. And although there is such thing as poetic licence, I’ve noticed that nowadays people like much more fact with their fiction.

When researching Sea of Suspicion (Carina Press) I contacted a Fife police officer and swung a tour of the St. Andrews’s Police Station. I’d lived in the town for years but never had reason to visit the local nick. I set the story in the Marine Lab where I’d done my graduate studies so there was no need to do endless research on the location—it’s in my bones :). But I didn’t know anything about octopods (the heroine’s area of expertise) and found myself immersed in research on a subject that probably only takes up a few sentences in the book. I now know a lot about octopods.

Storm Warning (Carina Press) is also set in Fife, although down the coast in a town called Anstruther where I lived for 6 wonderful years. But although I knew the area, I still had to spend a solid week reading books about psychics. I interrogated spoke to a psychic lady in my writing chapter (Kiss of Death) who answered all my questions about what it felt like to be psychic. The main problem writing that book was that my heroine is as ignorant as I am and didn’t understand the sensations she was experiencing at the start of this book. I also gave my hero hydrophobia (not rabies, which is what the copyeditor suggested) from a childhood incident with a couple of bullies in the local swimming pool. I know a bit about phobias but needed to see how I could make the story work with an alpha hero who is scared of water and surrounded by the stuff (my previous agent told me never to use the word fear in association with a hero—any thoughts on that?).

Research and Imagination go hand-in-hand when creating a story. I like to think of the research as the structure and the imagination as the flow of a story. I’m about to dive into another story and hope you enjoy reading them as much as I enjoyed writing them.

So my question to you is how important is it to get the facts right in fiction?

Toni Anderson is a former Marine Biologist whose first Romantic Suspense novel, Her Sanctuary, was released in 2009, and her Scottish novels Sea of Suspicion & Storm Warning are available from Carina Press. She writes about her life and travels on her blog, Facebook and Twitter. Readers can sign up for her occasional newsletter and check up on her latest releases on her website and Facebook Fan Page.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Check Out Toni Anderson Tomorrow!

Tomorrow I'm delighted to host guest blogger Toni Anderson, who will talk about Imagination and getting details right.

Toni Anderson is a former Marine Biologist whose first Romantic Suspense novel, Her Sanctuary, was released in 2009, and her Scottish novels Sea of Suspicion & Storm Warning are available from Carina Press. She writes about her life and travels on her blog, Facebook and Twitter. Readers can sign up for her occasional newsletter and check up on her latest releases on her website and Facebook Fan Page.

Note: I'll have to post her blog after work tomorrow, so check it out in the afternoon! :)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Thoughts on TV and E-Book Reading

I did not see the draw of Alex O'Loughlin until I started watching Hawaii 5-0. Now I do, though I prefer Danno/Scott Caan, myself. :) Last week, I thought, "It would be nice to have a Kono-centric episode." And then I saw the preview for this week! Cool when writers anticipate my desires. :)

I'm not enjoying The Mentalist much this season. I think we're still two episodes behind, and if it wasn't nearly midnight, I would have wanted to watch another episode last night. But that's party because I'm eager to get to the Jim Beaver episode. Jane's been too much of a downer, and hasn't been involved enough with cases to really do much of his "thing." The cases have been kind of mundane, the guest stars flat, and way too little focus on the team (Grace, Rigsby, and Cho). I have to say, though, the actress playing Christina was fantastic in her "I'm dead" episode. SO creepy, and her catatonia and uneven eyes... *shudder*

I shall post a Supernatural post soon. I know, it's kind of shocking I haven't yet done it. I guess I've been spending all my thoughts in the comments at Supernatural Sisters. I will say I love this season, and I can't wait until the next episode each week. I will also say that my passion has matured and doesn't burn so hot, which is probably inevitable in the sixth year, and that Friday messes me up because I always forget that it's on! Not forget to watch it, but I don't have that excited anticipation I used to have all day Thursday. But that's okay. It's still the show I would most miss.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Sunglasses as Hair Accessories and Other Shopping Thoughts

I like the way my hair looks best when I shove my sunglasses up on my head. This mostly happens when I'm shopping, and in and out of stores, because that's the most convenient, safest place to put them (I don't carry a purse). Headbands don't replicate the look--I've tried. They're curved, and sunglasses, of course, are squared off. They don't make squared-off hair accessories, and even if they did, that would look stupid.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Catching Breath and Catching Up

I finally feel like I'm back to a normal schedule. I don't know if that means I'll be able to post here more often, or keep tabs on Twitter or Facebook, but I'll try. Here's some of the stuff I've been wanting to talk about but didn't have time:

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Things I'm Behind On

1. Client Work
I have a very laid-back, understanding, no-rush client who fell by the wayside for deadline work. I'm struggling to get caught up—he should be rewarded for his patience!

2. Blogging
I don't know if this counts as "behind," since it's clear I haven't followed any regular schedule here lately. Blogging other places takes away some potential topics.

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Overheard on the Soccer Field

Some guy standing behind me at the soccer field today said, "She's three-quarters Lhasapoo..." I didn't hear the rest, but it doesn't really matter. I'm still puzzling over that part.

How can that be possible?

A Lhasa Poo is already a mixed breed. Half Lhasa Apso, half Poodle. So if that was one parent, then the pup is one quarter lhasa, one quarter poodle, and half whatever the other parent was. If the other parent was a Lhasa Poo, then the pup is also a Lhasa Poo. If they're a Lhasa-something-else, then the pup is three-quarters Lhasa, but then only one quarter poodle and one quarter something-else.

Gah. Let me start over.

Let's say one parent was Lhasa Poo, half and half. The other parent was half Lhasa Poo and half, I dunno, retriever, which means one quarter Lhasa, one quarter Poo, and one half retriever...

1/4L + 1/4P + 1/8L + 1/8P + 1/4R

Got it! The pup would be THREE-EIGHTHS Lhasa Poo!

Is there another scenario I'm missing that could add up to 3/4 of a mixed breed?

Friday, October 01, 2010

Guest Blogging!

I'm over at Keri Ford's blog today! Come see what I have to say about the Evolution of an Idea!