Friday, March 24, 2006


I tend to dream in features. You know, very detailed, intense, full-color, full-emotion, full-sound dreams. High production values.

Unfortunately, it's usually in the few hours (hour?) before I wake up, and I end up feeling more tired than when I went to bed, even if I got eight and a half hours of sleep, like last night.

But it's no wonder. I mean, take this morning's dream. Megan was in it. A lot. She was about to celebrate her 10th anniversary by renewing her wedding vows. In her house. Which meant cleaning. And I noticed a spot on the wall and cleaned it. Which made--you've got it. A clean spot. So I spent half the dream cleaning her wall. Spraying and scrubbing. And trying not to mention the huge water stain in the wallpaper that meant her roof was leaking. She had enough to worry about.

There was a lot more going on, but the only other thing I remember is the male MS claimant. I never meet the claimants I do short term disability management for. And I can remember ONE male MS claimant in four years. But he was right there, in his wheelchair, demanding my time. And when he wasn't there, his paperwork was, staring me in the face, taunting me. Even after my alarm went off, I dreamed his paperwork was on my nightstand under my alarm clock.

Gotta go to work now. Pray there's no new claim on my fax machine for a male MS patient.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

It's the Characters, Stupid

I was reading this morning, while I dried my hair, a TIME magazine article about the way Hollywood makes movies (i.e. film versus digital).

One aspect of the discussion was that directors think the audience wants more technically advanced movies, and the best way to deliver that experience is by making all the theaters convert to digital, and making all the filmmakers switch to digital, and using better and better special effects so we want to see their movies on the big screen.

I don't know how the purported geniuses of the industry can be so damned blind. If you look at the top-grossing movies in history, there are two common elements. The moviemakers are apparently seeing that the top-grossing movies of all time have award-winning special effects. What they fail to understand is that we didn't shell out record amounts of money because of the sinking ship (Titanic), exploding volcano (Return of the King) or flying dragon (Goblet of Fire). We spent that money because of Jack and Rose, and Frodo and his friends, and HARRY. Because of their relationships, and their flaws, and their journeys.

If it was all about special effects, movies like Fantastic Four and The Island would be in the top 100. They're not. Forrest Gump, a movie with the kind of special effects you don't notice and a much, much higher weep quotient, would not be well above War of the Worlds.

2005 was a bad box office year, yet they're still talking about creating better images when what we really want are better stories.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Yes, That's Me You Hear Screaming

In total contrast to the happiness of the previous post, I am in total meltdown. Depression layered over anxiety with disgust and confusion mixed in. Life as I know it will never be the same.

Adam Vinatieri signed with the Colts.

Never mind that his 10-year career has been "berry berry good to [him]" (you have to be old enough to remember "Rodney Dangerfield Host the 9th Annual Young Comedians Special" on HBO to get that reference).

Never mind that he was making top money for a kicker in the entire NFL already.

Never mind the loyal fans who ADORE him.


Dirty Cheater

FINALLY. The incomparable Megan Hart has done it.

Not that she hadn't already done quite a bit. I mean, take a look at this. That's nearly three dozen somethings. (This one is my favorite. But maybe that's just 'cause I'm in it. {g})

But now she's gone a step above--a three-book deal with Harlequin Spice!

The first book is currently called Dirty, and it's really really good. Megan has a rich, lyrical style that's totally made for this imprint.

Cheater is the second book, and I haven't gotten to read any of it yet, but the premise is very intriguing.

I like my erotica with hefty plot, and these books epitomize the ideal. If this is the kind of stuff Spice is buying, they are going to do well.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Harry's World

One of the things I think is coolest about the Harry Potter Phenomenon is the wide range of people who read and love the books. Ten-year-old girls to 16-year-0ld boys to 35-year-old married couples to 70-year-old grandfathers.

I was listening to Pottercast this morning, and they were interviewing the aforementioned 16-year-old boys who do Mugglecast and help run Mugglenet. When asked about book 6 and what he expected out of book 7, Ben Schoen's first comment was that he liked how the characters matured and that Harry started thinking about what would happen if Ron and Hermione got together and the kissing scene with Ginny...

Yes, one of the first things a teenage boy admitted to liking was the ROMANCE. I love it.

Gotta set one thing straight, though. I'm a writer, so words are important. And no matter WHAT happens, Severus Snape is not good. At most, he is working on the side of good. There's a huge difference.

Yes, I happen to believe he is working for the Order of the Phoenix and honestly trying to stop Voldemort. But that alone doesn't make him a good person. The reason he is able to do such a thing is because he is NOT good. He can be believably evil because he embraces the part of himself that is evil. But take away all the Voldemort stuff, look at just his everyday treatment of the kids in the school and the adults he dislikes (pretty much all of them, actually), and he is not a good person. I think that makes him one of the most interesting characters in the series, actually. But I won't be sorry when he dies.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Wild Weekend

Yesterday, my plan went from:

9:40 D's soccer game

10:45 Brunch with family

12:00 Husband take D and M shopping, while I write all afternoon

5:00 Dinner and a movie with sister-in-law


9:40 soccer game starts

9:59 we are winning 3-2

10:00 D collides and falls with an opponent. Gets ball away from her goal anyway.

10:01 D gets subbed and comes off the field

10:01.5 I start to head toward D to tease her for nailing the ref in the gut with the ball

10:01.6 D looks at right hand, notices pinky sticking out to the side, starts crying

10:20 Arrive at emergency room with D and her broken pinky

1:50 Leave ER with D and her newly set and splinted pinky

The cool thing about this? D said, as we lingered in the unusually quiet ER waiting to get an x-ray, that she's glad she at least got hurt doing something she loves.

'Cept now she's in a splint and can't play soccer for several weeks. Or clarinet. Or cello.

At least her team won the game for her, 6-3

I still got to do the dinner/movie, and Failure to Launch was cute enough to be worth seeing (mainly for the secondary characters, though we got plenty of Mr. McConaughey's chest {g}). I really enjoyed seeing my sister-in-law, sister of my heart, who's far too busy for me now. It took me, like, six months to nail her down to go out.

So okay, that was yesterday. Today, J (husband) went out shopping. He's driving through a nearby downtown and sees a car parked askew on the side of the road, and some guy is trying to force a woman into the car. She clearly doesn't want to go. J pulls over and honks, and the guy sees him and takes off. J notes the license plate and make and model. He offers the woman a ride, and of course she won't take it, but did ask him to follow her home.

Damned if the guy doesn't come back four times. The second time, he almost hit the woman with his car, trying to block her. J called the police, who were there in moments, just as the guy came back the fourth time. He spent an hour giving his statement to the police, who arrested the guy for aggravated assault.

My husband is a hero.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Now They've Done It

I never really feel old. Certain moments--like realizing my nephew is about to turn 15--highlight the passage of time, but that doesn't translate into recognition that I'm "old."

I feel the same way I felt when I was 20 and an intern at National Geographic; 24 and a pregnant new employee at my current job; 30 and the mother of a kindergartener. I always feel like other people are older. Sometimes a lot older, sometimes a little, but rarely just my age or younger.

I'm not sure why that is. Maybe because I was 4 when I started kindergarten and didn't turn 5 until halfway through the school year, so until I graduated from college (a semester early and therefore not yet 21), I was always the youngest of my peers. It startles me when I learn the parent of a child in my kids' class is much younger than I am. But it never made me feel old.

So now I just learned that these two guys are turning 35 this month:

Alan Tudyk's birthday was yesterday, and Nathan Fillion's is March 27. They both turn 35 about three months after I did. I thought they were both much older than me..."much" meaning one to five years. But they're YOUNGER.

And for some reason, that bothers me much more than knowing my youngest is about to turn 7, or that my husband is nearly 40, or that I'm two years from my 20th high school reunion.

Friday, March 10, 2006

View of an Office

Inspired by Michelle Hauf, I thought I'd share my work space with you.

Let's start with my crazy obsessions. This is my Lord of the Rings collection.

Amazingly, they are all standing. Maya hasn't gotten to them again yet. She conquers them regularly.

Yes, that is a Gandalf bobblehead on the second shelf. He was free.

Next to the Obsession Shelf is the fancy bookshelf I treated myself to after my office flooded the third time. I got rid of a bunch of mismatched, overpacked smaller shelves in favor of this:

You can see some of my Lord of the Rings posters, too. The one hidden to the right of the bookshelf is Orlando Bloom back when he was jailbait. A friend gave me that poster, I had nothing to do with it.

Here's some evidence that this room is not ALL about obsession. My lovely printer shelf.

More obsession. The standee was a Mother's Day gift.

Now, to the writing. A too-dark, too-close shot of my fabulous 19-inch monitor. The better to upload photos to my blog with. I mean, the better to view multiple pages of my manuscript with. :)

My muses. Merlin rules my paranormal romances, and Fred my contemporary, or "normal" stuff, though he's gotten kinda crazy with the action-adventure.

Fred was a Christmas gift from the same husband who gave me the Legolas standee. Does he rock or what? The husband. Though Fred does, too. The photo is me kissing my brother on his wedding day. He has a similar shot, reversed, taken on my wedding day.

The rune stone says "breakthrough."

This is my office's usual state:

And here is Inspiration Central, where my stories take me away on an adventure that...oh, forget that crap. It's where I write.

And spend far too much time reading e-mail and
writer and agent blogs.

Note the talking Legolas on the windowsill, the requisite box of chocolate (Whitman's Sampler, the dark chocolate variety), and what appears to be Entertainment Weekly, for when pages are slow to load.

And finally, what office would be complete without the requisite cute kitty? This is Maya, Fellowship Conqueror (when she's tired of Army Guys).