Tuesday, October 31, 2006


I'm handing out Halloween candy--actually on Halloween for the first time in 8 years, thanks to Pennsylvania's whacked theories about Halloween--and something creeepy just happened.

My headstone shrieked.

Thunder crashed, lights flashed, the faux stone and the red-eyed skeleton popped out, accompanied by shrill screams.

Not the first time tonight, of course. But this time...

...there was no one on my doorstep.

The Possibility in Fantasy

There are all kinds of celebrity nowadays, and I find it very exciting. Not because I want to be a celebrity--I really, really don't--but because the ease and variety of the path to becoming one makes my greatest fantasies possible.

Well, okay, not the one where Matthew McConaughey, Orlando Bloom, and Nathan Fillion all fight over who gets me. That one is pretty unlikely. Especially 'cause of the whole "happily married" thing.

But the wall between "regular person" and "celebrity" is virtually non-existent. Sure, there are distasteful ways to become a celebrity. You can be rich and bored enough to do crazy things to get attention and attract cameras. You can go on a reality show to display your most negative traits to the world so later you can be recognized in Wal-Mart. But more than ever, regular people have opportunities to showcase their talents and their personalities to the world.

Celebrity is wider-ranging than it used to be. Now it's not just the people whose faces are on the screen, the "beautiful people." It's also the ones who put them there--writers and directors like Joss Whedon and JJ Abrams and Eric Kripke--and even the fans who love them.

Take the Harry Potter fandom. It's huge, and there are tons of web sites dedicated to discussing and disseminating information about the books and movies. Last year, JK Rowling invited the leaders of the top two sites, The Leaky Cauldron and MuggleNet, to interview her in her home the day after the release of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. What followed was an amazing year. PotterCast and MuggleCast became two of the top podcasts, winning awards and launching teenage boys from Kansas and young mothers in Ohio to stardom. They attended the premiere of Goblet of Fire in New York last winter, and in a three-month span this year did an SRO live podcast in Las Vegas, attended the reading/Q&A of JK Rowling, Stephen King, and John Irving in New York city, won Podcast Awards in LA, and visited the set of Order of the Phoenix in the UK. Every live podcast they do starts with fifteen minutes of screaming, cheering fans who are as excited to see them as they would be to see Dan Radcliffe and Emma Watson. These are just regular people doing something they love and being hugely rewarded for it.

And that's why I think some of my fantasies are possible. Like the one where my awesome agent, who has some solid Hollywood connections, brings Orlando Bloom to the RWA Readers for Life Literacy Autographing to pick me up and go to dinner where we'll discuss his interest in making a movie of my book, Soul of the Dragon.

Or the one where Jensen Ackles gets a mortgage from Countrywide in Dallas. My brother works there, and occasionally reads this blog, so he'll know about my interest in the very talented actor from the TV show Supernatural and the upcoming indie film Ten Inch Hero, and when his boss asks him to be the last-minute fourth in a round of golf with Jensen and his father, Andy will tell Jensen about my books, which will of course lead to Jensen (and Jared Padalecki, who's hanging out with him at home while they're on haitus) meeting me for dinner when I fly down to visit my brother and his wife. He'd be perfect for the role of the hero in my new book, which would also make a great movie.

See how possible that is?

Monday, October 30, 2006


I recently caught a glimpse of an essay that complained about Supernatural being the anti-Buffy, and basically a regression from strong female roles. It discussed that the only strong woman on season one was evil, and the two "good girls" were murdered early on and never replaced.

This kind of resonated with me, because lately the TV shows I've liked (since Alias was canceled, anyway), I've liked because of the men and not the women, and I've felt guilty about it. I worship Joss Whedon, who is all about the strong female characters and does them damned well. So liking Supernatural, after I skimmed this essay, made me feel disloyal to both my gender and a writer I respect and adore and aspire to be like (though I'll never come close to his wit).

I've been thinking about this a lot, and I've decided it's okay to like Supernatural the way it is. And not just because it's my favorite show and I hate feeling guilty.

First, they have added a strong female role, small though the part may be. There is evidence that another female character may be getting similar treatment (her debut was perfect), though I don't like her and don't want her to have a much bigger role in the show.

Also, I don't think EVERYTHING in life has to address every issue. Supernatural isn't about women and their roles in demon-hunting society. It's about two brothers and the journey they are on. The relationship between Sam and Dean is most important, and the biggest influence on them (besides their father) has been the absence of a strong woman in their lives. There's nothing wrong with their dynamic. It hasn't caused them to subjugate women, or dismiss them, or treat them poorly.

Okay, that last line is open to interpretation. Early in season one, Dean seemed to be a player. While Sam mourned his girlfriend's death, Dean encouraged him to get laid. He flirts with a certain type of woman--the type that seems open to short, meaningless encounters. He doesn't think a woman has a place in his life.

But things aren't that simple. When Sam has an interest in Sarah, Dean encourages him to develop it; and not just to have sex with her. Then we see that Dean had a girlfriend, loved her, confessed all to her--and was badly burned when she freaked out. He still has feelings for her, but it's clear that even though she believes him now, she can't live his kind of life.

See? Complexity.

I am thrilled when a show contains a heroine like Sydney Bristow or Zoe Washburn, a tough, powerful, confident, emotional woman. But not every show needs one.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Miss Sunny...Idiot?

It seems many topics on blogs I frequent have recently focused on the darker side of humanity on many different levels. I've been hopping all over, spreading my sunny naivete, giving tons of credit to my fellow humans, and I started to wonder if I'm just being an idiot.

Open any newspaper, turn on the TV...heck, walk across the street or drive down the highway, and there is evidence that we live in a world of mean, nasty, selfish, horrible people. I constantly contend that they are the loud minority, that most people are good and open-minded and caring and well-behaved. I also contended recently that people are no more vicious and horrible than they ever were, we just have more forums for them to be that way.

But am I wrong?

After I posted on Erica Orloff's blog, I went out, and no less than three people in 15 minutes displayed the kind of behavior that makes humans look like dirtbags. I started wondering if I'm totally wrong, and people like us are the real minority. Then Erica disagreed with me that people are just as vitriolic in person as they are on the Internet, and I'm not sure she's wrong. I want her to be. Desperately. But she knows more people than I do, and a much wider variety of people, as well. And just because I haven't SEEN it doesn't mean it's not real.

I started thinking about that, too. I don't see the viciousness of which she speaks, on the Internet, but I'm not LOOKING. Part of it is seeking people who are of a like mind as myself, and part of is it subconscious avoidance of more public realms where such things are displayed. Yet even as I admit I could be sheltering myself and therefore shading my viewpoint...well, it doesn't mean they're not a minority, does it? I mean, we have 300 million people in this country as of last Tuesday. Ann Coulter is only one person. We don't even have a majority population on the Internet yet (I think), and I still believe that if we could quantify the vicious idiots, we'd find they are a very tiny percentage of the population.

Erica says she has never in her life witnessed in-person vitriol like she sees on the Internet. I say the Internet just gives those people a forum for being vitriolic and they would be anyway. Can we both be right?

And why is it so important for me to believe what I believe? To deny that the Internet is making Americans as a group be worse people than they used to be? Is it because I love the Internet so much, and what it's given me, and I don't want it to be considered "bad"? So what if it is? It doesn't change the benefit I've gotten from it, and it's certainly not going to be taken away from me. Maybe I should just admit that Erica and others are right, and join in the despair and gloominess that knowledge gives us all.

Except I can't. I can't live that way. I have to believe the better of people as a whole. I think I have a fundamental belief that the more credence we give to negativity, the more power it has over us. In my sunny, idiotic way, I'm trying to balance that by spreading posts of hope and joy.

The bad gets enough air time. I just want to give some to the good.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

My Favorite Day

For a really long time, Thursday has been my favorite day of the week.

Way back in the 80s, when I was in junior high and high school, was the advent of Must See TV, starting with The Cosby Show. It was family night--we'd sit and watch TV together, eating popcorn and passing around hand towels to wipe our buttery fingers.

In college my sophmore year, I had early classes on Tuesday and Thursday, but spent many a Thursday afternoon napping in the sun with my now-husband.

Once I started working, Thursday was my favorite day in every job because it was the quietest. No matter which company I worked for, it was the day we got the fewest calls and I got the most other work done.

Now I've come full circle, and Thursday is once again TV night:

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

That NOSE!

As I've been watching TV this fall, I've had a very hard time with noses. I'm pretty sure there are more than these five, but these are the ones I can remember.

There seems to be an epidemic of possible nose jobs gone bad. I say "gone bad" in the sense that they have had too much stripped from the sides, creating a pinched, "ew-I-don't-want-to-smell-THAT" look. At rest, the upper lip is pulled upward, as well, creating a sneer I don't think is intentional.

These still photos don't do the phenomenon justice, but if you watch Heroes, The Nine, or Six Degrees, you can see what I mean, as the actors attempt to emote around their noses. They all appear whiny and/or fretful at all times, no matter what emotion is in their eyes.

None of these are bad actors, and they're considered some of the "beautiful people." And obviously, I don't know whether they've actually had nose jobs or not. But I betcha anything they've all got a diminished sense of smell.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Be Like Him

Saved again--I'm still having a hard time thinking of things to post about, and I was actually going to compare the low-grade anxiety of growing up in the Cold War, where fear of nuclear attack was tempered by mutually assured destruction, with today's sharper anxiety of raising kids in an era of nuclear proliferation by unpredictable, unstable dictators who have no respect for cowboy governmental leaders. The alternative was MORE discussion of TV.

But Tedy Bruschi saved you from both.

ESPN repeated a feature from this summer, where Tedy Bruschi, an NFL linebacker who returned to the field after recovering from a stroke and heart surgery, hosted a six-year-old boy who was born with a heart defect and has had three surgeries. Tedy gave the boy a tour of the stadium, a uniform, a press conference, and his game ball from a playoff win.

At the end of the feature, my husband said that shows how important it is to hold our sports stars to a higher standard, because the kids are watching. Multiple drug infractions? They should be out. Fighting and extreme carousing should be met with zero tolerance.

It's too bad more people don't feel that way. There are some class organizations in the NFL, the Patriots being near the top (not that I'm biased or anything :) ). But there are too many fans, players, management, and owners who focus only on the bottom line. Performance feeds wins feeds income, and nothing else matters. I'd like to see more of that around the league, not to mention in other sports.

The league could also use fewer boneheaded plays like tackling a quarterback when he sits on his butt on purpose. When it leads to a Patriots touchdown, however, I won't complain. Woo hoo!

Friday, October 20, 2006


I could think about very few good things to blog about this week, and couldn't go into a weekend with an OLD POST. So luckily, cyberwuzzle set me up (well, not me specifically, but...).

Please answer these in the comments. I'd love to know all about you all!

1.Your Middle Name:

2. Age:

3. Single or Taken:

4. Favorite place to hang out:

5. Favorite pet/animal:

6. Favorite Band/Artist:

7. Tattoos and/or Piercings:

HERE COMES THE FUN ... ... ...

8. Whats your philosophy on life?

9. Tell me one odd/interesting fact about you:

10. What is the craziest thing you've ever done?

11. Ever been arrested/ gone to jail?

12. Do you think I'm attractive?

13. If you could change anything about me, would you?

14. If you could change anything about yourself, would you?

15. What do you wear to sleep?

16. What is your favorite thing to do in the world?

17. Would you go on a double date with me if i asked you?

18. If I only had one day to live, what would we do together?

19. Will you post this so I can fill it out for you?

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Funny Wedding

I went to my cousin’s wedding in Cape Cod a few weeks ago. I just got access to the wedding album online and remembered the funniest part of the ceremony, of which they did get a picture, thank goodness. :)

I don’t know my cousin’s wife or her family beyond the short time I spent with them that weekend. They’re lovely people and were wonderful hosts. They own a house on the Cape, and the reception was at the Wychmere Harbor Club. The ceremony was very formal and elegant, conducted in a truly solemn manner.

There were six bridal attendants and nine groomsmen. At first, they lined up along the steps in front of the altar area (is that called a nave?). After part of the ceremony, the minister and bride and groom went up the steps and into the nave-or-whatever-it’s-called, and stood in front of the altar. One by one, the attendants formed couples by linking arms, paused, went up the steps, separated, and entered pews that ran along the opposite sides of the nave-or-whatever-it’s-called.

They ran out of couples, and the three extra groomsmen stepped forward, paused at the top of the main aisle, grabbed each other’s butts, and proceeded up the steps.

Needless to say, the congregation lost it. It was the best moment in a wedding I’ve ever seen, and I would love for someone to send it to AFV.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006


For the first time ever, I get to do NaNoWriMo this year!

For those who don't know, NaNo is National Novel Writing Month. Every participant is challenged to write 50,000 words in the month of November, which is either a very short novel or a huge start to one.

I wasn't going to be able to "officially" participate because my next project was to be a book I've already started, and the rules are that it has to be a fresh project. But an old idea that I only partly liked clicked on Sunday, and I'm all set to go with it.

I'm very self-competitive, and this is a challenge I've always wanted to undergo. I can't wait!

Monday, October 16, 2006

Fall TV Conclusions

I promise I am going to TRY not to talk about TV so much anymore. But I feel a need to offer my thoughts on all the shows I decided to watch/try this year, so here it is:


Prison Break
Not as suspenseful as last year. They fake us out a lot, enough that I'm delighted and annoyed whenever they do it. The characterization is breaking down, in that the characters are far less sympathetic than they were last season, and they're starting to do dumb things (Lincoln, you idiot, it's a TRAPPPPPPP!!!!!). But the hottie factor and the acting are still enough to keep me in.

There isn't a single character on this show that is fully sympathetic to me. They either whine too much or are ugly people (inside, not out). My favorite is the younger brother who can fly, with Mohinder a close second, followed by Greg Grunberg, who I want to hug and cry, "Weiss!" every time I see him. Verdict's still out on this one.

The Class
It makes me laugh. I was pissed to see Richie is apparently married, to Darla of Roseanne, no less. If that's the case, I may not watch anymore. Some of the funnies are getting repetitive (with the Yonk Allen storyline and the neurotic reporter). But I love the snarky twin and Jason Ritter's getting a little rumpled and more interesting.

Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip
Still my favorite new show. Wonderful writing, great acting, excellent chemistry. It amazes me how gripped I am every week, and I can't wait to watch new episodes.


Never a stellar show, it was nonetheless interesting, and I liked the up-ramping they had of the main romance in the alternate-timeline finale. Except SciFi had a timing issue and the show started about five minutes late, which meant I didn't get to see the very end. Pissed me off. I'll watch next summer--it's been renewed for a second season.

Veronica Mars
Recording this pending watching the first seasons on DVD, now that I'm done with Supernatural.


So far, least compelling season. First episode disappointed. Second was better. I'm very eager to see the third, which looks action-packed and full of funny.

The Nine
Not as good as I'd hoped, but I haven't shut it off yet. Not much else to say about it. Feels like they're going in circles already.

30 Rock
Totally unfunny. I deleted it from my Season Passes already. I loved Tina Fey on SNL, but the writing on this show was just DUMB. Tracy is on stage riffing on nothing and being lame and cliché, and Liz and Alec Baldwin are staring at each other like he's brilliant. It's just stupid all around.

Twenty Good Years
I want Lithgow to dial it down a notch, but it made me smile a few times. That was more than 30 Rock did, so I kept it. Doubt it will last long, unless it gets funnier, but I do love both actors.


This is a nice, solid show that explores relationship dynamics well, while giving us really interesting cases every week. It's not at the top of my list, but it's a comfort viewing every weekend.

I did this out of order on purpose. I now LIVE for Thursdays.

Six Degrees
Gone! Nothing good about it. Nothing horrible, but nothing good.

Ugly Betty
Extraneous stuff is stupidly caricature, but the relationship between Daniel and Betty, and the storylines that consistently prove that the superficial hurts a lot, but the substance is a lot more powerful, make it a good show.

This show has never been great. The bad things are worse--Lana, Clark being dour, Lana, Lex simplifying, Lana--but Chloe rocks my socks, Jimmy is an adorable addition, I like the return of the Freak of the Week element that has an overarching connection, and Clark is just always someone worth watching. I like the Green Arrow storyline. This is my fun, mindless viewing.

Dean and Sam. Nuff said.

Also? Great writing and incredible chemistry. Best show on TV right now, if you can handle the horror-movie-every-week element.

Plus, there's Dean and Sam. And they don't even need to take their shirts off. :)

So, what are your thoughts on the fall season?

Sunday, October 15, 2006


Backstory in a novel is very important. People, whether real or fictional, are completely shaped by their pasts. Still, I get annoyed when I read a book where a character (usually the heroine) wallows in events of 20 years ago, using them to affect her actions and attitude now, and never refers to anything that happened in between. I think more recent events would temper the affects of past ones, most of the time, or at least impact them.

I've had a good life. How I live it now, and who I am, have been influenced by growing up poor, with parents who divorced when I was seven, and a mother who was ill much of her life in ways that were barely identified, never mind treated properly. None of that is part of my day-to-day living, though. I don't think about it much, and certainly don't blame most of my choices on my past. But there is one overriding theme of my childhood that has a huge influence on me, and not in a good way.

I had a dream last night. I have this friend, and we're so alike in so many ways that the differences hardly matter. We could be together non-stop for a week and not run out of things to talk about. In my dream, we were at a very elegant conference where she was a Big Deal--featured speaker, presenter of two workshops, hanging out with people who are far cooler than I am--and I wasn't a part of it. It was like I wasn't even there.

(Then the dream morphed and I was trying to get my second suitcase that held all my nice clothes, that I'd left on the baggage carousel, and the airline people were giving me a hard time because it was my own fault. But that's irrelevant.)

I woke up and imagined telling this friend about this dream. She'd be irritated. She's always irritated when I tell her I feel inferior. So I started thinking about why I feel that way. It's certainly not because of her.

I went to three different elementary schools, so I didn't have a lot of friends. I've always been introverted and shy, so it was hard to make new ones. In middle school I had a few, but in the last semester my lunch was different from theirs, so I sat with some other kids in my classes. Eventually, they asked me to sit somewhere else because I didn't talk.

In junior high there was a group of girls that bullied me. I had a new boyfriend who was pretty geeky, and they were picking on me about it. I don't remember the exact taunt it was in response to, but I yelled "Because he's nice!" back through a set of doors. One girl came charging up behind me and shoved me in the back. I went flying and skidded on my stomach across the carpet.

The two years I spent in that high school developed okay. I shared most of my classes with a particular group of kids, and in our junior year they were friendlier toward me. I got invited to my first party. Then, out of the blue, they told me I couldn't hang out with them anymore. My mother said the girls were probably jealous because I was getting attention from the boys (I always had more friends who were boys than friends who were girls). But they never told me why they didn't like me anymore. I was left to feel that I just wasn't worthy.

So I have an accumulation of things that contribute to how I felt in that dream. Things since have tempered it--I moved again before my senior year and went to a great school with kids who liked me, I made plenty of friends in college, I now have a fabulous group of friends through my writing associations, and for the most part, I don't let what happened in the past bother me.

But every so often comes this inferiority complex when I start wondering what the hell someone would see in me. Why I'm worthy of friendship with this amazing, funny, self-assured, adored person who could be friends with anyone. No one would understand why I'd feel this way unless they knew my backstory.

So I think the bottom line is flavor. A story has to be flavored with backstory rather than chunked with it, and even if there is one overriding event or series of events that dictate a character's personality and viewpoint, there have to be other things that either feed or alter it. If there weren't, it should be clear why.

Something I need to keep in mind as I revise my current book. :)

Friday, October 13, 2006

Invalid Statistics

I get really annoyed when people make a point using invalid statistics.

For example, I used to get this newsletter from a psychologist author about taming your inner brat. She cited a survey where 80% of motorists said they'd witnessed road rage, but only 20% admitted to committing it. She said the math doesn't compute, and either implied or stated outright that people must be committing road rage without admitting it. She was very gracious when I pointed out that the 80% could have been seeing the same 20%. I mean, when someone flips someone else off on the highway, three or four people could witness it, right?

Well, here we go again. Po Bronson had a really good column at the back of Time magazine last week. It was about how the media blows certain things all out of proportion, leading us to believe that all of our kids are spoiled brats who are overscheduled and on panic attack medication about college selection and go back to loaf and live with their parents after college (I'm paraphrasing, of course). [The funny thing is that every example he cited was from past Time articles.] His point was that there are actually very few parents who do too much for their kids, and the media is highlighting a problem in a small portion of the population but applying it to the nation at large.

The problem was, he made his point by saying Baby Einstein only made $200 million last year, while Barbie made $3 billion. This was meant to illustrate that parents are letting their kids play, instead of trying to instruct them into insanity. This false illustration ignores the facts:

  • Baby Einstein targets a range of ages 0 to 2, maybe up to 3 or 4
  • Barbie's target demographic is three to six times that age range, not to mention adult collectors
  • Baby Einstein sells toys, books, DVDs, etc., and that's pretty much it
  • Barbie's name is all over clothes, lunchboxes, bicycles, thousands of products
Extrapolating from statistics in this manner undermines a person's point and makes all their assertions suspect. It drives me nuts.

And I never even took a probability and statistics course.


I had an idea of what to write here today, and then I was reading the posts on my LJ flist, and it totally disappeared.

So now I'm just procrastinating.

I have a galley to read, and that's, like, my least favorite task as an author. No, it's my least favorite task as a WRITER. Booksignings are my least favorite task. Standing at a table in the mall, begging people to come look at my book, trying to appear friendly and engaging (which I'm not) instead of desperate (which I am)...yeah, not so fun.

Anyway. Galleys. This is a novella, so it's not too long, only 83 pages, but it's a story I wrote, edited twice, proofread, and went through editorial revisions. I don't want to read it again! I tell myself it's okay not to bother, because between my attention and my editor's great eye, there is almost nothing to fix in galley stage. But then I do it anyway, because I must and I'm a good girl who does what she's supposed to, and there's always SOMETHING. Usually five or fewer, but enough to make it worth the time. And honestly, even if it's just one thing, it's worth the time.

So, I guess that's enough procrastination. I am off to do my galley.

Oh, and check out the status bar on the right! I actually finished on October 2 and kept forgetting to update my status bar.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Getting Myself in Trouble

I'm trying to write a letter to Fred Head. This is my first draft:

Dear Mr. Head,

Because I am a published romance author, your parody regarding Susan Combs' book came to my attention. I would like to point out some things to you:

Click to read the extraxts from the Book

The word "extracts" is misspelled, and the correct term is "excerpts." This line should be fixed lest you are seen as less literate than your published author opponent.

Susan Combs is a two faced, hypocrite who was obviously more concerned with her literary career and seeing her name in print than the morals of the young People of Texas

Two-faced hypocrite is redundant, but it is also overkill, since that describes many politicians. More importantly, the novel she wrote was written about and for adults, and marketed to adults. Young people have nothing to do with it.

A Perfect Match, which has her name at the top of every other page - - - a clear testament to Susan Combs’ insatiable ego and desire to see her name in print.

This is what made me certain this page is a parody. EVERY fiction book published has the author's name on the top of every other page. Also, succeeding in one's chosen career is an honorable thing. Shall we call you an insatiable egoist because your name is plastered all over the state?

Excerpts of Susan Combs’ book A Perfect Match are posted on this website and can be accessed by anyone who wants to know the awful truth about Susan Combs.

Aren't you afraid your supporters will be appalled that you are peddling pornography on your web site, which, as far as I can tell, has no controls that would prevent children from reading those excerpts?

I was going to send a more professional, less sarcastic take, but then I read some more of his web site. He's obviously a fan of fantasy novels, because Every other Word on his Web Site is capitalized inappropriately. The whole site is poorly written, badly edited, and stark compared to Susan Combs' professional, well-written, detailed site.

I have to acknowledge that it's POSSIBLE he'd be a better comptroller than Combs, and since I don't live in Texas I didn't do more than read their web sites, which really seem to extoll the same values and goals. But if I lived there, I definitely wouldn't vote for him.

Monday, October 09, 2006

New Hope

I have a book that I wrote about five years ago. You hear all the time about the "book of your heart"--this was it for me. It was my first single title, my first paranormal, my first action-adventure. It was the first book I wrote that was easy. I was so exhilarated to write it, and I never had a "God I hate this book" moment like I did with all the ones that came before it. The sequel was just as much a joy, and so was the third one. At least, up until the moment I stopped writing it.

I shopped that first book everywhere. I got an agent, and she shopped it everywhere. I entered it in the Golden Heart three times. I revised the opening chapters, because the gap of time between writing the first sixteen pages and writing the rest caused a voice/tone change. I revised again, adding a prologue because the beginning had so much exposition, I thought it needed more action. My scores in the GH and other contests dropped every time I revised, though, and I won a critique from a top agent, who said "what if you did it this way?" and she basically described exactly what the original opening had been.

So I've revised it again.

So where's the hope? If every publisher has rejected it twice, what can I possibly do with it?

A few years ago, a new imprint and a new line were starting at Harlequin/Silhouette. The news was barely above the level of rumor, so we had no idea exactly what the editors were looking for. I called one of them, and she said to send it. She read it over the Thanksgiving weekend, called my agent, and said it wasn't right for the line but she'd pass it along to that other new imprint. That editor also said it wasn't right for the imprint, but she wanted to hold it for something she couldn't talk about, if that was okay.

That was the high point of my career so far. I've been heading into a big trough since, but you know how life can be so cyclical? That thing the editor couldn't talk about never came to pass, but her imprint is changing focus in such a way that my book MIGHT be right for it now. I sent a partial last week, so we'll see what happens.

I don't know why I'm doing this, because even if she loves the book, I have a feeling the sequels wouldn't fit. Too much romance. So I'd be back to square one with those, and I want them published as much as I want the first one.

I'm going to give the Golden Heart one last try, too, I think. The book deserves it. Everyone, cross your fingers for me!

Friday, October 06, 2006

Irrelevant Modifiers and Security Fears

Despite the fact that it happened about half an hour away from me, I've read and watched little on the news about the latest school shooting. What I *have* seen, however, seems to be putting ridiculous emphasis on an irrelevant aspect of the shooting.

"Amish School Tragedy"

"Amish School Shooting Funds"

"Fifth Victim of Amish School Massacre to be buried today"

"Amish bury their dead"

One news story says, "Charles Roberts IV didn’t choose West Nickel Mines Amish School because it was Amish."

I don't get the part where "Amish" is the most important element of the horror. When Columbine happened, everyone referred to it as Columbine. Why are we not calling it "West Nickel Mines school tragedy"?

Does the fact that they're Amish make the tragedy worse? As if murdered seven-year-olds isn't bad enough. I'm sure the media is playing up that angle because the Amish are believed to be pure, devout, simple folk, and somehow that does increase the horror.

Perhaps, though, they are emphasizing that element for other reasons. Because an Amish school is different, you know. They probably don't have the tight security an English school would have (English being the Amish descriptor for the rest of us). Right? It's less likely to happen in my kids' school, right? Reassure me with that one word.

The fact is, though, there is no reassurance to be had. This guy had no apparent connection to the school (from what I can tell from the one story I read), unlike Columbine or other school shootings. My kids' schools have "procedures" and anyone who comes in is supposed to go straight to the office. The problem with that is that the elementary school where my second grader goes was built 40 years ago, and the office is not near the front doors. Which they don't lock. She's about to move back into her regular school, which was undergoing renovation, and that office has a door into the entryway, and the inside doors into the building usually ARE locked. So that's better. Except in the office is one sweet secretary who would be no obstacle to a gun-toting madman, who could get inside the building itself in seconds. The situation in my sixth-grader's school isn't much different.

So what am I gonna do about it?

First, if I have occasion to talk about the West Nickel Mines school shooting, that's what I'm going to call it.

Second, I'm gonna do nothing. If someone is crazy enough to do something like this, there is little chance to stop them. There's no way to predict or prevent it. Even if we added security guards and alarms and vault-style doors to our tiny schools, they would not deter a determined person. More importantly, death is just around the corner for all of us, all the time, no matter where we are or what we're doing. Branches fall off of trees. E. Coli gets into spinach. Lightning strikes. School buses crash (and my GOD, that's a helluva lot scarier--I Googled bus crash 'cause I knew one had happened recently, and there have been NINE or more in the last week). We take normal precautions, and some a little beyond normal, and then we have to forget about the rest, or go insane.

And not the good kind of insanity that comes from being a writer or drooling over hot guys on TV all week.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

I Lost the Nine

Well, I didn't really, but I wanted to combine the two titles and that's the lame one I came up with. :)

This week ends the season premieres of the shows I wanted to watch this season. Last night were Lost and The Nine, and I have to say, I'm not at all disappointed.

Lost had a quieter start than usual, with a low suspense level but LOTS happening. It appears this first six episodes before the way-too-long break will focus on the immediate aftermath of the abduction, but next week will include Sayid/Jin/Sun and not those from the hatch or beach. Which, of course, are who we are most dying to learn about.

The Nine lived up to my expectations. I'm really unhappy that Eva died, and I'm not thrilled with a couple of the relationships they're building (adulterous boyfriend with pregnant girlfriend--cliche, cliche, cliche) and I don't like Nick (the cop) with Catherine (the lawyer). But I'm dying to learn what happened in the bank. The best part of the whole episode, I think, was the skill with which they jumped us from the start to the end of the situation. All these strangers, with superficial interactions--and then, suddenly, they're completely bonded. They know each other intimately. There are extremely intense emotions that we only get hints of--just as we would if we were on the outside of that bank for 52 hours. That was well done. Remains to be seen if the long-term aftermath will be as compelling, but the flashbacks will be enough to keep me coming back.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Two Guys

Has anyone else noticed that so many current TV shows feature two hot guys?

I mean, "hot" is subjective, of course. And sometimes it's not "hot" in the physical sense, but more "appealing" or "attractive." But just take a look:

Clark and Lex, inspiring feverish slash fiction all over the Internet.

Jack and Sawyer. Or Sayid and Jin. Or Charlie and Locke. Or Desmond and Eko. Or any combination of the above, with more to come this Wednesday. This is the show for every woman!

I already talked about Supernatural. We've got the cocky, protective, no-fear sexy older brother, and the confident, reluctant-turned-driven, don't-call-me-little-brother. Both are smart and funny and cute.

These two are more in the "appealing" category, but they have excellent chemistry together, which I think is a driving factor in any TV show's success. Their friendship is so complex, yet so solid, it makes me want to be their friend.

Dichotomy--the absentminded genius professor who feels too much, and the take-charge FBI agent who won't let himself feel at all, which makes it worse.

What other shows contain two hot guys?

Edited to add:
Trish reminded me in the comments that I'd neglected to upload this pic and mention these guys--probably the hottest brother team on TV (at the least, tied with Dean and Sam):

Sunday, October 01, 2006

The Most Appealing Comparisons

I was able to pick five celebrities who "match" my face. I picked the most gorgeous...I mean, most famous ones. There were several who were ugly...I mean, who I'd never heard of.