Friday, November 30, 2007

Love, Death & the Whole Painful Mess

This is not the post I intended to write today, but I couldn’t seem to get out from under the funk that landed on my shoulders Tuesday morning. To do my piece on holiday cheer I need to be witty and upbeat. However, I found out a few mornings ago that my best friend’s husband had died suddenly.

Do you ever have those moments where events seem to come out of a book? If this had been a novel I was reading, I’d have chucked it away or boxed it up to take to charity.

My friend had searched for years through a string of boyfriends who were as terrible as a woman could have to find someone to love her. When she moved back to her family’s hometown to take care of her dying grandmother, she happened to meet a man who knew instantly she was the woman for him. Her family wasn’t as happy, because he had a reputation. He was the scandalous rake hellion that by all local accounts lived up to the “bad boy” persona.

But her unconditional, honest love was unbending enough to steer him away from the trap of bad deeds and turned him into a lovable hero. Out of four brothers, his mother lauded him as her pride and joy. And his mother adored my friend like the daughter she never had. Their kids by previous marriages/relationships were almost the same age. Everything seemed perfect, though there were a few bumps.

On September 22nd I watched them exchange their vows while holding hands and looking at each other with as much love as any human can show by the twinkle in their eyes. They had barely a few hundred dollars to their name and yet they were happy in what they’d created together…a life full of love and a true family. He’d been searching for both for a long time. They’d talked about adopting each others’ kids to make things legal, but in their hearts the five of them were already bonded.

Two months and four days later my friend called, crying as she left a message. Out of the blue…by their bed…in the house they’d lived in barely a month he’d died in her arms as she frantically begged the police to help her. But they couldn’t see past the bad boy he’d been…couldn’t believe the man they’d known on the wrong side of the law had turned into a loving father and husband.

No warning had presented itself. He’d gone out to eat and joked with friends mere hours before his death. The only cryptic trace is a sentence he’d uttered to a couple of people who shudder in hindsight. “I won’t live to see my next birthday,” and “I won’t live to see thirty.” Of course he said the words jokingly. No one believed it would come to pass. But it happened like horrific foreshadowing for an event you cringe against, not wanting the event to take place.

Now my friend is left wondering why. Atleast that’s one of the questions we can answer as writers, because we breathe life into our characters, we manipulate our cast any way we want. And I so badly wanted to help her answer that question…to put an end to the pain that radiated from her teary eyes. I wanted to clutch her close and tell her how I felt…but words just can’t express some emotions. I tried to philosophize the reason, but still I’m left with nothing but the proverbial blank page. Only my faith makes me believe there was a bigger picture that I know nothing about. But that is of little comfort to her heart that is left with a gapping void and a pain that has no elixir.

All I know is that endings like these—to heroes and heroines—leave a lasting impression. Careers can be ruined by the death of a fictional hero and real hearts can be broken irrevocably. In some cases love is like a budding flower that gets snuffed out from the chill of winter, never to blossom anew. Hopefully one day my friend will shine brightly because she’s found a new love, but truly only time can heal her hurt. I pray she will soon be able to clutch her good memories close, which are now too painful to broach in her world of chaos and uncertainty. But this man…this love that she’d sought so long shall be hard to replace.

If you have someone you love, tell him/her now. Cherish every day and make the most of each minute. In life and on the page, sometimes there truly is no going back.

_________________________
When I wrote ALL I EVER WANTED , which was loosely based on my friendships, I never dreamed that one of us would truly have to face the tragedy of losing a husband. Now I wish magic realms truly existed to fulfill my friend's wish--to hug her husband close and tell him one last time that she loved him.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Musings from the Brain Dead

This is another of those days when I have absolutely nothing to say. But I won’t let that stop me :D So instead of a theme or something orderly and logical, I’ll chat about what I’ve been doing lately.

First off: I’ve just written an erotic novella that I need to do a final copy edit on and send out. As usual, it’s a paranormal. This one deals with dreams and witches and how things that scare us during the day can really come to life in the darkness before dawn. So…any idea where I might send the novella?

I’m also working on revisions – still – to my last novel. It’s become clear to me that, as much as I like the opening chapter, it appears to turn off potential readers, ie editors or agents. The good news is that a different opening has come to me and it may actually make the book stronger (or at least acceptable right from page 1). The trick now is to combine it with the remainder of the book to make sure everything flows.

On the personal front, I’ve been taking an online class in Feng Shui. Very interesting! I’ve always liked the orientalesque goal of simplicity combined with elegance but haven’t really achieved it. However, this class is really opening my eyes up to ‘power’ spots in my office (and home if I apply the teachings to the entire building). The best part is that if I combine this idea of Feng Shui with the tenets I’ve picked up from FlyLady, the whole office should be a shining example of what I need to be creative and productive, healthy and happy, wise and loving. Definitely goals to strive for in today’s world. I’ve been leaning in this direction for the rest of the house (due to FlyLady) for a while now though my office has been kind of neglected. So this is really giving me the kick start I need to apply myself to arranging the office.

Last but not least, I’ve found a new favorite author. Kresley Cole with her Immortals After Dark series (hope I didn’t mess up the name of the series—I don’t have the books with me at this moment to verify). I can honestly say that it’s been a LONG time since I’ve stayed up till 2:30 in the morning just because I couldn’t bear to stop reading. Even though I didn’t finish the book (I have to be up and running at 5:30), I couldn’t wait to get back to it. That’s a real joy for a stalwart book lover like me.

Christmas is coming so I’ve got to spend time doing the Christmas shopping and decorating thing. I can’t wait to get my tree up and the house all prettified for the holiday :D It’s a lot of work, yes, but I do love the Christmas season with all the cheery decorations (not too fond of the cold, snowy Michigan weather though!). I’m sure many of you feel the same way so I’ll wish you a wonderful shopping/decorating season and an early Happy Holidays!

-- Lynda

Friday, November 23, 2007

A Moveable Feast

Most of you know by now, my night job—the one that pays the bills—is as a Respiratory Therapist at a hospital. Working full time as a staff therapist, I am not afforded the luxury of having every weekend and holiday off. As a matter of fact, this year, I'm working at least part of every winter holiday. While most of you were zoning out on triptophan yesterday, I was listening to charge report so I could steer the helm of the respiratory ship. All in all it wasn't a bad night. Rather kind of average for a historically short-staffed shift. (Only us losers seem to get suckered in to working the holidays that aren't ours to offically cover.)
As the night wore on, I started to think: when was the last time I celebrated a holiday or birthday/anniversary on the actual date of the event?

Answer: I don't remember.

One thing you get used to real quick (or you become a pain in everyone's ass) is that working regular staff your holidays are not your own, nor are they generally spent with your family. Being able to shift the days to when it's conveinent is imperative for keeping the peace. I have to say, my husband is wonderful when it comes to me saying.."Dave, I have to work Thanksgiving night, let's have it on Saturday instead since we're both off." - His reply. "Fine." - And he's not just saying that, it really is fine with him. Maybe celebrating the actual day of the holiday would matter more to me if we lived closer than 1000 miles to any of our family members and spent the day with them. Since it's only Dave and I, we can pretty much celebrate Christmas in July and Thanksgiving in March if the spirit moves us. And I have to say...I kind of like it that way.

Holidays aren't about celebrating on a date designated by the calendar, but by the sentiments of spending time with those you love.

I have much to be thankful for this year, even though it's been kind of a sucky year for Dave and I. The thought it could have been so much worse remains in the back of my head. So, I'm really and truly thankful that it wasn't. I'm also thankful things seem to be turning around for us and look forward to 2008 being better.

On a sad note, this is the first year my Kittygirl will not be here to share the feast. I have memories from 14 years where she'd sit in front of the oven and eagerly await the turkey's removal. She was crazed over fowl of any kind, but turkey was her absolute favorite. It's going to seem a little lonely in the kitchen this year as I cook my holiday bird. I'm sure she'll be looking down from kitty-heaven, licking her whiskers and sniffing the air.

-Kat

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Oh Thankful Days

I know exactly where I was a year ago. I was reeling from the curt letter I received from my then publisher, which called for a massive rewrite of the first book I sold. My editor and her senior editor seemed to hate it so much; I feared I could never make it right.

On Thanksgiving Day, when I should’ve been rejoicing with my family, I ate hurriedly and then whipped out my laptop to finish a chapter. I was on a strict deadline that I knew I had to meet. Failure wasn’t an option. I’d often bitten off more than I could chew of my own volition plenty of times, but never had someone else shove the stake in the ground for their favor.

This agenda was also the way I spent Christmas. Worrying about every minute that I spent away from my laptop and that I’d never finish. I managed to piece together a version of my book that would make my editor happy and satisfy me with a week to spare. But I realized I’d been robbed of those special holiday moments. And I couldn’t get them back.

This year will be different! My publisher ended up filing bankruptcy in July and finally after months of waiting I see the light at the end of the long tunnel. In a generous gesture of what marks this season, Siren Publishing, Inc. purchased 154 authors’ contracts. As of November 15th, they have released all the rights back to the authors, including myself. Within days a mere formality will severe my contractual ties with my publisher indefinitely.

Like many of the other authors involved, I though I’d feel like a weight had been lifted. I’d imagined myself screaming to the world of my freedom. But instead I’m modest, wanting to be sure all the I’s are dotted and T’s crossed before I give into my elation. With that being said, I also feel deeply sorry for the authors still in the battle. They believed they would be going to court today to get what was rightfully there’s. Instead the court delayed the hearing until December 4th, adding more hurt to injury and even more waiting. To them I say hang strong and have faith as you endure, your day for rejoicing will come.

Today, a year and eight days since that fateful afternoon when my will to write was almost crushed by that e-mail, I rejoice in saying I can shop the book of my heart elsewhere. But I would never have made it through without my unflagging family as well as my friends who did everything they could to pep up my spirit. Even fans I’d managed to acquire before my book hit the web bolstered me with e-mails, and lastly I must embrace my posting mates who let me stay among them as a person fallen from PAN status. I am truly blessed to know all of you, and in many ways blessed by this experience. Perseverance must be tested, so that a person knows their true strengths. Now I know I can take lick after lick, and still keep on putting one foot in front of the other. It may be slow going, but as long as I believe in myself I can attain anything.

This season I will write. I will reflect on where I’ve been as well as where I must go for my career, and I will continue to use my family as a source of inspiration. One of the regrets I have about this setback is that no one read my dedication. So I’m sharing it here, since the men in question played a major role in TAKE ME IN YOUR HEART and are on my mind this season.

To my Grandpaw, my Step-Dad & my Dad~ Your lives and good deeds are not forgotten.

May your Thanksgiving Day with family plus good food be plentiful and may you know love that knows no bounds. For one day, give in to temptation not to write or edit and simply enjoy living.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!


Sexy & Romantic glitter graphics from S e x i l u v . c o m


Here in the U.S., Thanksgiving was first celebrated in early colonial times by the Pilgrims of Plymouth Rock and their new Native American friends. The actual origin, though, probably has its origins in the harvest festivals celebrated by various cultures since the dawn of the agricultural age. No matter the culture, the idea behind the holiday is to celebrate and give thanks for a bountiful season. I'm sure many of us, regardless of where we live or how we celebrate, have many things to be thankful for in our daily lives. I, myself, am thankful for many things and I thought I'd mention a few of them here.


I'm thankful we found a new vet for our furbabies. Our old vets retired after many long years of service to the furred and feathered members of our family. Their replacements, while skilled, didn't seem to have the same...connection. In fact, they and most of the new staff at the clinic were afraid of our Zuzu (who in theory is a scary looking beastie but who in reality is more a scared cat). This made taking Zuzu in for routine health care a trial for all of us so when our daughter suggested a new vet, we took the chance. These new vets see Zuzu as more of a big marshmallow than a 'devil dog'. And while they probably won't top Zuzu's list of favorite people, she likes them a lot more than the vets we had been seeing. These new vets just performed surgery on Zuzu who had a small tumor growing on her upper eyelid. The surgery went fine, the growth is benign, and Zuzu is doing well. Side note: Wookie hates all vets evenly, LOL, and her plaintive 'No' when we take her for check ups hasn't changed at all.

I'm also thankful for having good doctors. This year, in a routine spinal x-ray, my chiropractor saw a calcification on my thyroid. Now obviously she couldn't treat that but she did recommend that I see my regular doctor about it. My doctor has been treating me for a variety of ailments for over 15 years and, at first, discounted my chiropractor's diagnosis (there's just no love lost between medical doctors and chiropractors) but he gave me a number of tests regardless and confirmed there was something amiss with my thyroid. At that point, he sent me to an endocrinologist (one of the best in the area) who confirmed that I had a growth on my thyroid. A slick little biopsy done in his office combined with blood work ruled out cancer but confirmed that I have Hashimoto's disease which is easily treatable. The nodule that started the scare has gone down and, while I still have to take the med's to treat it, I don't have to see the endocrinologist again for a year.

I'm thankful for having a job (even though I'd love to retire to full time writing! LOL) that I enjoy. While the stress can sometimes be a bit much, the job is also a challenge and that's something I like. There's an opportunity to learn (technology changes so rapidly!) and my supervisors respect my skills and expertise. That's something that seems to be rapidly vanishing in our economy today. In my state's economy, good jobs are very hard to find. While I'd certainly like to earn more money, I'm thankful for having a good job.

I mentioned Wookie earlier and I'm sure I've mentioned how she came to live with me. To do a brief recap, one of the guards at work found her on the grounds when she was a bare three weeks old. We have feral cats that live in the wooded areas there and my theory is that her mother was transporting her from one nest to another when she was startled by either the guard or perhaps one of our ground crews. At any rate, the guard, wearing this heavy duty rubber glove, toted this tiny, squalling little kitten into the office next to mine. My maternal instincts kicked into high gear and I ended up taking her home with every intention to find one of the rescue operations that specialize in cats. But Wookie wormed her way into my heart and now she's a permanent member of my family. I may have saved her life by taking her home but she's more than repaid that by her love and companionship.

Then there are my friends. I've a very good friend I met in the freshman year of high school. We still see each other even though we live on opposite sides of town. And I have good friends who've moved to other states that I'm still in contact with. Then there's my online family of friends who I've 'met' because I write. The ladies of Star-Crossed Romance fall into this category and so do many of my other writer friends.

I could go on and on about the things I'm thankful for but I think I'll end by mentioning my family. I'm thankful for having a beautiful, intelligent daughter and a loving husband (even if I sometimes go entirely speechless by his inability to find something that's Right In Front of him, LOL). Without them, my life would not be as rich and full as it is.


Sexy & Romantic glitter graphics from S e x i l u v . c o m


So while we, in this day and age, no longer celebrate a bountiful harvest so to speak, we can celebrate the things that are important to us. Health, friends, family... these are the things that make a life worth living.

-- Lynda

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Thankful

Down Under we don't have Thanksgiving, but that doesn't mean we're not aware of what we do have to be thankful for

I guess, in today's world, one of the top things is our freedom, to be able to worship as we want and walk the streets in relative safety. So saying, I'm thankful for those who fight for our freedom.

I'm thankful for my faith - in God I trust.

I'm thankful for my home, my Mum, my animals and my friends. They make my life so much brighter.

I'm thankful for the happy memories of loved ones who have passed on. I know I'll see them again one day, both animals and humans, and meanwhile I laugh about all the things we shared, and smile at the whimsical side of memories.

I'm thankful that I can read, write and work. Life is inspiring.

And even though my Mum thinks I'm nuts, I'm thankful for the zombie, ghost and ghoulie movies that make me laugh and shiver so much! Horror is good - on the screen and on pages. I don't actually want to ever meet a zombie!

I'm thankful to all those writers out there who provide me with hours of entertainment in far off places. It's an adventure from the safety of my home.

And I'm especially thankful to all those readers who read what we authors write. Without you all, we authors would be in limbo!

So to my US friends, happy Thanksgiving. To those of us who don't do Thanksgiving in our own countries - have a wonderful day anyway, and remember all the good things we have!

And pray for those who struggle or are finding times hard. May they find a light at the end of the tunnel.

cheers
Angela

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Spacing Out

It's been a while since I've done a space or science post around here, so today seems like a good day, especially as the cold front has finally moved in and I'm experiencing the last vestiges of a lovely head-cold to celebrate it.

There's this comet zipping through our solar system, and it's now bigger than THE SUN. I had no idea about this (I haven't been looking through my newsfeeds that much lately), but this is freakin' cool. Our universe is just so...interesting. You know, much more interesting than all the other boring universes out there... ;)

I love writing SF and I love writing paranormal, and some of the most interesting thoughts I've had regarding potential plots have revolved around what happens when science and superstition intersect. Throughout our history, the boogey men, the scary monsters, have all eventually come to have scientific (observable) explanations attached to them. Lycanthropy, vampirism, etc. The monsters have become metaphors as we grow in our understanding of the world around us.

But one thing I've never really believed is why the paranormal couldn't exist right alongside the normal. So much so in recent years that I've taken to not using the term "supernatural" because it just isn't accurate. If vampires do exist, they aren't supernatural--they are part of the natural world that we simply have not been aware of and don't yet understand. Science is magic to me, and magic simply a science of which we don't yet know all the governing rules.

Voraciously Yours


Hmmmmm....sounds more like the title of an erotic novel than it does a blog entry, but, oh well.

Do you ever get on a tear where you read every book you can get your hands on in a certain genre? I do. Right now, I can't help myself and have been devouring Regency and Victorian novels. To me there is something so comforting about a good Regency. I don't know what it is for me that touches my heart so. I think it might be the fact I view these as the very essences of romances. The first romance I ever read was The Ruthless Rake by Dame Barbara Cartland. The story has faded from memory, the characters gone and forgotten, but yet the title and time period stayed with me all these years. Lord, I was so young when I read it, I didn't even know what a rake was—other than a garden tool I was forced to use every fall to clear the leaves in our yard. I remember the dresses and the ballrooms and how very shiny and glamorous it all seemed.

Of course as I grew up and learned more about history and how things were not all beautifully rendered as they were in novels, I continued to love novels set in the period. And I'm unrependent in my love of a good Regency. There's just something about a man in those tight riding britches and boots that gets my blood pumping hot. Or maybe it's the fact the "gentlemen" of the ton always had a code of honor. Whether imposed on them by society mores of the time, or their own personal honor, it didn't matter. If a man kissed a woman—much less did the down and dirty—he felt obligated to marry her. Generally, this also involves falling head over heels in love with her after the wedding night. It's escapism as its finest.

I know there are paranormals out there with Regency and Victorian time periods. I don't recall reading any of those myself (send me the titles of some good ones and I'll read 'em.) but to me it's an amalgamation of two of my favorite genres. We all know how much I love to mix genres!!! It's one of my favorite things. So here goes....

Most of the time fantasy novels are set in medieval time periods, but wouldn't one set in a Victorian setting be fun? Magic and mayhem set against the strict moral framework of a Victorianesque society. What about one set on another planet were technology is advanced, but the culture is very bound in tradition? (I haven't read Dune, but I seem to remember from what little I know if it, that it has this kind of feel to it. Correct me if I'm wrong.)

So, even though I don't write Regency or Victorian novels myself, that's not saying all this reading isn't going to pay off for me one day with a paranormal, fantasy or sci-fi dressed in the costumes and conventions of England's bygone eras.

-Kat

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Puzzling Pieces

I’ve always loved puzzles…only those that aren’t too hard. I hate to be stumped, so yes I am not one of those people that does the NY Times Crossword in pen. Then again I’m not hip on crosswords anyway, unless I’m waiting for food and want to challenge my brain with the variety found on a kid’s placemat. But I LOVE word search puzzles (chalk this up to my grandmother too!)

I think this is part of my obsession that compels me to find just the right words and perhaps why my writing style seems so complex. As a local writer friend said over lunch yesterday, I appreciate a good turn of phrase…especially when I pen it. :0)

But finding words also means labeling, which holds a lot of power. One wrong word can give the reader a misconception. For instance intellectual is a far cry from bookish. As I reflect on my grueling (and mind-mushing) day-long seminar with Deb Dixon, I think that’s one of the reasons I can’t seem to make her “dominant impression” method work for me. Pin-pointing a job is way easier for me than expressing all my characters eccentricities with a single describer. (It’s like summing up my full-time job as a mere paper-pusher. Which is so far from the truth.)

Though she said that the adjective describing the noun (which shouldn’t simply be an occupation) could change as could the noun by the end of the book, I still can’t seem to boil it down. It’s like that one word that eludes you in a jumble of possibilities. You want to circle it, mark it through…simply say you’ve bested the problem. Yet it’s there taunting me like I’m not smarter than a fifth grader.

I completely get Goal, Motivation and Conflict, but I swear I’d have hives by the time I got through deconstructing my book. (I lamented like a teenager over how sucky my homework turned out and that was only 9-12 lines of text!) Honestly, I think I’d never write again if I made it to the end. I do plot with a brief outline from front to back, but I like those little surprises that pop up and take me somewhere unexpected. I’m not talking about a complete tangent that ruins where I’m going, but a little variation that adds umph to my punch. However, I will occasionally shave off a bit here and there to make a piece fit a hole. (You know the deal where you use your fist as a hammer to beat the cardboard into submission because you’re sure that’s where it should fit. Then you find out there’s a piece missing or a gaping hole where that tiny sliver should’ve slipped.)

It’s all about making it work. You can have a great story, but if you don’t have a combination of those three items (GMC) driving then you’ll fall flat. One safe assumption is that you can’t ever have one without the other. Deb, like my friend Emilie, says if you have the right motivation you can make your characters do just about anything. I think that’s a simple rule in life, which writing reflects. All great works boil down to one truth, but I don’t think the takeaway is always the same for everyone. Our life experiences are the filter that put what we perceive into certain contexts. That’s why labeling can be so constraining.

Just like rules. During my study of English, I heard more than one professor say in order to break the rules you first have to learn them. I treasure rules because they make society and everything within it run smoothly (for the most part). Believe me when I say, I am generally a conformist because I hate conflict. (Except in my books!)

But sometimes my spirit rears up and I break the rules (take that grammar). I haven’t done it to be bad-ass or to thumb my nose at others. I’ve turned from the tried-and-true because it worked for my story (though I still cringe inwardly over using the f bomb) and it’s gotten my work split out from the slush-pile horde. Is there any wonder why I almost purchased a ball cap bearing the line “well behaved women rarely make history”?

Deb said numerous times that an author can break the rules, but the person who does better have a stellar voice (as in good enough to make a grocery list bestseller material) and be exceedingly entertaining. I have my prolonged moments of brilliance, but to be on the safe side I better piece together the full picture of Deb’s puzzling method!

You know what I’m doing for homework, so how about you? What writing assignment has you stumped?

______________________

Are you a puzzler? If you like jigsaw’s check out http://www.jigzone.com/ where you can make your own. I found the site via Kelley St. John’s spin-off http://www.theguycheats.com/ !

Monday, November 12, 2007

Guest Blogger - Rayne Forrest

Our guest today is the fabulous Rayne Forrest. Rayne isn't into self promotion :D and I had to ask her for a copy of the cover for her latest book which is lovely, isn't it? So after you read her entertaining blog, make sure to check out her various other blogs. This gal really gets around, LOL

________________________________________________________________________


When Angela Verdenius zipped off an email to me asking me to be a guest blogger at Star-Crossed Romance, it was an automatic 'yes'. Angela is one of the sweetest people I know. She befriended me waaaaaaaay back in my early days of writing. She's a lady with a big heart and knows a lost stray when she sees one. Then I realized Lynda K. Scott was also part of Star Crossed Romance and I was doubly glad I said yes. She's been very kind when our paths have crossed on the lists.

My lost stray days have passed, mostly, and I seem to know what I'm doing. At least I like to at least think I know what I'm doing. So the question today becomes, "What do I blog about?" There are some well-written entries here on Star-Crossed Romance on a variety of timely topics that invoke thought. But, for better or worse, I’m feeling frivolous these days as I enjoy the turning of the season. I think I’ll tell you my blogging story.

I resisted the idea of blogging for over a year. My life is pretty hectic what with a full time job, a blossoming writing career, family, friends, hobbies and sleep. Yes, I do insist on sleep. When I finally composed that first blog entry and posted it, I never expected anyone to see it. They did. So I did another one. People read that, too. It's such a rush to discover people actually read blogs, and bigger kick to realize they've read your books.

Now, I don't really want my guest blogging at Star-Crossed Romance to turn into one big promo for my books. Let's not go there, okay? Let's just say - I have a few books out and leave it at that. I started writing for fun and it took off with me. Same thing happened with blogging. It's taken on a life of its own. As long as it's fun, I'll keep doing it.

Back to my blogging story. I started the regular writer's blog called “Through a Glass Brightly." You know the one where I blather on and on about my books. Great promotional tool. Google loves me, but I needed more. I needed a place to be my irreverent, tongue-in-cheek self. Irony doesn't always translate to the screen, you know. And I really do like having fun, sharing a laugh (or a snicker) and just hanging out.

So I started a second blog called, "Rayne's Ramblings" for an irreverent, tongue-in-cheek look at the world (http://rayneforrest.wordpress.com) And as if that wasn't enough, I started yet another blog over on Yahoo 360, "Fire and Rayne" for my favorite obsession, Gerry Butler. My newsletter, “Forrest Whispers,” went to a blog format so I could do color and pictures and neat stuff. Then I joined with a few nice ladies and we became the Amorous Authors and we have a blog. Do you begin to see a big snowball rolling down a hill gathering momentum and sucking up everything in its path?

And so, here I am today, guest blogging. I'm either obsessed or possessed. You'll have to decide. The great thing is, I'm enjoying myself more than I ever dreamed I could as part of the blogging community.

Cyndi Lauper was right. Sometimes, girls just want to have fun.

Rayne Forrest

________________________________________________________________________

Thanks, Rayne, for being with us!

Friday, November 09, 2007

Writing and more

On another loop I'm on, there was a recent discussion of POV (Point Of View) and how romance writers continually 'head hopped' based on the observer's reading of a J.D. Robb book. After he was corrected :D the discussion moved on to types of POV in use, ie 3rd person, 1st person and 2nd person (which seems to be really grating on most of us who see it). Most interesting to me though was the observation by one individual that he 'hated' a switch from 1st person (main character) to 3rd person (secondary character) because it was jarring.

Well, that aroused my curiosity. But it seems as though his complaint was in methods of transition from said 1st to 3rd person POV and not the actual mingling of the POV's. Basically, his comment said that all POV switches should be done at scene or chapter breads.

I'll confess I used to think this one and, to an extent, I still do. However, I now feel that with the proper use of transitions switching from one POV to another IN THE SAME SCENE can be accomplished and will enrich the story. Now, I've been around long enough to see the pendulum swing on this issue and maybe I'm just slow on the upswing (ie coming into the POV debate late). How do you all feel about POV switches? Scene or chapter breaks only? On, with the right transition, can they be done in mid-scene?


Moving on to a fun thing...The United Nations World Food Program has an interesting 'game' they're offering. It tests your word power :D For every word you get right, they will donate 10 grains of rice to world hunger. Here's the link:

Free Rice


Last but not least for our American readers...When you are making out your Christmas card list this year, also include one for the following address:

A Recovering American Soldier
c/o Walter Reed Army Medical Center
6900 Georgia Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20307-5001

It'll make them feel better and probably add a warm and fuzzy glow to your holidays as well.

-- Lynda

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

A Writer's Way

Hmmm...I thought I'd give my thoughts on the writing process - or should I say how I do it? LOL

I get most of my ideas while driving, believe it or not, or when I'm in the shower. They are two of the best ways to help me when I've written myself into a corner as well.

I'm a plotter. I have a rough outline of the story, about a page or a half a page, and this keeps me focused. Of course, I can and do change anything I like, change the plot, the characters, add and take things, but the main outline keeps me focused, otherwiseI end up all over the place. So saying, my current WIP has gone further south than the plot line indicated, but hey, it's working, so I'm not complaining! LOL

Music is a must for me. I always have the radio on, or music from the computer. I even studied with music. I can't imagine writing in silence. Then again, I also need to be in my little room with no one else in it - except the cats, of course . It's my writing haven.

I have my pics on the walls, jokes, bits and pieces and a lot of dust. We won't dwell on the dust, all right? I live in a dusty town and it drives me nuts!

My writing room has book catalogues and things teetering on the edge of the desk and a few post-it notes stuck up on the top of the desk hutch - so I can forget to do it all anyway.

The best time for writing in my opinion? It has to be from about 10pm to about 4am on a summer's nights, when it's dark, the night birds are singing outside, it's warm, and no one else is up, and music is playing so only I can hear it. It's perfect. My emotions tend to have free reign then, don't ask me why! But I don't always have a choice when I write, especially when I'm working nights, so I write anytime of the day or night that I can.

And as I live through my characters when I write, I do feel everything they're feeling. I've even cried while writing a sad scene, laughed, frowned...you name it, if my character is feeling it, so am I!

Oddly enough, I can't join the groups who do so many words a week or month. I feel constricted. I need to write when and how I want to. How weird is that? Some authors benefit heaps from joining groups with writing deadlines. I have deadlines, but I meet them my way. I admire those authors who can have deadlines with other authors and meet them together. Maybe one day...

Nah, who am I kidding? I'm a lone flyer!!! LOL

cheers
Angela

Monday, November 05, 2007

November Means NaNoWriMo

One of the most fascinating things about being a writer is the fact that no two people do the job the same way. Sometimes I don't even write two stories the same way. Over the years, I've accumulated a lot of different tips, tricks, and techniques to keep the writing going and get the words on the page. NaNoWriMo is one such technique. The rules are at the NaNo site, but the short-short version is that you try your damnedest to log 50,000 words in thirty days. This translates out to about 1667 words a day, if you write every day.

Some days, that's a number I blow past by ten AM. Other days, like today, it's getting on to bath time for my kids, and I've barely logged a hundred words and if I want to keep on, I'm going to be burning the midnight oil to make it.

When I analyze it, the two biggest benefits of NaNo-ing I get are the significant word count, and the bare-bones of a rough draft. This, I can work with. The slightly less tangible benefit I get is the immersion in the story. As a reader, nothing thrills me more than when I get caught up in a story, and as a writer, I'm the same way. Unfortunately, with real life being what it is, I don't have the luxury of being able to close myself up in a room with nothing but the voices in my head for company. And honestly, I don't have the attention span, either. But if I know I've got to knock out words, and if I've been living in the story for the past two hours on and off, it's much easier to pop out of the story to feed my kids, then return to the story, than to have to pop in to the story in between loads of laundry.

Now naturally, anything done by anyone that might either be fun or feel good has its critics, but I'm not one of them. Anything that gets me to "the end" is a good thing, and I'm riding it until the wheels fall off.

Bonfires and Fireworks

Bonfire Night or Guy Fawkes Night: The persistent smell of burning wood in the autumn air. Clear, cold, sunny days and foggy nights. Fireworks going off intermittently in people's backyards, a flash of sparkling blue and green in the dark sky. Dogs that have become so blase at three days of fireworks they can't be bothered barking at them any more.

I love Bonfire Night. Following close on the heels of Halloween, it heralds the middle of Autumn, reminding one that the winter is all too close. People huddle around bonfires in public parks and friends' yards, breathing mistily into the cold, damp air as they shuffle through piles of autumn leaves, their kids gleefully lighting sparklers up and down the street. A rare sense of community is fostered by the local gathering around bonfires. It feels pagan, almost ritualistic, a reminder of our earlier more primeval selves.

The greatest thing about this holiday is that there's nothing to sell on it. I don't think you're allowed to advertise fireworks - only fireworks safety ads clog the radio waves. Other than that, it's an advert free holiday. Utter bliss.

Guy Fawkes Day

Most of us here in the U.S. don't know very much about GUY FAWKES or Guy Gawkes Day but since we here at Star-Crossed represent authors beyond the U.S. (and how great is it that we're International? :D), we thought we'd do a little something for the Guy.

I'll be the first to note that, while I've heard of Guy Fawkes, I'm not totally up on the subject. So I did a little Google-booking and found this site

The Everyday Book

which has an old article on the subject. Here's some of what it has to say (taken directly from site):

"It is not to be expected that poor boys should be well informed as to Guy's history, or be particular about his costume. With them "Guy Fawkes-day," or, as they as often call it, " Pope-day," is a holiday, and as they reckon their year by their holidays, this, on account of its festivous enjoyment, is the greatest holiday of the season. They prepare long before hand, not " Guy," but the fuel wherewith he is to be burnt, and the fireworks to fling about at the burning: "the Guy" is the last thing thought of, "the bonfire" the first. About this time ill U sure to betide the owner of an ill-secured fence ; stakes are extracted from hedges,anH .ranches tern from trees; crack, crack, goes loose paling ; deserted buildings yield up their floorings ; unbolted flip-Happing doors are released from their hinges as supernumeraries ; and more burnables are deemed lawful prize than the law allows. These are secretly stored in some enclosed place, which other " collectors " cannot find, or dare not venture to invade. Then comes the making of" the Guy," which is easily done with straw, after the materials of dress are obtained : these are an old coat, waistcoat, breeches, and stockings, w hich usually as ill accord in their proportions and fitness, as the parts in some of thé new churches. His hose and coat arc frequently "a world too wide;" in such cases his legs are infinitely too big, and the coat is " hung like a loose sack about him." A barber's block for the head is "the very thing itself;" chalk and charcoal make capital eyes and brows, which are the main features, inasmuch as the chin commonly drops upon the breast, and all deficiencies are hid by " buttoning up :" a large wig is a capital achievement. Formerly an old cocked hat was the reigning fashion for a " Guy ;" though the more strictly informed "dresser of the character" preferred a mock-mitre; now, however, both hat and mitre have disappeared, and a stiff paper cap painted, and knotted with paper strips, in imitation of ribbon, is its substitute ; a frill and ruffles of writing-paper so far completes the figure. Yet this neither was not, nor is, a Guy, without a dark lantern in one hand, and a spread bunch of matches in the other. The figure thus furnished, and fastened in a chair, is carried about the streets in the manner represented in the engraving ; the boys shouting forth the words of the motto with loud huzzas, and running up to passengers hat in hand, with " pray remember Guy ! please to remember Guy
Loading...Loading...1431 THE EVERY-DAY BOOK.-NOVEMBER 5. 1433

It's a very interesting article so those with an interest might want to check it out. Enjoy!

Oh, and if you've a picket fence, you might want to keep a wary eye on it :D

-- Lynda