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Monday, February 28, 2005

Monday's Musings

Okay, so I should probably be thinking about my next scene and writing about writing, but I've been thinking instead about the Academy Awards last night. I don't know why I actually watched it since I haven't seen any of the movies nominated, except Sideways, but I guess because I live 15 miles outside of Hollywood, have been to the Kodak Theatre, walked the same walk that the big stars walked, and everything else in town practically shuts down, I wanted to be included in some way. The "event" makes history each year and maybe I wanted to include myself in that. While watching, I found the women looked fabulous this year. No really bad "fashion" mistakes on the big stars. Hillary Swank looked wonderful and though I didn't orignially want to see that movie because I've been told it's not what it appears, now I really would love to see what made it an overwhelming success. I imagine, it did what the other movies might not have done -- touched the viewers on an emotional level that went beyond any expectation. Isn't that what good writing is about anyway? And good acting? The audience, whether a reader or a movie viewer wants to become involved. They want to be touched and stimulated by what they read or see. And if it surprises them in an uncanny way, the more the better. So, setting aside my reservations about the actual subject matter, I plan to see Million Dollar Baby and brace myself for the onslaught of a highly emotional movie ride.

Friday, February 25, 2005

Friday's Finds

The romance is NOT supposed to be the plot. This was the subject for discussion on our RWA listserve this morning. And many of us disagree. Yes, the romance is the PLOT in our stories. While many other genres have a story with an ongoing love theme, they might be mysteries or mainstream novels, or even thrillers, but the romance in those stories don't generate the plot. In a true romance, the plot is divided into external and internal plot, but authors often hear from our editors, don't allow the plot to overshadow the romance. The love story between our hero and heroine IS the main plot of the story. How do they overcome what might seem like overwhelming odds to fall in love at the end? So, while we might have a good external plot going and deep emotional internal conflicts, the bottom line is that in all true romances, the PLOT is the romance. If there isn't a happily ever after, then we don't have a romance.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Thursday's Thoughts

It's finally stopped raining in southern California! The sun is out and shining bright. As a Brooklyn born, transplanted Californian, I'm a true sun worshipper. But most importantly, the sunshine inspires and makes me want to get up early and write. The only problem is, that my next scene is the "dreaded" love scene. After 14 books, it's always hard to make the love scenes inventive and different, without going overboard. I write romance, not erotica, so I do have boundaries. And though the thought of writing yet another love scene isn't always welcome, I find that if I work it out through the emotions of my characters, show what they are feeling and thinking and how this will eventually lead them to fall in love, then the process becomes easier. Characterization is the key to romance, and if you know your characters well, it seems that everything else falls into place. So, off I go -- my hero doesn't know it yet, but he's about to get lucky -- in love!

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Wednesday's Words

In my story Heiress Beware, I needed to know the titles of some current day children's books. My heroine volunteers in a bookstore, while helping the sheriff of Winchester County try to figure out her real identity. And I found myself at a total loss. The days of reading children's books have come and gone for me. With my children already out of college, and no grandchildren to speak of, well, let's just say I've been out of the loop with children's books. It's great to have listserves to rely on. My Harlequin Hussy friends responded quickly, coming up with some great new titles for me that their children and grandchildren enjoy. And ... of course we can always rely on the timeless books, such as Danny and the Dinosaur, Green Eggs and Ham (my kids' favorite) and all other Dr. Seuss books. I also remember reading to them for countless hours the standard fairy tales and nursery rhymes. Are children still reading Mother Goose? Or are they more sophisticated than that now?

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Tuesday's Tidbits

You fall into bed, fall asleep easily believing you're going to get a good night's sleep and sometime during the night, a dreadful beeping goes off. At first you believe it's all in a dream. You're still sleep hazy and unsure of what you've actually heard. The annoying beep is sporadic, so you lay there in your bed hoping NOT to hear the sound again. Hoping it was truly in your dreams. Nope. The beep rings in your ear this time and you glance over at your husband, sound asleep, and realize that he has to get up in less than two hours to get ready for work. BEEP! This time you pray the sound hasn't reached your other half's ears and you have no choice, but to toss the covers and get out of your warm bed. You fumble in the dark, grab the offending beeper and off you go on a search for the battery charger. At last, you make your find, untangle the wires and plug the thing in. Your CELL PHONE is happy now. The darn thing gets hungry at the most inconvenient times. You climb back into bed and try to sleep, thinking that you've already raised two children, the days of midnight pleas should have ended by now. But, no. There's a whole new generation of electronics out there, just waiting to disturb your peace.
And tomorrow night, if the smoke alarm doesn't go off, the Road Runner doesn't sing with malfunction and the answering machine doesn't start chanting messages, than maybe, you'll get a full night's sleep!

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Monday's Musings

Rita Judging. I'm happy to say I'm nearly finished with the books I'm judging.
All in all, I like the format of judging books from all romantic genres. I didn't think I would, because basically, my tastes and personal preferences run to a very small circle of books, namely, western historical and long and short straight romances, both category and single title. But I found that I CAN like books with suspense, paranormal elements and other historical times. These are books I wouldn't pick up to read normally, so it's been a good lesson for me-- understanding that a good book is a good book and the same holds true that good writing is good writing.

Reading two books a week, being given about one month to complete the judging has definitely taken time away from my own story, HEIRESS BEWARE, but I find I can always learn something from reading other authors, often time, it inspires. So I have one book left, then it's full speed ahead with the completion of my amnesia story.

Happy Birthday to two great Americans -- George and Abe!

Friday, February 18, 2005

Friday's Finds

It's raining again today. We've been hit hard with rain lately, too much for Californians. We're just not equipped for such heavy rain and thus, we get mudslides, rockslides, flash floods and more. After living in New York in my young life, I know we have no right to complain. I remember those "snow" days, when school wasn't shut down and we had to trudge though the sludge, try not to slip and fall and stay in. It wasn't so bad for the children, we thought it fun, something different and we got to go out and throw snowballs when we got home from school, but it was hard on the parents. So a little California rain shouldn't be so bad on us, but still we DO complain. Personally, I'm tired of it. I want the SUN. At least my beautiful multi-colored irises have bloomed. That's one bright spot in our gray days!

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Tuesday's Tidbits

Emotional Bullets. Last Saturday I went to our RWA Chapter meeting where Maureen Child and Jill Marie Landis spoke about their writing careers. The one thing that stuck with me was Maureen's description on how to make your books more compelling. She said that where action/adventure books have lots of real bullets flying around, lots of things happening in every scene, romance writers should have emotional bullets on each page. Very profound and a good thought to keep in mind when writing. In romances, we ususally don't have tons of action, but emotional bullets, increase the intensity, make the reader want to turn the page and add to the layering of characters. What a great way to put it. It's something I will institute in my writing. You learn something every day!

Monday, February 14, 2005

Monday Musings

Happy Valentine's Day everyone! What a great day for romance! Each and every Valentine's day, we've instituted a tradition in our family that my hubby and daughter exchange gifts and my son and I do too. As my kids get older the gifts have changed from Teddy Bears and candy to more practical things but the sentiment remains the same. And most times, its the homemade, hand-crafted gifts that are closest to our hearts. One year, my hubby made me a video with pics highlighting our 30 years together, set to the music "You Are So Beautiful to Me." I don't think anything could ever top that.

On a Grammy note, I have to cheer on my favorite country singer who won Best Country Song. Those of you who know me, know I love Tim McGraw and this year's song, Live Like You Were Dying, just blew me away. So much so, that I've mentioned it in my Silhouette Desire, HEIRESS BEWARE, because it fit so nicely in my story line about living life to the fullest. That's what we all should do, each and every day. Happy Sweetheart's Day!

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Friday's Finds

This is my first attempt at blogging and I have to say I'm excited about it! Presently I'm writing both western historical novels for Harlequin and contemporary series for Silhouette Desire. To date, I've written 14 novels in all, the books separately almost equally by the genre. Aside from writing for two lines, I'm presently judging the Romance Writer's Rita Contest. This is the highest award a writer can receive, complete with golden statue (much like the Academy Award) and the winners are announced at our National Convention, held every summer. This year we're heading to Reno, Nevada. Can't wait. More soon...