Movie Night: “Top Five”

December 15, 2014 § Leave a comment

December 15, 2014

Me: “Top Five opens this weekend. Want to go?”

Dia: “Do you think it’ll be funny?”

Hello. It’s Chris Rock.

Me: “Okay, you saw the trailer, right?”

Dia: “Yes, but is it going to be like Dear White People, where the trailer makes it look like it’s going to be really funny, but it’s actually not.”

Me: “Rolling Stone and Richard Roeper said it’s funny, so we’re good.”

We were those people, taking multiple selfies in the theater before the previews started, trying to get one that looked sufficiently selfie worthy and approved by both of us.

We were those people, taking multiple selfies in the theater before the previews started, trying to get one that looked sufficiently selfie worthy and approved by both of us.

Verdict: we pretty much laughed our asses off throughout the whole thing.

Dia: “That was the funniest movie I’ve seen in a long time.”

Maybe now she’ll trust my movie recommendations.

Ha. That’s good for a laugh.

Five Crazy Things that Happened During NaNoWriMo

December 1, 2014 § 4 Comments

or, Magic happens when you are forced to write a novel quickly, flaws and all.
December 1, 2014


I participated in my first NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) this year and at 10:53 a.m. Mountain Time Sunday, I finished with 55,178 words. I was a little dazed, a lot euphoric, and, suddenly, really, really hungry. I am pretty happy with how it turned out. I have something to look forward to in the new year when I pull out this raw draft and start reworking it. I also experienced some crazy things during this writing process.

Characters stood up for their rights, even though I had no idea who they were yet.

No backstories, no bios, sometimes not even real names — just ridiculous placeholders like “Blondie”—and yet, when my fingers were flying across the keyboard, their personalities revealed themselves in surprising ways. When my villain was supposed to be frightening, he was dark and tragic. When the male lead was supposed to be understanding, he was jealous. When the protagonist was supposed to be conflicted, she was decisive and kick-ass. Which leads to

Scenes didn’t play out how I’d planned them.

Oh, they’d start out exactly how I envisioned. But then the characters took over and the scene would end up someplace completely different and I’d be left wondering what the hell just happened here? On the other hand, when I got bored, and did not know what to do with this miserable scene I had put everyone in, I just made everybody start acting like total jerks. Then things got interesting real quick.

Stream of consciousness = the mf’ing bomb.

I got crazy word count just letting my protagonist ramble on. It was a great way to learn her voice and figure out how her mind works. Plus, it was fun as hell. Too many times I would laugh my head off thinking, “I can’t believe she just said that.” (She said it. She did. Not me.)

I found out that I can just make stuff up as I go along.

Usually, a scene has played out in my head in Technicolor, multiple times, before I write it. I did not have that luxury with NaNoWriMo. I had an hour before work and the minutes were ticking away and I had to get my protagonist through her next test pronto. Bing! Just throw her in a room with this guy she barely knows and have her start talking trash. Next thing I knew, I had 900 words and my next conflict set up. When forced to, when I had no other choice, I just made up random shit. And some of it is probably usable.

I did not know how the story was going to end until ten minutes before I wrote it, when the final line came soaring into my head, while I was in my pajamas, standing over the floor furnace, sipping hot cocoa spiked with Vodka.

I am not making this up.


NaNoWriMo gear: chair pad, laptop, headphones, cookies from Trader Joe’s, hand warmers, and a notebook gift, handmade by the Saturday mornings write-in host.

Weekend Reading: Gone Girl and Entwined With You Redux

November 18, 2014 § Leave a comment

November 17, 2014

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

I finished this a couple of weeks ago and then went and saw the movie the following weekend. My friend who won’t read books was like, “That is one crazy ass movie.” My friend who finished the book before me said she couldn’t decide if she loved it or hated it.

I think I love it.


Entwined With You by Sylvia Day

Entwined with You

I am re-reading this one in preparation for the release of Captivated By You tomorrow, November 18th. Eeeeeee!

As you have probably figured out, I am obsessed with the Crossfire series. These books are scorching hot. You have to read them to experience it. Trust me. But I will share one of my favorite throwaway lines, because it is such a gem it cracks me up every time. From Entwined:

“Dinner out that night . . . wasn’t as grim as I’d feared it might be. The food was great, the wine better, and Cary was snarking out.”

Can’t wait for the next installment!

Captivated By You

Swinging Around the [May] Pole

November 10, 2014 § Leave a comment

November 10, 2014

I’m writing NaNoWriMo with arms that are a little sore today. That’s because I took a pole dancing class on Sunday and boy, does that work your upper body.

My friend and Hot Tub Reader Dia arranged a private pole dancing class for six of us. I hadn’t taken a dance class in way too long so I said sure. Gave me a chance to wear those cute dotted tights I bought on clearance at Target last year and then never opened.

I psyched myself up by watching the finals competition scene at the end of Pitch Perfect a few times. Seriously, I never get tired of that scene. And apparently it did the trick.

I had way more fun in the class than I expected to. Strutting and twirling around the pole–it was kind of like being a grown and sexy woman and a little kid at the same time.

As you can see from my scuffed dance shoes, I really liked the “drag your leg through a spin and into a flamingo” move.


Afterward, we all walked over to Two Fools Tavern and ordered drinks, fish and chips, and then shared the most decadently delicious brownie ever. It seemed the appropriate thing to do.

The (Witching) NaNoWriMo Hour

November 3, 2014 § Leave a comment

November 3, 2014

A few minutes after midnight I got on my laptop and kicked off NaNoWriMo. I was still up after coming home from a Halloween party. And I had to get the disturbing images out of my head.

Ever since my trip to New Orleans in July, I’d decided I need to check out American Horror Story: Coven. I’d also been warned by more than one person that the show can be a little traumatizing. So I figured what better way to get through it than on Halloween, surrounded by a bunch of other people.


We made it through the pilot. Then we were like “Okay. I’m done. That’s enough. I’m going to go home now and try not to have nightmares.”

I was really glad I had NaNoWriMo.

A little before one a.m., I hit the daily word count of 1,667. Then I went to bed and slept like a log. No nightmares.

As for the remaining episodes of Coven–I’m making my friends come over to watch with me.


I went to my first NaNoWriMo write-in on Saturday. Who knew how easy and fun it is to lose yourself in your writing while surrounded by others. Especially after a Mimosa (or two).

Weekend Reading: Wow, I Really Needed to Update My Goodreads

October 27, 2014 § Leave a comment

October 27, 2014

I really have been reading as well as writing the past two months. I just haven’t had a chance to write about what I’ve been reading.

Degas in New Orleans by Christopher Benfey

This is one of the many books I checked out from the library in preparation for the trip to New Orleans I took back in July. It was chock full of fascinating info, including Degas’ relation to African-American inventor Norbert Rillieux. It also inspired my Haunted House blog post. I was a little sad when I returned this book to the library. It reminded me so much of my trip to NOLA.


Attachments by Rainbow Rowell

This book made me feel so much better–optimistic even–about the fact that I sometimes go see movies by myself.

It also reminded me of all those times my friend and I would dish about everything from our dating drama to our hopes and dreams to the latest Ally McBeal episode–via company email. What were we thinking?!?


Jane’s Melody by Ryan Winfield

This book made me want to go hang out in bars again, listening to live music performed by hot young musicians. But this writing thing is sucking up ALL MY TIME. For right now, I’ll just have to settle for reading the sequel.

Love the cover.

Love the cover.

Dance Upon the Air by Nora Roberts

At dinner and drinks one evening my friend told me she had Dark Witch by Nora Roberts on her eReader and I said “Oh, I’ve been wanting to read that one” and my friend said “If you’re interested in the witch stories I can recommend some of her other witch trilogies” and I said, “Hold up. NORA ROBERTS has OTHER WITCH TRILOGIES?!?”

And that’s how I found myself enjoying blissful lunch hours in the park reading Dance Upon the Air and dreaming of cottage kitchens and herb gardens and dancing under the moonlight.



Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

I dug my own hole on this one. I was trying to find someone I actually know in my real life who has read this book so I could ask them if they would recommend reading it. Instead, I talked someone else into checking it out and she is now done with it and a little peeved that I am still trying to get through it because she CAN’T DISCUSS THE ENDING WITH ME YET. What can I say? I had to finish the Nora Roberts witch book before the library loan expired again.

GoneGirlWhat have you been reading?


Movie Night: “Dear White People”

October 26, 2014 § 1 Comment

October 25, 2014

We went into Dear White People expecting some gut-busting, tear-rolling, cheek-cracking laughs. No. Not so much. This is not a comedy.

Depending on your own experience and sensibilities, you will laugh at some point during the movie. But it will probably be the uncomfortable laugh. And someone in the theater might look at you sideways.

A few character reveals hit me in the stomach. Like the “not feeling black enough for the black or white crowd” thing. And the “knowing the other kids are looking at you weird because one of your parents is white” thing. So the laughter was more the “yeah, I know what that’s like and it’s really messed up” kind of laughter.

Note: Pay attention to the credits. I almost missed them. They pack a wallop.


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