Sun Belt Express at the Santa Fe Independent Film Festival

October 20, 2014 § 2 Comments

Bliss
October 20, 2014

It has been a while since I’ve been out until one o’ clock in the morning. Good thing I bought that sleep mask at Big Lots.

ReadWriteBliss_JeanCocteauMarqee

On Saturday I went to the Santa Fe Independent Film Festival to attend the screening of Sun Belt Express. I went with the Cheza Jouer Films duo and one of the film’s producers, Kenneth Segura Knoll. The movie played at the Jean Cocteau theater, owned by none other than George R.R. Martin. Sun Belt Express is a gem of an indie film about a divorced, broke teacher who supplements his income with a side job smuggling people across the border from Mexico. On what is supposed to be his final run, he discovers his idealistic teenage daughter stowed away in the trunk of his car. A hilarious disaster of an adventure ensues.

At the center of this movie were the men hiding in the trunk of the car, hoping to start a new life in the U.S. It made me think of one of my favorite scenes from the “Homecoming” episode of Smallville where Oliver Queen is being interviewed by a combative TV anchor and he says that he’s not “putting up razor wire fences to keep out immigrants, who only want what our grandparents wanted.”

I really love a people-bonding-through-adversity-story. This movie had father-daughter bonding, down-and-out-comrade bonding, man-woman bonding, woman-girl bonding. And lots and lots of laughs—like, till my eyes watered. The shots of the gorgeous New Mexico sky were just icing on the cake.

ReadWriteBliss_MiguelSandoval

Me and Miguel Sandoval, one of the stars of Sun Belt Express. When I first saw him, I was like “Why does he look so familiar? Who did he play that had a cool, calming, authoritative presence? Who was it??” It was District Attorney Manuel Devalos in Medium, that’s who.

Check out more on Sun Belt Express here: http://sunbeltexpressmovie.com

 

I’m Back and I’m Doing NaNoWriMo

October 13, 2014 § Leave a comment

or,
I Know. It’s Way Past Labor Day

Write
October 13, 2014

I’m back. Not because I finally submitted my manuscript to the agent who requested it at RWA14. No. Because after a month and a half of condensing and cutting, my beloved manuscript is still way over the ideal word count. One of my Hot Tub Readers strongly suggested I take a break from it.

So I’m taking a break from it.

Anxiety is still skating across my chest, my stomach alternates between roiling with nausea and growling with hunger, and I want to cry about every two hours, but I’m working through it.

I have decided, for the first time, to participate in NaNoWriMo, also known as National Novel Writing Month. The founder of NaNoWriMo, Chris Baty, was the guest speaker at the LERA (Land of Enchantment Romance Authors) meeting on Saturday.

Chris Baty, Founder of NaNoWriMo, at the LERA meeting, October 11, 2014.

Chris Baty, Founder of NaNoWriMo, at the LERA meeting, October 11, 2014.

He is a great speaker. Funny, entertaining, and inspiring. I am inspired to give this NaNoWriMo thing a go. After the past few years of completely devoting myself to a project that has become my love and my obsession, only to hit a brick wall, it will be good for me to try something completely different.

At 1,667 words a day.

Eep!

Like I said, it will be good for me. Right?

Write!
(Hee, hee. Couldn’t resist. I have to crack myself up somehow. Or else I’ll just crack up, period.)

Chris Baty has inspired me to write a flawed novel, really quickly.

Chris Baty has inspired me to write a flawed novel, really quickly.

In the Meantime, Apples

August 27, 2014 § 1 Comment

Write
August 27, 2014

I’m going to be taking a brief hiatus from blogging in order to get some manuscript changes done to submit to an agent. Eeeep! I know what I’ll be doing over Labor Day weekend.

While munching apples. After years, the dwarf apple tree by my back door, the tree I never water and that has primarily served as a decent screen between me and my neighbor’s bedroom window and a hangout for the birds, has actually yielded a bowl of apples! I felt like a little kid picking these off the branches.

ReadWriteBliss-Apples

Talk to you some time after Labor Day!

It’s a Good Thing I Enjoy This Writing Thing So Much

August 18, 2014 § 2 Comments

Write
August 18, 2014

Last year I pitched to an agent at RWA and she told me that my word count was too high—like, “heart attack too high”—so I spent last fall and winter splitting the book into two.

That agent rejected my submission.

This year I pitched to another agent at RWA and he likes my premise but does not like the fact that it is split into two—like, “everything was great until you said it was split into two”—and he wants to see a definite ending.

I agree. My love my original ending. My original ending is the reason I wrote the book.

So now I’m back to my original version, the one that is not split in two, and that means I have to cut a hell of a lot of words.

Panic attack has happened, is happening, and will continue to happen.

I’m getting through it with a little advice from my friends and other sources.

Stephen King, from On Writing, advice from his newspaper editor:
“When you rewrite, your main job is taking out all the things that are not the story.”

On Writing

These words are keeping my head on straight and guiding me through the darkness.

Ryan Winfield, author of Jane’s Melody, when I told him my woes:
“Don’t cut just to cut, but getting the word count down will hopefully make it crisper and make for better writing.”

Ryan Winfield and me at Bookworks signing August 9, 2014.

Ryan Winfield and me at Bookworks signing August 9, 2014.

So far, so good. I’ve cut 600 words from the first three scenes and they read much better. Only thing is, 600 doesn’t sound like very many words right now. I will not despair.

Louise Bergin, fellow LERA member and author of historical romance:
“Cut, but keep what you’ve cut off to the side and use it later as extras for promotion.”

Love my LERA gang!

Love my LERA gang!

Great idea. I’ve seen other authors do this, like Cora Carmack at the end of her book Finding It. I’ll probably end up with a year’s worth of blog posts of deleted scenes and original versions.

Dia of the invaluable Hot Tub Readers:
“Whatever you do, don’t cut any of the sex scenes.”

Duly noted.

Weekend Reading: Jane’s Melody by Ryan Winfield

August 11, 2014 § Leave a comment

Read
August 11, 2014

ReadWriteBliss_BookworksSign

I’m not sure how it is that this guy didn’t pop up on my radar before now, because he writes just the kind of books I love to read.

Ryan Winfield did a book signing/panel with my LERA group this weekend at my local indie bookstore, Bookworks. After reading the synopses for Ryan Winfield’s Jane’s Melody and the recently released follow-up, Jane’s Harmony, I knew that I had to go pick up these books. And get them signed, of course.

Ryan Winfield and me at Bookworks signing August 9, 2014.

Ryan Winfield and me at Bookworks signing August 9, 2014.

I started reading Jane’s Melody this weekend and love it.

It’s set in Washington State, which is where I grew up. It makes me almost miss some things about Washington, such as the springtime flowers of daffodils and tulips and crocuses. Almost miss it. Makes me almost kind of wish we hadn’t been so poor when I was a kid so that we could have afforded a ferry ride to Bainbridge Island. Almost wish. (I did move to New Mexico for a reason: the sunshine!)

Love the cover.

Love the cover.

I’m also just so stoked that a man understands that a single, working woman doesn’t have time to change the light bulb in the garage (page 6) or pull weeds in the back yard (page 42). Okay, so maybe one or two men I’ve dated have given me crap about that.

I highly recommend this book.

Running on Empty Sounds Poetic but I Wouldn’t Recommend It

August 4, 2014 § Leave a comment

Bliss
August 4,2014

“I think we should start praying.”

Boy, is that something you don’t want to wake up to.

ReadWriteBliss-WelcomeToTexas

My eyes flew open. I’d only closed them for a second. I looked around for a burning church or a jack-knifed 18-wheeler.

“What’s going on?” I said.

“My gas light just came on,” Martha said. “And we’re twenty miles outside of Big Spring.”

Twenty miles from a gas station, in other words. I knew we should have gassed up in Lamesa when the tank was still a quarter full. But oh, no. Martha said we were all right to make it to Big Spring, because she’s driven on fumes before and it was just fine. This from the woman who gets her oil changed every three months on the dot and whose trunk was crammed full with a real full-sized spare tire instead of a donut and who carefully planned this route to San Antonio through every small town in the state to eliminate a Texas Chainsaw Massacre scenario.

Martha's well-worn handwritten directions to San Antonio.

Martha’s well-worn handwritten directions to San Antonio.

I’m all for a little adventure a la Thelma & Louise but two grown-ass women running out of gas on the way to San Antonio and the Romance Writers of America conference was not how I wanted to play this out.

It got real quiet in that car. Martha was praying and I was reciting Louise Hay’s “all is well the universe is taking care of me” mantra like I had a broken record inside my head.

When we headed over that bridge into Big Spring, flying past the reduced speed limit sign, Martha was like “F**k that. I ain’t stopping and I ain’t slowing down. Come on, Chevron station. Come to Mama!”

The Chevron sign came into view and we were like “hallelujah.” Literally. Like for real. “Hallelujah, baby” as we rolled up to the open gas pump.

ReadWriteBliss-Chevron

I’m sure people were wondering why we tumbled out of the car, laughing hysterically.

This was taken right as we pulled up to the gas pump.

This was taken right as we pulled up to the gas pump.

Martha said, “No more of that. From now on, we are never going below a quarter tank again.”

“Yeah, I think the risk-taking portion of this trip is over,” I said. After all, I had a book to pitch.

I Was a Total Fangirl

July 28, 2014 § Leave a comment

Read, Write, and Bliss
July 28, 2014

I’m back from the Romance Writers of America conference and what a fabulous time I had. A lot of great things happened at RWA14, not the least of which is . . .

I got my picture taken with Sylvia Day!!!

Did I fangirl all over the place? Yes. Did I gush about how I’ve read her Crossfire series multiple times? Yes. Did my iPhone take forever to finally flash so that you could actually see the picture? Of course.

Throughout it all, Sylvia Day was gracious, down-to-earth, and just an all-around class act.

Me and Sylvia Day at the Romance Writers of America Conference in San Antonio, 2014

Me and Sylvia Day at the Romance Writers of America Conference in San Antonio, 2014

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