Reading for the Labor Day Weekend (August 30)

August 30, 2013 § 1 Comment

Read
August 30, 2013

Yahoo! Labor Day weekend is just ahead. Time to sink into a cozy chair and really escape.

Entwined with You

 

I finished Entwined with You by Sylvia Day. Eva and Gideon go to a whole new level in the third installment of the series. The love and sex scenes are more tender yet still as scorching as in the first two books. Surprise twists galore! Looking forward to book four.

I’m about halfway through The Vampire Diaries: The Return: Shadow Souls. For Damon. It’s all for Damon.

5th Grave

I started reading Fifth Grave Past the Light by Darynda Jones. Just two chapters in I laughed out loud like twenty times. How I love Charley Davidson and her world we get to live in, thanks to Darynda. Here is just one small example of what I’m talking about.

Charley is telling her friend Cookie that she needs to go to a particular class:

“It’s also about gun safety, Cook,” I said, holding up an index finger to put her in pause. “And if you carry a gun in a concealed way, you need a permit. The class is eight hours tomorrow and seven on Sunday.”

She lunged for the phone again. She missed. “That’s my entire weekend. I had plans.”

“A ‘Vampire Diaries’ marathon is not plans.”

She looked at me like I’d lost my mind. “Have you even seen the Salvatore brothers?”

I would adore life itself if I could just finish the entire book over the long weekend.

What books are you looking forward to delving into over Labor Day?

Diana Gabaldon’s Advice for Writing Sex Scenes: Dial Back on the Adjectives

August 28, 2013 § 1 Comment

Diana Gabaldon, author of the Outlander  series, taught the “How (and How Not) to Write Sex Scenes” workshop at Bubonicon 45 on August 24th.

DianaG_Bubonicon45

The room was packed and the audience enthusiastic.

“How many of you are writers and are here because you want to learn about how to write sex scenes?” Diana asked.

Quite a few hands went up.

“How many of you are here because you want to hear me read sex scenes?”

Quite a few more hands went up, along with laughter.

And to illustrate her points, she did read sex scenes from her own books out loud. Without the help of Vodka.

The session included a lengthy (no pun intended) recitation of all the different references for penis (“yogurt squirter” unfortunately sticks in my mind) and a shorter reading (because apparently there is less of a need to name women’s sex parts) of the references for female genitalia (“muffin” comes to my mind, only because Lady Gaga used it in “Poker Face”).

About actually writing the sex scenes, Diana had this to say: don’t use too many adjectives.

I’m a little guilty of this. I blame Sex and the City. Remember when Samantha described her new lover’s dick as “long, pink, amazing”? That was great. It paints a memorable picture. A part of me tries to mimic that poetry when I’m describing certain things. And certain acts. Anyway—

rose red

Diana recommended that we try reading our own written scenes without any adjectives and only put back what is needed. When you throw too many adjectives in there, readers disengage. Leave enough white space for the imagination, she said. A reader’s own imagination is what draws one into the scene.

I’m looking forward to reevaluating adjective use in my own manuscript. It’s not like I ever get tired of reading sex scenes.

I’d be in trouble if I did.

Books at Bubonicon 45 and Getting my Catfish Fix

August 26, 2013 § 2 Comments

Bliss

August 26, 2013

Bubonicon 45
I hit the tail end of the hallway-long line for George R.R. Martin so that I could get a signed copy of Game of Thrones for Dia. She is a huge fan of the HBO series and is always trying to get me to come over for a GoT marathon. So far, I have resisted. The show sounds too dark, bleak, and bloody for me. I know—this sounds strange from someone currently obsessed with Breaking Bad.

GoT

A couple days before Bubonicon, I scoped out Diana Gabaldon, the author who was slated to teach the “How [and How Not] to Write Sex Scenes” workshop. When I read the synopsis of her book Outlander on Goodreads, I remembered a conversation from a year ago: I was having lunch with a friend and she raved about a book she was reading on her Kindle. I’d forgotten all about that conversation until I read the Outlander description and the title and plot sounded so familiar. So I messaged my friend and she’s like “That series is fantastic, I’ve read five books in it.”

I got my friend a signed copy of the Outlander 20th anniversary edition.

DianaG_Bubonicon45

Diana Gabaldon, Bubonicon 45

I finally got my autographed copy of Fifth Grave Past the Light. I had attended the book release party back in July, and had to walk away empty-handed. Why? As I was standing in line I got a call that the exercise bike delivery guys were going to be at my house in twenty minutes, an hour earlier than they had originally told me. To deliver the bike that I have spent the past year clearing space for in the garage and saving up for. I had to hightail it out of the bookstore without my book.

Darynda_Bubonicon45

Darynda Jones, Bubonicon 45

All fixed now. Plus, I got some cool swag.

GraveSwag

I Wish I Had Some Catfish
I have been craving some catfish since I picked up BBQ at Big John’s lunch truck a couple weeks ago, and saw Saturday fish fry on the menu. Unfortunately, the last two Saturdays Big John has had no food truck, because Big John has been too busy with catering gigs. (The nerve!)

Sunday morning, I got an email from my friend Cat that went something like this:

My friend E is cooking today at the LC Club from 4 – 8. She’s making catfish, sweet potatoes, cornbread and greens.  A good day to start our Sunday dinners, so come out if you can. Flo, come and celebrate your bday with us if you don’t have plans.

What’s the most important part of this email? That’s right, catfish dinner at 4 pm.

I was the first one to show up at the LC Club.

After the rest of the gang arrived, and Cat went to go schmooze, Deb said, “Isn’t there a party?”

I said, “No, no party.”

Jo said, “Isn’t there some sort of presentation?”

“No.”

Deb said, “Then why are we here?”

I didn’t know why they all were there, but I knew why I was. “Because Cat sent out an email that there was going to be catfish dinner.”

Deb said, “Isn’t it somebody’s birthday?”

I said, “Yeah, but I doubt she’s coming.”

By now Jo was cracking up over so much foolishness and Deb said “O-kay. I guess I’m confused.”

No confusion here. Catfish dinner, people.

CatfishChillin

Chilling with my cat and my happy catfish belly.

Reading for the Weekend (August 23)

August 23, 2013 § 1 Comment

Read
August 23, 2013

Faking It by Cora Carmack. I finished this last Sunday (just in time for Breaking Bad). The chemistry between Cade and Max is incredible. I was dying for them to get together just so I could experience them together. So intense and beautiful and perfect it was almost painful. I love Cade. He’s the kind of man I want to marry. The right combination of compassion and conviction. I adore Max. The right mix of spunky and vulnerable. I simply must get myself some leopard print shorts. 5 Stars on Goodreads.

 Faking It

Entwined with You by Sylvia Day—Still reading, I’m embarrassed to say. I’ve been trying to get back on a decent sleep cycle so I can get back into an exercise routine, so there goes my late bed-time reading.

The Vampire Diaries: The Return: Shadow Souls by L.J. Smith—Just started reading this one. It’s quite a bit different in tone and writing style than the first four The Vampire Diaries books, but I just have to see what happens to my favorite bad boy, Damon Salvatore. I still have a soft spot for the dark tortured heroes. Still.

Vampire Diaries Shadow Souls

What books are you reading this weekend?

I Got My First Rejection and I Feel Fine

August 21, 2013 § 6 Comments

For the most part.
And Breaking Bad’s Bryan Cranston talks about the value of writing.

Write
August 21, 2013

On Saturday I heard back from the agent I pitched to at RWA13. It was a very gracious “I’ll pass” email.

The strange thing is, I’m not even upset about it. I know this is part of the process and I just have to keep on keeping on.

Plus, I have wine.

WINE

And a new exercise bike.

New Bike

And my cat still loves me.

JazzonBooks

Or, she loves my books, anyway.

Even though I really liked this agent and had hoped she’d connect with my voice, I know that I’ll be paired with the right agent at the right time.

One thing I did learn from pitching to her is that my manuscript is twice as long as the normal word count for my genre. Yeah, all this time I was writing two books and I didn’t even know it. No WONDER it was taking so long to finish it!

So now I am working on splitting the novel into two. Back to the Hero’s Journey drawing board.

And now for some pep talks.

In this interview on NEW MEXICO IN FOCUS, Breaking Bad’s Bryan Cranston said that as an actor he relies “heavily on the writing. It’s all about that.” (At the 19:30 mark)

Masterpiece Mystery’s Alan Cumming says that movies should be named as by the writer, not the director.

http://video.pbs.org/video/2365055431/

And author Mitchell Jackson, talking about his debut novel The Residue Years, says, “I’ve always felt an obligation to tell this story, which is why I stuck with it.”

http://bkwrks.shelf-awareness.com/?issue=135#m2288

Keep on keeping on.

Seeing Lee Daniels’ The Butler and Getting Behind on the Comic Books

August 19, 2013 § 2 Comments

Bliss
August 19, 2013

A whole crew of us went to see Lee Daniels’ The Butler on Saturday night.

“I think they tried to put too much in,” one of my friends said as the credits rolled. Ten minutes later, when we were gathered outside the theater, she added, “And they left out Malcolm X.”

I said it’s not really fair to fault the movie for covering too much and then fault it for leaving things out. Packing eight presidential administrations into a two hour movie is no easy feat.

While I wish some of the scenes, such as the dramatic opening in the cotton fields, had been mined for more emotional impact, here is what I really liked about the movie.

The journey
Cecil Gaines grows up from a child witnessing his father get murdered with impunity by a white sharecropper, to an old man watching the first African American get elected President of the United States. That is a pretty amazing and profound journey.

The actors
I was coming out of the restroom and a couple I had never met before asked me how the movie was. (Why did they assume I’d seen this particular movie? Ha ha!) Anyway, among other things, I said that is was so fantastic seeing all these A-list actors playing all these different parts. Forest, Oprah, David, Cuba, Lenny, all givens. Then you got Alan Rickman (Harry Potter) as Ronald Reagan and Nelsan Ellis (True Blood) as Martin Luther King, Jr. Gold and diamonds.

Some scenes of brilliance
One that stands out in my mind is the montage of the butlers serving fancy meals at the White House intercut with the Fisk University students getting abused at the Woolworth lunch counter sit-ins intercut with the Fisk University students training for the abuse at the lunch counter sit-ins. Gripping and troubling stuff.

The cameo
Screenplay writer Danny Strong, who played Jonathan in Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Doyle in Gilmore Girls, has a cameo in the movie during the Freedom Riders scene. And what a cute-as-dickens cameo it is.

LeeDanielsTheButler

Getting schooled
A few of us went out for drinks after the movie, and one of the gang, referencing one of Cuba Gooding Jr.’s lines, said, “No, seriously, who is Franco?” Someone passed around a smartphone with the Franco Wikipedia page loaded. It’s not often a movie inspires history lessons over glasses of wine at an Italian restaurant on a Saturday night.

The Impact
It’s twenty-four hours later and I’m still running scenes through my head. The group consensus was, we wouldn’t have missed seeing this movie for the world.

The other thing I did this weekend was stop by Kaboom Test Labs to pick up my latest stash of comics. Once again, I am woefully behind. The Kaboom clerk started talking to me about Batman and I said I had left off with the one about the sister and brother. “Oh, Harper Row? She’s awesome. And, yeah, you are way back.”

ComicStash0817

Reading New Adult, Waiting, and Binging on Breaking Bad

August 14, 2013 § 1 Comment

Read
I have been reading a lot of New Adult (NA) books. It turns out that this relatively new genre is what I’ve been writing in all along. College-aged protagonist experiencing first true love, first real relationship, first split from family, and trying to figure out what the heck to do with her life. I love this genre. Here are some NA books I’ve read, or are currently reading, that I really enjoyed.

Losing It

Losing It by Cora Carmack—(Read). Light, hilarious, fun.

Fallen Too Far

Fallen Too Far by Abbi Glines—(Read). Spunky heroine. Great premise. Great voice.

Faking It

Faking It by Cora Carmack—(Currently reading). Love. Love. Cade is my dream man.

Entwined with You

Entwined with You by Sylvia Day—(Currently reading). Just as sexy as the first two in the series.

Write
Three days after I returned from RWA, I submitted the requested material to the agent I pitched to. Yeah, I jammed on it right away. I didn’t spend the last several months holing up every weekend and not getting enough sleep for nothing! Now, I play the waiting game. It’s not a bad place to be. I can do some supplemental research. Sketch ideas for the next book. Read—a lot. Re-invigorate my social life. And I really have to get on the social life thing. I hermitized for so long that my beta reader Dia is threatening some elaborate schemy-scheme to get me hooked up. And that sounds like a disaster and a half.

Zacatecas2

Dia and me. Don’t let that smile fool you.

Bliss
I was one of the 5.9 million viewers who tuned in for the final premiere of Breaking Bad on Sunday. After I spent the last few months frantically catching up on the series via Netflix. Now I know what the infamous “Box Cutter” episode is all about, the one that Steven Michael Quezada brought up during the Breaking Bad panel at Albuquerque Comic Expo (ACE) in June.

Giancarlo Esposito said that filming THAT scene in the season four opening was tough. “I had to try to elicit some compassion somewhere behind my dead eyes.”

BTW, in person, Giancarlo is a very handsome, gregarious, charismatic man with an amazing, resonant voice. Not like Gus Fring at all. When an audience fan announced breathlessly to Giancarlo, “I love you,” he replied, “Did you just say I’m a handsome cat or what? Yeah! I love you, too!”

ACE_BB_QEB_1

l-r: Steven Michael Quezada (Gomez), Giancarlo Esposito (Gus Fring), Jeremiah Bitsui (Victor). Breaking Bad Panel at Albuquerque Comic Expo, June 22, 2013.

Steven Michael Quezada told the story of his audition, when Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan asked Steven what he thought of the script. Steven didn’t know who Vince was, so he said, “I read it twice. This shit’s so crazy, it just might work.”

When Vince said he was the one who wrote it, Steven thought, “Shit. I just blew it. I just did the opposite of what I tell my students to do. Just go in and read the lines. They don’t care what you think about the script. I don’t know what he [Vince] saw in me to give me the part.”

Giancarlo said, “You know what it was. You. You were being yourself. He saw you. When you go in, they want to see you. Who you really are.”

ACE_BB_QEB_2

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