There was some sort of shooting in Powell. For those of you who don't know where Powell is, it is this old little mile long town just outside of columbus. Mainly little old antique shops and crafty type stores. The speed limit is still 25 and I remember when the freaked out about changing the flashing light to an actual traffic signal. Nothing happens in Powell. I should know, I've lived here forever and a day. It is also about a half a mile from where I work. Aparrently the guy was trying to commit suicide and his family called 911. When the police arrived, he shot at them...and then barricaded himself in the house. Eventually he let his wife and daughter out, but I don't know what happened after that. It's sad. They said he was sick, has had a lot of health problems and was just depressed. Some days can be darker than others I guess. I understand the frustration. It can be hard. I hope he's okay and gets help.
I got a flu shot today. Did you know that you can't be allergic to chickens or eggs?
That's all I got today. Enjoy the Halloween Video!
It was the Halloween Horror Love Fest.
We rented movies. I thought it would be fun to watch a bunch of scary movies tonight especially since I didn't have to be alone. One of the things I miss living solo is knowing someone is near if something happens. Once, over the summer I left my window open in my bedroom (which is on the ground level). It was hot and I had turned the AC off because their was a nice breeze. But I left the blinds up just slightly because they can keep the slight breeze from rolling on through. When I woke up I saw someone starring at me through my window. It scared the crap out of me. I couldn't move, I was stuck to my bed eventhough all I wanted to do was scream. Then I woke up...a second time and realized the first time I was still dreaming. But there is nothing scarier than thinking your awake and waking up again. You get this overwhelming sense of de javu and how do you really know that you aren't still dreaming?
Anyway, dreams like that are why I don't watch ghost hunters after dark. Give me sunlight and I am fine, but creepy things come out at night. I should know. I write about vampires.
So now I have to go play a game...maybe the sims or something. Anything to keep me from thinking about things that go bump in the night.
Happy early Halloween! Maybe tomorrow I will make Halloween cards from my friends at work!
2. The wall
3. The toilet
4. The vending machine
5. The tampon dispenser
6. The ceiling tiles
7. The trash can
8. The recycling bin
9. The trunk of your car
10. The cereal container
11. The printer
12. The copy machine
13. The mailbox
14. The file cabinet
15. The flower vase
(Note: none of the dead mice were actually found in or around the mouse traps!)
Today is quiet. I don’t have any exciting news to share or issues to rant about. It is cold here; there were snowflakes this morning…which is almost unbelievable considering the gorgeous day on Saturday. The BF and I went out to one of the metro parks, “hiking”. He says it is not real hiking because there were paths. I say, there were trees, dirt and hills. That’s close enough. I think I have some good shots of the woods we were in. I will post a few for your viewing pleasure.
Yesterday I was inspired and made pumpkin soup. It was not that great. Relatively easy to make, but very bland. We decided it needed to be sweetened so I added some brown sugar. Perfect. Went along nicely with the cornbread (which was also sweet). Yesterday I had to work. We had a donor event and did a live video feed with some researchers in Churchill, Manitoba. It was pretty cool. They were in a tundra buggy and we could see a polar bear lounging around. It wasn’t all that snowy there…very rocky landscape.
I am still writing…kind of. For those of you who don’t know…I started writing in journals and then transcribing everything on my computer/laptop. The writing is faster if I do it by hand. For some reason I feel less pressure and I can just let the words flow. The white screen can be intimidating. I also get caught up on things like how many words I have done, how many pages I’ve covered etc. This way those distractions aren’t there anymore and I can just write. What it means though, is that I am still typing up the last two chapters. They are long chapters too and it is taking a while. Sometimes it is hard to read my own damn writing! This weekend I found a stand at a garage sale that I can set my journal on…so it makes typing easier. And now that the laptop is working…I have found sitting in bed, watching TV and typing away is a good way to kill time and make some progress.
Last night I watched Desperate Housewives and Brothers & Sisters. James Denton, who plays Mike on DH was interviewed on the radio this morning and he was the nicest guy. He talked about being on set and falling asleep while he was in a coma! He talked about the crazy paparazzi that the girls on the show go through…and even gave a big hint to the sweeps week show….which we kind of already knew…(if you listen to the morning zoo’s celebrity sleaze) but I won’t share it here. Then there is the Brothers & Sisters…I really like this show. Despite the fact that I like Sally Field and Calista Flockhart, I love big families. I love the dynamics and the relationships that evolve, how certain siblings form stronger bonds with others… etc. I like that they aren’t perfect, even though they have a lot of money… The reality I know is that people probably fight harder, forgive less and the parents are completely exhausted…but what can I say.
I am going to move on now to something else…not that I don’t love you all. Just have other stuff that needs to get done.
I just bought new dishes and no one is here to see them. My mother said she would stop over before going to work, but as usual I think she lied. :(
So here they are. Aren't they cute? Now I need to have brunch or something. Make a fancy quiche and fresh squeezed OJ. Ok. Let's not get ahead of ourselves. They are just dishes. It won't make me cook any better, but at least I'll be eating in style.
But take a closer look.
The success of reality shows and game shows is fickle. There are only so many available time slots. The success of Dancing with the Stars is due in large part to not being on at the same time as American Idol. They can share the same audience without having to compete. What makes Dancing with the Stars successful and Skating with Celebrities lame? One was an original concept. One was a hackneyed copy cat of another network’s show. They might both have a following, but not the same kind that American Idol has. And look at shows like Who Wants to be a Millionaire? It was so popular that it was on practically everyday of the week. But people get burnt out. Now it comes on at the seven o’clock hour and I only just realized a few weeks ago that those weren’t reruns they were airing.
The critics of this decision make good arguments. The advertisers say they don’t buy time slots, they by programming. It makes sense. People don’t watch TV at 8PM because it is convenient. They make an effort to put their lives on hold to watch Friends. And advertising wants to be able to market specific products to specific people, which means looking at the type of program and the characteristics of the audience. Branding. Another thing that is hard to do with a game show.
The decision of NBC execs is short sighted. NBC blames competition with the internet. I blame their lack of vision, their cut and run attitude and their inability to put together a solid programming. Let’s face it. Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip is the best show they have in their line up right now. The show can hold its own weight. It has a powerhouse cast, Aaron Sorkin as producer and some of the best damn dialogue on TV today. I would argue that the show is not a success because of its time slot. It could have came on Monday at 8PM. Instead they chose to air it at 10.
Then there are the cable networks and the subscriber channels such as HBO and Showtime. Lets take a minute to look at stations like CW (formerly WB), TNT, USA, Sci-Fi, FX…We are not talking rerun central here. All of these channels have their own primetime programming. And what do you know…it is good. Nip Tuck, 4400, The Closer, Eureka, Seventh Heaven, Gilmore Girls, One Tree Hill, Smallville…all decent shows in their own right, all appealing to diverse audiences…all surviving several successful seasons. Seventh Heaven is the longest running family drama and it is a Christian show on an “non-traditional” network..
The beauty of good shows is their longevity. Some of the best syndicated sitcoms took more than a season or two to become popular. Everybody Loves Raymond was not successful its first year. Their were talks of canceling. But they rode it out and now there are reruns on three different stations. Not only that, but once a show finds an audience, that audience is loyal. The network can do things like release DVD sets that generate additional revenue. People don’t want to buy the first season of Deal or No Deal.
If NBC thinks that it can produce 5 to 6 hours of reality tv and game show programming every week and be successful, good for them. I think they are shooting themselves in the foot by not continuing to develop programming that can actually compete with the market. What they need are new stories, new concepts. Instead of being so focused on their second failing season in a row...they should remember that for years they were the big dogs. They dominated Thursdays…with things like the Cosby Show and Friends. But you can’t be on top forever. ABC certainly wasn’t. And it certainly isn’t the reality TV shows that put them their. It was Lost, Desperate Housewives, and Grey’s Anatomy that did it. And they did debut at least two really great shows this season, Brother’s & Sisters and The Nine. I would encourage you to watch it…and look at why they are so good. 1. A great cast. 2. Great story. 3. Great line-up. ABC knows their audiences, they know the segments. They have strong shows as leads for new programs. It’s what NBC did for years. They did it with the Cosby Show and A Different World.
In a nut shell, cutting their staff and throwing away one of their primetime markets is not going to help them get out of their rut. It is only going to allow networks such as ABC and Fox to make stronger footholds on the primetime market.
It is finally Thursday, which means it is finally time for Grey’s Anatomy. McDreamy vs. McSteamy…who could ask for anything more?
Honestly, I don’t just like this show because of the hot doctors…there’s something about being at a point in your life when everyone expects you to know everything and simultaneously…you realize that you don’t have any flipping idea what you’re doing. And somewhere along the way…you became a grown up, with responsibilities, relationships…and perhaps a little too much freedom. Maybe if I was older, I wouldn’t like this show as much…but my boss likes it…so then again….
At this point, right now…I feel like I am on the verge of greatness. A major crossroads…the cusp of so many life altering milestones…from family and friends…to career…there is so much potential and it is scary and exhilarating all at the same time.
That in a nut shell is my justification for my obsession with Patrick Dempsey, I mean Grey’s Anatomy. How can you not love Meredith! In honor of it being one day closer to the weekend, I thought I would share the GA music video. Fun.
Yesterday I thought the rain was going to wash me away. It rained continuously for hours. The lawn in front of my apartment was flooded. I had to decide whether or not to wade the yard or the path…I chose the yard.
Today was the infamous dodge ball tournament. Don’t you love United Way Week? Jeans, Food, Fun…what more could you ask for. The games were hilarious. I find it most fun to sit on the sidelines and laugh at people. It’s a great way to get rid of pent up tension between co-workers.
Now that I am finished with the first draft of the novel I am taking some time to catch up on my reading. I need to get away from the novel…let it sit, so that I can come back with a fresh perspective and make revisions. I have probably 20-25 books on my shelves that I haven’t read…and I added one more to the list this morning! But most of them, with a few exceptions, are in the genre of what I write. Why? Because I like it. I write what I like to read and I read what I like to write.
Except that I want my writing to stand out…and I am realizing that my rough draft feels a little…what’s the right word…flaky for me. It’s too girlie, too soft. I want it to read more hard core, more thriller…more suspense. Imagine taking something like 24 and crossing it with Anita Blake. I think she is a good example because she based her writing off of Hard Boiled Detective Novels. It is much more present in her earlier work…but it still makes her books stand out from the other vampire novels. What is another way to describe it? I want my books to be less like Charmed and more like Dark Angel, Less like Buffy and more like the 4400. But those are sci-fi shows?! Yes. I know that. But it isn’t the sci-fi element that makes these shows different. It is the political and sociological backdrop. It is the government cover-ups and conspiracies, it is the multi-layered plot and does not rely upon a big bad mystical villain. Even LKH’s books do that. The villain is always some preternatural creature. In my books, there are many villains…sometimes/most of the time they are man made.
So in light of this…I have started reading an anthology of suspense and fiction short stories called Thriller. I have only read two stories, I really liked one and did not like the other…so I can’t yet tell you if the book is worth it or not. But it is edited by James Patterson…and he has these great little blurbs at the beginning of each story which talk about the author, their writing style and the premise of the story. Those are fun. I think I will also play around with one or two short stories. My three year plan says I should have two publishable short stories circulating by December. Gotta get cracking. It will be nice to have a break...even if it is a working one.
Ok…if I can’t be a writer I so want to do this. How totally awesome and fun! I am all about finding creative and innovative ways to promote myself and my work. So the latest thing…video trailers. There is an entire blog devoted to book videos. Of course there is a blog for everything so I shouldn’t be surprised, but I am. I decided to check out these book videos and see what they could do. I have some samples to share, as I was quite impressed. It is nothing like the crappy commercials you see on TV from famous authors like LKH and Mary Higgins Clark. Heck, when was the last time you saw a trailer for the Harry Potter books…ok maybe that doesn’t count. Harry Potter is probably in a league of its own and really, what would be the point. People are already buying the books…how many more sales could a video (that is not the wb movie) make?
So I posted a video from you tube for comparison. Now here are two videos produced by a company called VidLit.
Cool. Huh? Love to know what you think.
Great idea. Right? So I pick up the cell phone and set it on top of the trash bin while I do my thing. Then I think, wait a minute. It might have some identifying peice of information on the screen. So I flip it over and oh my...there is a text message and it was definitely not what I expected to find. Aparently someone's cell phone is getting way more action than me!
Depressing. Remember when we were young....of course as one of the youngest people at work...it means the cell phone most likely belonged to someone much older than me. Even more depressing.
The first comment was on Charlaine Harris... her crime...killing off main characters.
Randomly killing off main characters. Charlaine Harris wrote a cozy mystery series featuring Roe Teagarden, a librarian who solves mysteries. She was introduced as a southern widow lady in her 30s. During the series, Roe fell in and out of love with different individuals but seemed to have finally found her match with Martin. Roe hadn’t had much relationship success and her connection with Martin was a relief. In a Fool and His Honey, we see the two married and enjoying their new lives as newlyweds. The end of the book, however, ends with Harris killing Martin off. Like one Amazon reviewer said, I kept waiting for it to be a dream sequence. Another amazon commenter stated, "As an author, Charlaine Harris has the right to take her characters and storyline wherever she desires….as a reader, I have the right to say that she’s gone too far, and never pick up another one of her books."
According to a Crescent Blues interview, Harris admits that A Fool and His Honey is her most reviled book but she just wanted to do it. One of my friends says that with Harris, you have about 4 books until she totally screws things up. We are eternally grateful that the Shakespeare series didn’t sell well and Harris wrote only 4 books in that series. She didn’t have the time to eviscerate all that we fans have grown to love. Her Southern Vampire series is a perfect example of Harris’ inability to stop ruining her series. Sookie Stackhouse is becoming a laughing stock, a character whom EVERY male wants to bone and whose powers seem to grow with every book. Hmm. That sounds like a suspiciously similar fictional character.
The Second was Laurell K. Hamilton. Her crime...too much sex...I mean breaking her own rules.
Breaking your own rules. Laurell K Hamilton is my best example of this although I am pretty sure it happens all the time. Anita Blake began as a tough nosed necromancer with very human vulnerabilities and an attachment to furry stuffed penguins. Her greatest fear in solving mysteries and fighting beasts was losing her humanity. The series also had a great underpinning of romance. There was a love triangle of sorts between Richard, the “normal” one (as normal as a werewolf could be) and Jean Claude, the undead vampire.
Then LKH got divorced, proceeded to eviscerate the character of Richard (LKH had publicly declared her husband was the basis of this character), turned Anita into a sex fiend who had to have sex to feed her “arduer”, brought in another character called Micah to represent her new husband, gave him the biggest dick possible, proceeded to give interviews and blog about her personal sex life and how that it formed the basis of her books (ugh TMI!!!!) and basically ruined one of the best female urban fantasy series going at the time. Note: Ms. Hamilton currently denies her ex husband being the inspiration for Richard despite having said this repeatedly at book signings early in her career.
Now it's My Turn
I don’t agree with most of what this woman says. At the risk of offending future fans, I will say that it is foolish to think an author is required to do or not do certain things in their books. The same goes for TV shows and movies. It is very easy to sit back and watch something, or read something and say…I think it would have been better if the character hadn’t done this, or if the ending hadn’t happened this way. That is an opinion and everyone is entitled to their opinion. HOWEVER...the author hasn’t committed a felony by not choosing to develop the story in the manner in which you, the reader, thinks best. If you were really that peeved by something I would say write your own damn novel and end it however you see fit.
Maybe that is a little extreme, or over dramatic. Maybe that is just the mood I am in today. But come on! Not everyone can write a book, get an agent, sell it to a publisher, get it distributed and have it become a NY Times Bestseller. It is hard. It takes a lot of work, talent, creativity and oh yes...time. These are professional writers. They have honed their skills over many years. It annoys me that people think just because they can type a few words or carry around a journal they can call themselves a writer. Because knowing the alphabet somehow makes you qualified to make statements like the ones above…telling a professional how they should or should not do their job. Just because I can pick up a fork and knife doesn’t mean I tell the chef at a restaurant how to best serve a meal. I don’t tell my doctor how to read an x-ray. I don’t tell the pilot how to fly a plane. I don’t tell the policeman how to shoot a gun. I expect that as professionals they are trained. I accept that they know more than me and might actually know what they are doing as a result.
Perhaps I am overly sensitive. But these are their stories, their worlds, their characters. They came up with them and invited you, the reader, to observe. I can honestly say I wish the Anita Blake character didn’t have so much sex. But I would never dare to say that she broke a promise to me as a reader, or she owes it to her readers to continue to crank out the same thing, to not allow her character to grow or change. So when this person cranks out a novel(or perhaps a trilogy or series of books since that seems to be her focus in this post) maybe I will take her words more seriously. For now I say. Deal with it. Don’t read the books. There are obviously plenty of people out there who still enjoy them. Otherwise they wouldn't be on the shelves.
This morning I finished the novel. Ok, well the first draft. I feel likeI've been waiting forever for this moment, I should be jumping for joy. Instead I'm cleaning. Always a bad sign. I'm not one to milk attention or do overly outlandish and dramatic things. So I didn't spill my guts when my mother called or my sister came over. I didn't write a thousand word email to my best friend just so that I could feel like I had someone on my side. I just did the laundry, washed the dishes, took out the trash and then followed it up with an hour of sleezy tv. I wouldn't have even mentioned it here, except that I thought I owed it to you all, to share that the novel--the first draft anyway--is complete. That of course should come with an explanation of why I am not on cloud nine...and this is the best I can do.
Oh and sorry about the video links...I hear the page load is pretty slow. Not sure what to do about that...or the RSS site feed that doesn't want to cooperate with the My Yahoo feature. Maybe it is anti-google. I'm going to go find something else to do...another load of laundry maybe, and the bathroom....why not.
Then maybe it will be time to go to bed....and I can get up and dread another long week of work.
I'll try to be in better spirits tomorrow.
I just thought I would share that news. I am at lunch right now and watching the pilot episode of the Nine, which so far is totally awesome. I used to worry about watching too many tv shows. Now I call it research. With reality tv on the decline and shows with some iota of substance returning...I can't help myself. Check out the show online. At least the first fifteen minutes. Tell me what you think. http://dynamic.abc.go.com/streaming/landing
Check out the promo here.
I will put up the author interview a little later. I think this is enough to chew on in one day.
Writing status: Last chapter of the book, trying to kill of the villain in a not so lame way.
I am sitting in the lounge on the last day of the Context Convention, trying to get a mental break from the hours and hours of panels. I don’t care how much you love this stuff (and believe me I can be a fiction writing fanatic) there are only so many hours you can sit in a panel.
The experience has been fun. This is my fourth year attending, but only my second doing the Mega Writing Workshop. I like it because it is relatively cheap, small and has phenomenal teachers doing the writing stuff. It is quite a difference from Marcon, which has a lot more fan stuff going on, and even more of a diversion from WorldCon (which is the world fantasy convention). As you can imagine, it has hundreds and hundreds of writers, agents and editors.
They just started playing some swanky jazz over the speakers…and I discovered that I left my iPod in my other bag at home. Oh the humanity.
Anyway, I am supposed to be doing writing. That is the point of bringing my crusty old laptop, which is alive and kicking thanks to my bf. I have a Dell Inspiron 8000. I am pretty sure the 8000 is for the 8000 pounds it weighs, because the thing is a monster. Together we felt very inadequate beside the steely sleek Macs. We have decided they are anorexic.
Now Celine Dion, I think….or maybe Faith Hill…now that I think about it. It sounds a little country to me. I recognize the song. Not sure which is worse.
I digress. I wanted to share a little bit about my experience thus far. So here is my take on Day 1.
1. Trying to decipher the ownership of the major publishing houses and distribution chains is like playing one big game of Kevin Bacon. The running joke is that all the major publishers are tied to Germany. Not sure if that is true.
2. Some people take notes during the panels, others knit. Let’s guess which one is going to make a sale.
3. Returns are stupid. No they aren’t. Yes. They are. No they aren’t. Not one time have I been to a convention with writers and not had this come up. I’ll go into more detail on this later…for those of you who don’t know what returns are or how the publishing industry really works. It’s way too long of a discussion to get into here.
4. At every convention there are Preachers and there are Teachers.
This is a biggie…and it is not exclusive to this convention. It is something that I have seen all over the place and decided that this here is the golden rule. People come to cons for all different reasons. For some it is pure fun. A chance to be a fan, dress in costume, meet their favorite authors and argue about TV shows canceled after a season. For others it is business. Go promote your newest book. Sit on a panel and pretend you know something. Schmooze with every agent or editor within a ten mile radius. Then there are people who actually believe in giving back…who came to “pay it forward” so to speak and share their wisdom with others. The problem is that it is not always easy to distinguish between the two.
The Preachers sit up on panels and never say one thing worthwhile. They are either conning people into believing they are an expert and pushing their books or they are so stuck in their ways that everything they say is law. It isn’t possible that one of the other panelists or audience members has another take on the situation. I have a very low tolerance for people like this.
The Teachers are a different story. Few and far between, their advice is like gold. I owe my status as an amateur writer to these people, who are good at sharing information AND have valuable information to share. They come prepared, they have a topic, they give concrete information that can help you become a better writer and understand the business of publishing. I can name a few of these people, Nancy Kress, Connie Willis, George R.R. Martin, Gary Braunbeck and Charles Coleman Finlay. Now granted, all of these people are authors… I think that is a coincidence. I just remember the authors’ names more. It is the teachers that continue to bring me back to conventions, because it’s the brief moments with these teachers that makes the time spent in a cheesy lounge with fake greenery and paisley carpet worth it.
This morning I saw the most amazing rainbow. It lit up the sky like a gift from God. How can a day go wrong when it starts off so beautiful. It made me want to write…so I started in on that last chapter. I will probably rewrite the whole thing…it is pretty weak. But just to be finished will be good.
For those of you interested in my journey to writerhood...I will be attending the writing workshop this weekend at Context. I am very excited about this. A whole weekend of panels, workshops, and critiquing. Plus I get to see old friends and make new ones. Ellen Datlow and Maureen McHugh will both be in attendance. I have met them both before and they were very nice, so I am looking forward to hearing what they have to say.
Next steps will be finishing the synopsis and cover letter and then rewriting the first three chapters. In my new outline the story starts earlier than what I already have written, so it’s back to the keyboard for me. The three new chapters mean changes through out the manuscript but they also tie things together nicely. That is the whole point, right?
I hope to crank through this bad boy and have a completed manuscript and submission package ready by the end of the year. It is exciting, busy, but also a but scary. Lots of stuff to do and very little time to do it.