Saturday, June 30, 2007

Lean Mean Thirteen by Janet Evanovich

Oh goodness, this is a sad, sad day. I'm vastly disappointed in Evanovich's latest... that makes two books in a row for her. Whatta bummer. Gah, has she lost her touch or have I outgrown the books? Either way, it sucks. (g)

Brief Synopsis: Dickie Orr, Stephanie Plum's ex-husband, goes missing, and she's the prime suspect in his possible murder. Throw in a couple of random FTA's and the usual cast of Lula, Ranger, Morelli, Grandma Mazur, etc...and complete mayhem ensues.

I'm sitting here wondering what was so disappointing about this book. I mean, I think I was with her up until about the last fifty pages or so... then it just felt all kinds of rushed, as she seemed to struggle to find an ending that resolved properly. It didn't, IMHO.

There were some really great laughs in there... complete with exploding rodents and "those f*ckers" (aka the cable company). Ranger was at his sexiest... Morelli dependable as always... Grandma Mazur and Lula insanity personified... so, why didn't I like it??

Simple, I just didn't. I don't know if it's because I've had plotting on the brain for the past couple of weeks -- being pushed fruther and further by D.A. -- or if it's because she's losing her edge. Either way, the plot seemed really weak to me... and well, like I said, the ending was rushed.

One of the main things I go back for is the triangle relationship... it's like a soap opera, and I need a fix... In this book, even that didn't move foward. She constantly dangles it like a yummy treat, and never delivers. I mean, NOTHING happened in this book -- on either front. How long can that go on? I tell ya, I find it's getting a little old.

So...I'm disappointed. HUGE bummer, let me tell ya.

Buy or Rent? Rent.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Oh, Thank Heavens!

I finished my outline. *happy dance* I have no idea if it will end up working, but I've sent it to a couple of my critters to see how it reads. *crosses fingers* It's such a relief to at least have it all down on paper -- now I can concentrate on making sure everything makes sense and that I won't have everyone hating my characters in the end. (g) It's _such_ a departure from my original book, and the big challenge will be matching the lighter "Maddy tone" with some of the more hardcore things going on in the book.

And lemme tell you, it will take a while to execute these changes if D.A. likes them. I've _maybe_ kept about a third of the book...with a lot of changes in the bits that remain. It may be a much longer book, too. I guess only time will tell. I mean, I have no way of knowing if D.A. will even like this new outline. But let me tell you, I went for broke. LOL. I'm beat. (g)

Like I said in a previous post, I have a paper due on Monday. After I tackle that, I'm back to revisions of BTPM. I swear, at this point, I just want to write _something_. This no writing thing is getting old...gah, I'm such a grump when I'm not producing something. I also need to finish that short by the end of July. Goodness, it's neverending. (g)

Wednesday, June 27, 2007


I'm almost finished with my outline. This week has been extremely tiring -- keeping up with my sister has proven most difficult. LOL. We've seen many movies, played many games, eaten at many restaurants -- all an attempt to stay busy, but without going out into the heat/humidity. She's not a happy camper in this weather, so we've been somewhat limited as to what we can do. At any rate, we've had some time here and there when I've been able to pull up the outline and work on it. I'm basically up to the last few scenes of the book and _should_ be able to finish the first draft tonight. Then I can go back and tweak and clean the sucker up. YAY. Expect it in the mail soon, you lucky people! (g)

It's great timing... I have a paper due on Monday, which I haven't even started yet. LOL. OH well, that's me. (g) But come Thursday -- after I put the sister on a plane home -- I'm going to hit it hardcore. No choice, obviously. So, if I can get this sucker cleaned up by then, more power to me. :) Okay, back to work.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Urge To Skip

Well, big sis and I made it back home after visiting the g-parentals. It's been a very busy weekend, and I'm exhausted beyond belief. I swear, it's hard to go to class when I want to be a bum with sis. My sister says I've been a bum for six months, tho and that I need to get to work. LOL. She just doesn't understand what it takes to write a book...go to law with two neurotic dogs. :) Working, eh? Who needs to do that? Okay, so _I_ need to do that, but that's beside the point. Time enough for that after she leaves. (g)

Anywho, we're both very happy to be back in the land of internet...and yanno, electrical outlets. (My Gparents have _one_ outlet in their two upstairs bedrooms.) Yeah, we were dying and had to rush home to get a fix... both stopping to say hello to my fam for about 2 seconds before running to my room to plug in our hardware. (g)

I tried to work on my outline a bit this weekend, but kept getting things mixed up. I discussed everything over IM with Carol the other day, and wanted nothing more than to review my messages...but no archives. Blurgh. :) I blame it on being tired and plain confused. LOL. Oh well, my sister keeps playing some computer game, so that's when I'll steal away to work on it. Shouldn't be a problem, I hope. Now that I have my archives again, I should be up and running. Soon, very soon.

Dang it. Class soon.... go, Jen...just go.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

So Much For Goals. (g)

I didn't get my outline out this week. *big sigh* I knew it might come down to finishing it today... and well, I was feeling like crap and could barely even sit up. Then I promised to go to a movie with a friend, and didn't want to let her down. (We saw Oceans 13, which was an _awesome_ movie. So funny and well-plotted.) I was uncomfortable the entire time, but yanno how that goes. I knew I wouldn't be able to see her for a while... sister comes into town tomorrow, and school is going to be pretty demanding in the next couple of weeks.

Anyway, I will finish it while my sister is here. I'll simply have to work on it while she's asleep or reading... she wants to test out quite a few books I've mentioned to her. Plus, she really just wants to relax and take it completely easy. We can hang out while I work on my outline and she does whatever... we tend to do that anyway. (g) She does want to see POTC3, so I look forward to seeing that again.

Hmm, I guess that's about all for now. Oh..Happy Birthday to Carol!! :)

I probably won't be arond much the next couple of days. We're heading straight to my grandparents from the airport...and we're sort of playing it by ear, so I have no idea when we'll be back home. I'll try to survive the lack of internet. (g) *cries*

Okay...outline, must think outline.

Thursday, June 21, 2007


I've heard rumor of some comments being made by another writer regarding my "Check Yourself" post in which I said it's important to surround yourselves with people who will be honest and yes, sometimes brutal, about your writing. Seems I've given the impression that I think that's the only way you'll learn and grow and that those are the ONLY people you should listen to. And well, apparently I've come off as a harsh biyatch who likes to tear people down. OKAAAAAAAYYYYY...BACK UP. (g)

{{One aside -- I've been contacted by MANY of you who agreed with what I had to say. So thank you for not thinking I was some crazy writer hellbent on making people's lives a living nightmare. lol. This post is only to quash these kinds of comments, though I'm sure they'll continue. (g)}}

First of all, that's not at all what I meant. And if you automatically assumed I was talking about you in that post, perhaps that's a clear indication that you DO have a problem. But as I didn't go anywhere near specifics, and only mentioned "a couple of writers" in passing, I'm not sure how anyone would deduce WHO I was talking about.

Second, if you read the post, you know that I listed three specific things to look for. 1. Do your critters ever find fault in your writing? 2. Do they ever point out things that deep down YOU feel need work? 3. Is anyone outside your group listening and agreeing with what's being said? If no is your answer to all three, yeah, YOU have a problem, IMHO.

And finally, if you don't agree with what I have to say on a subject, feel free to speak up. I'm MORE than willing to hash it out with people... not in a throw down, knock-out fight, but a nice civilized debate. Of course, as this is my blog, I reserve the right to stick out my tongue and say "Nuh-uh!!" (G) But, in all seriousness... this is MY blog. MY opinions. I'm not saying that I'm right. I'm just ranting, sometimes coherently, sometimes not so much. lol. Mostly these posts are just my reactions to the world around me. If I offend you, I'm sorry... but that doesn't mean I'm going to stop posting. As they say... door's that works both ways.

And I'm not saying you can't have a support group. By all means, surround yourself with writers/friends who will be nothing but over-the-top cheerleaders who think you walk on water. In fact, you probably _should_ do that when you're starting out. But let's be honest, if you want to be published, someday you will need to break out of that safety circle and VERIFY that what you think is great, yanno, actually is.

Trust me, when you finish your novel and start querying agents, you will be thankful you did. Agents/editors/professional writers can be HARSH. Not in a "I want to tear you down" sort of way, but just in a blunt, "This is NOT good enough" manner. Do you really want to be left scratching your head after your umpteenth rejection, saying to yourself, "But my crit circle loves it! I don't know what I did wrong?!"

Trust me, I've been there. Hell, I'm _still_ going through it. And there's simply no better way to AVOID that kind of thing happening then to have honest critiques done of your work by disinterested parties who KNOW what they're doing. Your mom isn't going to be 100% honest...the writer you chat with on IM every day isn't going to be 100% honest (even if they THINK they are)...It's just a reality that you need to be aware of. And heck, we all cushion the blows when we're critting our's natural, it's understandable. But the important thing is to look outside your usual group to get other perspectives.

And here's one other thing to think about. Okay, I'm guilty of this from time to time... Jen=Human.

When you receive a crit and you don't agree with it, it's pretty natural to say this person doesn't "get" what I'm trying to do.. this person doesn't understand me the way my crit partners do... This person is just trying to be mean.. This person has it out for me.... *WAH WAH WAH BLAH BLAH BLAH YADA YADA YADA* *WHINE* Do you need a tissue? (g)

Gah, I've reacted that way...we probably all have. But is it the right response to a negative crit? Prolly not. Because whether or not you like what this person has to say, they represent a fragment of the reading population at large. Where there is one, there will be others... Those others will be agents sending you form rejections.

And one last thing to remember is that ultimately YOU have to be happy with what you write. All of this other garbage is moot if you don't like it... but once again, just because you think it's gold, doesn't mean others will... It's a vicious business, but that's the truth.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007


I made good progress on my outline last night, but alas, it still isn't finished. Today I didn't have any time to sit down to work on it. I had to deal with the car (for which I thankfully got the cost down to less than half the original quote), and a friend I haven't seen for about three years was in town. I couldn't NOT see her..and it was wonderful catching up with her. So, unfortunately that means I didn't even look at my outline. To top it off, I'm dead-Jen walking.

However, I have set my alarm for a ridiculously early hour and plan on working full-force before class tomorrow. Here's hoping I don't press snooze for 2 hours. (g)

Oh, and I was a good Jen. I didn't read LM13. I will admit that I cracked it open and read the first couple of pages while I waited for my friend to arrive at my house this evening. But I didn't get far enough in that the need to read kicked in. At least not yet. It could be my exhaustion. :) On that I go. Hope this was coherent. lol

Tuesday, June 19, 2007


I _almost_ forgot today was the release date of Evanovich's LEAN MEAN 13. But I didn't! I picked it up with my grubby, eager little paws before B&N closed. Of course, I've vowed I won't crack it open until I finish my outline for FI. We'll see how I do... I love those books so. (g) I know people complain that Steph never grows as a character, but I think that's taking these books Waaaaaay too seriously. (g) They're meant to be fun and light...why analyze them so deeply? Anyway, had to share.

I also picked up the first book (actually two in one) in Tanya Huff's Blood Ties series. Call it curiosity. I'm generally amorous of anyone whose books are made into a TV show. Hey, I grew up in front of the tube... it's like this unfathomable dream to have my characters contained within the little boxes... too cool. A movie would be even better! (g)

And finally, I bought one of the Highlander books by Moning (I forget her entire name). I have no idea if they're good, but heard the female MC's are quite amusing. So, why not? I may not enjoy it, but that means I move on and DO NOT buy a second. :) One thing is pretty clear from everyone I've talked to... she ain't no Gabaldon. LIKE I really thought that was going to happen. LOL. Funny, I can't remember the title... they're all so similar, so I guess that's to be expected. Heh. Lots of reading to do, but first I must tackle this dang outline. I'm out.


Oh what a crap week. (g) It has not gotten off to a good start.

But the good news is that Ruby Luebe got out of the hospital yesterday, and is hopefully on the mend. I'll be going back up there this weekend when my sister arrives, so I'll know more then.

Other than that... bad news for me. My car is going kaput. Okay, not really. Let's just say that it started making this weird chirping noise when I was driving to my gparents. Now, girls...NEVER EVER EVER do this. My uncle told me to take it in, and "it's making a weird chirping noise" was a surefire invitation for the car people to have a field day racking up the charges for little things that "need" to be done. OMG. The end total? Something like 2300 dollars for a little noise. LOL. HOLY COW. Yeah, we're going to take it somewhere else... the dealer is always twice the cost anyway. LOL...and some of that probably isn't 100% necessary. THANK GOD. Heck, some of it can be done at the Jiffy Lube, probably for a third of the cost. (g) I hate cars...

Hmmmm, other than that. This has NOT been my week to get work accomplished. I haven't finished that darned outline, but I'm VOWING to get as close to the end as I can today. Of course, it's 5 o'clock and I'm running out of time! ACK. Things are not going well. lol. I also have to come up with a paper topic for my class... blah.

One good thing is that I managed to get more than the first sentence on the short...about 150 words, actually. Hey, with only 5K to tell the story, that's a lot. (g) I've run it by a few people and it seems to be going over YAY.

Hmmm, other news... my sister is coming on Saturday. So, it's a mad rush to get ready for her visit. That's exactly the reason I need to finish my outline tonight. I won't have time while she's here, and I really don't want to make D.A. wait until after she leaves. On that note, I should probably get to work. :)

Sunday, June 17, 2007


After a lot of hemming and hawing, I finally came up with a way to start my short story. I knew the basic set-up I wanted to begin with, but I didn't know HOW to do it... So, yeah... I officially have the first sentence. :) I'd share, but it completely gives away the premise of the story. Maybe soon -- after I get a ways in. All I know is that I got the shivers when I reread it. It packs quite a punch.

This post topic has a double meaning. I apologize if my last post was a tad snippy. We had another scare with Ruby Luebe today (Thank GOD, she's fine), and it put me a bit on edge. Add a couple of things that annoyed me to no end...and that's what you get. Sorry! (toothy smile)

That said, I didn't get my outline finished as I hoped to. Working on it today wasn't exactly an option. And tomorrow I'm heading to my grandparents, so fat chance I'll get anything done... I'll try, but I'm driving alone with _both_ dogs. LOL. That will be interesting and I'm sure I'll be exhausted by time I get back home. I actually wasn't planning on going because my sister will be here next weekend and that's our first stop. But with the scare today, I just wanna see my grandma.

BUMMER on not finishing that dang thing, tho. I will by...let's say Tuesday. (g) Yeah, that adds on the two days I lost this weekend. Wednesday at the latest...yeah. Whatever day it is, it WILL go in the mail this week. (email)

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Check Yourself

This is a bit of a rant, and unfortunately, it's pretty much aimed at a couple of writers I have conversed with. I'm human. I see things that irk the heck out of me, and most times I just ignore it, complain to my friends, and move on. But sometimes, something has got to be said. Okay. *Deep breath* Here I go.

I think there is nothing better than having a crit partner who understands you -- who gets your work and is unconditionally supportive of whatever you do. That's great... but, let's take a moment to examine whether or not it's truly helpful to you in the end. So, stop and ask yourself -- does this person ever find any fault in my writing? Does this person ever point out things that _I_ feel deep down need work? And here's the kicker -- LOOK around. Is _anyone_ else listening and agreeing with the two of you?? (Parentals DO NOT count.) If you answered NO to all of these questions, you seriously need to check yourself and evaluate whether or not your writing is perfect -- or if (and I'm just saying this as a what if) you're so-so writers that have convinced yourselves that you're geniuses. And...again, just insulating yourselves from the world, you've allowed yourselves to become a tad deluded.

I'm probably a serious anomaly when it comes to writers. I share _everything_. If someone emails me out of the blue, and I'm positive they're not some psycho copyright thief (and in some cases even when I know they are LOL), I'm more than willing to let them read my work. I figure, hey... I can learn _something_ from everyone who crits my wips -- the more people that read, the more useful feedback I get.

Admittedly, I'm starting to realize that this may have some serious drawbacks, and I can already see I've shared BTPM _much_ less than FI. But let me tell you, when I really wanted to take FI to the next level, I picked two of the harshest critters I could find (let me tell ya, neither of them hold any punches) and asked them to read my book. OMG... PAINFUL. (And you know who you are! :)) But you know what? It had to be just did. And I learned a lot even though my first inclination was to scream to the heavens that they were wrong. LOL. All in all, tho... I took so much away from the experience that even my bruised ego is nothing in comparison to what I gained.

So, my, perhaps it's a challenge... is to break out of the little box you've built around yourself and be willing to hear the harsh, honest truth. Even if you don't agree with what people have to say, the reality check is something you NEED and SHOULD get from time to time. I'm not saying to show the first 500 words, or even the first 50K words, before you're ready. What I'm saying is that before you conclude that your book is the next best thing to sliced bread that you go out and find _someone_ who will dish you up a nice hearty serving of humble pie.

If you're saying to yourself that this couldn't be you and that your crit partner loves your work... but it's only because you're GOOD... yeah, YOU need to check yourself. I mean YOU.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Dustin' Off The Kilt

There's this great party thread on the forum I belong to. Basically, a forumite set the scene -- describing the area, etc... and then other members can write their characters in, interweaving the various snips into a big story. You're allowed to borrow each other's characters and to have your MC's view the scenes going on around them. What fun!

Maddy and Gabe crashed, of course. (g) Maddy headed straight for the booze and poker game, while Gabe hung back and watched in amusement. Then he took off and confiscated some drugs from this teenage girl. Hey, it's what his character would do. :)

Then I let Aidan and Morgan come out to play. (beaming) I haven't played with those two for quite some time. I totally froze on Aidan's dialect...but oh well, I did the best I could. It's been over a year since I've worked on that book. There's another Scottish character from about the same time/place... so the other writer promised our characters could fight later. Can't wait to see what she comes up with. LOL. Our two modern MC's prolly need to talk, too.

Anyway -- I'm having fun, well, just writing. LOL. It's been a while. I'd introduce some of my other characters in, but goodness, they'd overrun the place. Four is good -- too many, but good. (g) Although, I think Drew is feeling a little left out... oh heck, all those I excluded are bummed. (g) I love to do show and tell -- yeah, I'm a ham. :)

Thursday, June 14, 2007

I'm Seriously Half-Dead

I wrote my last post at what...2 o'clock? Uh...yeah... the ideas kept coming until well after four. (g) Every time I closed my eyes, it seemed my characters wanted to have a little chat. I kept saying to myself... you'll remember this, just go to sleep. Then I'd get scared, get up and write it all down. Rinse and repeat for _two_ hours. How insane! I felt like there was this pool of ideas bubbling up all night... *And up from the ground came a bubbling crude!* Let's hope I have as much luck with these ideas as the Clampetts did with their oil! (g) (Gah, talk about a blast from the past!)

Anywho, my head is just one big dull aching pain right now. My eyes feel like they have sand in them... I have clss in an hour and I just don't wanna go. LOL. But, I'm extremely excited about the progress last night, and can't wait to tackle these ideas. Nothing is perfect yet, meaning I still have some holes to plug in... but man, good stuff (I hope)!

OMG -- Butterflies!

So, I went to bed about a half hour ago... I'm in that sort of uncomfortable stage, where my body is tired, yet I _can't_ fall asleep. And then inspiration hits. I had to get up and write this post. So many little things fell into place for FI just now, and I'm sick to my stomach. Not because of the ideas, mind you -- more because I think they're brilliant. If D.A. hates them, I don't know what I'll do. I'd laugh, but I really do feel sick to my stomach.

I pulled out my journal and scribbled down everything so I won't lose it... even little bits of dialogue I heard clearly...images, anything that came to mind. OMG, he has to like this.

If you've volunteered to look at my outline when I finish it, expect it soon -- I'm really closing in on a final product here. The tough part is that I'm really scrapping a good portion of the original book, so I'm not going to be able to come up with a _detailed_ outline this time...more of a synopsis really as the exact scenes are a bit fuzzy, and I won't really know what they are until I sit down to tackle these changes. He'll have to be okay with that, because I really am trying to amp this puppy up...and well, rewrites galore will have to be done. Thank God, I can keep most of the beginning still, but this does change the outcome of the book somewhat.

I honestly feel like my brain has been on pause and someone suddenly pressed the super fast forward button and out spewed all of these ideas at once. The important thing? This version keeps both of my tasty men. (g) Okay, that makes me extremely happy....and somewhat settled my stomach. Okay, the morning is coming on fast. Back to bed I go.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

On A Sidenote...

I'm not sure why I didn't do this sooner, but I checked out a book that D.A. wrote. In it, he discusses HOW to write a killer book... breaking it down into how to push your plotlines, create conflict, write memorable characters... etc. etc.

Now, I have to admit, I'm not a big believer in "how to" books. In my opinion (please don't hate me for saying this), I think some people have an innate set of skills that they bring to the table...and well, some just don't. (ducks) The idea of throwing money at books that "guarantee" you'll be able to improve your ability is silly to me. Heh. NOT that I think you can't build on what you have, but I think the only successful way to do that is to practice and actually, yanno...write. But you know, if you find writing books are an asset to you, have at 'em, I say. Whatever floats your boat. Me, I'd rather experiment and figure out things for myself... I don't want to limit myself to "the way" it's done, by someone who may have published their "expert" book through iUniverse. (VBG) Quite honestly, when I have too many rules floating around in my head, I choke.

ANYWAY -- the main reason I gave in and got the book is because I wanted a glimpse into the mind of D.A.... see what he looks for in a novel. It was enlightening, to say the least. I haven't made it through the entire thing, but it's definitely given me stuff to chew on and strive toward. I've come up with some _crazy_ situations to put my characters through... tension/conflict galore. If he wants oomph, he's gonna get it. LOL. I'll be lucky if anyone's alive in the end. Okay, I'm kidding...but I really am pushing it to the outer limits here.

One thing I'm taking away from this book (so far) is the idea of remembering to humanize your antagonist. I realized tonight that I have that "faceless" bad guy who's just evil for evil's sake... He's totally one-dimensional. *gasp* So, I sat down tonight and thought about what his motivations/needs/desires are... I came up with some good stuff. LOL. Perhaps this will give him a bit of that Hannibal Lector thing -- evil, but on some level, you kinda like him. (g) Hey, if I could achieve a tenth of Lector's charm, I'd be pretty happy.

Other than that... most of the stuff is pretty common sense. LOL. I'm not gonna lie. I found I already had a lot of the things he looks for -- one being an original premise. I gotta tell ya, there aren't many people in the world that have done THIS kind of undercover work. And I'm sure I'm the ONLY person writing a book about it... not to say I'm all that original...but let's be honest. I had a rather unique job. LOL. And he told me I know how to do conflict... lol. If I can just get that "upping the stakes" bit, I'll be golden. (g)

Anyway -- I'm feeling edumacated tonight. Not really, but go with it. :)

Spunky vs. Whiny-Ass, Annoying Characters

Okay, talk about setting myself up for ridicule here, but I just had to do a post on this subject. (g) I've noticed a trend lately (no book names will be mentioned -- and no, it's not any of the books I've reviewed and/or talked about on this blog). As of late, I've seen a lot of characters described as "spunky" "stubborn" "rebellious", etc... but when you read them, they just come across as total spoiled brats...and I not only want to throw the book at the wall, but would love to personally slap the fictional character upside the head. LOL.

I'll be the first to admit that my characters are a little...whiny at times. Or as D.A. put it... complete grumps. (g) But thankfully, people have really taken to them. I got to thinking on the subject... why is it people like these characters and don't want to personally throttle them? Okay, so maybe you do, but other than my sister, no one has mentioned the overwhelming urge to off one of my girls. And she's the biggest grump I there ya go. lol.

So... what is it?? It's one for the stars, but I'm gonna give it a shot. (g)

Let me list some of the things that annoy me. Maybe you can come up with a list of your own for future reference.

- any character that stomps their feet when they're angry or impassioned. It reminds me of a two year old throwing a tantrum on the kitchen floor.

- any character who acts belligerently for NO reason whatsoever...and never really apologizes for being a complete pain in the ass. This is of course usually in front of the love interest and the guy ALWAYS thinks it's cute. Yeah.. that just bugs. At least my male MC's seek revenge for those moments. LOL. It's especially bad when the character's actions could put the other characters in danger.

- anyone who complains _constantly_. Gah, you characters know who you are! I mean, goodness... suck it up. You're usually not the only one suffering, but hell if you aren't the loudest voice...usually the only voice...complaining. If you're going to complain, at least 'fess up to being a pain in the rear.

- any character who doesn't know when it's time to be serious and think of others before themselves.

- okay, this is a personal pet peeve -- male characters who roll their eyes. Talk about wussy. But that's just me. I know I'm in a huge minority on this one.

- any character who can't save themselves from time to time. Okay, sometimes female characters get into legitimate trouble and need help -- but there needs be times when she's able to stand on her own and THINK on her feet. A damsel who's always in distress is just annoying.

- any character who doesn't have some serious flaws -- that's one big ole' flaw in and of itself, imho. Let's take Madison from Faking It. Flaws: Mouth like a truck driver, one serious addiction to gambling, her way of "coping" is to drink, and she, well... she really likes sex. LOL. (Hmm, that's not really a flaw, but it adds an interesting element to the book.)

- MARY SUE'S!!!!! OMG. If you're living out your fantasy life through your characters... STOP, DROP, and ROLL. If I see another character who has the perfect singing voice, is drop-dead gorgeous without trying, is always playing the martyr to those around her, I'm gonna gag. That goes for any character who has all the money in the world but is constantly boo-hooing how tough their life is. Not that I'm saying money solves all of your problems, but heyzeus, your life isn't anywhere near as tough as someone who has to work hard to make ends meet AND deal with all the crap life dishes you.

Okay, I'll leave it there for now... feel free to add to the list. (g)

So, how do you overcome these annoying characteristics? I mean, all of your characters will probably display one (or most) of them at one time or another. One of the things I do is to try and offset these moments with things that really ground or humanize my characters -- show them in a vulnerable/exposed situation.

One example -- In CHILD OF THE MIST, there's the famous brank scene. Not to give too much away, but my character was being a _complete_ idiot in that scene. She created such an uproar, she put both her life and my male Mc's life in danger. But despite this, I still had people siding with her in the end when I put her through a horrific ordeal... I'm still shocked over what I did to her. LOL. But dang it, people forgave her for everything she did to bring the situation upon them.

In FAKING IT, Madison is such a grouch. LOL. She bitches about a lot of stuff... is constantly complaining about her job... wants nothing more than to GET OUT of undercover work, etc. One thing I try to do with her is to show her conflicting emotions over doing undercover drug work. At times she's so high on finally getting her guy... and next she's lower than low when she busts someone whom she knows will lose custody of his kids once the hammer comes down... She goes from a near smackdown with a group of elderly women to envying a couple who have been married for a good 50 plus years. She also knows when to admit defeat and the fact that she's behaving like a jerk...

So, what are your pet peeves? What traits in characters annoy you to no end? And what things do you do in order to make your audience side with your flawed MC's (I hope they're flawed, anyway)? (g)

And...this is just a random thought... Do you think your female MC's are a reflection of YOU?

For me, YES...but amplified.


I stopped by Target on my way home from class today and ran across STRAY by Rachel Vincent. I don't personally know her, but I know a lot of you do. So, I'm super-vicariously excited to recognize a name on the Tarjay shelves. And of course, I had to buy it because my new fascination with werewolves simply wouldn't let me walk away. It'll be interesting to read -- although, technically her character is a shape-shifter, and I'm not sure how much she ties that into actual werewolf legend. I find the way different authors handle that whole thing very interesting. Stephenie Meyer, for instance, put a whole 'nother spin on the vampire thing. I, in my own modest way, am doing the same thing with werewolves. Hey, my book, my rules. (g)

Oh wait -- Rachel's MC is a were-CAT. Oops...I should read the back cover a little more carefully next time. Oh well - close enough. (g)

Well, it was bound to happen, and it did. (g) A reader HATED the ending to BTPM. LOL. It made her so angry in fact, she said she would've thrown the book at the wall and blatantly refused to buy the next. LOL. That's not good. (g) So, it sort of confirms the fear I had about it to begin with -- but 1 out of 10 or so readers ain't bad.. of course, if I can do anything to satisfy that 10%, you know I will. We've tossed some ideas around, and I think I've come up with a solution. I'll probably be working on that today. It's not good to go from "I couldn't put the damn thing down" to "WTF?!?!" *bam -- book hits wall*. Yeah, if I can avoid that... lol.

I still haven't decided what to do with my opening chapters... gah, that's such a tough call, but I've vowed I will make a decision SOON. I'm sick of second guessing myself and freaking out about it. I keep telling myself (and not to sound like a total twit) that I had quite a few people give me hell over the opening to FAKING IT. And well, I stuck to my guns and it ended up catching D.A's attention. So, I guess I need to go with my gut on this. Hard to trust myself, sometimes. (g)

Okay, I need to get to work.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Does This Make Sense?

I'm going to harp for a minute about writing fantasy/sci-fi. This includes urban fantasy, which is probably what BTPM could be termed... well, something like that. (g) And of course THE BRAEDEN is fantasy.

Maybe it's me, but I find the more fantastical a tale is, the more grounding it needs to offset the story. What I mean is, there has to be some kind of real world rules to make the other stuff believable -- even when the other stuff is completely far-fetched.

One great example is (now don't laugh!) Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I recently devoured the series -- I don't care what anyone says, that show is funny and VERY good. :) I used to rag on my sister for watching it, but NOW I get it. (g) Anywho, in one of their 'behind the scenes' episodes, they talk about the death of some of the characters and how it was important to kill off people in "normal" ways -- because even the fantastic of vampires/werewolves/demons, etc. needs to be grounded in the real world. So, to kill off people with guns or blood clots in the brain, etc. served to remind people that even in a world ruled by wooden stakes and crucifixes, people can and will die in ways uninvolved with the paranormal.

The reason I bring this up is because lately I've read a couple of things that have a paranormal angle to them, but simply don't have enough real world quality to them to give the unusual...punch. If the stories aren't grounded, I feel completely off balance throughout reading the story. This could be because their characters behave could be the author is trying _too_ hard to make everything in their world unique... Gah, dare I say more is less?

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Pressure! (Sung by Billy Joel, of course)

Gah, I'm freaking out. (g) I have so much to do that NOTHING is getting accomplished. I had all day to work on FI or BTPM...or TB...something. Instead of working on my wip's, I spent the day freaking out about all the things I need to do. LOL. Of course, I decided to take a break to go to a friend's Pampered Chef party. The food was great and thankfully I didn't buy anything -- but, I can't help thinking I could've spent those hours being more productive. (g)

One factor that's playing into my whole lack of progress is that my hands are super sore from the job I did all week. I mean, they work and I can type, but you know how when something on your body is sore it just puts you in a bad funk? That's how I feel -- easily irritated and just ugh. So, rather than ripping apart my books, I decided to do some crits. LOL. After all, if I'm in a grumpy mood, it's better to take it out on someone else's work. (g) Okay, I really wasn't all that bad.

My goal for tomorrow is to get through at least one chapter of BTPM and sketch out my preliminary ideas for the new outline of FI. Both are tugging at me hardcore, and I'm a bit uncertain which I should focus on first. My biggest problem is trying to decide how/or what I want to do with the opening of BTPM. I've had mixed reactions to the first two chapters...ugh. Decisions decisions. I may have to try out a few things before I figure it out.

Okay, I'm going to stop grumpin' in public. (g)

Thursday, June 7, 2007

*Feeble Wave*

Hey all. I know I've been pretty scarce the past few days. I've been working full-time and every night I've been busy. Let's just say that I'm not getting much sleep -- but I'm having fun. (g) (Yanno, when I'm not working. lol)

Tuesday night was my uncle's birthday -- so we went out to dinner to celebrate. Wednesday I went to the Tim McGraw concert... Okay, so Faith Hill co-headlined, but I can't say she made much of an impression on me after he appeared on stage. (g) No, honestly -- they were both great and such an adorable couple. Too cute for words. Then tonight I went to see the movie 300 again. A new theatre opened here -- they have couches and over-stuffed armchairs to sit in... a full bar... so cool. (g) We ordered a pizza and they brought it out to our couch for us. It was kind of fun to kick off my shoes and slouch down in a comfy seat while sipping a glass of cabernet and eating pizza. Plus Gerry.... COME ON. (g) It was a great time.

I've vowed that I'll buckle down after work tomorrow. School starts Monday (blurgh), so I want to get as much accomplished as possible. I had no idea this week would be this busy, so I feel a little bad about slacking on the ms's... but, what can ya do? I have nothing planned (so far), so hopefully I'll get some quality hours in.

Anyway, just wanted to drop a quick post to let ya'll know I'm still alive. (g)

Monday, June 4, 2007


Nothing to report. I wish I could say that I've nailed down some new revisions to FI, but I'm still at the drawing board. Oh well, can't rewrite the book in just a few days. LOL. I do have some solid ideas, but unfortunately, very little time to play with them. I'm super busy (I'm working a temp job -- full-time just this week). It isn't coming at the best time, but bills need to be paid. Then next week I start summer school. *stinky cat face*

I have worked out a few changes that I'll be making to BTPM -- ones that I think will give the story more punch when I'm finished. Even with that, though, I have no time and haven't fully thought out everything I want to do. Hopefully, those changes won't be too much trouble... just a couple of insertions here and there and small changes to address the ripples. *crosses her fingers* IF I'm lucky, I can get the new scenes written this weekend before school starts. Most of this week is out though. Gah. Life really knows how to slap you in the face when you need to live in your books and get some work finished.

Oh well -- one of the things going on this week is the Faith Hill/Tim McGraw concert. (g) Seeing Tim will give me fodder for my male MC's -- boy knows how to fill out a pair of jeans. (g) I haven't had much time to kick back and relax, so it may be just the thing I need. Come back refreshed and rearing to go.

Another thing on the horizon is that my sister is coming the last week of June. I _really_ need to put it in gear because I won't have time while she's here. Of course, I picked up the syllabus for my summer class and I have a paper due while she's here -- and a class presentation. I'm soooooooo screwed. LOL.

Okay -- I'm off to try and get _something_ done on one of the wips.

Oh -- one last thing. Thanks to Claire and Kat. Each of you tackled one of my books this week, and your kind comments delivered a much needed boost. So glad you enjoyed, and I hope I can make them both even better. :)

Sunday, June 3, 2007


I've said it once, I'll probably say it a million times. Dreams are wonderful sources of inspiration. Last night's dream session goes to prove the point again. (g)

I have this wip that's been simmering for a long time -- it's a...hrm, prolly a suspense/mystery centering around a cult.(g) I won't go into great length about what inspired it, but think Hollywood...big actor...vitamins. LOL. Anyway, last night I had a dream that will work _so well_ as an opening for the book.

No, I'm not starting another project. I'm going to scribble out all I can remember and call it good for now. I have much too much going on right now to even consider another book.

But I think it's important to remember that you need to save these ideas that occur to you over time. After all, you wouldn't want to be known as a one hit wonder, now would you? I swear, I probably have enough ideas _now_ for a lifetime of writing -- and there will be more to come. The hard part is knowing what to focus on at any given time. (g)

Man, is there anything better than telling stories?

Friday, June 1, 2007

Okay, Now Some Good News

I've been mulling over some changes, and I think I've come up with one big scene that will set off a chain of events in the book that should fit D.A.'s tastes.. Let's hope at any rate. lol

The other good news is that I've been given the go ahead (the definite go ahead) to send BTPM when I feel it's ready. That won't be quite yet, but it's good to know he still wants it. (g)

Goodness, a lot on my lil' ole' plate right now. I may call on people to beta the first 3 chapters of btpm... prolly the weakest of the book. Why is it those are _always_ the weakest for me? lol. Oh well, if you'd like to toss your name in, feel free. I can use all the help I can get.

Off to mull.