Thursday, December 29, 2011

Time Travel without Leaving the Here and Now

Much like other romance readers out there in cyberspace, I love Regencies. I love the era, the romantic notions of the past however, I’m a modern gal. From various authors, I heard how the Regency era was like the 60s. That may have been true however for me, I wasn’t born in the sixties.

For me, I believe that the world events are more similar to the Regency era.  Check out the list below.

Luddites: In 1811, stockingers broke into small hosiery workshops and smashed the frames used to construct the stocking, a highly skilled job while the manufacturers sold lesser qualities hosiery and putting their professions and families at danger.  These protest spread throughout England. Military forces were brought in to quell the violence however, the group only went underground. 

Occupy Wall Street: In 2011 with the economy in the sewer and a generation of twenty-somethings with thousands in debt and believing a college degree would get them the American dream gathered on Wall Street to protest the 1% of the population that held the wealth. The occupation spread from coast to coast. Police arrested them, pepper sprayed them and destroyed their tents. Even Time magazine named the Protestor the person of the year.

Economy: In description of  the Regency era's economy, Carolly Erickson wrote in Our Tempestuous Day, "Despite the drastic decline in trade, the wave of bankruptcies, the falling wages and rising prices that hurt workers so cruelly and the bare lives of the country poor, there were riches adundant, and with them a sense of comfort in everyday life that ought to be the envy of other countries. "

The city, the term for the financial district of England and original boundaries of the town faced financial ruin. The English Pound note depreciated.

In my opinion, that could be written about our state of a nation now and just switch a few terms and you have America now.

War: In 1800s, England fought Napoleon Bonaparte as well as a country called America. They were a nation at war. Red coats were abound. Canon exploded over Fort McHenry in Baltimore.  

Today, we've been a country at war since 2001 and recently pulled out of Iraq. This time England is our ally. 

King, Regent, Father and Son:  Since the king went mad, Parliament introduced the Regency Bill. And England was saddled with a prince unlike his father.  Us Regency readers and writers know his ruling style.
King George III

In America, the closest we came to this was father and son presidents--George W. Bush Sr and Jr. And enough said on that.

Fairy Tale Wedding, Everyone Loves That: In 1816, Princess Charlotte married Prince Leopold. They married in Carlton House. Perhaps not a love match in the beginning, it evolved into one until Charlotte tragically died in childbirth.

This year, Prince William, third from the throne, married his love Katherine Middleton. A love match and hopefully one that does not end in such sad terms.  I don't know about anyone else but I was up to watch Katherine come down Westminster Abbey in her beautiful gown that had the press talking about it for months much as Princess Charlotte's had.

And the Regency wouldn't be the Regency without:  JANE AUSTEN
 Jane Austen, her novels still live.  Recently, her works have been reworked, smashed up, with sequels rewritten even comics.

Monday, December 26, 2011

My Proust Questionnaire

If you're fan of Vanity Fair as I am then you've seen the Proust Questionnaire on the last page. I can't wait for the day when I'm asked but until then I'll answer the questions. Though I won't have the Risko illustration of myself.

What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Listening to a summer breeze blowing through the trees

What is your greatest fear?
Having to stick my hand in poo

Which historical figure do you most identify with?
Marie Antoinette

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
My defensiveness

What is the trait you most deplore in others?

What is your greatest extravagance?
Buying books

On what occasion do you lie?
To spare someone's feelings when the truth can't be said in a constructive way.

What do you dislike most about your appearance?
My nose. I'll love to shave off some of it.

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
Anyway or like or but, well anyway...

What's your greatest regret?
That I didn't risk all when I had the chance.

What or who is the greatest love of your life?
In one word, Jose.

When and where were you happiest?
Childhood and I never knew it.

Which talent would you most like to have?
Drawing. To create something that's why I love writing.

What is your current state of mind?
That's an answer you don't want to know. A scary place.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
To redo life with what I know now but then I would be different, I guess.

If you could change one thing about your family, what would it be?
My father would still be alive.

If you could choose what to come back as, what would it be?

What is your most treasured possession?
My mac.

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
Doctor's appointments especially the GYN.

Where would you like to live?
Los Angeles. I've always loved LA.

What is your favorite occupation?
Writing, baby!

What is the quality you most like in a man?
A good heart.

What is the quality you most like in a woman?

What do you most value in your friends?

Who are your favorite writers?
Oh the list is long but her is a few--Edith Wharton, Rachel Gibson, Susan Elizabeth Philips, Jane Austen, Christina Dodd, Oscar Wilde, Julia Quinn, Suzanne Brockman, Sandra Brown, Bernard Cornwell, Heidi Betts, Karen Hawkins--the list continues but I think that's enough.

Who is your favorite hero of fiction?
Joe Morelli, from Plum Series

Who are your heroes in in real life?
My mother, my niece and my brother.

What is it that you most dislike?
any -ism, racism, sexism and so forth

How would you like to die?
after long and fulfilled life.

What is your motto?
The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Female Friday

Of course, it being the end of the year I too have been taking stock of my life and my accomplishments, mishaps, setbacks--since I refuse to call them failures--and my sameness. We all have parts of ourselves or our lives we'd like to change. For me the most important and the focus of 2010, 2011 and no surprise 2012 is one single thing--drum roll please--To start my career as a published author. I've sold short stories but I'm going for the novel, the start of a long career I plan to have.

Publishing is a tough game with many growing and expanding even developing sectors. And I have to stand out from the countless others dreaming the same dream. This week, I turned on CW and there was the French designing genius Jean Paul Gaultier interviewing Lady Gaga.
Two of my favorite people. I watched it, waiting to hear what Gaga spoke about and the designs Gaultier would show her. But I learned something that helped. Gaga in her years as she sang in New York bars, she was like countless others playing those gigs. Sure she had the talent but nothing made her memorable. She decided to stick out of the crowd, for the world to take notice and listen then sing and dance along.
She's not forgettable now.

I admire her strength and smarts for changing and shedding normalcy. But she always inspired me. I guess you can say the light hit my disco ball. I too have to stick out of the crowd and make people remember me. Luckily, I have a name that certainly doesn't blend. You might not know how to pronounce it but you know it when you see it. This year at RWA Nationals, I went to get my book autograph from Christina Dodd. She looked at my name tag and said, "I know you. I remember your name from Twitter." If I was a Victorian lady, I would have fainted though my head felt like champagne popped open and fizz shooting foamy bubbles everywhere.

I'm working on the rest of it, adding the sticking out among the crowd to my business plan. And Gaga helped me. I admire her music, talent and...her Gaga-ness, you can say. She had a dream and used more than just her talent. She used her smarts to create a Gaga world.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Google +...huh?

So, I signed up for Google+.  I wasn't one of the beta users but heard all this hype and as an author, I'm building my brand. Naturally, I signed up.

And I'm utterly confused. I feel like blind mouse searching for the cheese.

Sadly, I may stay hungry.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

But You Don't Look Sick

In case you didn't know that's the tag for lupus, an autoimmune disease. And it's true the outside doesn't always reflect what's inside. I live with pain. My joints feel like they're wrapped in tape and I'm trying to bend them but nothing moves. And to add to that, each joint is swollen. My hands can barely hold a pen as for shaking hands that's like being put on the rack. Besides I don't you'd want to shake hands with me since my hands (and feet) are always icicles so I wear gloves in July. My muscles are sore as if I ran the New York Marathon as well as feeling bruise and battered like I fought in an ultimate cage match.  My legs can rarely hold me upright for very long. I get dizzy spells and near faints.  I'm forgetful and when I finally fall asleep, I'm not reaching a REM state. I wake up and it takes me an hour to be able to get out of bed. When I shower, I need about a half and hour to recover from that. 

Even though I deal with these and many more issues, I sometimes even believe that I don't look sick. I swear that the doctors must be wrong, gotten me confused with someone else. I'm young. I can do all the things that I've always done.  THEN I try to pick up something but my body revolts. I add too much to the plate and have to cut back. Or I have a doctor's appointment and my body needs a couple of days to recover for their poking and prodding and if they took blood, oh Lord, I can't use my left arm for two days. 

But then I look at the mirror and I swear I don't look sick. But my body always reminds me. The worst is not my illness, building a new life or establishing new limitations. The worst is remembering what I was able to do.  Being able to walk around the city, to dance or spend a few hours with friends doing anything as long as it was out and about. Being about to hold a hardcover book without the throbbing of my hands and my wrists feeling out of joint, stiff and if I bent them they just might shatter.

So, my body has revolted against itself and I've been ousted as President. But hey, I don't look sick.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

NanoWriMo Dropout

November is the month of turkeys, Black Friday but most importantly, Nanowrimo. The first year I signed on, back in 2008, I won. The book sucked. I can freely admit it.  The year after that I signed on but then my grandmother passed away. And my mind wasn't on writing. Since I didn't have a contract or deadline, I let my writing fall aside that month. Year after that, I had no interest.

However, this year, I decided to do it again. I wrote the first scene in a Regency. I originally planned to write a romantic suspense. The plot hadn't be ironed out and I was unsure where that story was going. I admit it I am a plotter. I know a horror to you pansters.  But I never bothered after that.  Back to the Regency, I plopped down in front of my computer to write the next scene and I couldn't get my characters to stir.
In that moment, I realized that I don't have a problem planting my behind in my chair and writing. I have too many stories running around in my head and not enough time to write each one although some don't deserve to be written.

It wasn't that.

Nano doesn't work for me. Yes, I've heard the idiom that you can't edit a blank page. But I'm not writing a story that I don't believe in or that I'm putting down words that can't wipe a bear's butt as he S**Ts in the woods. For me that's a waste of time and energy, and that in my currently state of life is valuable. 

So, I stopped and freed a Regency Novella that had a captured me but I was unsure where to head. No longer.  I plan to revise and submit. Not yet, I haven't completed it.  Me, I've chose to write stories I believe in even if I have a contract. After all, I'd have pitch the story either.

Yes, I'm a Nano Dropout but I'm at another level of writer. Upward and onward.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

A Scene Checklist

I must confess I'm a plotter. Currently, I'm plotting for NaNoWriMo. One of the books I love is the Weekend Novelist's and this is a great blog post. So click on the link and plot a little.

A Scene Checklist

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Pan Am

With the premier of the ABC's new show Pan Am, my memories have come flashing back of flying. See I had flown Pan Am among many other airlines, actually most that were in business and the old favorites that are still are.

When I was a child, flying was an experience and Pan Am was the airlines to experience it on. Whether in coach or first class when you flew Pan Am, it was considered the grandest of all airlines. Back then passengers received an airlines bag, wings, playing cards, a coloring book and crayons, snacks, drinks, and trips to the cockpit.

All those passenger treats have vanished, along with the leg room we once enjoyed. As for the cockpit trips for kids a no-do for years and especially post 9/11. I lost my collection of wings, the cards have gone and my airlines bags have vanished, lost in time. And now with the show, I get to relive all my memories when I was off on adventure when flying was an experience, a fun, magical one when the world was safer and when possibilities seemed endless. And the show reminds me of those feelings.

However those memories are not reasons I like the show. I must admit that I would have been a Pan Am flight attendant if I had been born back in the 60s. One of the few positions for women who didn't marry or wanted to have more that the MRS. To travel the world when the American dollar could have and did get you anything you wanted. As an Air Force Brat if I spent more than a year some place, I was ready to move on, always questioning when we were leaving and wondering where we'd end up. Germany, Spain, Texas, Alaska... so many places to see. Aah, my wandering spirit.

But also, Pan Am, the Show, reminds me of the history of this world and country.  We've come a long way and lost some very good things about our country.  For me, Pan Am has another meaning.  Back in 1988, Pan Am 103 was the victim of terrorists, killing 270 people crew and passengers.  When I went off to college, Syracuse University was where I headed too. thirty-five Syracuse students were lost, returning to the States from their study abroad.  I remember standing in front of the memorial with Hall of Languages looming over as I read each name and looked around the green campus and thought of them walking around and me in now in their steps. 
Place of Remembrance at Syracuse University-- Hall of Language in foreground

I think back now and I realized that an airlines played a part in my life, one I only realized now.  The show reminds me of that by helping me remember my life and the lessons I've learned, the experiences I had and how the world changes.
Is there any show, movie or book that has reminds you of the past by showing you connections, you might have never remembered? 

Monday, September 26, 2011

Stephanie Plum Is My Best Friend

That's not true but I love Stephanie Plum.  I've read all seventeen books even entered the title contest author Janet Evanovich has on her website. I'm a cupcake all the way.  Sometimes, I go all melty with Ranger, aahh to be a babe, but I always good back to Joe.

With One for the Money being released In January, I'm excited.  I've read the books repeatedly, laughing with the antics of Grandma Mazar, Lulu, Stephanie, Bob and Vinnie, however will the movie stand up to the books? Who knows.  Fingers crossed that it does though history is against them. But I will check it out and if I don't like it or love, I still have my books.   

Monday, August 29, 2011

RWA-NYC Golden Apple and NYC Gal's Cinderella Moment

On September 15, my local RWA chapter, RWA-NYC is hosting their annual award night. Through the award ceremony is some weeks away, I already have my dress sadly I'm searching for shoes that I'm too broke to get. So the only shopping I will be doing is the store underneath my bed. My closet is crammed with books so shoes in plastic shoe containers. Luckily,I have some heels. I'm a flats and sneakers kind of gal but I love a delicious heel. Oh I ve been tempted. Checking out, and Bloomingdales. And not one of those dang money fairies haven't dropped by my place. Meanies.

Truthfully, I do like the quest of digging out my shoes and unearthing a forgotten pair of shoes. I fall in love all over again. It's the closest I come to being Cinderella. I just need the Prince. Valiant or Charming, either will do.

So if you're in New York City or near enough to attend, please come. I would love to see you. Here's the link. Please check it out.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Female Friday

Usually Female Friday is reserved for women from history some famous, others infamous and most forgotten however this Friday will celebrate a modern woman. Drumroll please.

And the Female is

Bethenny Frankel

I'm sure everyone knows about her Skinnygirl brand, her reality shows on Bravo that include Real Housewives of New York, Bethenny is Getting Married, Bethenny Ever After.

So why did I chose her?

Because she is someone I would be friends with. Her quick snappy mouth, her nonsense attitude that still is fun and strength. I like not easily insult but a comment because I let loose the F word like people say, well, Like. We're like minded. She wants to move to LA so do I but I too have a life in New York. Besides, that I've learned things from her. Hell, I'm a skinny girl now even though I have a cake cooling on my kitchen counter.

I think we can all relate to some part of her life. Either, you struggle on where your career is heading and making it grow, dating, marrying, marriage and motherhood. Our paths might have been different, road bumps and detours in different points in our road but we all follow the same route.

During this time, we must celebrate women and ourselves. I purchased here books from the first and was thrilled when she got her own show, enough with those other "Housewives". Bethenny is someone who will tell you straight and her advice can be applied immediately. None of that washy secret-crap.

Also she has a life that I would like, career, husband, child and dog. My dog would be a Cavailer King Charles Spaniel.

Only difference it will be my life, built by me. And the greatest thing I like about Bethenny is that she shows you that you can end up there. So right now, I'll enjoy the journey and watch Bethenny, Bryn and Jason.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Wednesday Review

Anyone who has an association with books, publishing, business, authors and readers are talking about Border's shutting down. Some people swear that publishing is dying. Can't you hear the book business gasping for air? I can't.

The business is changing.

How will the business be once the storm settles? That I don't know. Sheesh, if I knew that I would be racking in the dough. The business model will change however people will still read and write. It's in our DNA. Our forefathers sat around the fire and shared tales and others drew on the cave walls. We all sit up when someone says I got a good story or when someone tells us this book is great.

So, Border's will be no more. Sure, the market collapsed and like people realized that during the good times they purchased houses they couldn't afford, dealt with foreclosure and other such things, businesses such as Border's dealt with same fiscal problems. Rough times will always reveal bad business practices. Sure the economy added to the dilemma with people keeping cash in their pockets. Added to that is the business model is changing, ereaders, self-publishing, e-publishers.

But people will always read. It's just too sad that some people will be unemployed and Border's won't be around. I'll miss the store. My favorite on 57 street and Park Avenue closed months ago and now this one.

How do you think publishing with evolve? What is the Pros and Cons about the change in the industry? Is there a store that you miss?

Monday, July 25, 2011

I'm Not Thinking There for I'm not? I Hope Not.

I sat here wondering what subject I wanted to write about or even searched for inspiration. But my mind has closed for the day. So instead of getting stressed then having Writer's block, I decided to do nothing. I'll grab my book (the one I'm reading) and lay back and do nothing. So I'm shutting down or wasting time on Twitter.

Until the next post, people. And if you can get a chance to lay back do it.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Female Friday

Rosalia de Castro
In Spain 1837, Maria Rosalia Rita de Castro, known as Rosalia de Castro, was born to a well-off family in Galicia, Spain.  Rosalia was educated and as women of her era, married, Manuel Murguia.
 As with many poets, her life was marked with tragedy and heartbreak, including the death of her young son and the stillbirth of her daughter. And with poverty in her life, she remained committment to the poor and defenseless and a believer in women's rights.   It was that belief and love that had her writing in Galician . A tongue considered a language of the poor, laborers, and illiterate. Not that it stopped her, she composing haunting poems in the dialect and became a revered Spanish poet. A poet still loved in Spain. 
Rosalia de Castro on the 500 Pesetas

Her poetry reflected her life with it's melancholy, longing tone. When I read her poems, each word skips over my skin and whips through me as the first fall winds come in.  That sensation is accomplished even in English. One doesn't read the poems, you are engulfed, twisted and turn, forced to experience each emotion of the words then released into a boneless heap forever changed by the written word.

As with many poets, her life was marked with tragedy and heartbreak, including the death of her young son and the stillbirth of her daughter. And with poverty in her life, she remained committment to the poor and defenseless and a believer in women's rights. 

And Spain remaines dedicated to her.  May 17 1863 was the date of the first publication of her book Cantares Gallegos or Galician Songs and now that day is Dia das Letras Galegas or Galician Literature Day.

I can add more about her life but I'll include a poem and let you meet her.
                                                             Negra Sombra/ Black Shadow
Cando penso que te fuches,
negra sombra que me asombras,
ó pé dos meus cabezales
tornas facéndome mofa.
Cando maxino que es ida,
no mesmo sol te me amostras,
i eres a estrela que brila,
i eres o vento que zoa.
Si cantan, es ti que cantas,
si choran, es ti que choras,
i es o marmurio do río
i es a noite i es a aurora.
En todo estás e ti es todo,
pra min i en min mesma moras,
nin me abandonarás nunca,
sombra que sempre me asombras.
When I think that you have parted,
Black shadow that overshades me,
At the foot of my head pillows
You return making fun of me.
When I fancy that you've gone,
From the very sun you taunt me
And you are the star that shines
And you are the wind that moans.
If there's singing it's you who sings,
If there's weeping it's you who weeps,
And you are the river's rumour
And the night—and the dawn.
Everywhere you are in every thing,
For and within me you live
Nor will you ever leave me,
Shadow that always shades me.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Wednesday Review

At the 2011 RWA Nationals, I took a dialogue workshop from Molly Harper. Well, I laughed and scribbled notes. She offered great advice that was brilliant in it's simplicity. During the book signing, I dutifully stood on line and received my autographed book of How to Flirt with A Naked Werewolf.

Last week, I cracked it open and started reading. Mo Wenstein moves from the hot, humid south to crispy, cold Grundy, Alaska. Her neighbor is Cooper Graham, a man who growls at her, which is appropriate since he's a werewolf.

However, people have gone missing and when their bodies have been they've been ripped apart and eaten by wolves, large wolves. Is Cooper the culprit? Mo doesn't believe so.

I found the book a frothy, fun read that works like Calgon bubbles once did, it takes you away. I like Mo as a heroine. This heroine feels like a friend and you're listen to her gab like girlfriends do.

If you like chick-lit then pick up this book or werewolves then this is one for you.
I liked the breezy tone and the character depth of the heroine and hero even the secondary characters. A hairy Northern Exposure.

This novel is first person Point of View (POV). I wish I had gotten Cooper's POV but that's my personal preference nevertheless this story works and pulls you in so you can have a rocking good time.

So out of four chocolate bars, I give it three chocolate bars. Why chocolate bars instead of stars? One reason and one reason only, chocolate is delicious, sweet and a treat just like books.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Wednesday Review

In the August issue of The Writer is an article, "Use Your Camera as Your Notebook" written by Tanya Egan Gibson.

The article explains how taking pictures from everything from light or sky, a dress a character might wear, or a chair the villain might sit in, all can be used to help during the moments when setting slips from being visualized in your mind's eye or when you wish for a new detail. She recommends creating a notebook of settings and information that can't be photographed then organize those pictures for present and future reference.

I must say that this is such a simple thought that I should have thought of it. And I'm not one to take pictures though my cell has a camera. I always remember that info after everything has died down. But today, I've been clicking away at the sky, sidewalk, building and the various times of day as the sun striking the glass. Details that would bring something new and fresh to my writing.

I know it's going to be great fun, walking through the city and clicking away then exploring the different details I might have missed. A new discovered in a place where I'm jaded by the sights. Now everything seems fresher.

I hope you pick up the magazine and read the article. And if you have any tricks you use for setting or other character details, please share?

Thursday, July 7, 2011

The Writing Way

Yesterday, I was treated to a mani/pedi.  Hooray! I've been feeling purple lately.  A color of royalty and it makes my phone.  Too toot my own beauty horn, I must say my nails look beautiful flying over the white keys of my keyboard.  A perfect way to write.

It's a lady thing. 

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Wednesday Review

In October, I submitted my category romance, which was rejected. Thankfully, the editor told me what was wrong with it--character layering. So, these past months, I've been working on improving that skill.

Then at RWA Nationals, I came across a book, The Complete Writer's Guide to Heroes and Heroines: Sixteen Master Archetypes

The different types and the creating characters turned-on a light in my head that I might have to put on shades. Nowi know how to fix my character layering.

I recommend this book for everyone and anyone dealing with this problem. After all, characters are the best part of books.

Pro: Everything about this book.

Con: I can't think of one.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

A First Timer, no more

I registered for my first RWA National conference back in March or April and this past week, I attended it and am no longer a first timer.  The orange ribbon won't hang from my nametag again though I'm hoping that Golden Heart Finalist or Rita Finalist will soon.

Victoria Alexander and Me
Anyway on Tuesday, the Literacy signing, a crush of romance readers and fans filled a large ballroom where tables lined the room, authors sitting behind their pile of books.  The blend of heat, human flesh, and paper and the almost non-existent air conditioned air filled the room.  Luckily, Victoria Alexander gave out fans to cool the excitement of being surrounded by books and an authors.  So, I walked around seeing my favorite authors, Christina Dodd who remembered me from Twitter.  I was so very thrilled that I nearly floated away like a helium balloon escaping its grounding weight to float into the upper sphere.  Susan Elizabeth Philips who signed my Call Me Irresistible. I asked for a picture and she gladly stood from her seat.  Of course, my phone froze, (I hate that stupid thing) and her daughter saved the day and took the picture. I went home ready for Wednesday.
Susan Elizabeth Philips and me

Wednesday, off to the conference.  I attended workshops and took notes until my hand cramped.  I also ordered the recording because there so many great workshops but only one of me who lacks that ability to be in one place at one time.  Then the free books, sat down to lunch a couple of book by Madeline Hunter (love her), someplace else a free book. At the end of the day, my mind had so much to absorb.   A half a day that wet my toes because on Thursday, I would be drenched.

Thursday, workshops from 8:30 to 5:30.  I moved from workshop to workshop. Taking notes and asking questions and getting answers to that helped me in my revisions of my category romance for the Harlequin Desire line.
Then came the publishers signing which is a room filled with their authors signing free books. I was in heaven.  An romance addict surrounded by her drug.  I snatched up every book and tried authors I've seen yet never risked.  But I was always asked the two same questions:  How do you say you name and Are you have fun? 

The first question is one I've dealt with all my life so it's expected after I introduce myself.  And the second one received the same answer, "Oh Yeah!"  I imagine my eyes were bulging, not wanting to miss seeing everything and the brackets wrinkles cracking through my face deepened from my smile.   I didn't care.

I had some many books that I had to have my mother come with the shopping cart to pick them up to bring home.  My scrawny arms and Fibromyalgia and Lupus affected body couldn't do and made me struggle through this days.  I swore that I would be found under a towering pile of books, suffocated by the written word.

Lisa Kleypas and me.
Sherrilyn Kenyon white dot in foreground.   .
Friday, the last day.  So my feet were swollen and achy from the walking and sitting, and the walking and the sitting and the walking.  My left arm couldn't straightened from carrying books. My energy level nearing E and needed fuel which wasn't food but rest.  I promised that I would do nothing until Tuesday and I keep that promise.  I attended my workshops, learning about police officers, emotions and others topics.  I spotted friends I had seen in a while.  I liked that part too.  I met new people and then came the luncheon.

I sat down at a table with Karen Hawkins!!! Then Sherrilyn Kenyon spoke.  She spoke of her life, her older brother who taught her to read with a wrinkled Spiderman comic, the same brother who believed that her books would be published and the brother who died before he could see her success.  I wept, having similar hurting experiences in my life, I felt the pain for her too.  Though some people might take away to never give up no matter the hardships, me, I learned one lesson-- Everyone needs a champion!  The one person who believes in us, that cheers us on when we feel we're in the dirt, the one that we sometimes get up for when we want to stay down.  I'm gladly to say I have a few champions.

So, I'm no longer a first timer. I learned craft skills, which is helpful but I learned a very important lesson I didn't even know would be taught.  I'm a writer and would not give up writing for any reason or hardship.  This is what I want and one day, others will be entertained by the books I write.  

Monday, June 27, 2011

Why Women Have More Than One Pair of Shoes?

Two days ago in the bookstore, I spotted that same question on a book and I already knew that answer. The answer is something that in embedded in the nature of women.

Men are hunters. In centuries ago, men headed out and bagged whatever animal. An animal to feed and cloth their tribe until the next time. Whereas women, we went out and gathered. One piece of fruit wouldn't do nay, our ancestors filled their baskets.

Nowadays, men head out to hunt. They hunt for resources some money, ladies, cars and anything else. They play sports and all that other manly stuff that shows off their masculine wonderfulness.

As for us ladies, we gather, bags, lipstick, shoes. Gathering shoes or anything else answers to our primal need and desires. Us female species look for resources, the necessaries in life. In these times, resources are different.

And though, I love strawberries and spaghetti and I love shoes that make my legs look good, the perfect red lipstick and every other item in between. So Jimmy Choo and Blahnik and Louboutain, keep flowering for the seasons.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Female Friday

I first saw Katherine Hepburn in Philadelphia Story decades ago when TV had few channels and aired old black and white movie to fill up the channels. I watched her, in awe of her spunk, her confidence in herself and in the world around her. I thought wow I want to be a woman like that. I watched her movies, Bringing up Baby, African Queen, Lion in the Winter and On Golden Pond. I think I was the only 7 year old who watched that movie.

As I grew up and started figuring out how the world worked, my respect and awe of her grew. She donned pants when women were being escorted off the street even arrested. She had strong beliefs and spoken them never apologizing for her intelligence. And when her career tanked and she was considered box office poison, she turned her career around with the Philadelphia Story. I too wanted to have that strength and needed in my life when the life I knew and loved was shredded with my parents' divorce.

I needed Katherine more than ever. I watched her lined face hanging and liver-spotted, her hair tucked up, heard her scratchy, posh voice and watched her hands shake. She hadn't lost any of her spunk or intelligence. I never met her but she helped me decide on the woman I wanted to be. Katherine didn't follow the beat of her own drum, she created the music. My music sometimes skips or hits a horrid note but Katherine taught me to Write a new song.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Ready, Set, Dress

RWA Nationals starts next Tuesday and I'm prepared. I have business cards and most importantly, my outfits are planned out and just waiting to be donned. I'll be posting my daily dress so check back for that. I'm only missing a pair of comfortable shoes. I have a few ideas but will have to wait for weekend to check out my choices.

As a writer, I generally spend my day in comfortable clothing, old t-shirts, shorts, pj bottoms, sweats basically college gear, which really helps with my body pains. Anyway, I'm ready to dress and waiting to go to my first Nationals. Too attend the workshops, meet Rachel Gibson, the author who inspired me to write romance, meet friends from Twitter and Facebook. I will be weak, tired, overwhelmed, excited, happy, inspired and I think two weeks will be needed to recover but that's fine.

This is a chance, an opportunity to mingle with a large crowd of romance writer, editors and agents. And I plan to dress for it in my personal style. And I'm hoping that it jolts up my confidence, has me feeling comfortable, stylish, professional, and ready to take on the world.

When was your chance to get closer to your dreams? Do you remember what you wore? How it made you feel?

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Wednesday Review

Amanda Foreman with her daughter
Inside the June 2011 issue of Vogue with cover girl, Oscar winner Penelope Cruz looking her  usual gorgeous self, is a great article entitled Foreman on Fire.  The profile is on Amanda Foreman, writer of Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire.  

Writer Eve MacSweeney writes a great article about Amanda.  Eve peels back her layers to reveal the writer however preserving some of her privacy.  The voice of the article is easy as if she wrote about a respectable and loved friend.  Vogue has excellent writers to match their excellent content. 

Besides being entertained as a Vogue reader, I learned a few things that tilted my outlook so my viewpoint on life is fresher and brighter and most certainly, less worried.  How did all that happen in two and half pages? 

The first lesson taught me more about character.  Eve shows Amanda's life that balances work and family.  Through this I see what is important to Amanda and can relate that to my characters.  You can read what drives Amanda to write and her love of history and how she relates it to today's world.  And why her childhood and life led her to having five children and what she pushed aside to do what is important to her. 

Another lesson learned is the life of a writer.  Sure she might be an award-winning writer whose biography turned into a movie.  But one can relate to her.  She wrote Georgiana for years, which was also her doctorate at Oxford.  But you discover her passion.  The passion needed to work on a book with no promise of success after all that's what all unpublished writers and some published writers face each time we sit down before our computers.  She reinforced my belief to follow your heart's desires and not just with writing but with all that you desire, which for her was having a family. 

Those are the lessons that fueled me. I'm revving to go.  Good thing since I already started to follow them.  I hope you do too.  What are your passions?  Please share with me.

Monday, June 6, 2011

There's No Crying in Baseball...

Tom Hanks's famous line from A League of Their Own may be true but emotions rear up at any time or place. And maybe tears aren't needed in baseball but emotions are required in stories especially romance novels. After all, love is the one emotion everyone chases after.

Thanks to another blog, I learned about the book, Emotional Structure: Creating the Story Beneath the Plot: A Guide for Screenwriters written by Peter Dunne. Don't let screenwriter turn you novelist away. It works whatever your genre.

The books offers a great many lessons but the first one is about knowing your story.
He separates this lesson into two parts:
1. Plot
2. Story

Plot is what happens and not just what happens but what happens to the protagonist.
Go ahead and read that sentence again.

Plot is what happens and not just what happens but what happens to the protagonist.

So you have the witness to a murder or a business collapse, a divorce or anything else that is outside the Protagonist. Some call it the External Conflict. This is what propels the pro tag to act.

Onto number 2-- Story:
Story is what it does to the who it's happening to.
Read it again and let it sink in.

Story is what it (the plot) does to the who (protag) it's happening to.
So your witness now has to decide whether to go to the police or stay quiet. This plot is affecting him and his life.

These two parts are the units of a novel or script. And you can't have one without the other.
So, you merge these two parts.

Let's say our no-doubt-dashing hero and homicide detective, must find the murderer of the local football hero. The town where the murder occurred is hometown and as part of his job, he must notify the boy's mother and his high-school girlfriend who broke his heart when she married his best friend. He plans to act professional and friendly without the warmth or how he always behaves with her. That's his emotional defenses. He hides behind the badge and uses the distance to hide how much she hurt him.

When he arrives at her home, she throws herself into his arms and weeps. She tells him that she needs him. He promises to give his attention to finding her son's murder. But his ex won't give up, pulling at the emotion in him and so he tries a different way until he can get back to normal. Those skills he developed before have failed him.

Then something else happens. Let's say, the victim is his son. So he has to use another tactic, use another skill to get back to his normal. Then something else happens and the protag must react and this repeats to the end of story and each time, he learns a new tool by reacting in a new way until his weakness is exposed. He might be unaware of the exposed weakness but he must change or fail.

This leads to our story's climax when the character learns something. Here the emotion has to change because the hero has broken down his walls. Now he's a better healed person for it.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Female Friday

With the tornadoes carving a path of destruction in the Untied States and with the 150th Anniversary of the Civil War, only one female deserve to be remembered on Female Friday: Clara Barton.

On Christmas Day in 1821 in Oxford, Massachusetts, Clarissa Harlowe Barton was born.  Clara as she became know was one of five children.  At 11, she received her first patient, her brother David.  For three years she cared for him and that started her life in nursing. 

Almost three decades later, her nursing skills helped the men fighting against their brothers in war.  Nine days after the start of the Civil War, Clara tended the soldiers quartered in the US Senate chamber in Washington.  She was dedicated to these injured men so much so that after the first Battle of Bull Run, she established a main agency to obtain and distribute supplies.  Even that wasn't good enough for her.  She was then given a pass to ride in army ambulances to provide comfort and nurse the injured back to health.

With the end of the war, in 1865, President Lincoln placed her in charge of the search for missing union men. A daunting task but one she gave her all to.  As luck would have it, a young soldier named Dorence Atwater came to her.  He had a list of 13,000 deceased Union men.  Atwater had carried this precious list through his time in the Andersonville prison.  The list became known as The Atwater List as Clara Barton named it in her official reports.  Both Atwater and Burton sent 42 headboard carvers to Andersonville and became known as the Angels of Andersonville, which was her second nickname.  The first was The Angel of the Battlefield. 

She became a celebrity in her time with her lectures seen by the populace, meeting with Susan B. Anthony on Women's rights and as well as Fredrick Douglas about Black's rights.  In 1869, she learned about the Red Cross and Henry Dumant's Book, A Memory of Solferino, during her trip to Geneva.

On May 21, 1881 in Dansville, New York,  Clara became the president and founder of the American branch of the Red Cross or the American Red Cross.  To continue helping people in need, she sailed to Istanbul and opened the first American International Red Cross.  Her works continued in Armenia as well as hospitals in Cuba.   Needing funds to continue her works, she teamed up the New York World Newspaper to accept contributions for relief efforts.  Nowadays, we text in our donations.  Her last field operation was the relief effort for the victims of the Galveston Hurricane, the deadliest in US history in September 1900.  She resigned four years later at age of 83. 

On April 12, 1912 at the age of 90, she died in Glen Echo, Maryland, which is also the location of the Clara Barton National Historic Site.

The Red Cross still serves this nation in every tragedy we have suffered.  And it's one of the greatest services this nation has.  Not to preach but if you can give $1 or 5, or whatever you can, please do and help people get back to their normal lives.  And if you did as an American, I thank you.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Wednesday's Review

New to my blog is the Wednesday Review. It might be a book, magazine article, essay, blog post, or novella. However, my reviews will have a twist as you will read below.

This week's review is Daddy's Girl by Lisa Scottoline.
Natalie Greco loves being a teacher, even though she can't keep her students from cruising during class. She loves her family, too, but her boyfriend fits better with the football-crazy Grecos than she does. Then a colleague, handsome Angus Holt, talks Nat into teaching a class at a local prison, and her world turns upside down.

A violent prison riot breaks out, and Nat rushes to save the life of a mortally wounded guard whose last words are:"Tell my wife it's under the floor." Nat delivers the cryptic message, but before she knows it, she's suspected of murder and hiding from cops and killers alike. She is forced on the run to solve the riddle of the dead man's words and to save her own life--and find real love.

Lisa Scottoline is a New York Times Bestseller and she has her niche. Her heroines are Italian attorneys in Philadelphia. The old writers advice is write what you know and Lisa does it with a freshness to each book. I like that she has created a brand. Her readers know the level of book they get when they pick up one with her name on it, which is one of the reasons she's a bestseller. And this is a lesson I wish to learn from her and apply to my career.

The second lesson I learned is Plot. Daddy's Girl's plot twists this way and that so you don't know where you are heading and end of the reading ride leaves you with whiplash in the greatest way. Although I'm revising a contemporary series romance I'm still perusing it with attention to how to twist the plot in unexpected ways to freshen up the manuscript.

The third lesson is what Margie Lawson calls NYT writing. That means writing at the level of New York Times bestseller. This writing seems quite simple yet it's harder than it looks. And Margie I'm still learning. 

Another lesson is pacing. The story doesn't slow. Natalie's tale has moments that release the tension but the conflict it still there and the external conflict is simmering in the scenes. And the ending doesn't drop-off. Sometimes, writers are so excited to be nearing the end that the last pages feel as a let down. This story satisfies the reader.

The last lesson I learned was the seamlessly blending of the Internal Conflict into the story and plot. I think I can improve on this front. I saw how the external and internal conflict, story and plot, came together and enriched each word on the page. So, I'm also applying that to my story.

It seems that my to-do list is growing but my writing is getting better thanks to my favorite pastime, reading.

Have you read Daddy's Girl? Do you have something to add? Please share.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

A National Newbie

In case you are unaware, Romance Writers of America, also known as RWA, is holding their national convention in New York City and just a few avenues from me. So I slapped down my registration money and made an appointment with an agent to pitch my category romance. Now,I'm not nervous about pitching. What powers up my heart rate, turns my easy and deep breaths into shallow pants is crowds. And they'll be a crowd.

I sometimes have panic attacks when I'm in crowds. I don't want to be the nutter, shuddering and gasping and curled in the corner. I once thought these episodes were asthma attacks but I've discovered I was wrong. I'm starting to prepare myself thinking about the good times I'll have, the people I'll meet and the workshops. But those aren't my only thoughts.
I'm thinking about my manuscript.

I'm revising it, going over it to fix the problems, mistakes and put missing words back in and all that other stuff. So, if you are attending, I hope to meet you and if you want to learn more about RWA, here's the link

Also does anyone out there have any advice or wants to share a story good, bad or funny, please post. I love hearing people's tales. That's why I read so become a star on my blog. See you at Nationals.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Written Word in Every Form

I must confess I am a magazine addict.  I love the feel of the paper, the crisp snap as the page turns, the vivid photographs and articles that can expose me to something I never considered. 

My addiction is my mother's fault.  When I was a little girl, I devoured books and to feed my need my mother provided me magazines. Seventeen, YM, Sassy, Teen Beat, Tiger Beat to name a few.  Her idea was that I would grown up and maybe get a job at one.  Well, I've had a few stories published and that's all.  My addiction, thought, hasn't gone away.  I don't think there is a cure.

I receive Vogue, Vanity Fair, Elle, Romantic Times, Writer's Digest, Marie Claire, Glamour, Cosmopolitan, The Writer and as a free gift OK.  Now take a breath.  I confess that I'm showing control since I've cut back.  I once received W, Tatler, Economist, New Yorker, New York, and Time.   Oh and I read them -- each magazine, every article even the Letters from Readers.
It clears my mind and soothes me.  While reading a magazine, I usually have a pen and pad near since many times, an idea pops in my head or helps me fix the ones I have had. 

With e-magazines available, I tested a few titles, purchasing Rolling Stones with Adele on it and Tatler as well as True Romance and True Love.  I must say that I'm still pleased though the sensory details such as smell, touch and sound are gone and replaced with extra content, the experience is still a pleasant one.

However, I still love getting my favorite magazine, Vogue, in the mail.  For me, I get a whirling-like sensation as if I received the Christmas gift I wanted.  Not that I jump up and down in front of my mailbox like some crazed fool.  I get giddy.  Hey, I'm a magazine addict.  So is there any others out there like me? Is there any magazines or subscriptions of any kind that you get excited about?  Share all please. 

Friday, April 15, 2011

Female Friday

In honor of Prince William and Kate's April wedding, I've dedicated this month's Female Friday to queens. 

             Queen Lili'uokalani
Lili'uokalani was the last monarch of the Kingdom of Hawai'i.   She was born on September 2, 1838.  She was educated at the Chiefs' Children School and became fluent in English. In 1877, three years after Kamehameha V died without an heir, Lili was created Crown Princess and heir to the throne.  Much as European thrones had intrigue surrounding the crown so did Hawaii.  During her trip to Europe as delegates for Hawai'i, she attended Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee where she learned of the Bayonet Constitution, which American, European and Elite Hawaiians forced King Kalakaua to sign the transfer of power from the monarch to the businessmen.  All for the control of the sugar trade.

On January 29 1891 Lili inherited the throne. She struggled to construct a new constitution that returned power to the monarch.  It was never to be.  The businessmen opposing such a measure organized to depose her because she didn't support the Bayonet Constitution though these men seemed more worried that a woman ruled.  

Lili was kicked off her throne on January 17, 1893.  The US government and President Grover Cleveland proposed to return her throne  if she granted amnesty to all parties involved.  She refused, some say because she wanted to behead those guilty parties but others say, she wanted them punished.   In 1894, the Republic of Hawai'i was created.  The United States government recognized the country.

In 1895, Lili'uokalani was arrested after a failed Counter-Revolution when firearms were found at the base of Diamond Head.  She was sentenced to five years of hard labor in prison and fined $5000.  She actually served it in a bedroom of 'Iolani Palace.  During her time, she composed songs and penned her memoirs.  She is the first Native Hawaiian female author. But it was music that spoke to her heart.  She played guitar, piano, organ, 'ukulele and zither.  She sang Hawaiian and English songs.  She helped keep the Hawaiian songs from being lost in time, banished under the washing of a culture. During this time, she abdicated her throne for release and so her jailed supporters were not executed.

She received a full pardon and had her civil rights restored.  A year into the twentieth century, Republic of Hawai'i became the Territory of Hawai'i.  She sued the US government seeking compensation but was unsuccessful.  Though no longer queen she still helped Hawai'i.  Today, the islands are a blend of cultures and peoples.  And Lili' uokalani supported Buddhist and Shinto priests.  Another first for her, she attended Vesak Day, Budda's birthday.  

At 79, she died from complications of a stroke.  She willed that her possessions and properties were to be sold and the funds would go to Queen Lili'uokalani Children's Trust to help orphaned and indigent children, which is still in existence.  

Hawai'i is my home and Lili'uokalani is my queen.  

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

In My Opinion...

Many bloggers review books, some are scathing in their word choice and others are more amicable. However book reviewing is one aspect of blogging I don't take part of. Why? I don't know if I'm tender with people feelings and buy into that adage "if you have nothing nice to say don't say anything at all." I may also add a dash of everyone likes different things to that. Don't get me wrong there are books I hate or books I dislike, some I've throw across the room and some I tossed aside never to pick up again unless to add to the donate pile.

But another part of reviewing books, I don't buy into is reviews. I do read the ones I received and so far, I have received constructed criticism, which is helpful to improve my writing. I don't like all out bashing of a work, either. (Sorry for repeating). Reviews are opinions, based on a person's background, life experiences, tastes and other factors. As a writer who has received them, there are good and bad reviews and a life lesson I learned about them is if you cheer for the good, you have to listen to the bad ones. And both can lead you down the insane road. I hope I act like Sandra Bullock when she was nominated for an Oscar in The Blind Side and a Razzie in All About Steve. She attended both award shows, accepting them both with a smile, grace and class. That's the way I wish to behave. I hope I do when the time comes because it will.

I'm not bashing book reviewing blogs because they can help steer the reader to a new author to enjoy and I've taken their advice and had fun reading experience. It's just not my cup of tea. I guess all I saying up here on my virtual soapbox, which wasn't my intention, keep doing what you do and works for you and I'll do the same. The world will be a happy place.

Monday, April 11, 2011

All You Ever Wanted To Know Is In A Book

This is a top ten list of the writing books that I believe are invaluable.

1.  Techniques of the Selling Writer by Dwight V. Swain

2.  Creating Character's Emotions by Ann Hood

3.  The Joy of Writing Sex: A Guide for Fiction Writers by Elizabeth Benedict

4.  GMC by Debra Dixon

5. Roget's International Thesaurus

6. The Female Brain by Louann Brizendine, MD

7.  The Male Brain by Louann Brizendine, MD

8.  You Just Don't Understand: Women and Men in Conversation by Deborah Tannen

9.  Manuscript Makeover by Elizabeth Lyon

10.  Self-Editing for Fiction Writer by Browne & King

Friday, March 11, 2011

Female Friday with a Celtic Twist

In honor of St. Patrick's day, I decided to devote this Female Friday to Irish women. There are many Irish women that deserve attention but I'm focusing on two women.


Kit Cavanagh was born in Dublin in 1667. Her childhood was spent on the family farm in Leixlip, County Kildare. During her teen years, she was seduced and she fled to her aunt's pub in Dublin. SHe inherited the pub after her aunt's death and married Richard Walsh. Four years after the marriage Richard disappeared. Pregnant with their third child, Kit searched for her husband for a year but learned nothing about his disappearance. Then she received a letter from the Netherlands. It was from Richard, explaining that on the day of his disappeance he had gotten blind drunk and awake in Holland. He had been conscripted and had to fight for King William III against the French.

Kit had her mother care for her children, cut her hair and dressed in male clothing, she enlisted in the Duke of Marlborough's infantry under the name of Christian Walsh. She was nicknamed the "pretty dragoon". It seems Kit had a talent for fighting. Though injured in Battle of Landen (1693), her true sex wasn't discovered. The men in her regiment didn't unearth her secret either, though she ate with them, slept alongside them and even urinated with them, using a silver tube with leather straps. Through the this, she continued to search for Richard yet the war ended in 1697.

However, hostilies rose again in 1702 and she promptly re-enlisted again. She was wounded again, this time in the hip yet her secret was safe. In 1704, she was guarding prisoners after the Battle of Hochastat and watching a soldier from another regiment being embraced by a Dutch woman. When the man turned around, it was Richard. She revealed her secret to him and she decided that she wanted to stay in the army so they would live apart. However, in 1706, Kit was wounded again and this time, her secret was discovered.

Though, she remarried Richard and twice after that, her life ended as many in military life find themselves. She lived on charity from army bass and others who knew of her story. She died in 1739 and was buried with full military honors at St. Margaret's Church, Westminster.


Anne Boony was born to a servant, Mary, and her married employers, William Cormac, a lawyer. Because of the scandal father, mother and daughter departed Ireland and settled in Charleston, South Carolina. William purchased a planation which her ran successfully. Mary died and Anne grew up as a spoiled daddy's girl. Anne had a fierce temper and was strong and sturdy. When a male attempted to rape her, she beat him up so badly he had to take to his bed.

Disowned by her father, she soon married a pirate James Bonny. The couple made their way to New Providence, which is now Bahamas, a place with disruptable inhabitants. She soon tired on her husband and took up with Captain John Rackham also known as Calico Jack. Her husband took her to court for desertion where she had to appear naked. James Bonny got an order to prevent Anne and Jack from meeting. Anne ignored it and join Calico Jack's ship, The Revenge.

Once on board, she earned a wild reputation and befriended fellow female pirate, Mary Reed. WHen the British government issued a King's Proclamation pardoning all pirates who gave themselves up. Calico Jack took advantage of this. However, afterwards, Calico Jack was broke and went back to sea and a pirate life for he.

In November 1720, a pirate hunter Captain Barnet attacked The Revenge. However only Marry Ried and Anne Bonny stayed top deck, ready to fight while the men cowered below. And the ship was so overrun. When brought into port for trail, Anne claimed to be pregnant, which postponed the execution. When Calico Jack's day to hang Anne and him met again where she yelled at him for not fighting like a man.

After that nothing more of Anne is known. There is no date of execution. How her days ended is a mystery? And perhaps a great story waiting to be told.

Monday, March 7, 2011

A Farewell to my Favorite Border's

Border's was my go-to bookstore where I can find that one jewel of a book. I always found something good, usually an obscure book or the long sought after book. Today was no different. I purchased Letter of a Woman Homestead Well this time, I didn't lay my money down on the counter at my favorite Border's store on Park Avenue.

My favorite Border's is one of 200 stores being closed. In fact, I went to the store one last time. Windows were covered with Everything Must Go signs. Inside, someome still greeted you but the rest of the business was just a little different. Red signs with 20% in block white letters were pinned on top of the dark honey shelves. The same shelves were in disarray and half empty.

On the second floor, the cafe was closed. The few tables and long bar was closed. Yellow tape with caution on it was taped across the section where I had spent hours drinking coffee and working on my writings. Now that was gone.

I must admit that I purchased books. I will always remember that Border's being there since I can never remember anything else in it's place. Sad to see a bookstore go for what will probably be a spa or something another.

Although, I'm sad to see my favorite Border's closing, I feel for the employees, now jobless and in this economy. I hope they find employment soon. And I feel for the bookstores that are vanishing like the malt shops of the 50s.

So please support your local bookstore, it may or may not make a difference but at least, you tried.

Did you have a favorite bookstore that closed and you miss it's presents, if you do please share.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Where the Magic Happens

My desk.  This is where I write my stories, where I waste time on twitter or check my email.  The desk is my writer's place.  I sometimes wish I had the fancy office with a chaise lounge to spread out and become inspired by my characters and look out over my view of Malibu or Paris or Madrid.  Where everything has a place and some interior design magazine is dying to photograph because of it's utter perfection.

But for me, this corner is perfection.  I'm surrounded by things I love and inspire me.  My office is perfect.  I have all I need to write.  Now I just need to get my book published.

Do you have an office you love?  Is there a place you've dream of writing?  Where do you write now? Kitchen table? Bed? Please let me know.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Female Friday

In honor of the Haute Couture shows in Paris, I decided to honor female fashion designers.

Madame Gres

This woman invented the bias dress, which means the fabric is cut at a diagonal or 45 degree angle.  Cutting fabric that way wastes a great deal but it falls oh-so-lovely over the body.  Today the bias dress is a designer staple and when done right like John Galliano [designer for his own line as well as Dior] does, the dress is utter perfection and gossamer light.
A bias dress by Madame Gres


How many out there owned or still own anything in a hot pink?  Well you have Elsa to thank. An Italian by birth but working in Paris as many do today.  Her designs took inspiration from surreal artists since she considered herself one as well.   She had talent and dressed some of the wonderful women alive in the era between the World Wars even the Duchess of Windsor.  Elsa and Chanel were enemies.  Imagine being in a party when these two ladies entered, the tension, catty wit.  Paris must have been entertained by these two smart talented ladies.  After the war, sadly, her line closed but if it were around today, Lady Gaga to Madonna would wear her designs. 



Claire on Time

Claire is the mother of American Sportswear and most likely you are wearing or have an item that is inspired by her.  She believed in everyday relaxed dress.  Ballet slippers as everyday footwear.   Cynthia Rowley, Donna Karan, Marc Jacobs and Annie Sui each have been inspired by her.    How many would purchase this outfit or own something like it already? 

Edith and her Oscars

Edith Head was a costumer designer for both Paramount and Universal.  She dressed everyone from Mae West to Steve Martin.  Countless designers are inspired by her costume for flicks that starred Hollywood icons.  No doubt you've seen movies featuring her creations.  Grace Kelly in To Catch a Thief and Bette Davis in All About Eve.  Few have that many Oscars.  I have none.

Many women fashion designers run wonderful lines, Donna Karan, Stella McCartney, Diane Von Furstenberg, one of my idols, Betsey Johnson, Carolina Herrera, Annie Sui, Sonia Reykeil, Tory Burch, and Stella McCartney.  And more will come and share their vision for what will be the modern woman.  I can't wait to see the beautiful design and how it fits in the perception of womanhood and what it means to be a lady. 

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Happy Birthday, Virginia Woolf!

Yes, today would have been the iconic author's birthday.  In the Books section of Huffington Post, I read this post about 59 things us reader might not have known about Virginia Woolf.  I even found that I have some things in common with her.  Some I wouldn't want -- depression and suicide just not me.

Here are the three that you might not have known about me and Virginia:

 9. Woolf was highly critical of her friends’ eating habits at the dinner table, often reproving them for eating with either too little grace or too much enthusiasm.

I too can't stand how some people eat and I'm highly critical.  I have banished people from my table and even taken away their food because they can't eat with their mouth closed or they shovel food in like someone is going to steal it.  Learn to eat properly, I don't need to see you mashed up food or hear you chomping away. 

14. Woolf delighted in the physical act of writing words on paper. From the age of 11, she was continually experimenting with different kinds of pens in hope of finding one that would provide the perfect sensation.

I have hundreds of pens.  I too believe that when you hold the right pen, it can do something to the writing and paper connection.  It's almost as if the words flow down my arm and onto paper without a conscious thought.  I love those moments.  I believe Annie Proulx writes out her entire novels by hand.  For me, though, each day, I might use a different pen because the sensation stirring up in me is different.  I wonder how she would have feel about a MAC.

21. One of the things Woolf disliked most in life was being peered at or having someone take her photograph.

I hate to have my picture taken.  I think I look horrible.  The light never falls right and casts shadows over my face that makes my nose looks big or eyes too deep or my mouth too big.  Just a bad experience.   That's why I don't have a lot of pics.  As for people looking at me -- I can't stand that either.  It's as if they are intruding in on me.  My skin starts to prickle and my ears burn.  It's just horrible.  I lower my head especially when guys look at me.  Not good.  Oh well.  My inner neurosis.  I imagine when I'm old and gray and look back at the few pics I do have, I will wish that I had enjoyed my youth more.  A lesson known now but certainly not learned.

If you are interested in reading the whole post, just click here and please if you like share you similarities.

Monday, January 24, 2011

To Be Read...Eventually

I fear that my TBR pile is growing, turning into the paper equivalent of the Blob. Some books have been on the shelf for almost three years. That doesn't stop me from putting down cash for new ones or heading to the library for others.

I suppose I should join Books Anonymous, BA. I'm Mageela and I'm addicted to books. I become excited when I enter a bookstore or the library. So much knowledge and entertainment existing in the world that I want to soak up. There's a quote, "Wear an old coat and buy a new book."
That's how I pretty much run my life :)

The worst is the choice that has to be made when I must decide which book to read. They are all so interesting. Each one seeming to be a shiny jewel that I chose by doing my-mother-said. Other times by the feel of the book in my hand, the sound the paper makes when I flip a page or the print or if my eyes can stare at my Nook.

The choice are difficult ones that don't affect the world but can us, the reader. Every reader decides in their own way, how do you choose?

Friday, January 21, 2011

Female Friday

This Friday will be a dedication to Female Writers.  There are many great ladies to choose from Jane Austen, the Bronte sisters, Nora Roberts and Jodi Picoult to name the "Superstar gals".  Women writers seem to rarely get the respect we deserved yet we are the majority of readers.  When Nicolas Sparks writes a love story such as The Notebook or Dear John, those aren't considered romance yet Rachel Gibson writes See Jane Score it is.  Some might argue that those stories are different perhaps or perhaps not but that doesn't matter.  Today, I'm recognizing those women that inspire me either through their writing, which is how I know most or through the women they are.


I love Age of Innocence and The Buccaneers.  I admit I'm not crazy about Ethan Frome but Edith Wharton is the greatest.  I read her books over again and each time, I'm swept into Old New York.  I know the next words yet I'm always thrilled by them.  I've felt a connection with her when I first picked up one of her books.  It was as if something came through the pages and into me, connecting me with her for forever.  She is the person I would have loved to dine with.  She is the reason why Paris is the place I want to spend my days and she decorated homes too, which is a passion of mine.  Edith was and still is a perfection for me.


Jackie Collins.  I love her and her juicy tales of Hollywood and scandal.  My whole life I've wanted to visit LA.  There isn't a particular sight that I'm interested in.  All I want is to feel the sun and smell the air, or smog.  But the closest I've ever gotten to LA is the airport on my way to Honolulu.
What's really great about Jackie is that she doesn't try to be anything else.  She's fabulous in fact she's better than Fabulous.  She's Jackie Collins.



Dorothy Parker was a founding member of the Algonquin Round Table and the only female included.  She had a sharp wit that it seemed just the thing to have in her age but few possessed or as I like to think, displayed.  She wrote screenplays, most notably A Star is Born.  She also wrote the line, "Men seldom make passes at girls who wear glasses." She proves to be first, speak you mind and others will fall over themselves to be around you.


Everyone knows Little Women and loves it.  Most ladies vow that they're Jo or perhaps Meg or Amy.  But for me, I would like to believe I'm a Jo but I am a Beth.  I remember being sick as a child in the hospital, looking out the window, or watching it rain and while others played outside I was stuck in-doors.  I couldn't get wet because if I got too cold, I could get sick.  So, I was Beth.  And at least I had someone to keep me company.   And Louisa finally made me happy to be a girl when I only wanted to be like my big brother and play football.  I did too though my mother never knew.  And I could tackle the boys since I was taller than most of them.



I must admit that I'm not a Harry Potter fan.  I've never read the books or seen the movies.  But I must give her credit.  She was on the dole and wrote out her book on a legal pad.  J.K. never quit though there must have been people who told her otherwise.  She created a world that has entertained millions across the world.




I'm proud to say that Leanna is a friend of mine.  She's an award winning author.  But what makes her one of my favorites is that she invites everyone into the wonderful Victorian paranormal world of hers and it weaves a spell about you so you never wish to return to everyday life.  She amazes you with her kindess, talent, and selflessness.  I suggest if you haven't read any of her books pick up her Strangely Beautiful series or just click here.

I know people are going to say Jane Austen and I agree but I just wanted to include some others.  If you think I missed someone please add to the list.