Monday, December 31, 2012

Honor Code: A Review


Back in Crazy Crazy November (aka NaNoWriMo), I teamed up with an awesome group of women, and we became the Dangerous Divas...writing to help the Dead Sexy team win the Entangled Smackdown  contest. 

Cathy Perkins was one of my team members, and in the middle of all the crazy, crazy writing, she sent me a copy of her latest release, Honor Code

The blurb:  In a small southern town where everyone knows each other's business, veteran detective Larry Robbins must solve the disappearance of eighty-year-old widower George Beason.

When evidence arises that Beason may have left town on his own, it would be easy for Robbins to close the case, but his gut instinct tells him more's at stake. As he uncovers clues about Beason's deceased wife and his estranged daughter, Robbins must untangle conflicting motives and hidden agendas to bring Beason home alive.

What a good read!  I've always loved mysteries--my first "real" book memories are of Nancy Drew, Alfred Hitchcock and the Three Investigators, and let's not forget Encyclopedia Brown (even though I could never figure out the clues).  I'm a little better at guessing what's going to happen these Blake Snyder (the Save the Cat guy) said (and I'm paraphrasing here, because I'm too lazy to look up the exact quote), It's not so much WHO dunnit as WHY dunnit. 

I think I knew pretty early on WHO dunnit...but the WHY was quite the conundrum...and as the detective, Larry Robbins, follows the clues, I was reminded that nothing is ever black and white.  Every life has it's dark moments and bright spots, and people get twisted up by the decisions they make, which sometimes lead them down darker paths that are better avoided. 

I would like to get to know Larry better...during the course of his investigation, he begins to question some things about his own relationship with his wife, and he makes a couple of turns himself.  I thought that was cool. 

Honor Code is linked to Cathy's other release, The Professor , but it's definitely a stand alone book.  I haven't (yet!) read The Professor, and didn't feel like I was showing up at the party after everyone was already two drinks ahead of me (which happens to me almost every time I start a series any where after the first book). 

So anyway.  Shameless plug for a new friend:  Buy Honor Code!  Read it!  Enjoy! 

Monday, December 17, 2012

Merry Eight Days Til Christmas!

Uh, oh. 

Did you know that Christmas is only eight days away? And, okay, seven shopping days, because our family starts the party on the 24th. Gah! I finally went shopping yesterday, though. Go me. Got--sort of-- done. Granted, I did some shopping online and there will be gift cards. 

Anyway. I spent last week cleaning up my NaNo manuscript. I participated in this Entangled Smackdown thing through the Savvy Authors website. The group I was in, Dead Sexy, won--which means that our imprint (Dead Sexy is the romantic suspense line) scored the most points for showing up and suiting up--and the authors who participated earned the opportunity to compete for the chance to be published by Entangled. 

We got an email last Monday from editor Nina Bruhns that said something along the lines of Hey! Send what you've got, with your beat sheet and a query letter, and one of you will get published.

To which I said to myself, You've got to be freaking kidding me.  Not only is this not finished, the story changes directions sixteen times in the 68,000 words I have written. 
Not to mention how many "that's" and "her eyes looked" and "her fingers felt" there are in there.

But hey...what do I have to lose? Okay, maybe I could get my email automatically added to the Dead Sexy spam list, but otherwise, what do I have to lose? 

I enlisted the help of my friend Laura, who graciously looked for as many overused and misspelled words as she could find (why don't I notice the spellcheck suggestions myself?).  I managed to edit SOME of the manuscript. I put together a beat sheet that explains the story I'll be telling once I've rewritten the thing. Wrote a real live query letter and sent the whole mess off. 

And now I have renewed motivation to get back to work and finish this book! I think I'll be buying a few more gift cards to finish out the Christmas shopping, and see if I can hire an elf to do some wrapping so, I can "wrap" things up on my book. HA HA HA. I crack myself up.

Merry Almost Christmas and Happy Belated Hanukkah, and Joyous Whatever Else You Might Be Celebrating! 

Wednesday, November 28, 2012


Phew.  It's over.  I did it.  At least as far as NaNoWriMo is concerned.  I got my 50K words done over the weekend, added a few thousand more, and pasted it into the word verifyer a few moments ago. 

And while the internal editor is still in her cell in the basement, I'm going to try to finish up...I think I'm about to put the villian, the hero and the heroine all in the same room and let them fight it out...hopefully the right two will be making out at the end. 

So what did YOU do this month? 

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Yes, it's That Time of Year, Kids!

And I'm not talking about All Saints Day.  Or three weeks until Thanksgiving.  Or less than two months until Christmas.  It's NaNoWriMo!  Woo Hoo!  Love it, hate it, ignore it or whatever, it's here.

The first year I played, 2010, I "won", which means I managed to type 50,000 words in somewhat organized sentences.  Didn't get too far with that project, but it was a good experience, and it might get ressurected as the second book in my Napier County series (which exists mostly in my mind, but I have the tropes in mind).

Last year, I didn't finish.  Just fizzled.  I can't even remember what project I was working on.  Huh.

Well, this year is different.  I really mean it this time. I plotted.  I Beat Sheeted.  I joined a study group.  Okay, it's not a study group.  It's a very cool thing that Savvyauthors is putting on, in association with Entangled Publishing, called the Entangled Smackdown.  It's part of their NaNoWriMo bootcamp thing.  The Entangled thing is cool, because you get to sign up with one of their imprints (I went with Dead Sexy, the  Romantic Suspense line), and the editors log on and critique your synopses and stuff.  Pretty cool, no?

And then they broke us up into teams--there are five of us on my team, the Dangerous Divas (how cute is that?).  We get points for writing every day, for meeting our goal, for doing little challenges, cheering each other on.  And I'm always up for meeting new virtual people.

So, anyway, that's what's new with me.  Writing.  Happy November!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Wrangling Teenagers

What did you do last weekend?  I took five teen aged girls to a Boy Scout jamboree.  I win.

Actually, it was a lot of fun, and there was minimal drama, but I did come back with a fair amount of plot fodder, should I decide to start writing YA. 

First some background:  I am an associate advisor for a Venture Crew, which is a division of Boy Scouts for older teens, and is Co-Ed.  We do high adventure stuff like whitewater rafting, climbing and rappelling, backpacking...none of which are things that I'm really geared towards, but I'm trying to get in touch with my inner badass and get my 14 YO daughter off the couch, so there you go. 


The Troop that we're associated with graciously allowed us to bulldoze our way along to Peterloon, which means...I don't know what the heck Peterloon means.  But it's an event where 6100 scouts and a few adults go and spend the weekend doing scouty things. 

I ran into exactly two other crews that had girls, and there were only 2-3 girls per crew, so we had the most girls there.  I was a little nervous about keeping track of my girls, so I went a little Victorian Nanny on them, not letting anyone out of my sight without another girl in tow, but I needn't have worried.  The boys in our Crew peed in circles around them, so they were safe, at least from outside attack. 

I did run into a few things that I need to remind them of before the next trip:

1) The cool trick where you can change your bra under your t-shirt is indeed cool, but it still should be done out of the view of 60 boys. 

2) It's never a good idea to put the flashlight down in the middle of the tent before you change clothes, as there is a silhouette thing that happens.

3) You may not sit on the lap of any boy in camp, even if he's not your boyfriend and you don't like him that way.  Really.  And using his knees as a back rest when you aren't sitting on his lap is a no-go, too. 

I can't wait to be briefed on back country feminine hygeine before our next trip...

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

How Many Swords Can I Throw Myself On Today?


So, I got to work this morning and realized I've made a huge, expensive, too late to change it MISTAKE.  I ordered the wrong stuff for an experiment, and it's a no-refund kind of a thing.  I said some bad words, then went to fess up to my boss.  Who is a saint.  She is really, really mad at me, but she didn't throw anything at me or fire me, or curse at me (at least not in front of me). 

BUT BEFORE I REALIZED THIS MISTAKE, I did some laundry at home.  Before I was down to my last pair of panties without holes in them.  I thought I was really being a good kid.  Then I took the wet stuff out of the washer, and this is how it went:

Me:  Hey, what's that in the little groove inside the door?
Other Me:  Huh.  Looks like you left your lip balm in your pants.
Me:  Crap! 
Other Me: That's okay, the lid's still on it.  No harm, no foul. But look, there's something else in there.
Me:  Crap!  It's my flash drive, which contains the semi-revised first draft of my first ever completed first draft. 
Other Me:  Well, that's okay, it's your back up, right?  Right?
Me:  Ummm.  Well, yes, but it's the back up for my laptop, which, as we know, erased itself the other day.
Other Me:  It might be time to rethink that whole sobriety thing. 
So that's how my day is going.  How are things in your neck of the woods? 
(The good news is, I just plugged the flash drive into my desktop at work, and my files are still there, and I re-backed them up!)

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Getting Geared Up

Hey!  I know, you prolly aren't out there any more, since my brilliant and relevant posts have dropped off so dramatically, but whatevah, here I am today!

I'm getting fired up for this year's NaNoWriMo.  I'm outlining. I joined a Bootcamp group over at Savvy Authors.

 I'm exploring writing software.  Not neccessarily because I think it's gonna make me a more organized, productive writer as such, but like a diet, if I invest money in something and master the learning curve, I'm more likely to power through.  Okay, it doesn't usually work for diets, but it worked for my computerized sewing machine and my iPhone.

Do any of you use special writing software?  If so, what kind and what do you like and dislike about it?

Bueller? Bueller?

Monday, August 6, 2012

Look at me!

While I have been busily procrastinating about revising my WIP, Jessica Lemmon  tagged me in the "Look" blog challenge.

The deal is, I'm supposed to find the first use of the word "look" in my WIP and post the paragraph surrounding it...egads, this is gonna be bad, I just know it (hopefully it won't be "he looked at her with his eyes" or something equally redundant). Okay, going to open the file now.  Here goes:

     Bill shook his head at her, smiling. “No, no, I live here.  Darryl, he’s been runnin’ things since Ruthie died. He had some sort of ‘family emergency’”, Bill told her, making the universal quotation-marks-that-mean-I-don’t-really-believe-what-he-said motion. “I live over on B Dock, slip 6.  That’s my houseboat, the Yellow Rose of Kentucky.
Olivia looked where Bill was pointing, over the brown water of the harbor. There were two long docks, parallel with the shoreline.  One ran alongside the marina office building and had a rusted gas pump sitting forlornly in the sun.  The other was on the other side of the boat ramp.

Okay, that's kind of boring, but it could be worse.  I hope.  I'm sure you all want to know about the Yellow Rose, and let me tell you, she's a beauty:

Like the closer one, the far dock had three more docks extending into the harbor, and there was indeed a houseboat sagging against one of the piers. It was the saddest looking thing she’d ever seen. Not that the other boats scattered about the harbor would qualify for Yachter’s Weekly. The Rose was tilted at such an angle that she feared it must be about to sink. A few bits of yellow paint were visible on the hull and cabin walls, but the main color scheme was more “Rusting Algae Sunset” than “Yellow Rose”. Sadly, it kind of blended in with the rest of the place: falling apart and filthy.  But if there was one thing she was good at, it was dealing with other people’s messes.
Okay, I guess I need to tag someone else...hmmm....

Dawn Alexander, you're up! 

Monday, July 23, 2012


Ha! I'm not quitting...I just wanted to repeat the words I typed last week...THE, you know, the end of my WIP.  It's been a hard, bloody battle, and the war's not over...but the first round goes to me, not to the committee in my head!  Yay! 

Meanwhile, I'm dealing with lots of life junk right now (the committee's a little stronger there, unfortunately), so I have't had much time for blogging...but really...that's okay!  I have revisions to escape into!  Woo Hoo! 

Monday, July 2, 2012

It's JUST LIKE a Grateful Dead Concert

Back in the days of wine and roses and college, I spent a little (okay, a lot) of time wandering around at Grateful Dead concerts.  As the, you know, designated driver (bwah ha ha! If you believe that, I've got a bridge to sell you). 

Anyway.  Part of the fun of going to a Dead show was wandering around the parking lot before the show, checking out the stuff that the Deadheads had for sale, in order to finance their trip (pun intended) around the country going to more Dead shows.  Lots of hippy jewelry, t-shirts, veggie burritos, all kinds of weird stuff.  And lots of interesting people to watch. 

But then I got a job and a family, and oh yeah, Jerry died, so the Dead show days ended for me. 

I've found my new Dead show venue...NASCAR.

The Big Guy does business with an autoparts company that gave us tickets and access to their hospitality tent at the Quaker State 400, held this past weekend in Sparta, Kentucky.  So TBG, the Sam Stanley Experience and Drama Queen and I went down Saturday aftternoon in the middle of the most gawdawful heat that I've ever experienced.  We hung out a little in the KOI tent, which WASN'T anything like being at a Dead show, drinking free water and playing cornhole and eating free food. 

But going out and walking around was absolutely crazy.  There were about 100,000 people there, and they were all tailgating.  There was this big area where businesses set up to give away free stuff, like...get this...Fixodent. And, okay, maybe they never did that at Dead shows, either, but maybe some of those old Deadheads need Fixodent by now. 

I've never seen so much body art, either.

 Oh, and the best part?  No matter how fat, sweaty and unstylish I am?  I am looking pretty good compared to at least 50% of the other women there. 

Okay, maybe not THOSE women, but I can also attest that my husband looked way better than this guy:

There was a concert--Chris Young played, God Bless him...he played on the track, facing west, with  at 5:30 p.m., on, did I mention, a 100+ degree day? 

Then there was a lot of hooplah, driver introductions, semi-famous people and Kentucky dignitaries...Oh, and this guy, Dakota Meyer, was there...Big Smoochy Fourth of July kiss to anyone who knows who he is, and what he did...go ahead and google it, I'll wait. 
File:Dakota Meyer 2.jpg  

AND THEN!  There was a car race!  CRAZY!!!!  Did I mention it was hot? 

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Perfect Type Casting

Took the progeny to see Rock of Ages last night (and learned that my movie theater has $5 movies on Wednesday nights, yee hah!).  What a fun movie.  No surprises, really--well, there was one little twist involving Russel Brand and Alec Baldwin that had me rolling in the aisle--but still...a very fun movie.

I'm kind of in love with Tom Cruise again a little bit.  What a perfect roll for him to redeem himself from his "You don't know anything about Neuropharmacology, Matt Lauer, I do" idiocy.  There is nothing I love more than a celebrity who doesn't take him/herself too seriously.  At least, I hope Tommy Boy was trying to be ironic. 

There are several intertwining story lines, which fit the "Save the Cat" template pretty nicely, thank you Hollywood.  Tom Cruise was perfect as the narcissistic, scotch swilling, anti-sage.  Axel Rose couldn't have played Axel Rose any better.  If you go to see it, pay special attention to the codpiece in the first Stacee Jaxx scene.  Hil-Air-Ee-Us.  And the tatoos.  And for an old fart, the physique was pretty impressive. 

The boy-meets-girl love story was pretty cheesy, corny, over-the-top, but I think that worked, too.  Cutie Patootie Blue Eyed Sweetie Pie diving into the underbelly of the LA metal scene, and all that. 

Anyway, it was pretty fun.  And next on the movie-viewing-then-reviewing agenda: Magic Mike.  Grrroowwwwl! See you in a week or so...

Monday, June 11, 2012

Just Call Me a Rebel

I am not what one would call a dangerous person.  I don't text and drive (thought I have been known to use my Kindle App in stopped traffic moments). I have a hands-free phone deal in my car.  I have been known to knock over a mail box or two, and I have had a couple of garage doors replaced because I didn't check that the door was up all the way before pulling in, but those were victimless crimes. 

I am especially conscientious in the parking garage.  I HATE having to go up an extra level to find a parking spot when there WOULD have been one on a lower level, except some selfish A%$#*e couldn't be bothered to park straight.

But I have been on some sort of a weird adrenaline-junkie impending peri-menopausal kick lately that has inspired me to learn to shoot, rapel, kayak, zipline...  stuff like that.  And this morning, when I got out of my car and looked at how I'd parked, I saw that I was a little closer to the left line than the right.  Totally unbalanced. 

Not my car.  This is an unpaid actor. Do not attempt this parking style without wildly fluctuating levels of progesterone and estrogen.

And I left it that way. 

How 'bout you?  Anything new and rebellious in your life?

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Oh, Deer!

My family is big on the running gag, especially with puns.  Just as I love a good book series, we love a good inside joke that runs through a story.  I wonder why that is?I kind of think that I like inside jokes because it makes me feel like I'm a part of what's going on, I'm "in the know", so to speak.  And I've probably passed this on to my kids.

Of course this comes from my terrible childhood, in which I was that annoying smart kid who probably wasn't really excluded by anyone except the really elite popular kids, all of whom are now living in trailers or are guests of the state.  But I FELT excluded. 

So when I got a little older and started to get a little bit of a sense of humor, I latched on to any thread that I could carry through the day.  Now I'm that annoying not-as-smart woman who tells the same amusing anectdote until she's pretty sure everyone has heard it at least twice. 

So here is the latest in the Stanley Family lexicon of experiences:

Last night, the Big Guy out of town, me home alone in bed, I was about to settle into Still Into You,  the new release by Roni Loren, when my phone rang. It was number two son.  Phone calls from any teenager that come after 10 p.m. are always answered with trepidation.  Phone calls after 10 p.m. when mom is reading smut are met with trepidation and irritation, but that's another post. 

Me: "Hi, Sam"
The Sam Stanley Experience:  "Mom, I hit a deer."

Me, rapidly readjusting my plans for the next hour: "Are you okay, blah blah blah"
TSSE: "I'm fine, but the deer's pretty messed up.  His leg is all flopping around."

Me:  "Call the police, they'll come deal with the deer."

I dragged The Bearded Wonder (AKA number one son) out of bed to come along, because I know he'll remember the name of the towing company that we have a contract with  (Note:  this is not because we have THAT many accidents.  It's because we own a tire and auto repair shop), and he'll be able to assess the damage to TSSE's vehicle. 

I toyed briefly with the idea of bringing along my .22 rifle, because if the police weren't there soon and the deer was in extreme distress, I wanted to be able to put it out of it's misery, but I'm not quite sure what the rules are about hunting still-living road-kill in residential areas.  I DO live in Kentucky, so those rules are a little blurry, but still. 

Anyway.  The Sheriff's deputies in all their extreme cuteness were there, as was the resident of the house with an injured deer and smooshed Honda in it's yard.  The homeowner said if it was colder out, he'd take the deer, but he was tired and didn't feel like gutting it, and his aunt would have a shit fit if she got up and there was a dead deer hanging from a tree in the yard (ya think?).  I have some hunter friends, too, but it was midnight, and didn't figure anyone would want to drag themselves out of bed for this...though I could be wrong.  I'll take a survey and note who goes on speed dial for the next deer collision. 

Anyway.  The car got towed, the report got filed, the cop promised that after we were all gone, he'd take care of Bambi.  I kinda wanted to stick around for that, given my newly discovered inner Bad Ass...not because I wanted to watch the deer die, I just wanted to check out the fire power Deputy Cuteness was carrying.  But we dutifully returned to our vehicle, which was parked in a driveway across the street.

And coming down that driveway was a woman in her late fifties, smoking a cigarette, bleach blonde hair a little bedheady. 

Me:  "Sorry for disturbing you.  My son hit a deer, the police are going to take care of it."
Smoking Lady:  "Where did it come from?"

Me:  "Huh?"
SL:  "Did it come from this direction?"
TSSE:  "Yeah, it came from right about here" (indicates the front yard of Smoking Lady)

SL:  "Oh, no. That was probably one of our babies."
All Three of the Stanleys:  "Uh..."
SL:  "Since they put that subdivision in, destroyed all their woods, they don't have nowhere to go.  So we feed 'em.  Put in a salt lick, too. This year we've got twins that come."

SSE: "It was an accident."
Bearded Wonder: "It was full grown, not a fawn."

SL:  "Well, I sure will miss it."

Oh. My. God.  Okay, yeah, deer are pretty.  I don't like to see them dead.  It's cool to see them when they aren't coming at your windshield,  in the headlights, literally.  But here in the midwest, we have a major over-population issue with deer.  There are more deer around now than there were in Daniel Boone's time.  The subdivision that went in did not reduce any deer numbers.  It gave them a golf course to cavort on, lots of hostas to chew on, but I don't think they're endangered.  And can I just say that if you live near a busy, windy thoroughfare, and you feed deer in your yard, you might be providing more opportunities for teenaged drivers to get in accidents?  ARGH!

Sorry.  I lost the amusing anectdote thread there for a minute. 

We Stanley's got in my car to go home, assuring TSSE that it was an accident, don't feel bad, Deer.  Bambi's with his dad now. 

But I think TSSE is still a little shaken up.  I could use some more deer puns...anyone got any to offer up? 

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Whoa! Where the Heck Have I Been?

I can't believe the month of May is nearly over, and I have only blogged once!  I have an excuse...I've been writing my fingers to the bone.  I think I mentioned a while back that I finalled in the
NEORWA Cleveland Rocks Romance contest...well, guess what? 


I placed first in the Contemporary Series category.  Woo Hoo! 

So in between trying to decide what I'll wear for my first appearance on Good Morning America and what to spend my first million on, I've been busily working on that manuscript so I can submit it.  And can I just tell you something? 

It takes a lot of time and mental energy to write a book.  Who knew?  Since I've just been putzing along, writing in my "spare" time here and there, I wasn't really surprised that I hadn't gotten much done.  I just figured out that one day I'd wake up and my  manuscript would be done, and I'd casually spend a weekend editing it, then send it off to my crit partners, then lalalala, maybe submit it to...someone.

The committee in my head spends a lot of time telling me not to bother, I can write tomorrow, or just not to write at all because I suck.  But then I won this nutty contest, and the committee was speechless for a few minutes, and the Self Confidence member (who had been on sabattical) spoke up and suggested that it might be time to get to work and give this a shot. 

So, yeah.  I've been writing.  It is hard work, but it's fun work. 

I'm also slowly coming out of the closet about the writing thing.  Thinking about ditching the Teri Anne Stanley thing and just being Tracy.  But I'll think about that after I figure out what to wear for my first Oprah's Book Club appearance (because, yannoh, she'll have a special episode just for me).

Monday, May 7, 2012

Fly Like a Pig!

Yesterday was the 14th annual Flying Pig Marathon, in Cincinnati, Ohio.  It's my favorite athletic event in the universe. 

I do not compete.  I do not enter.  I have it on my bucket list, but it's going to go down with the ship. Hopefully not along with the "FINISH a novel" item on the list.  Maybe one day I'll walk the half, but no way in hell will I ever run it, and the full is just not going to happen.  But I love this race.

For one thing, who wouldn't love a marathon named for the fattiest of the fat? Here's a link to the history of the Flying Pig Marathon . It's kind of a funny story.  In brief,   Cincinnati has been referred to as Porkopolis, because of it's heritage involving slaughterhouses and sausage and bacon and stuff.  When other cities were having artists decorate fiberglass horses and cows and things, we did pigs. 

So then, someone had the great idea to have a marathon here, and someone said it should probably be named after pigs, and the Flying Pig Marathon was born. 

I am not one of these people, tho somewhere there exists a picture of me in a pig suit. 
And it's a riot.  It's just a fun, fun time.  I've been volunteering as a Grunt for the past six years. 
In the past, I've run a fluid station (water stop) for runners of the 10k portion of the race. This year I helped at a Party Pit Stop for spectators of the actual marathon.  So not only was I an official Grunt, I was  Squealer Support Personnel.  These are Squealers:

All kinds of famous people participate in the Pig:

210360201600 I saw Forest Gump yesterday, but the pictures from this year aren't up yet.  Oh well. 

 Okay, I really don't know who this is, but she kind of reminds me of Chelsea Clinton.
Cincinnati Flying Pig Marathon

And now we've reached the Finish Swine of this post.  Have a great week, everyone!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Memoirs, Light the Corners of My Mind

A couple of weeks ago, surfing around on Amazon, I came across  Will Love for Crumbs, by Jonna Ivin. It had an intriguing blurb, so I downloaded it. It languished on my Kindle behind a few other things on my TBR pile.  I started it yesterday, and finished it this morning...all I can say is "Wow". 

You know how sometimes you go to a movie, or finish a book, and you can't watch TV or even listen to the radio for a while, because whatever you just experienced is banging around in your head so loudly that you can't hear anything else?  That's what this book is like.  Here's the blurb:

"Raised by an alcoholic mother and without a father, Jonna learned at a young age to put her needs on the back-burner. After her mother dies of cancer, she goes on a spiritual journey looking for enlightenment and a purpose for her life. Eventually, she ends up as a volunteer in the relief effort following Hurricane Ike. There she meets a man that will forever change her life.

 In the swamps of Louisiana and the hills of Arkansas, Jonna follows her heart to build a life with an American hero - a 20 year veteran of the Army Special Forces. Only after uprooting her whole life, leaving everything and everyone she knows behind, do the pieces of this fairytale start to unravel. Realizing the man of her dreams is actually the stuff of nightmares; Jonna must once again go within and discover why she is a woman willing to love for crumbs."

It's always amazing to me that smart, seemingly self-aware women get into situations that baffle  I have a great life, but it's not perfect (shocking, I know!).  And without dragging any skeletons out of the closet for public viewing, I can say that there were some observations that Ms. Ivins made in this book that really resonated with me. 

Another memoir I love is Operating Instructions by Anne Lamott. I read it while I was trying to survive my first year of motherhood (the kid is 19 now, and I'm still not sure I've survived, but I still  contribute to his therapy fund on a regular basis). 

I think that people who can share the moments in their lives that shape them, and do it with humor, are people I want to be real life, and in print. 

That's all! 

Friday, April 13, 2012

A Friday the 13th *SQUEE* for me!

I'm going to toot my own horn here, my friends.  I actually do, occassionally, actually write.  My crit partners, Mary and Dawn, encouraged me to start entering contests.  Which was kind of dumb of them, because that meant that I would be bugging them for more critiquing than usual.  So I have been whipping into shape the first couple of chapters of The Novel That Won't Get Itself Finished by Itself, aka Safe Harbor (which is not a great name, mostly because there are like 50 other romances with the same name out there).  
I entered the NEORWA Cleveland Rocks contest, and guess what?!  I'm a finalist in the Contemporary Series category.  How fun is that? 
I won't know if I'm the Supreme Writer of the Universe for a while, but's an honor just to be nominated. Hey, I'm motivated to finish the next chapter now (really...all future editors and agents who might be reading this...I'm WAY farther along than chapter 3.  Like, I've almost got 4 done...really). 

Monday, April 2, 2012

The Right Words for Mama Drama

So. In my other life, I have a kid who is a a girl scout.  I sent someone an email last weekend, asking if maybe we could use a phone tree for communication because I missed an email about a cancelled meeting.

 I wrote,
"Maybe next time we have to cancel a meeting, we could use a phone tree, because I don't check my emails on the weekend."

I got six paragraphs back about how she (the person on the other end of the email, henceforth known as That Person) didn't have time for petty issues like this, and her brother-in-law is sick, and, as a business woman, I should know how important it is to check my emails.

So I wrote back, "It was just a suggestion, I wasn't trying to bust your chops".  And I got back three pages about how if I wanted to be in charge, I shouldn't have quit being the leader , and I have been critical since That Person started being the leader, and she's not going to be the leader next year because she's had enough of people like me who think they could do it better, and....

At which point I should have stopped responding, because I tried to defend my position, and it got even deeper: Apparently,  I made a mistake and I was trying to push the blame onto That Person, and was unwilling to admit that I should have been checking my email, and I am trying to drive a wedge between That Person and the other leader of this group...and we could both take a lesson from this exchange, specifically that I should be nicer and check my email more and not blame other people for my mistakes (no mention of what her lesson might have been).

Finally, I said, "I'm sorry for any miscommunication on my part."

And That Person said, "I accept your apology."

At which I wanted to say, "OH HELL NO YOU DON'T, NOT UNTIL I GET AN APOLOGY BACK!"  But I put on my big girl pants and I didn't respond.  Maybe I forwarded the exchange to a few people, to drum up support, but whatever.  

THEN, on Friday afternoon, I got ANOTHER email from That Person, apologizing for snapping at me--but if I wouldn't try to blame other people for my mistakes, and if I hadn't sent her so many derogatory emails in the past, (huh?  I can't seem to find the emails. I remember a difference of opinion about a cookie sale, but I don't remember it being derogatory. Or even heated), blah, blah blahblahblah, none of this would have happened.

And okay, I recognize that That Person is a little nuts.  Maybe a lot nuts. 

But I also recognize how incredibly difficult it can be to communicate with the typed word.  I was perhaps a little terse in my first email, but I didn't want to get into a whole thing about why I didn't check my email.  I just didn't.  It was Sunday, I was working in the yard. No biggie.  And then when I made the "didn't want to bust your chops" comment, maybe that came across as sarcastic?  I don't know.  I was trying to respond to That Person's message, not feelings behind it. 

I'm a writer...or at least, I'm trying to be.  Maybe I need to get better and using SHOUTY CAPITALS and Smiley Face Emoticons. 

Anybody else have any good stories about how not to go postal on someone when you are trying to get a point across? 

And for the record, Boy Scout dads are WAY easier to communicate with.  Their response would have been, "Yeah, that's a good idea, you organize it", or "Screw you.  Check your email."

Monday, March 26, 2012

Stop Smirking at Me! And Enough With the Fists!

We all have go-to words when we write, and even more so when we speak.  One of my favorites is "anyway".  I use it instead of transitional sentences between paragraphs. Mostly because I have (undiagnosed) ADD, and



I just finished reading something in which the hero and heroine spent a LOT of time smirking at each other.  He smirked, she smirked, he smirked again. And now I really, really dislike smirking.  The occasional smirk to show disdain or irony is fine. I love irony, and quirking one side of my mouth to acknowledge that I "get" the irony happens quite frequently.  But really, people.  Enough already (and Linda Grimes, if you can ignore smirking, you can read Fifty Shades.  My jury is still out on the "quality" of the book, but I'll probably read the next one, just to find out who gave Christian all those scars).

After trying, and failing, to ignore the smirking in every other paragraph in that book, I am now overly sensitized, and can't help but notice how much smirking is going on in the book I'm reading now, which only had one smirk...but it was a big one.  ACK! 

I realize that there are only so many ways to describe an action.  Like "fisting". The first time I noticed this was during my Nora Roberts phase, about fifteen years ago.  I was on vacation...Destin, FL, as a matter of fact.  I had a big stack of NR romances to keep me company.  In  each book, during the first or second big love scene between the H/H, someone was always fisting their hands in someone's hair or shirt (Ha!  Did you think I meant "fisting" in some other context?  Really,'s Nora Roberts.  Get your minds out of the gutter). 

My point is, that when I write, I TRY to watch for those words that I overuse.  There is a website somewhere that does this cool thing that shows you which words you use the paste in your text and it makes the words you use most bigger than the other words.

What words bug you? 

Monday, March 19, 2012


I have a lot of books.  Seriously.  A. Lot.  I'm sure I wouldn't win any reality TV library hoarder contest or anything, but my husband would still probably nominate me. 

When I got my Kindle last year, a friend gifted me with a flash drive with a couple THOUSAND books.  Where she got them might be a don't-ask-don't-tell kind of a thing, but there are a bunch of awesome books on there, some of which I plan to read. Someday. I have the Calibre e-book management software installed on my laptop. I don't use it as effectively as I could, and my Kindle is a mess.  That is the biggest drawback to the Kindle, it's a bitch to organize the stuff I have on it. 

Then there are the dead-tree books.  For a long time, I just recycled everything I read. I ran through books like raisin bran through a four-year-old. There is a used book store in my area that gives you a 25% credit of the cover price for paper backs, and then you can use that towards the purchase of more books, so it's a pretty ecological and economical situation. 

But then, when I seriously decided to start writing, I started keeping more of the books I read.  And of course, buying even more.  And making little notes everywhere of things that I want to read.

Now, my little used book store is closing, and is selling everything WAY cheap.  So I keep going in to buy more and more books.  Series romances are 8/$1 right now...even if the books suck, that's cheaper than toilet paper, so if I get in a jam...Anyway. I now have a few hundred paperback romances piled on my bedroom floor.

I'm trying to orgnaize my lists of "Books I want to read but don't own yet", "Books I own and might read", "Books I own and definitely plan to read", "Books I've read and don't want to buy again", "Books I own and want to re-read"....and a jillion of them are electronic and alot are paper, and alot of them are post-its.

Holy crap!  So not only do I need to organize my lists, I need to organize my actual books. 

I looked for reviews of "book organizing software", but that was a little confusing, and then I remembered that I do have a Goodreads account...duh.  I spent most of yesterday hunkered down on my bedroom floor with my laptop logged on to Goodreads, trying to get things entered, and then piled stuff according to genre and actually alphabetized some. 

I've got my Harlequin Superromances, the Harlequin Intrigue, the Blaze and Temptation, Big Juicy Historicals, the Chilling Romantic Suspenses, the Secret Throbbing Back Row Behind the Self-Help Books, The Suzanne Brockmann Section, the JR Ward Black Dagger Brotherhood And Sexy Angel Pile, The Lori Foster Area...and then there's the big pile of Books that Don't Fit In a Category. 

What do you use to keep track of your books?  Does it work for you? 

Monday, March 12, 2012

Guns and Lovers

Soooo...Here's something I didn't think about much before I decided to give this romance writing gig a shot.  There are a LOT of guns in romance novels.  Especially the kind of novels I like, with Nicely Damaged Alpha Heroes and Sick, Twisted, Psycho Killers. 

And honestly?  When I read romances, I don't worry too much about whether the hero is using a semi-automatic something-or-other, or a fully-automatic thingy.  He pulls his gun out of whichever secret holster he's using and shoots at the bad guy, before being shot himself and having the gun skitter across the floor, where the heroine, who has never picked up a weapon in her life, grabs it and kills the bad guy. 

But I found that as I try to write, the details do matter, at least a little bit.  So when a Boy Scout dad I know offered a pistol class for our Venture Crew, I signed my middle son, my daughter and I up to take it.  As of yesterday, I am now a card-carrying, NRA certified basic pistolero.  Or something like that.  My husband is totally psyched, because I think he now believes I'm going to join the Republican Party or something.  Not going there, into the whole politics of gun control...except that now that I've shot a whole bunch of different kinds of guns, I've kind of gotten the bug. 

And my daughter!  Whoa...she's 14.  Hates most sports, whines about having to do anything out of the ordinary (which is usually reading or watching TV).  She's our own personal Annie Oakley!  She was killing fake chickens and fake pigs and fake turkeys left and right yesterday, with both a pistol and a rifle.  Middle son bailed on us.  Phooey on him. 

The RWA chapter I belong to (OVRWA) is having a guy come and talk to us about gun fights and stuff next month, so I'm very excited about that...because I may actually know what he's talking about., and not look like an idiot (though I will also try hard not to act all know-it-ally, too).

I probably won't ever buy a bra holster for a pink automatic weapon, but I do get kind of a charge out of knowing that if my hero ever drops his gun while he's defending me from zombies or terrorist, or terrorist zombies, I can pick it up and provide an effective double tap to the noggin...if he gets close enough, and if I remember where the safety is. 

What research have you done that led you in surprising directions? 

Friday, March 9, 2012

Say Goodbye to Back Boobs!

Proper word choice is the be-all and end-all of writers, isn't it?  I went on my annual It's-My-Birthday-and-my-mommy-still-takes-me-shopping shopping trip last night (with my mom).  I decided to suck it up and admit that I have moved back into the world of Women Who Have Curves and Shop at Lane Bryant. See, I used to be REALLY heavy, then I lost a ton of weight, and then I accidentally ate a pan of brownies, and now I'm about half way back to ginormous.  So my ego is a bit fragile on the subject, but being able to button my pants is even more important than pretending I'm still a size 12.

But that's not what I was going to talk about.  I tried on some jeans (and the first pair, the $20 pair, fit, yay!) and then decided that maybe I would buy a real, button-up, woven blouse.  I normally only wear knits because I DON'T IRON.  But whatever.  So I found this really cute blouse, but it has gathers in the front between the girls.  Or at least, where the girls are supposed to be.

So my mom, who loves me very much, suggested ever so gently that "a differerent" bra might be a good idea.  Like maybe one that I bought sometime within the last ten years, before I gained and lost and gained all that weight (in my defense, I HAVE thrown out the nursing bras, now that DQ is 14).

So I wandered over to the undergarment section and grabbed the first thing that I thought might fit, and tried it on, prepared to tug and squeeze and adjust my posture, drag the stuff that hangs over the sides of most bras into someplace less obvious... and lo and behold...Not only did it fit, there are No More Back Boobs!  I read the tag...this thing has something called "Back Smoothing Technology". 

Who knew!?!  I would have called it the "No More Back Boobs" bra, but then there is a reason that I am a budding writer and not an acccomplished fashion merchandizer. 

What are your favorite "nice" ways to say things?

Monday, March 5, 2012

Toto, Toto!

I am, of course, that person who makes inappropriate, flip comments in stressful situations. 

Friday afternoon, I was sitting in my great glass elevator of a lab, and saw that there was a line of storms approaching the Greater Cincinnati area. Since I live south of the city, I couldn't decide if I should try to beat the storm home, or wait for the building to collapse around me:
It's a very pretty, cool looking building, but I don't have a lot of faith in the architechtural stability, and I KNOW it's not weather proof. 

So I hit the road, and managed to make it almost home, when the weather guys started saying that tornados had touched the ground, oh, about 10 mile southwest of my neighborhood. So I did a little praying, admired the lovely hail and odd shaped black things that were falling from the sky, prayed a little more, and finally made it home.

The power went out, the storm passed, and we went outside to commisserate with our neighbors about how annoying it is that every time the wind blows, the power goes out, yada yada, wah wah wah.  I mean, we had to read our kindles by candlelight!  And the networks were so overloaded that our 3G smart phones took forevvvvvvver to load email!  I am still trying to catch up with my Words With Friends games.

Finally, the power came back on, and I turned on the news, and immediately felt a little bit guilty for whining about a three-hour lack of electricity. 

Because our neighbors, 8 miles to the south, got wiped off the map. 

Three people near us died, but you've all heard about how many other people in Kentucky, Ohio and Indiana lost their lives, and everything else.

So, hey...if you are so inclined, I'm sure the Red Cross would appreciate a donation.  You can skip the expensive sports car you were going to send me for my birthday tomorrow. 

Monday, February 27, 2012

And The Next Contestant Is...

I can't decide whether to gush over "Act of Valor" or "Walking Dead" this morning, so I'm going to skip both for now and talk about writing contests.

I'm pretty new to this contest thing.  I joined RWA a couple of months ago and went to one chapter meeting...I'm definitely a "stick your toe in the water, wait five minutes, then submerge to one ankle" kind of a girl.  Let's not rush it!

But then, since I was finally an RWA member, my crit parters, Mary and Dawn, suggested that I enter something in the NTRWA Great Expectations, after a whopping 48 hours of furious editing and emailing back and forth, "I" entered.  I say "I", because if Mary and Dawn hadn't been willing to tear apart my entry six ways to Sunday, it wouldn't have gotten out the e-door. 


"I" placed fifth out of 13 in the Contemporary Series category, and got some great feedback.  Some of it was conflicting advice, which was also helpful...what one judge liked, another didn't.  So I kept that part. 

So now "I" have taken those suggestions; and have been tormenting Mary and Dawn again, and am going to enter NEORWA's Cleveland Rocks contest.  We'll see.  I may have edited the life out of it, but maybe not. 

I'm also going to be judging, which is going to be even more interesting!  I took a judging workshop, and learned a lot.  I'm practicing how to say "don't quit your day job" in different words.  Like:"Please keep writing in your spare time, some day you'll learn how to use "spell check.""

And, as The Big Guy often reminds me, I do know that I live in a glass house. 


And now for something completely different: 

Last night was Zombie night. Yeah, I know, there was some awards show on, I did see J Low in a Saran Wrap dress, but I figure I'll get the highlights from MSN this morning and not have to sit through all the speeches and commercials. 

I know I've said it before, but I love, love, love AMC's Walking Dead.  They throw in a few nasty zombies every week, and last night's episode was especially crunchy and squishy.  But it's not about zombies.  It's about relationships.

Last night, Rick, who wears the white hat, had it out with his BFF Shane, who wears a camoflage hat. 

I totally think Shane (on the right there), is smoking hot.  It's that bad boy thing, dontchaknow.

Rick always tries to do the right thing...the traditional, what we all believe is the right thing thing. 
But the zombie apocalypse has come, and the rules have changed.  And Shane is working hard to redefine things.  It's not quite clear how pure his motives are, but he does what he does with a lot of angst and nice muscles.

My Kentucky girl is also a bit in love with Daryl, who wasn't on last night.  At. All. 

In the last episode, Daryl hinted that his unresolved childhood issues might be coming to the surface.  Okay, maybe "hinting" is a weak verb in this instance.  He pretty much went on a rant at Carol, his possible love interest, and it was pretty clear that he wasn't upset about what he said he was upset about.  That's as clear as the muddy water in an episode of Hillbilly Handfishing.  You just had to be there.  So maybe you should be there next week, and more will be revealed?

We also went to see Act of Valor yesterday.  That's the movie with the real-life Navy Seals.  It was pretty intense.  It also requires kleenex. 

Monday, February 20, 2012

If you Woke Up and Channing Tatum Said He Was Your Husband...

Some things just don't add up. 

My daughter and I went to see The Vow the other night, and after I got over my annoyance at all the skanky women in the theatre drooling over my imaginary boyfriend, settled back to enjoy the view.

If you aren't familiar with the story, The Vow is "based on true events" about this couple who are all in love, and they have a car accident, and the wife gets amnesia and doesn't remember meeting or marrying the husband.  She wakes up thinking it's five years ago when she was engaged to another guy and living with her parents, and in law school. 
So here is my problem: 
When Rachel McAdams wakes up from her medically induced coma, and CT is standing over her bed, and he tells her he's her husband, she's all like, "Go away". 



And he gets all devastated when she doesn't remember him right away...I'm no neuroscientist (Oh, wait.  Yes, I am), but I know enough about head injuries (mostly from personal experience and reading romance novels) that doctors are going to warn you that there can be some confusion when the patient wakes up.  But he's still run-out-of-the-room-and-collapse-next-to-the-Pepsi-machine devastated.  I don't think that scene was necessary.  I know that it was intended to show just how much he loves her and stuff, but it just seemed kind of too drama-queen for this moment. 

Then, after she decides she's going to take his word that he's her husband (at least THAT part made sense), he brings her home from the hospital to a big-ass welcome home party, which doesn't go over well.  And he does say, "I didn't know there would be so many people here", but still.  Wouldn't you be more likely to go with, "Hey, some of our friends are going to stop by later", and then have too many people show up? 

After those few dumbass scenes, the movie was pretty good.  There was a lot of clever dialogue, cute, funny, sweet, romantic junk, while CT tries to make his wife fall in love with him. She never gets her memory back, and she moves back home with her parents, and there is pretty major Dark Moment stuff there (and a late-story Save the Cat moment). 

And the nekkid butt scene was cool, but you gotta pay the $10 for that one, I don't have a picture to post here.

So here is my official review:  Great Chick Flick, but don't bother trying to cooerce the Man Unit to go with you...he might snore as loud as the guy in the back row at our theater, and don't expect an Oscar Nomination for Best Actor, (or Best Screen Play)  to come out of this one.

Friday, February 17, 2012

What does "Slow and Easy" Mean to You?

Apparently, "slow and easy" mean completely different things to a 17 year-old boy and a 47 year-old mom. 

But I'm recovered enough now to talk about it. 

Last weekend, the Sam Stanley Experience and I went skiing in West Virginia with our Venture Crew (which is an older, co-ed version of Boy Scouts). 

I learned to ski last winter at our local ski area, and I did...okay.  Okay, if you don't count the minor head injury, the pulled hamstring and the anxiety attack on the ski lift (who knew?  I'm afraid of heights!). 

But like with childbirth, the memory of pain fades. When the chance to go to a "real" resort came around, I gladly waved my hand in the air to organize a trip.  But this year, I decided I was going to do everything, but be extra careful.  I would fight through my fear of heights and figure out how to ride the lift (and how to get off of it without too much damage), and I would go nice and slow and have a good time. 

I found a nice instructor guy to help me figure out the ski lift, and I made it up the beginner hill.  Then I came down the beginner hill.  I felt a little wobbly--as in, my legs were shaking so hard that I almost fell over)--so I decided to take the complimentary beginner lesson.  And I did GREAT.  The nice instructor guys were very complimentary, and at the end of the lesson, said to go down the beginner hill a couple more times, then try Salamander Trail.

Okay:  On that map right there, Salamander Trail is WAY over to the left, it's got a green circle on it.  That means it's the easiest kind.  It's also the longest trail in the area, at 2 miles. 

And my son said, "it's slow and easy, Mom, come on, I'll do it with you!"

So I did.  And it felt really fast. And I fell.  So I got back up, went really fast again, and I fell again.  All within the first 1/4 mile.  And I was scared.  And the Sam Stanley Experience was long gone. 

So I took off my skis, and I walked down that hill.  1 3/4 mile, in 20 degree weather, with snow cannons blowing in my face,  in God-Only-Knows how many feet of snow.  Downhill all the way, fortunately, but O. M. G. 

The upshot of this experience is that I got a major work out, and didn't feel guilty for taking off my boots and putting on my jammie pants for the rest of the day. I lay in my bunk reading a book.  After that, I took a nice long shower and spent the evening, being the hot tea drinking person, with the other adults in the lodge playing Catch Phrase. 

So.  I get to cross something off my bucket list during the Decade of Living Fearlessly: "Learn to ride a ski lift without Xanax". 
"Learn to go down a hill on skis" gets pushed back to next year.  Maybe.  And maybe with Xanax.  

What does "Slow and Easy" mean to you?  Get your mind out of the gutter.  Or keep your mind in the gutter.  Whatever. 

Monday, February 6, 2012

Best Science Fair Project EVER, and How I'm Like a Navy SEAL

My daughter's science fair is tonight  (That's not her project, by the way).  She did a good job, all by herself, with only minimal help from me...I was a test subject, and we now know that my heart rate is not affected by classical music.

Allow me to share the story of my own science fair project.  I was in the ninth grade, and I wanted to examine the effects of water pollution on wildlife.  I  bought three goldfish, and put each one in a different jar.

I poured motor oil in one jar, and laundry detergent in another.  The third was my control. 

Interestingly, it took the motor oil fish a few days to die.  I hypothesized that it was lack of oxygen that killed him, rather than acute toxicity, as in the laundry detergent jar...fortunately, I didn't do any further experiments to confirm this. 

I also didn't get a very good grade.

But I DID go on to get both a BA and an MS in Zoology.  Uh huh. Yeah.  And I have been earning a living in science for a good 25 years now. 


I am reading a book right now, The Heart and The Fist, by Eric Grietens, who is a SEAL and lots of other nice things. 
The Heart and the Fist: The education of a humanitarian, the making of a Navy SEAL
 In the first or second chapter, Greitens describes his own science fair project, which involved three tulips and a container of water, one of Coke, one of beer. 

Do you see the similarity?  I'm like, OMG, this guy and I could have been separated at birth, give or take ten years.  We have SO much in common. I should totally write to him and invite him to dinner.  We can talk about dumb science fair projects and...okay, maybe not much else.  

Anyway.  I'm really enjoying the's not a complete testosterone-fest (not that I would complain about that), it's very well written, and this guy seems to be doing what he's doing for all the right reasons.  He's also got this group, The Mission Continues, that gives fellowships to post-9/11 veterans to do service work.  I'm a big fan of service work--not just because I'm a nice person, but because it is good for me...keeps me out of my own dark scary places.  Check it out, it's pretty cool.

What about you?  What is your science fair story? 

Friday, February 3, 2012

Press One for American Sign Language

I was watching the newest episode of Justified last night, loving my Marshall in the White Hat:

I just love this show.  It's got all the good stuff...good guy in a white hat, his best friend who's a bad guy, but not a BAD bad guy; lots of BAD bad guys, some romance, humor, lots of plot lines, and a setting that is a little different.

If you aren't familiar with Justified, which is on FX, it's about a US Marshall, Raylan Givens, played by my imaginary boyfriend, Timothy Olyphant.  It's set in rural Kentucky, and it's full of gangsters and drug addicts and drug dealers and gangster drug-dealing addicts.  And most of them are white. And they live in trailers instead of tenements.  They drive trucks instead of cadillacs. Their drugs of choice are meth, oxycontin, and good old fashioned marijuana--not crack, coke, heroine, or whatever other urban drugs are popular (okay, meth seems to be ubiquitous.  But you know what I mean). 

I don't love that rural Kentucky is being painted with a brush that suggests that most people living in trailers in the hills are drug addicts, but it's kind of cool that this show is shining a light on some reality...drugs and crime are hardly unique to urban areas.  On the other hand, I don't think it's cool that people who drive through Appalacian areas are going to be even more worried about hearing banjo music (that was  a Deliverance reference, in case I was being too subtle).  If we are going to be doing racial profiling, is any ethnic group immune?

I was driving to work this morning (from Kentucky to Ohio) and followed a semi that had a big sign on the back that said something along the lines of "Why should I have to press one for ENGLISH?"

I thought, "Really? I guess if you live in ENGLAND you could be bothered--maybe. But you don't, dumbass.  You live in A MELTING POT!"  English was NOT the original language of North America.  It just happened to be the language of the guys who had the most power at one particular time in history.  There are a lot of Spanish-speaking people here.  We need to learn some Spanish, maybe? 

At which point I started thinking about how easy it is to assume that all Spanish speaking people are illegal immigrants, in which case...and then I smacked myself in the head...I don't know what the statistics are, but I would guess that the majority of Latin American immigrants in the US are here legally.  But if you watch the news, you start to think that these people have all gotten here by crawling under some barbed wire and running from border agents. 

Anyway. My point is, that as a writer, how do I know when chracters become offensive stereotypes?  I am working on a story set in semi-rural Kentucky, and I've got some characters who are pretty indigenous to where I live.  The truth is, I do have neighbors who drive trucks with gun racks and rebel flags.  But I also have neighbors who are flaming liberals and soccer moms and Baptist preachers, and Catholic mothers of 13.  Yes, kids, that was not a typo.  13 kids.  Many of whom are home schooled.  And all well-behaved.  Although maybe we need to check behind the shed for a still--there's got to be a secret to how she keeps them all in line. 

So if I include the Catholic mother of 13, can I keep my dental-impaired tobacco-chewing redneck? 

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The Replacement

The kid thinks she's entitled to keep old What's His Name for her imaginary boyfriend, so being the good mother that I am, I've decided to step aside and find another one.

Jason that's a REAL imaginary boyfriend's name. 

What kind of pansy-ass name is Channing Tatum anyway? Totally made up.  So have at him, daughter-mine!

See, my imaginary boyfriend is cool even in aviator sunglasses.  And he rocks that unshaven look WAY better than you, oh scraggly Shaggy-boy.