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.