Sunday, December 09, 2007

Black Moments

As writers, we all know what this means, what it entails, its signifigance to the story, the necessity for the character arch, the need to justifiy the Happily Ever After. That moment so dark, so helpless, there is no way the hero and heroine can possibly make it. It's over. It's done. And you wait with eager anticipation, flipping the pages, reading faster and faster, your heart in your throat hoping the two pull through, regardless of this huge, horrible BLACK MOMENT.

Possibly the most heartwrenching black moment I've watched/read was in the movie The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. If you haven't watched it, I highly recommended it.

Never have I felt what I experienced when watching that movie. Such despair. Such desperation. A love that ended in such pain, you choose to wipe it all away. Better to have loved and lost to have never loved at all? No thanks. The pain is too great. Erase it.

And you relive the moments as they're being erased, you remember the beginning, the pure fun and excitement, the exhiliaration of seeing each other, the skipping heartbeats at a single touch, the thrill that not only have you found someone you'd searched for - hoped for - but that unbelievable passion and breath-taking realization of that person loves you back. Those are there, and you see it all again, you RELIVE it, every smile, every word, every touch, forced to remember before the stresses of every day had hit, before the mundane drowned it out. But the memories, those moments, they fade during the removal along with the bad times you wanted taken away, and you scream, "No, not this one. LEAVE ME THIS ONE!" and then it's just... gone. The absolute panic, pure desperation to hang onto what once was. What you'd give, what you'd say, to not lose what was once there. When you finally see it really being gone FOREVER, you belatedly realize you not only desire it, crave it, you have to have it. You need it. Even through those bad times. Even through daily stresses. You look at the relationship from beginning to end in mere moments, months and months zeroed down into snapshots and you see how much the great times outweighed the bad times together. Then you blink, and the process is over, and all the moments, all the memories, are lost. Not even a shadow remains of what once was.

In this particular movie, with this huge black moment, I honestly didn't see a way to achieve the Happily Ever After. But the hero and heroine run into each other again, total strangers to each other now, but Fate brought them together again, this beating of hearts that matched so perfectly, looking into each other's eyes and seeing a reflection of something great, knowing in their soul that whatever "this" is, it's huge and needs to be explored.

And they started again. Fate was stronger than anything that could ever be erased, no matter how hard we tried to make that pain go away.

If it's meant to be, it just WILL be.

Better to have love and lost than to never love at all? I don't know. I really don't. But I do know we have to go on faith, even when that faith is shaky, because you never know what sneaky Fate has in store, and in the end, it may have been worth the pain just to experience the ride, to record in your heart and mind those amazing times over and over again, those little snapshots of love.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

The Hunt for Hidden Treasures and the Pitfalls of Finding Them

I know, I know. I said I'd post about this the day after the last post, but alas, I didn't. Here it is though.

I cannot reveal what "the item" I really, really wanted was, because I never know if one of the older children may come over here and read, and it's such a huge surprise, it must remain a secret until after Christmas morning. But here is the story of the hunt for two of the items I really, really wanted to get, two items were the reasons for me to head out at 3am after a cold front hit Texas. If my kids ever, ever question my love and devotion to them, I'm absolutely pointing them to this blog.

I think, in general, my mother thinks I'm a not-so-nice person. I don't attend church all the time as I was raised to do. I don't talk the "right way", do the "right things" (in her opinion, of course), and I'm sure the way I do every single little thing could be done ohhhhh so much nicer. I believe with all my being that my mother loves me and adores me, but that inately she feels I'm not one of those who people say, "She's 'good people'." Frankly, I'm okay with that. I have no problem making waves if I feel strongly about something. I have no problem at all saying what I think the moment I think it. I'm stubborn, short-tempered, and patience never even knocked on my soul as I was created. I'm passionate and tenacious to a FAULT.

But I do try to be a good person in general, with basic kindness and friendship and small, simple gestures so ofter overlooked these days. I've never met a stranger - thus the bonding with the married couple in front of us that day at Toys R Us and I am the first person to let someone else in front of me if I'm not in a rush and I can sense that they are. Why do I do this? Because it makes me feel better, makes others feel better, and waves out positive vibes into The Land of Karma.

All of this I pointed out to my mother after the following things occurred:

We left Toys R Us around 5:45am with everything we went after, save that one item and rushed over to Target, where no incident occurred at the door (YAY!) I had ONE thing there I desperately wanted that was ONLY at Target. My mother grabbed a cart while I bolted in and out of clothing, staying off the main and crowded aisles, and headed straight for the toy department, knowing what I was after would be on an end-cap. I found the end-cap, and lo and behold, ALREADY empty. I sighed. This was one of Sydney's big gifts. ONLY found at Target, and, I suspect, ONLY on Black Friday. I was dismayed and another lady and I sighed and shrugged at each other, told her my story, she told me hers, then she went off to find something else. A lady in the cluster of people around us tapped my shoulder, and said, "I picked up two. Here... take one of mine."

I was floored. Absolutely shocked. There are rare, rare moments when I have nothing to say, no words utter forth, but this was one of those times. I squeeked out, "Are you sure?" as my fist clenched in a painful effort not to snatch it and run.

She said, "Absolutely. I grabbed two just in case, but I only NEEDED one. Go ahead."

I swear, it took everything in me not to break down in sobs. I was on an emotional overload after the Toys R Us failure on one gift, the fight behind us, the rush to Target, then the dismay at not finding this one. Add in only 3 hours of sleep, and I was already a wreck. I thanked her profusely, and if fate would have it, maybe someday she'll stumble upon this blog and realize what a huge difference she made in at least one life that day.

I found my mom stuck with the cart on one of the main aisles and told her what happened as I placed the precious item in the cart, under my jacket (I was seriously afraid someone may take it from the cart.) She just stared in amazement.

From there, we went to Walmart. We had very few items we wanted there, but one thing I wanted was what Toys R Us ran out of. Walmart has a POLICY of price-matching on the exact item, so as long as they had that in the brown color, it should be mine. I rushed to the department and asked. The manager said he had price matched it, but was out. Ugh! My bummed heart!

I looked at Mom who had this "give it up" look on her face. I gave her a look back that said, "Uh, no."

We rushed to another Walmart further out of town, I bolted to the department, and OH MY GOSH! They had eight of them! In BROWN! It was mine! I had my Toys R Us ad in my trembling little hand as I went up to the department manager to ask for one and have it price matched.

He said they weren't doing it. My jaw dropped, my heart sank. Then he said that another woman had just been there and was up talking to the store manager. I said, "Point me the direction, because now there will be two of us."

I went up there, my mother - never the trouble-maker - trailing a bit behind me. I saw a cluster of 3-4 people talking near the front, and one broke away and walked toward me. I said, "I'm looking for the store manager."

He said, "I'm the co-manager."

I held out my ad and said, "It's your store policy to price match. You have this exact item, I have my ad, and I'd like to buy it, please."

He said, "No. I'm not doing it. It's a percentage off, not an exact price, and the policy states we don't match percentages."

Um, WRONG ANSWER. I used to work for Walmart parttime over the holidays several years back. I KNOW that policy. He was partially right; they don't match percentage off ads. However, this not only said "Percentage of savings: 60%" but it gave an EXACT price. The percentage he attempted to use wasn't the "ad price" but to let the customer know the percentage of savings.

I start out nice. I really do. He, however, succeeded in pissing me off. I said, "You obviously don't know your store policy well, yet you co-manage. I'll continue to the manager who understands how the policy works" and promptly left him standing there. The other group was a lady and her son and the manager, and she'd been sent by another Walmart to that Walmart for the same item I was after.

I walked up, overheard her, and said, "Yeah. That. I came from another Walmart (different than the one she'd come from) and they were price matching this product as well. I know the story policy on price matching, and you, me, and that co-manager over there (pointing to him) know that the percentage listing here isn't what you're attempting to make it. You don't get to pick and choose price matching. You either do it or you don't. And no where in the policy does it state, 'We match competitors' ads EXCEPT on Black Friday.'"

The manager grinned at me, turned to the co-manager, and ordered him to go and get two of those items, one for me, and one for the other lady. The look on that co-manager's face was priceless. I beamed. I thanked the manager over and over as my hand clutched the item to my chest. He grinned back and said, "Merry Christmas."

We bolted for the check out and left. As I walked out the door, I turned toward where he stood and waved, mouthing another "thank you". He smiled and waved and went to calm some other frantic mother out there trying to do her best for her kids.

Two of the biggest items I'd wanted that day weren't mine to have. Twice, I lost. But due to the kindness of strangers in two different incidences, I ended up with them in the back of my van and relief and happiness in my heart.

We got in the car and I said to my mother, "I know you think I'm not that nice of a person, but all of this that's happened today, that's good karma coming back."

She just said, ever so unapologically, "You should still go to church though."

I laughed, started the car, and cranked up the Dixie Chicks' song SIN WAGON. Life is good. Just follow your heart and your never-ceasing tenacity. Never settle. Never.

Monday, November 26, 2007

It's a Cat-Fight Kinda Christmas

It's Monday, officially known (I think it's offical) as Black Monday, the first "work day" after Thanksgiving when online shopping gets its turn like the stores get on Black Friday. Black Friday... ah yes, that special time of year when the stores open early, the mothers of the world head out in the pre-dawn hours in a desperate attempt to find THE perfect gifts at the ROCK BOTTOM prices, because let's admit it, this crap we scurry around for is available all year round. It's the the DEALS. It's the hunt for the savings.

So the heathens and I headed out for Ft. Worth on Wednesday so we'd be at my parents for T-Day. Our 2 hour drive took four hours due to everyone else getting a jump on the drive. Our little town has a half-day of school on Wednesday, and I thought if I left right around the time they got out of school, we'd miss most of the traffic of those who had to work until 5pm.


Now, if our school district had an ounce of sense, we'd have had all of Wednesday off and that drive could have been done on Tuesday night, way before the rush, but nooooo.

Wednesday morning, dressed in shorts and tank tops and complaining about 80 degree weather in November, we hit my parents' house around 7pm and started complaining about 40 degree weather. Apparently we drove against a cold front, so by the time we landed in Ft. Worth, it had hit.

God has a sense of humor. Keep Texas mild and balmy all flippin' season until the day before Black Friday. Nice.

I'd post pictures of my family (including aunts, uncles, cousins, second cousins, etc.) but 1) I didn't take any because 2) those lovely Thanksgiving pictures always show people with their mouths wide open shoveling disgustingly fatty yet holy-crap-that's-good food into their mouths. Not a flattering thing to capture in a photo. Trust me on this, as I have years and years worth of such pictures.

The kids were still up and hyped at midnight on Thanksgiving Night, but Mom and I had the alarm set for three am.

Yes, that's 3 am. You read it right.

Okay, so I didn't have an alarm. MOM set HER alarm then it was her job to wake me up. Lucky her. Dad remained in bed. And they say men are the stronger of the sexes. Wimps.

I love Black Friday. For me, that's when Christmas is official (although it seemed to arrive awfully fast this year, didn't it???). The idea of what to get the kids to make their eyes shine on Christmas morning. The parents out shopping in Christmas sweatshirts and sweaters (I wore a t-shirt which reads: STUFF THIS with a picture of a stocking, but hey, it's just me, so that kind of says it all, right? Right.) Holiday decorations all around, holiday music piping through the stores. Ahhh. Bliss.

And a catfight at Toys R Us. Not kidding.

Mom and I have done Black Friday for as long as I can remember, and I truly love it because Dad watches the four kids and Mom and I go out, alone, just the two of us, doing whatever we want, buying whatever strikes our little fansies. Dad normally takes the kids to a movie while we're gone. We leave while it's dark, have lunch somewhere hours and hours later, then return home around 3 or so. (Sometimes we have to come home to dump the loads from the car, but this year we had the van, so we were golden.) In all the years we've done this, and all the horror stories you hear about Black Friday, we had never EXPERIENCED it. Until this year.

Now, *last* year, we got to Toys R Us around 4:45, right before they opened. The line circled the building. Rather than walk all the way to the far end of the line, a group of us stood to the side and just waited, then when the line got through, we went in. Nice and calm. We'd had some heckling from the group in The Line, but after reassuring them none of us had any intention of ruining their perfect formation, it calmed right now. So, having been on THAT side of the situation, apparently it was my turn to experience it from The Line Side.

Toys R Us had something I *really, really* wanted to get. It was marked down by $120 savings, and something I couldn't have bought if not for the remarkable price. So, Mom and I got there at 3:20. We were #46 and #47 in line. At 3:20. Ugh. And, remember God's sense of humor? Uh huh. It was like 20* with the breeze. Pardon me while I shiver in memory...

I took a McDonald's break and got us breakfast, which we ate ... IN LINE. We bonded with the husband and wife in front of us for an hour and a half, etc. Good times. Then a Toys R Us employee comes walking down The Line announcing that the item I specifically went to buy is already gone. They'd only had 25, and gave tickets to the first 25 in line. A huge bummed sigh ran its way down the shivering people, but few left The Line. I personally had several times I wanted this year from the store, so in line we stood.

And as it got closer to the infamous 5am store opening time, a group gathered near the doors, across the way, presumably to do what we'd done last year: Wait til the line went through, then enter after us, rather than walk to the end of the exceedingly long line just to have to walk back up.

Someone in The Line started the heckling (as happened last year) with "Haven't you learned what a line is?!" and I thought, "Here we go." One lady from The Group said what I did last year: "We're just waiting here til you all go through." Made sense. I'd said the same thing just 12 months ago.

I assured the husband and wife we were standing near that the same thing happened last year, but that The Group was just waiting til The Line went in, THEN they'd go after us.

And The Group, being what they were, made me out to be a huge, honkin' liar.

The doors opened, and The Group CHARGED the door! I was amazed. I'd never seen anything like it. The absolutely audacity was mindboggling. Well, not to be outdone, The Line charged the door, and we had SHOPPING CARTS. The husband in front of us would have made the Dallas Cowboys proud. He used his cart and surged forward, his wife holding on to our cart so that we formed an unbreakable barrier. He blocked from the left, where people from The Group were attempting to overpower The Line. Another father/husband came up from behind me in The Line and took over The Guarding of the Door.

Well, as he was watching to the right, making sure no one cut in our Line, some girl went left from behind him, and ducked under his arm. The woman right behind me snatched her by the hair, jerked her back and yelled, "Oh I don't think so, bitch!" and it got ugly from there and caused the entire Group/Line struggle to come to a grinding halt, this cluster of cussing and bodies blocking the entrance to the store.

I just took off. This left NO ONE behind me, so I could slow down and grab the other stuff I'd wanted on my way to electronics (where, of course, there was ANOTHER line). I passed a couple of employees and said, "You have a fight at the door" and that was it for my personal responsibility. I got what I wanted (minus, of course, the item I *really* wanted) and as I stood next in line to get into electronics, lo and behold, there were the police. I said, "If you're here about what happened at the door, you should arrest the Charger, not the girl who stopped her." They laughed it off, said no one was arrested, and the woman who charged the door never even got in.

Ahhhhhhh. Karma. I love it.

In case you're wondering, that one item I *really* wanted, I did end up getting. The story of THAT will be posted tomorrow.

Oh, yeah, almost forgot. When we got to Target at 6am for their opening, I dropped Mom off to be a part of The Line, then I parked and waited with The Group. It was a good Group - no fighting, no heckling, but can you even believe it - they'd already heard about the Toys R Us incident on the *radio*. Then it was reported in the local paper, although they got the details wrong. Kinda neat! Yes, I am that easily amused. What of it?!

Ho... Ho... MEOW!!!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Just the Way We Are

Let's see...

I spent most of the summer in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area. The younger two took swimming lessons, and then Vacation Bible School at my parents, then Nationals.

Ah. Nationals.

Which I almost MISSED! I am not remotely kidding. I had it set in my brain and on my calendars that I'd be in DFW for two weeks for swimming lessons (I have pics around here somewhere - if I find them I'll post them), a week in Cameron, a week in DFW for VBS, a week in Cameron, then back to Nationals. But um, someone said, "Aren't you supposed to be at Nationals?" and I said, "Not til next week" and they said, "Um, noooooooooo" and I said, "Ohhhhhhhhhh crap!" and turned around and literally ran right back out the door, calling my parents to let them know I was headed back and OH, by the way, you're watching the kids THIS week, not next. Ooops on me. I got there, registered, asked where the bar was, found it, and first people I saw were Suzanne Brockman and Nora Roberts. Kinda cool way to start it. Since I didn't have to worry about weight of luggage due to driving this time, I got to totally take advantage of books galore. Unfortunately, my digital cam decided not to work, but Chris, the Critique Partner Extraordinaire, saved the day and I got this fabulous shot with Susan Elizabeth Phillips!

So that covers most of June and July. August - I finally got my disability determination. I'm legally disabled. Yeehaw.

School started. Ugh.

Shandie's now a senior. And my house is swamped with college flyers and emails and all that jazz. She's in the school's play this fall as well as a community play, so she's busy as usual. (Yes, this is stage make-up, NOT what my kids look like when they make me angry. Promise!)

Carly's in 8th grade, and just got inducted into the National Junior Honor Society. Needless to say, we're disgustingly proud.

Sydney ~ Now in 2nd grade, decided to go on a tooth-losing streak in a freak attempt to bankrupt the Tooth Fairy, 'cause let's face it, Syd's just that way.

Cooper ~ First grade, and not one to sit by and let Sydney get all the Tooth Fairy Gold, quickly started his own quest... At Chili's no less. What a way to lose a first tooth, eh?

Then he decided to save the day... 'cause let's face it, Cooper's just that way. He has HERO written all over his face, don't ya think? My dude...

Then we had Homecoming in September, and I made Shandie's huge mum, and did alterations on Carly, and got the infamous burn on my finger, which, even afer totally healed now, still leaves a huge, huge, INDENTED scar on my middle finger on my right hand - 'cause - yes, you know where this is going - I'm just that way...

Now it's October. I just turned 38. Yeehaw. ~sigh~ But overall, life is pretty good. As far as writing, I'm currently working on a 'script and still reading my line. I do have a new laptop, so I finally faced the fact that every attempt (yeah, yeah, every EXCUSE) has been erased, and I have been working at long last. I even signed up for a challenge through Austin RWA and I'm DOING IT! YAY!

So there ya go. This is long, but hey, consider yourself updated.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Idle Threats

So, I'm online with someone cracking me up... (kisses, RCM) and I threaten to post it on the blog. Shandie, the ever so insightful one, says, "You haven't posted since June. That's an idle threat."

Had to rectify that, huh?

I have a lot to catch up on for anyone who bothers to ever stop by here anymore, which I'm sure is few and far between, and totally my own fault. Life kind of took a huge turning point for me, and whereas some aspects calmed down, others vomitted into new life forms I've never had the misfortune of experiencing. I have Nationals to cover, kids to cover, back to school, and here we are coming up on Halloween and we have a post about last year's which, unfortunately, isn't very buried on the blog 'cause I blow chunks at blogging for the last year.

So, for now, I simply had to post to renew the very real threat of "You never know what or when Brenda will blog". I do promise upon pain of delicious torture that I'll do a proper update TOMORROW. Swear.


No, really. I do.

Pinky swear.

Friday, June 22, 2007

The Strength of Will

I’m creating a sound track of songs, and one that landed there is Loving You Against My Will by Gary Allen. I’ve listened to it repeatedly – I mean REPEATEDLY – and it got me thinking.

Bad, I know.

Can you love someone against your will? Or was your “will” simply seeking out an echo, a sound that matched itself and found it, even if by accident?

Two people with so much conflict, perhaps too much conflict, and yet the vortex pulls them in anyway, despite those obstacles. Perhaps because of them. I know we read and write about characters who have to face conflict after conflict after conflict, each harsher than the one prior, but at what point is it TOO much conflict? At what point do you stop and realize, “No way in hell”?

But there’s that promise of things to come, right? It’ll get better. There’s a reward at the end of all that pain, all that conflict, if you just hang in there long enough, if you’re patient enough.

Those promises.

Those dreams.

And even when the conflicts leave those dreams unrealized, even after promise after promise goes unfulfilled, they still love, they still need, they still CRAVE. Is that the point you’re really loving against your will?

I read and write romance because I believe in the Happily Ever After. I believe that if the love is pure, if the love is real, if the deep pulse of heartbeats match, it doesn’t matter how cruel the conflict. It can’t be contained, nor can it be controlled to meet the needs of everyone else around you. It just has to BE. You can ignore it, you can run from it, you can attempt to make others around you what you want them to be, you can do everything you can to ignore that true, pure love but in the end, it happens. Period.

There is no compromise.

There is no “Kinda Happily Ever After” for a reason.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Defining Literary?

A friend of mine met author Jodi Picoult. I'd never heard fo her, but then again, there are thousand of authors I've never heard of, so...
The next time I browsed books, however, I saw several of her books. I chose this one, THE TENTH CIRCLE, out of the lot for my first experience in reading Picoult.

As most of the readers of this blog know, I tend to read only my lines, which consist of romantic suspense and comedy. So needless to say, this was quite a different experience for me. Overall, I did enjoy it. My only issues were the following:

1) The writing is beautifully done. The story is excellently told. However, if you remove all names and pronouns from any page, you don't know whose POV you're in. I did not get a distinct voice for each of the three main characters, and given that one is a mother, one is a father (different sexes think different ways) and one a teenage daughter of 14 (and let's face is, teenage girls are an entirely different species all together...), there should have been clearer voice for each.

2) I really disliked the ending. It felt too abrupt. Not bad, but I wish there had been more closure to all the various situations presented in the book.

It this book literary? I wrote the Brilliant One, but Evil Editor was buried in Novel Deviations II. I don't read literary, so I have no comparison. I think it is, but I'm just not sure. I've heard agents and editors both say it's hard to define but they know it when they see it. I don't know it, I'm not sure I've seen it, but I'm thinking this may be it.

By the way, I do recommend this book. I liked it enough to stay up and read it in just two days.

Monday, May 14, 2007

All in a Mother's Day

I have to say, I really dislike holidays like Mother's Day, Valentine's Day, etc. They seriously serve no purpose except to get people to spend money, and usually out of guilt. Labor Day, Memorial Day - those are good. People get the day off, usually, to be with friends and family. These other holidays of "appreciation" just seem... lame. I mean, c'mon. Buy me a gift any day of the year, tell me you love me just because. Don't do it because it's written on a calendar.

Anyway, rant off.

My children are getting older, and regardless of my denial, that means I am too. Every year is interesting though. Cooper, kindergarten and age 5, is still in that "usual school created" Mother's Day theme. He came home Friday with a flower he'd grown from a seed, and a flower-shaped blue cardstock with his photo attached to it. And of course, I had to unwrap it RIGHT THEN. Sydney's 1st grade class made a thing to hang on the refrigerator.

Carly, the mini-me and ever the practical one, got me two pens I really like to use. Love this gift. And they're always stealing MY pens, so I needed them as well. Not that I believe for an instant that these pens will remain on my desk for long, but I digress...
She also made me this really neat braided ankle bracelet that is really well done, and I plan to wear it starting the day school is out, and keep it on until the hemp just wears out. Perfect for summer. The best gift from Car, though, was she cleaned the kitchen for me. THAT'S what I'm talkin' about!

Shandie. Oh, my freaky sixteen year old. Two years ago, for you long-time readers of the blog, you'll remember she drew me a picture and it read, "If mothers were flowers, I'd smash you in a book." This year, being older and so much more mature, she bought me several little things: A book from the NEXT line of Harlequin called LIKE MOTHER, LIKE DAUGHTER (But in a Good Way) with three stories in it by Jennifer Greene, Nancy Robards Thompson and Peggy Webb. She also got me two of my favorite candies: A Skor bar and a box of Wonka Bottle Caps. Syd stole the Skor bar, and all of them have raided the Bottle Caps. She got us matching silver rings, hers says DAUGHTER and mine says MOTHER, but neither of us can wear silver well, so we've put them on our keychains. And she got me a silver heart that says PATRICIA.

Whyyyyyyyyyyyyy does it say PATRICIA? I'm so glad you asked. After almost 17 years of "Mom Mom Moooooooooooooooom MOM MOMOMOMOMOM", I've learned to block it from my hearing. So several months ago, Shandie started calling me Patricia. Ugh. Even at her school, she'll say something like, "Thanks, Patricia!" and I'll yell "Don't call me PATRICIA!" and her friends are like, "I thought your mom's name is Brenda." And she nods and says, "It is."

Seriously, explain that mentality to others. Not an easy task.

So, I now have a PATRICIA silver heart that goes on a necklace. Not quite sure what to do with THAT yet. But she cooked dinner for us too, so that delayed her beating on general principle.

And the homemade cards. Let's not forget those. Remember Shandie's "smash you in a book"? Well, remember the deballing of Santa from the blonde child named Sydney? Hmm. Remember my post about YOE DAY? (Some of you may have some back-reading to do to get caught up here.) I'll summarize though: Yoe Day is an official school holiday here. I actually heard the reading of the will this year, and Ms. Yoe, before donating all the money to the ISD, declared a day off where the presidents of the different school organizations will go to the graves of Mr. and Mrs. Yoe and put flowers on them. I kid you not: Official No School Day here for that. Very odd. Well, apparently this had an impact on Sydney, ever the literal thinker. Her cards to me reads:

"Happy Mother's Day. I love you. You are kind. So when you die, I'll have everyone put flowers on your grave. From: Sydney"

And ya know, I just had no reply to that, other than, I love you too, Syd Vicious, you little freaky darling.

Happy Mother's Day to to you too - and may you have someone in your life who loves you enough to smash you in a book, or have everyone put flowers on your grave when you die.

Friday, May 11, 2007


First Look
Seeing him there, the light in his eyes, the height and strength of him, the surity of how he carries himself. The king of his domain, regardless of what domain he happens to be in at the time. The world falls back into shadows, and only he glistens there in the reality that instantly becomes your world.The first words. The realization of his voice, sure, confident, spoken into the very air you inhale, becoming a part of you as your breathe deeply. Despite the chaos that tumbles through your mind, the current drama life has flung at you, he lured you there as a confidante, just to talk, just to listen but there he is and you're hearing his voice, watching his expressions, seeing that little dimple he has when you say something funny - that dimple you never noticed before in a photo.

These are the moments this life is about.

Watching his expressions, the tone of his voice matching the movement of his body. Instantly he has changed, after a year of random back-and-forth emails, he is finally real. So very, very real.

The first touch
That nervousness of his hand on you, even platonically, because he knows you're distracted with thoughts of something else. He knew when he called, but he beckoned anyway, and you went. And that calm settles over you. There's a peace found with him that you hadn't experienced before. You'd read about it, you'd written about, and God knows you've heard about it, but now you KNOW about it, and you want more of it.

The first good-bye
That time when you have to leave, even if you don't want to. The time when you gather every ounce of sass and bravado your body can muster and start to walk away. Alone. A teasing grin, a promise of plans, your damn heart still betraying you with reactions you never dreamed would happen as you fight to contain it, not let it show.His voice saying to wait but your heart, the coward that it is, pleads with you to run. You don't turn back until he demands it, but you continue walking, looking back at him, still grinning, still hoping, your heart begging you to hit your knees and crawl to him if you must, but you deny it all and continue walking backward, keeping him in sight as he follows, never realzing at the time that he'd never follow you again.

The first real touch
He strips away any idea of platonic. He pulls you close, so close, holding you to him, pressing his body against yours, and that strength you saw, now you feel it, the curve of a bicep under your fingers, the span of his chest against your breasts, his thighs aligned with yours, the perfect sizes, the perfect fit. You inhale him, his scent, his heat molding your body, your hands on his neck, memorizing the feel of him, just in case there's never a second change. Then more, his hands on are you, under the jacket, fingers spread widely against your back, dancing along your ribs, the outter curve of your breasts, the strength if his fingers as they skim your body, along your sides, down the flair of your hips, to the roundness of your bottom and you know he's feeling you, really feeling you, the shape of you under all those clothes you wore as a sense of false protection. His mouth, that delicious mouth, just inches from your ear, whispering, "Close your eyes."And you do. For him, you do.

That first kiss
Soft, pliable lips, ever so talented, barely grazing your cheek. The music of the room fades away, the sounds of clinking glasses turn to windchimes in your mind. Magical sounds. With your eyes closed, every other sense sharpens, concentrates, focus, is magnified a thousand times stronger now that you can't see, can't see his face, can't see his movements. Your heart falls into your belly and you shake. Your entire body trembles as his mouth ever so softly kisses your check. His voice, next to your ear. So close. So there, but this time, no phone invades the space. It's just you. It's just him. It's just you two together and nothing else. And you can feel his breath now, and his promise of, "Next time I won't kiss you on the cheek."

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

I Dream of Linda

I had the strangest dream today. I know dreams in general are strange, but this was super strange. Ya know when you dream and you're in your own house, but it doesn't look remotely like your house, so you kind of know it's a dream? (Okay, I admit I'm a lucid dreamer, so others may not know what I'm talking about, but anyway...) This dream had my house as my house. Made it seem super real. My room, my desk, the usual mess of books and papers all over it. Black leather chair.

Linda Howard sitting at my desk.
(Very NOT the norm, in case you're wondering...)

She's one of my absolute favorite writers. I never stopped to ask WHY she was at my house, but she was. I was all kinds of stoked as I had a new hard copy, first edition no less, of my favorite book of hers, KILL AND TELL, and she signed it for me. Her signature was super elaborate, and I asked when she started signing her books like that. She said she always did. Um, no. She's on the top of my list of authors to visit at Nationals, and she's signed my books before, and never like she did then (in the dream). But it's Linda Howard, and who's gonna argue, ya know? And since I met her, my dream had her personality and accent down pat. In my real room. It felt REAL.

So then, in the ways of great authors, she asked what I was working on. And again, I got all excited because I happen to really be writing again, so I showed her, and she liked it! I said I wasn't happy with how this chapter is ending (I'm really not) and asked her what she advised on how to get from this point to this point. Ya know, tap the brain of a brilliant chica. I said, "I've read McKee's STORY and Volger's JOURNEY, but neither really seems to be helping me much."

She replied: "Change your font to Times New Roman 11pt."

I stared. HUH?!?!

I wasn't talking fonts! But ya know, it's Linda Howard, so I said: "Well, I'm using Courier New 12pt. But I was actually wondering about..."

And a kid walked into my room (it's Spring Break, so the four heathens are constantly attacking) and woke me up! ARGH!

And there stood my desk in its glorious mess.
My leather chair.
But no Linda Howard.

(Photo: Nationals in Atlanta, 2006. EE, if you're reading this, I had on my Evil Editor t-shirt!)

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Again and again

So every excuse I've ever had about why I'm not writing has been met, down to a new (refurbed but new to me) laptop. I eagerly open up a manuscript I'd started and proceeded to stare.


I forced myself to write. It sucked. I backspaced. I wrote some more. It blew chunks. I backspaced again. And again. Then I made myself stop thinking and simply DO it, knowing I could remove it later if I needed to (which, without a doubt, I would), and got to the end of the scene.

And then I realized that since I wrote that little beginning with just an idea of the story, I knew next to nothing about my character. Well, you can't write without knowing the character, so I started on a character worksheet to try to get into her head. My own head is confusing enough. We can only imagine how hard it is to get into a character's head that comes from my head. Kind of as confusing as that last sentence, but I think you know what I mean.

So tonight I'm whipping out craft books on characterization. This is just like anything else: You have to retrain your mind to do it. Flex those muscles and get them limber enough to work with ease.

And try not to get a brain cramp in the process.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

More Satan, Please, and a Side of Minion.

Blog, Brenda, Blog! Ya know, you can always help out by sending me ideas and topics on what to blog about when you write to tell me to blog. *hint*

It's very strange to me that people don't use the comment section here as much as they used to and now send me emails instead. Not sure what's up with that, but...

Anyway, Satan.

If you're a reader of my blog for the last two years, you'll remember that I refer to Janet Evanovich as Satan. She tempts and teases and sucks hours of sleep away from you as she creates more of Trenton in your mind. I knew she had #13 of the Plum series coming out this summer, but what I did NOT know was that there's another book, PLUM LOVIN' ("A Stephanie Plum Between-the-Numbers Novel") already out there. I almost cried in pure joy when I saw it at the store, and then did a small little dance because my hands were not only holding a new Evanovich, but because it's a first edition too. I read it, in one night, of course, and it's great. It has Deisel in it again, and if you recall how I felt about her Sugarplum Christmas novel (go midget elf attacks!), it's kind of the same thing. These odd supernatural powers that aren't really explained. Whereas Stephanie, Ranger and Joe could be real (and especially Grandma!), when these novels toss in this supernatural stuff, it simply takes out an element of reality for me. Still though - I loved it, and this time, I was better prepared for the supernatural stuff anyway, since we'd met Deisel before.

In other news, after quite awhile away from all things writing, I've re-entered the world of Evil Editor and Miss Snark. I even ponied-up a New Beginning of one of my novels to be posted on EE's. Yeah, I was in the hospital a couple of weeks ago, and they assured me the high fever was over, but with me taking such a drastic action on his blog, I have to doubt those doctors. Anyway, I love these two to bits, between their witty ways and learning something in the process. If you want to know about writing, read ON WRITING by King and be a faithful Snarkling and Minion, and you're set. Doesn't get much better than that.

EE could use some queries, I believe, so go and visit him and find out what being a minion is all about.




That works.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Sympathies to Evil Editor

Many of you here in the writing world know Evil Editor: the anonymous editor out there blogging - everyone aching to know his identity and yet more than satisfied in simply having him out here, even though we don't know his name or his face. He thrills us, teaches us, entertains us, and makes us have hope instead of angst at the two words: "query letter". He's our own real life hero. I happen to adore him and proudly claim myself as one of his minions.

His mother passed away on New Year's Day. As another minion said on EE's blog, what an amazing woman she must have been to raise such a strong and stunningly intelligent man. I whole-heartedly agree.

We mourn with you, EE. You're in our thoughts and prayers.