Friday, February 22, 2008


I have a theory, and I don't claim it as my original idea, because I'm sure I heard it from somewhere but I have no idea where that may have been: Life is too short to read a boring book.

I believe this 100% except for one small factor. Dr. Dickson, my biggest nightmare through two years of Advanced English, held the belief that you should give any book at least 100 pages before you made a judgement on it. I specifically remember which book we read at the time of him making this small declaration: LORD OF THE FLIES.

If you've read it, you do know, for a fact, that after the first 100 pages, that book gets quite um... interesting.

And being the ever hopeful one, I like to think that even if I can't stay awake in the first 50 pages, surely it will improve or it wouldn't have been published anyway. Then before I know it, in a quest to prove this book worthy of being read, I get past the Dr. Dickson required 100 pages and I just don't have that much left anyway so I trudge on through it.

But when your To Be Read list takes up approximately four shelves (and those shelves are a good five feet across and packed double layered and some on top of others - in other words CRAMMED full - I took it upon myself to ignore Dr. Dickson's 100 pages and if I couldn't get sucked into it, I'd give up after about 3 chapters (that's the writer in me - supposedly this book sold on proposal, so SOMEONE thought the first three chapters were good).

Another thing I can't do is read more than one book at a time. My brain can't seem to keep the characters of two unrelated books straight, so I have to do one a time. This is so extreme that during a judging contest, I have to stop reading for pleasure or it confuses me going from a judging 'script back to my pleasure reading.

Now, add that all up: I can't read more than one story at a time and I'm bound -- most times -- to finish one I've started. The first book I never finished was Terry Pratchett's THUD. I spent a month trying to slog through it while my TBR list sat and waited helplessly. I finally gave up. I wanted to like it really badly because a lot of people praised it like crazy, but alas, I just couldn't do it and I grew recentful because it kept me from the books I DID want to read.

I'm now on another book I just bought. I specifically bought it because it's written 1st person past tense and I'm looking into working on one of my 'scripts that's written the same way (my only one like that) which I hope to make into a series. I found this book and barely glanced at the pages, realized immediately it was a contemporary AND written first person. Rock on. When I got home, I then learned it was a series book too! ~GOLDEN~

Oh. My. God. Trudge. Trudge. Trudge. I'm dying here. I'm on day four and still, I'm barely making it through. I literally started falling asleep in the tub while reading. Uncool. Worst part yet, the author quotes on the cover are from goddesses in writing. If you take the premise (series) and the viewpoint (1st person past) and the quotes on the cover from some of my favorite authors, this should have been a freakin' goldmine in "reading my line" but as of right now, I don't see how I will ever get it finished.

Have you ever had a book like this? One you felt you needed to read, one that came with great quotes and recommendations and yet in the end, it was dryer than a marked up copy of Cliff Notes?

Talk about sleeping material and it was SO unintentional. I doubt if I ever meet this author she'd want to hear, "Whenever I had a hard time falling to sleep, I just picked up your book and started snoring after three pages." Ugh.

You have one of these? Please oh please say yes, even if you have to lie to me.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Hop Skip and a Cyber Jump

Life is filled with rituals, but I think my most tried and true is my morning online ritual while inhaling nicotine and guzzling caffeine. Those places I check in first thing every morning. I work through my "favorites" folder and go down the list, one at a time, doing my daily check for all the things out there in cyberland that make Brenda smile, or at least things that make me go "Hmmm".

I've been trying to find new places to add to my usuals, and of course, the easiest way is to blog hop. Then my morning checklist goes from that above to looking more like this:

(And I have no idea why when I upload an image here, it automatically puts it at the top and I have to go and copy all that flippin' code and cut it to where I had it originally destined to be placed. Grrr.)

So what does your morning ritual consist of and where are you favorite cyber spots? They may be places I'd love to visit too and who knows - may accidently bump into you there.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Expanding Horizons

I'm doing new things as a writer I've never done before. (And although I said I was going to blog daily and don't, ya gotta admit, I AM doing it exceedingly more often than I ever have, so any progress is good, right? Right!)

After a couple of years drastically out of the writing world, I'm slowly but surely making my way back.

I look for any excuse not to write, it seems, so for me to suddenly participate in writing challenges/exercises is something I pushed myself to do. There's no commitment to 250-300 words or to spend 20 minutes pushing my brain into new places and genres and thinking ideas. I've found it quite fun, especially to see if I can nail to the EXACT word count required. I've always felt that if I write, it has to be toward publication, toward a finished product, and never just for fun.

Another new thing I'm doing is participating in novel chats and book discussions (well I haven't yet, but will be).

I owe these new horizons to the God of All Things Sadistic and Brilliant. Thank you.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Love & Chocolate

I never know what to write for holidays like this, but at the same time, especially being a romance writer, I feel it's expected, like married sex on holidays and birthdays, even if you would really rather ignore it.

Evil Editor had a romance writing exercise, so I did that. I believe there were 23 scenes submitted, so if you need some reading material, scuttle on over there and read up.

I spent the evening with the heathens. The typical Italian meal, served on a white tablecloth with my red dishes, candles in red and white and pink, gifts on their Valentine's Day napkins atop the plates, helium balloons tied to their chairs. They loved it. Spoiled punks.

Then we spent the evening watching Pride and Prejudice.

There are many things that come to my mind on this holiday, and for those who are regular readers here, you already know how I feel about days created for forced appreciation, like this day, and Mother's Day, etc. Regardless of claims, expectations are set and often disappointed, and I'd rather be told what I mean to someone on a regular basis than on a day someone chose from the calendar.

So to keep from blathering on about this... holiday, this year in particular being difficult for me - I decided to list my favorite all time romantic movies (in no particular order):

Pride and Prejudice
Ever After
The Notebook
The Princess Bride
A Knight's Tale

I find it interesting that my favorites tend to be period films. Hmm. Maybe I was born in the wrong century. That would explain so much.

What are your favorite romance movies?

Oh, and a special thank you to Furry Sound for the Valentine heart I posted here. It was my only Valentine. So thank you, much. ~kiss~

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Bloggy thingies...

I want to do RSS feeds from my favorite blogs, but I have no idea how to do this. Surely someone here knows.

I did not call you Shirley, so don't even start with the jokes.

Also, as I mentioned, I cleaned out my blogroll of names of people I didn't even know and plan on putting new ones that I do read regularly. If you want yours listed, just drop a comment.

And to email me, it's - I'm about to go into the template and see if I can find a way to put a link in there.

And life in general is aggravating me to epic porportions.

Sunday, February 03, 2008


I got this idea from my friend Kat's blog. 100 random things about me:

1) I don’t really like chocolate.
2) I collect Santas, quilts, baskets and oil lamps.
3) I want to be Jennifer Crusie when I grow up.
4) I think Evil Editor is rockin’ cool and I don’t even know who he is.
5) I think people watch too much tv.
6) I have a huge, huge phobia of snakes.
7) My first pet was a poodle named Pancake which was then ran over by a car. Bad name for a dog.
8) When I’m nervous, I rip at my toenails.
9) I took the time to explain to my mother that my screaming of “OH MY GOD” during labor was not taking God’s name in vain, since I was literally pleading.
10) That same birth, I ordered pizza afterward and my mother said I wouldn’t have craved that if I’d just seen what she had. I didn’t need to know that.
11) I like made up words, like “hork” and “extramarricular”. I claim the first. BAT gets the second.
12) I really, really love ghost hunter shows even though I don’t believe in ghosts.
13) One of my dreams is to travel around to the most haunted places just to see for myself.
14) I have a thing for plaid and checked fabrics.
15) I like puffy Cheetos but not the crunchy ones.
16) I read 3-4 novels a week.
17) I have a huge, huge fear of success.
18) I fight the label “lazy” in my own mind.
19) I innately believe in Happily Ever After, even if I never experience it for myself.
20) Rachel Ray’s voice grates on my nerves, but I still find myself watching her stuff if I come across it.
21) I have three tattoos.
22) I don’t think I could spend $500+ on shoes, even if I had the money to do so. But I could on a purse.
23) I love to people watch.
24) I can read people well, but I’m a horrible judge of character.
25) I understand the mentality of cutters.
26) John Edwards freaks me out.
27) I think I talked to my grandmother once when she was a butterfly.
28) Commando is the best way to go.
29) I want a fourth tattoo.
30) I got beaten up by a ski lift when I was 13 in Red River, Colorado.
31) I haven’t taken my younger two kids to the beach yet.
32) I can start novels but can’t seem to finish them (aside from one).
33) I can pass a lie detector when lying.
34) Today is February 3rd and I still have Christmas stuff out.
35) I’m in denial that I am old enough to have a child graduating high school this year.
36) I love fireplaces.
37) I love rainy days.
38) I believe that reverse discrimination is hugely ignored.
39) I love cold.
40) I am blessed with some truly good friends who I know will be friends for life.
41) I wish I could re-do from 9th grade to college.
42) I’m a lucid dreamer.
43) I want to stop smoking but I’m afraid of gaining weight and going through withdrawals.
44) I believe kissing is more intimate than intercourse.
45) There are moments in my life that I wish I could freeze forever.
46) My son has the longest eyelashes ever.
47) House is my favorite show on TV, followed by SVU. Only shows I purposefully watch.
48) DVR is a kickin’ invention.
49) I only like Hershey Kisses with almonds.
50) I love to bake, but don’t very often because I hate to clean up.
51) I refuse to buy generic toilet paper, peanut butter or sliced cheese.
52) A Knight’s Tale is the greatest movie ever.
53) Heath Ledger was the first death of someone I didn’t know which made me cry.
54) I want a basset hound and name him Casanova.
55) I don’t believe that sitting in a church pew will make or break your entry to heaven.
56) I think most attorneys get a bad rap on their reputations and jokes.
57) I could care less about Aggies vs. Longhorns.
58) I love all things vanilla. Candles, shampoo, lotion, food.
59) Basic things like toilet paper, deodorant, toothpaste, shampoo should be free. ‘Cause ew.
60) Gluttony is disgusting beyond words.
61) I innately believe in karma.
62) I love wildflowers.
63) Facial piercings make me want to grab it and rip it out of their face because it’s distracting when I’m trying to talk to them.
64) I hate white walls in houses.
65) I had a weird pseudo brain tumor thing in 92 that I never bothered to learn to spell.
66) Yankee Candles are the best candles ever.
67) I have cankles.
68) My brain doesn’t wrap around 900 channels and nothing but crap on tv.
69) My parents were the best parents kids could hope for.
70) Amish people have the right idea.
71) I voted for Ross Perot twice.
72) I adore George Bush and his family.
73) Right now, at this moment, I understand why some animals end up eating their young.
74) I sleep with four feather pillows.
75) If a doctor’s office charges you for missing an appointment, we should charge them per minute we have to wait past our appointment time sitting in the waiting room.
76) Dentists are sadists.
77) I wish Fred Thompson had made a serious run for President.
78) I cannot sleep without a heavy blanket on me, even in the summer. The weight of a sheet, or nothing at all, and I wake up.
79) I want to own a bottle of My Insolence. It smells great and the name is awesome.
80) I do not believe in abortion unless it’s from a crime or the mother’s health is in jeopardy, and even then, I’m iffy.
81) Ron White is a riot.
82) I drink Diet Coke just for the taste of it.
83) I’ve met over 400 people from the Internet.
84) Arch angels have just got to be the baddest of the bad.
85) I refuse to use the motorized scooters in Walmart and instead use the wheelchair if I need to. I hate the BEEP BEEP of backing up. Stick a WIDE-LOAD sign on it and make it more obnoxious, k?
86) I LOVE LUCY is a timeless sitcom. I really want to own all the seasons on DVD.
87) I hate floral scents.
88) I love the word serendipity. The sound of it, the definition of it. Even the movie.
89) My favorite mixed drink is Long Island Iced Tea.
90) Jared from the Subway commercials? Yeah… wanna kick him in the teeth.
91) I hate chat/text speak and refuse to use it.
92) I want to go on a cruise.
93) I don’t CARE if Ryan Seacrest is gay or not.
94) No, I’m not related to Terry Bradshaw. No, I’m not related to Carrie Bradshaw. By the way, Carrie Bradshaw is a fictional character. Hello…?
95) Music drastically affects my moods.
96) I had a gum transplant in 1988 and I’m going to have to have another one. Ouch.
97) I think it’s funny the Patriots went all year undefeated but then lost the Super Bowl tonight. (No, I didn’t watch it.)
98) I answer to the name Lira as easily as I do the name Brenda.
99) I wish I’d retained more of the French I learned in high school.
100) I find it intriguing you just sat there and read 99 random odd tidbits of my thoughts.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

A Little Too Much of a Good Thing

Have you ever had a moment when you realize your romantic tendencies have gone too far? Have you ever read in a book where it says something like, "This was real life, not a romance novel" even though, obviously, it WAS in a book? When you hear the phrase "romantic at heart", do you raise your hand and pretend you're not such a romantic that you had an episode of insanity you craved so badly to be real but it wasn't, and you mutter to yourself, "This is real life, not a romance novel"?

Once upon a time, after awhile of internal struggles and personal chaos, I wrote an email, a "Dear John" letter, if you will. I poured myself into it, every ounce of emotion, every drop of despair, every thought that spewed out of me and onto the page. And I stared before hitting send, because that's your "can't turn back" moment, after all, and I read and re-read and questioned and questioned, but in the end, I sent it. And waited. It sounds so horrible to do it via email, but given the mileage between us in that long distance relationship, there really wasn't another option, at least, I felt I'd ran out of them. But I'm a silly girl, right? Err.. WAS a silly girl. When this happened. Anyway...

I'd ended the email with "If you want to discuss this, find me, otherwise I'll assume you agree this isn't what either of us wanted" (paraphrased, of course) and waited to see if I heard a word. And waited. And waited. And finally, with the hours of silent confirmation, I came to the conclusion that he agreed with me. The bandage had been ripped.

Four hours later I left to run an errand. On the windshield was a small piece of paper. Nothing on it. But it was under the blade and I couldn't figure out why or how or anything like that. Then, as I drove down the highway, I passed this truck that looked incredibly familiar and I noted the time: time for him to drive to me to make that effort to show me, prove to me, erase all questions, to snag just one night of precious time when we could, when I felt so lost, so alone, so in doubt. And it explained why I hadn't heard a word. It made *sense*. As I passed the truck on the highway, in my rearview mirror, I saw the brake lights come on. I convinced myself that my brain was wanting it to be something it wasn't. I made myself keep driving to the store.

Of course, I mentally turned it every which way, inside and out, one minute convinced it was him, the next berating myself for being so foolish. On the way home, back down the highway, I passed a black truck and I couldn't see the driver's face, but his hand was stretched passed the steering wheel, and I swear I'm not making this up, his finger was doing that circle motion like "turn around". I blinked. I'm going 50 mph but holy crap, why did I see that? I drove on to my house, up my driveway, and forced myself into the house.

And thought and thought, sitting there. Was it serendipity like when we first met? This was exactly like a novel I might read, one I'd write, that moment when she's convinced it's over and he's literally chasing around a town trying to find her for that huge lovely moment we just flipped through 400 pages to find.


Guess what?

It really is just a novel. It really is just in a chick flick. I had really read one too many Happily Ever Afters.

Have you ever had a moment that felt it was right out of a novel? If so, please share it so I don't feel like Kathleen Turner in Romancing the Stone. She didn't age well. I don't want that same fate, k? Thanks in advance.