• Help! My Bed Squeaks At Inopportune Times!

    You hussy! Are you thinking what I thinking you’re thinking? If you are, that’s my problem.

    Whenever I move or turn over or get up at 3 AM to . . . er . . . powder my nose, my bed sounds like DH and I are having a helluva good time. Don’t get me wrong, this old Ethan Allen cannonball bed has held up its end of the bargain through its share of helluva good times, but this squeaking is so loud and embarrassingly . . . ahem . . . constant, I’m afraid the neighbors will either envy or, well, pity me.

    The squeaks started a month ago. As a matter of fact, right after buying a new mattress and box spring set. I don’t know if any of you have gone shopping for the aforementioned lately, but mattresses and box springs have grown in size from opulent to downright ridiculous. Because I would need either a stepladder or a hand-up from DH to get in bed at night with these new ridiculous dimensions, I elected to go with the “low-rise” box spring. The set is still fairly high, I still can’t sit on the edge to put my shoes on, but at least I won’t get a nose bleed while I sleep.

    And yet, my old bed frame still complains about carrying the unaccustomed load.

    Two weeks ago, I started looking at new bedroom sets. I don’t know if any of you have gone shopping for the aforementioned lately, but beds have grown in size from the opulent to downright ridiculous. I would need to move to accommodate one of these new huge bedroom sets.

    Last week, I started looking at new homes. I don’t know if any of you have gone shopping for the aforementioned lately, but new houses have grown in size from the opulent to downright ridiculous. I would need to quit writing and go back to work full-time to afford one of these new mini-mansions . . .

    Today, I went to Home Depot and picked up a few 1×4’s to make into slats to place under my new mattress and box spring set. Hopefully, the additional support will do the trick and my bed will stop squeaking.

     


  • Why pretend

    I did nothing last week but sit at the PC and write–thus explains the lack of a blog. No complaints–I’m absolutely thrilled. I woke up on Monday, and had the remainder of ON MOORSTEAD all neatly plotted. That happens a lot, I realize I’m truly blessed, and I’m grateful. Since my unconscious neatly resolved all the outstanding issues on the book while I slept, all I had to do was apply my fingers to the keys, which I did–to the exclusion of having a life.

    To reward myself for almost finishing the book, I parked my fanny in a theatre again this weekend.

    Underworld:Evolution. Bored beyond belief, I started checking my watch 10 minutes into the film. And there’s another sequel in the works! Count me out, please! I’d rather scrub the floor in my sons’ bathroom, with a toothbrush, on my hands and knees,(And believe me, these young males have appallingly lousy aims) than waste two more hours of my life watching another one these bloodfests. Even the ambiance–nice dark palette of blacks and blues and blood-crimson–couldn’t save this film for me. I kept hoping all the vamps would suck one another dry and all the weres would eviscerate themselves and have done with it once and for all. No such luck. Found the love scene stilted, overly choreographed and, in a bloody film, bloodless. No eroticism, whatsoever.

    I did, however, enjoy Transamerica. The film had a lot of heart and humanity. Could’ve used less of a kitchen-sink approach to plotting, maybe ease up on certain clichés and caricatures, but Felicity Huffman did a fine job of making me care about the character, and no, I don’t follow Desperate Housewives. Kevin Zegers’ portrayal of Bree’s troubled son was also outstanding.


  • Your assignment: write a short essay on what you did this weekend

    On Saturday, drove into the city to meet the oldest son for an ice cream lunch at my fave, made-on-the-premises, ice cream shoppe, which a high-tech drop-out owns and operates. Gotta love a guy who gave up IT for hot fudge sundaes! And yes, my bad, all we ordered was the ice cream. Afterwards, onto my fave artsy-fartsy theatre.

    On Sunday, after another movie, went out to eat at a warm and inviting, and crowded restaurant. Though a chilly and breezy 30 degrees, cocktail-carrying diners left their linen-covered tables inside to venture outside, where they gathered in the courtyard ’round the huge stone hearth to warm their hands on the blazing flames. Nothing like a fire and Crown Royal for beating the winter blahs.

    The movies: WHITE COUNTESS and THE NEW WORLD.

    Both films were historicals, early 1940’s and 1600’s respectively. Both were long on ambiance and short on action and dialogue. Because of the slow pace, both had an almost hypnotic quality to them. Lots of pregnant pauses. Lots of beautiful cinematography. Lots of vintage costumes–loved the soft hats on the males in WHITE COUNTESS. While both were romances, with implied sexuality, there were no overt scenes. Both movies took place at a time when the world hovered on the cusp of change, WWII and America’s colonization. In both movies, the heroine seemed to symbolize, idealize, a dying way of life.

    Liked, but didn’t love, both films, and wouldn’t opt to see either again. And that’s the sticking point, I suppose, because I do want to see several other films again, namely: BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN, CAPOTE, and WALK THE LINE.

    In books and in film, for me, it’s all about intensity.


  • Friday: Pizza For Supper And Lining Up Movies For The Weekend.

    In case you haven’t noticed yet, I love going to the movies. Given the choice, I’d happily give up April in Paris in favor of freezing my ass off in January at Utah’s Sundance Film Festival. Since I’m not attending this year, here’s my movie wish list for this coming weekend:

    (1) THE NEW WORLD–Colin Farrell in 1600’s Jamestown culture-clash, between “naturals” and English. It’s an historical–how could I not see it?

    (2) TRANSAMERICA–The story might highlight confusion but there’s no question about the movie’s emotional warmth.

    (3) WHITE COUNTESS –The reviews aren’t great, and it’s not playing many places, but Ralph Fiennes stars in it, and I love Ralph Fiennes, so . . .

    (4) CACHE–Puzzling ending, where the audience in the theatre stares at the screen as the credits roll and scratch their collective heads, so bodes well for post-movie conversation

    (5) MATCH POINT

    The last choice is in that ignoble position because Woody Allen makes me sad. Always has. Dunno why, but the man just brings me down. Even his comedies.

    I’ll let you know what I think . . .

     


  • When mom is an erotic romance writer

    Three months ago, my oldest son flew the family nest after a job change. It was time, and we were all okay with his decision. He now lives in the city, where he’s trying to make friends–

    Read that, lady friends.

    I don’t ask about his methodology, but from reading between the lines, I gather he hopes to statistically increase his chances of empirical success by the random sampling of a large quantity of subjects.

    Read that, he’s going through these babes like water goes through a sieve.

    Tonight, he’s seeing someone for the second time. I wished him good luck. This is not to be confused with “get lucky”. I’m his mother; I would never say such a thing. Think it, yes. Verbalize it, no.

    He emailed me back, telling me he would need all the luck he could get, as she was a really good “Caliber 2”.

    Folks, I won’t tell you what I thought. Suffice it to say, it was a thought no mother should ever have about one of her adult male children.

    Turned out, the kid and the young lady are gaming tonight, and that was the name of the Playstation martial arts video.


  • Historical Research

    My gratitude goes to Ellen Michetti at All About Romance for reviewing INSIDE THE VICTORIAN HOME by Judith Flanders. (For the reviewer’s astute commentary, please see: http://www.likesbooks.com/cgi-bin/bookReview.pl?BookReviewId=5477)

    I rarely buy non-fiction hardcovers, but just couldn’t pass on this one. Had my nose buried in its pages last night, and so far it’s excellent. So nice to know my money was well spent.

    I do lots of research for my historicals–reading, museums, movies . . . travel. Walking tours, to soak up the atmosphere of a place, help enormously, as does visiting historical houses. I highly recommend the tours given by the National Park Service.

    To get a feel for the seaport town I wrote about in THE ACQUISITION, I spent an entire day in New Bedford, Massachusetts, learning about whaling in 1844 New England.

    In writing TAINTED LOVE, I visited the Morse-Libby brownstone mansion (circa 1860)in Portland Maine, and asked the very patient tour guide multitudinous questions about Victorian plumbing. If she thought I had some weird WC fetish, she’d be spot-on! In writing historicals, the small everyday details, like toileting, are what lend a story authenticity.


  • Scissoring along, dispite the mistakes

    The writing news:

    I signed and returned a contract to Samhain for the re-publication of SCREWING WITH PERFECT. I love the Samhain site, the cover art is outstanding, and the writers signing on are exemplary. The publisher and former CEO at Ellora’s Cave, Crissy Brashear, was my first editor at EC; she bought my first published book–CAPTIVE. All those reasons and more warrant adding my name to the Samhain roster, but truthfully, the publisher had me at the word ‘Print’.

    It’s been a long haul with SCREWING WITH PERFECT, from writing the manuscript during a stressful time and having the story literally pull me through, to having the book then go on and final in Dorchester’s American Title contest, to this new opportunity to see the book in print. The Samhain homepage is at – http://samhainpublishing.com/

    After finishing my revisions on TOUCH ME, I submitted the book for editorial consideration. Will advise when I hear anything.

    My remaining revisions–SOME ROUGH EDGE SMOOTHIN’, THE PICKUP LINE, LOST ANGEL, and TAINTED LOVE–are temporarily on hold, in favor of completing ON MOORSTEAD. I can’t stand not finishing a book. The paranormal-medieval witch tale is at 62,000 words and climbing.

    Personal stuff:

    Today is my sister’s birthday. To celebrate, we all piled into the van yesterday and headed up to furniture country in the Gardner MA area, a 2 and a half hour trip. Loads of warehouses to browse. We all liked the La Chance outlet the best–they carry heirloom pieces, the unique and quality type of furniture your kids would actually LIKE to inherit. Afterward, naturally, we went out to eat, this year at a lovely restaurant at the site of an old historical mill, complete with rushing waterfalls. Outside, white and black geese and wood ducks kept us entertained; while inside, a welcoming fire burning in the hearth kept us warm and cheery in the large common room.

    Today I cut the DH’s hair. I know, I know, just too, toooo cute. I’m not a hairdresser, have no training, but I’ve always cut his hair (My sons’ too when they were young) Part Yankee frugality, part DH would wear it down to his shoulders otherwise, as he used to. His hair is wavy and very forgiving of mistakes, which I continue to make, even after all these years.


  • Starting over . . . again

    Thus far, after 3 months of nose-to-the-grindstone revisions ( with a week off for good behavior for Christmas) I have finished polishing these 5 books.

    1.CAPTIVE
    2.THE ACQUISITION
    3.TOUCH ME
    4.BITTERSWEET
    5.SCREWING WITH PERFECT

    I’ve happily accepted a contract with Loose Id for BITTERSWEET. The cover is in the works. The rough draft is terrific.

    I’ve accepted a contract with Samhain for another, but have yet to get to the Post Office and return mail the contract. Hopefully, on the morrow, I’ll make the trip. Details to follow.

    The remaining three books are uncommitted. Will keep you posted, as to my plans.

    Folks, revising 9 books–and doing the best job possible–is a massive project, but I’m satisfied that I did the (w)rite thing. For me. I want my best work possible out there or what’s the point?

    That said, my fingers–and brain–are itching to return to ON MOORSTEAD. I hate leaving characters up in the air, uncompleted. Writing might be a creative process, a destination without any pre-determined conclusion, but books require “THE END”.


  • Seriously conflicted

    Can you tell my vacation is over?

    I haven’t blogged all week! When the nose is pressed to the PC screen and the fingers are poised on the keys nine hours a day there’s not much time left over to blog . . . or to have a life to blog about.

    And that’s the problem with a writer having a blog and why I’ve never bothered having one before–writers write, to the exclusion of everything else, especially if that writer is lucky enough to be on a creative roll. Inside my head is a veritable cauldron of brewing ideas. The scenarios, plots, characters etc are exciting and frustrating and maddening–to me. To anyone else, I’m just a woman sitting at the PC gazing out a window onto a gray wintry day.

    The creative process is essentially boring to write about and writing about the actual story tends to suck the juices right out of the drama. So that leaves writing about me, the writer.

    I’m relatively sane, well-adjusted, and doing what I want to do. Show me a basically happy person, and I’ll show you one helluva boring story . . .

    Here’s my boring story for last week in summary:

    The revisions on CAPTIVE are done. One more read-through, and I’m calling it a wrap. No idea where the book will end up. Thus far, CAPTIVE remains my all-around bestseller and generates the most reader email. Years after writing certain scenes, the eroticism still turns me on. The characters defy cookie-cutter description. No IMHO here, plain and simple, the book deserves a print format. Small presses are fine, though I wouldn’t turn my nose up at NYC. Any publishers out there reading this? Make me a decent offer. I can be bought . . .

    I’m halfway through TOUCH ME. I’m dumping some wordiness, refining the logic and prose, keeping the edginess. I like edgy stories.

    I bake a lot when I write–Not pies; those I reserve for special occasions. Last week, I made brownies (twice), chocolate chip cookies, date coconut balls, and oatmeal bread. I like baking bread. Since I now have the new Kitchen-Aid mixer with the bread hook attachment (Yes, another Christmas appliance gift from the sons) I no longer have to knead the dough. This, I miss. The Kitchen-Aid is a stand up machine, but there’s nothing like pummeling lumpy dough for working out life’s frustrations.

    Because I bake a lot . . . and writing is a sedentary occupation . . . I also exercise a lot. I have to, and not only for weight control. Come spring, I’ll pick my posterior off the chair and go play in the dirt. As I’m not a white glove, Garden Club gardener, I need to keep up my stamina and muscular strength during the winter months so I can jump back into my second occupational passion.

    Remember that seriously silly impulse to send off two partials to NYC? The post office is returning the priority mail to me. Evidently, I cut-and-pasted the incorrect street addy on the label. If you believe there are no genuine mistakes in life, only unconscious motivations, what does this say about my underlying feelings vis-a-vis NYC publishing?

    Hmmm . . .


  • Seriously silly

    About three months or so ago, I promised myself I would dosomething to improve my writing and advance my writing career. As you can see by the time-line, this was most definitely NOT a New Years resolution. Those are silly, and I pride myself on NOT doing silly things. This was more like an end of the year stocktaking, a soul-searching, if you will. (There! That sounds eminently serious, and that’s what I am–eminently serious.)

    To that end, as I’ve already explained, I’ve been revising and polishing my back-list, doing some major grammar nitpicking, ridding the work of some clunky phraseology, axing questionable logic, firming up and clarifying underlying character motivation. This all falls under the broad heading of “Improving My Writing”.

    What about “Advancing My Writing Career”?

    Well, I joined EPIC for the first time ever and, at the same time, entered the annual EPPIE contest. This was a BIG move for me, as I’m basically a sloth, but I did it, the process was completely painless and, as it turned out, TEMPEST finaled. Though not the first time one of my books ever finaled in a contest, this was by far the most pleasant.

    Buoyed from that positive experience, I decided to send off a couple of partial manuscripts to NYC. Also not the first time. But, after coming disappointingly close numerous times, I went into submission hibernation.

    Well, it’s snowing today in N.E., but this sloth is out of hibernation (I know, I know, sloths don’t hibernate; I was going for the metaphor).

    I just returned from the post office, where I mailed off a submission packet to a NYC publisher.

    Though this qualifies as doing something to advance my writing career, I can’t help but feel this disqualifies my previous “I pride myself on NOT doing silly things” assertion.

    As my partials wing their way to NYC, I feel silly indeed.