Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Tuesday's Tempting Teaser #2

This is a pick up from  last week's teaser, which if you didn't see you can read here.  I wanted to include this scene well...because it's fun and you get to see some of the crazy powers that go on at this place and you get to meet Skylar, Sam's (Samantha's) nemesis so to speak. Keep in mind that when there are italics, Sam is using her telepathic powers. Hope you enjoy. :-)

With Josh away from the table, I munch on some fruit and pick at my peanut butter and jelly sandwich, but I’m quickly bored.
Searching around the room, I focus in on fifteen year-old Kelly LaGray. She’s sneering at fourteen year-old Sindi Sanchez who’s sitting a couple of tables over. I listen.
Stupid bitch. I get in trouble, but she doesn’t? Spanish trash loser. Just wait ‘til we’re both out of here.
I know what she’s referring to. A couple of days ago Kelly got busted for using her telekinetic powers to purposefully move an object that caused Sindi to trip and fall flat on her face. She was upset that Sindi didn’t get in trouble when she used her biological manipulation powers to create the biggest zit Kelly’s ever seen, smack in the middle of her forehead.
I can’t help but laugh. Sindi was smart. She timed it perfectly with the onset of Kelly’s period so they couldn’t prove it wasn’t a natural occurrence. Good for Sindi. Kelly’s a stuck up racist bitch.
I shut her thoughts out and turn my attention to Brian Kaufman who only has three weeks left at the lodge. Once you turn eighteen, they can’t force you to stay here. He has just finished saying something to Matt.
He’s laughing.
I’m nosey.
Yep, that bootylicious hottie won’t be able to get enough of me. Once she sees my new, ginormous schlong, she’ll be beggin’ for more of the Kaufinator.
He’s talking about some girl in Brooklyn that he’s been telling all the guys he’s going to hook up with when he gets out. She isn’t one of us.  From the contents of his thoughts I’m assuming he plans on using his ability to switch body parts and replace his you-know-what with someone else’s.
He’s smiling to himself.
He’s repulsive.
Shoving him out of my head, I glance over at my least favorite person here, "Skinny Skylar." She appears to be sulking with her elbow on the table, head resting on the edge of her palm, fork moving her food around aimlessly.
It’s not fair. What guy doesn’t want a blonde hair, blue eyed rich girl? I don’t care what Celine says, Marina is what every guy wants. She’s so beautiful…and so skinny. I bet she’s a model.
She sighs.
Celine does make a good point about Josh not even looking her way at today’s meeting though. She looks back over her shoulder and spots Josh who is now heading back to our table. Then again, he never looks at me either so that doesn’t really help. I wish he liked me. He’s so hot.
I almost choke on the piece of pineapple I just tossed in my mouth. It jolts my system when someone uses the words Josh and hot in the same sentence. It’s weird hearing people think about him like that.
She turns back to her food and throws her fork down on the plate like it’s done something to offend her—as if eating that one piece of cantaloupe will cause her to gain two ounces and ruin her life forever.
As Josh passes by her table, she stares after him like a lovesick puppy. Her eyes drop further down.
Oh my God! She’s totally staring at his butt!
I feel like I’m going to hurl. And yet…it annoys me.
If only he could take his ogling eyes off Sam for more than a second, she says.
Now I do choke on my food. The girl’s deluded. It’s not like that with Josh and I. He’s my best friend—well, my only friend, really. I glance back in her direction, but as her eyes continue to follow Josh to our table, they inadvertently land on me. With her eyes wide, she sits upright, appearing nervous and abashed.
Oh Jesus, I hope she wasn’t listening to me. Shit. I hate that she can hear my thoughts whenever she wants. Maybe she wasn’t listening. Okay, what can I think about, what can I think about? Think, think, think…
She begins singing some song in her head and turns away.
Josh returns and a momentary feeling of awkwardness passes through me. I take a bite of my sandwich and shake it off. 

Monday, August 30, 2010

What Has Influenced My Writing

Good Monday Morning (or afternoon or evening depending on when you might pop in to see what is going on in my crazy world).

So, I didn't actually see any movies this weekend because we went on a weekend family vacation. Often, we'll rent movies in the hotel, but we were so blasted tired by the time we got back to the room, that we passed out soon after our girls :-). Those of you with kids know that a vacation with kids, isn't so much a "vacation" in the sense of relaxation. It's one of those vacations that you need a vacation from.

I decided therefore to talk about how my writing tends to be more influenced by television and movies than reading, which in turn, brings me into the topic about why I have not always been an avid reader (as I mention in the About Me tab of the blog). This will be the longest post I probably EVER have so please don't be intimidated to come back!! :-)

When I sat down to think about why I did not grow up loving reading, I had to really dig deep and think about the why's behind it and what I have found is that I'm not totally sure I can attribute it to any one thing, but several.

Reading, from my earliest experience/memory, was something I remember being associated with work. I never really loved school, wasn't one of those kids that it all came easy to. My entire scholastic career (up to my masters in elementary education) was always a struggle for me. I even wanted to quit high school when I was 16, but my father somehow convinced me to stay in and I'm glad he did. But why did I hate school and reading so much? Because my teachers did not inspire me. Period. Education is quite different now then it was back then (at least here in NY, which I know because I have taught in the system). Back when I was in school, reading for me was associated with an assignment, usually a book report which I DREADED.  I found it very hard to read a book and summarize it.  I remember reading a lot of Nancy Drew books and loving them, but I read them not just for pleasure, but for homework. As I said, school was always a bit hard for me (and truth be known...I was also dealing with a lot of emotional issues that stemmed from having an alcoholic mother who was constantly in and out of my life--my father raised me from the time I was 6).

I also believe that there wasn't the availability of the great and amazing amount of MG and YA literature back then that there is now. At least I don't remember ever being introduced to it. And when we read in school, we often all read the same thing as a class and it didn't matter what level reader you were. Instruction was not differentiated back then, which meant the lower level readers had to try and keep up with the same stuff that the more advanced readers were flying through with ease. Talk about a struggle!

Another reason I believe I was not an avid reader was because books weren't a huge part of my home life. My father was always a reader, but he was a reader of Non-fiction (mostly biographies and autobiographies), and newspapers (which to this day, he reads 2-3 newspapers cover to cover every day). Obviously, as a kid, current events was not all that interesting and again, it was associated with school: Read an article from a newspaper and summarize what you learned. Bleh. How friggin' boring!!!!

Another major, contributing reason (and maybe one of the biggest) was television. Not that I sat in front of the tv all day because those of you old enough to remember, before VCRs and DVR and all the other VRs in the world, there was only a limited time to watch kid shows and if you missed it, you missed it. No rewinding, no recordings to watch it later, no hitting a button on the remote control to give you a menu of all your saved shows. Television dramatically changed during my childhood with the invention of cable. We went from having 7 channels to God knows how many. I even remember sitting around my living room with the Rock Reggae band from England that my dad was managing at the time to watch the very first music video ever (back when MTV was actually about music :-)). I found television to be very entertaining and easy to enjoy and it wasn't associated with school! It was pure pleasure and therefore I was drawn to it.

There's also the fact that I kind of grew up in the heart of NYC. I spent more time indoors than I believe kids in suburbs do. I had a place to hang out with my friends in the building (a large plaza area that was private to residents), but there was no playing in the driveway or riding bikes with friends around the neighborhood. It wasn't safe to hang out in the streets of Hell's Kitchen when I was a kid. I went to the theater growing up (and to see amazing ballet performances and concerts at Lincoln Center) with my grandmother who adored the theater experience. I also went to a LOT of movies because that was the big thing to do for me and my friends. Every weekend we'd go to the movies (I grew up 3 blocks from Times Square)--sometimes we'd see 2 movies if we could sneak into another movie in the theater unnoticed. I also sort of grew up in the entertainment industry. I had an agent when I was younger and went to a lot of auditions, but I was just too nervous in front of the camera to ever land a real role (though I did shoot one commercial for Honey Comb cereal, but I'm not sure if it ever made it to screen). My father (and many of his friends) was a stand up comic for many of the early years of my life and later many of my father's friends went on to become writers of many well known programs, and my father went on to become...well, himself, for which you can discover who he is here (I'm pluggin' for ya daddy-oh :-) haha, and yes, I used to be a blonde LOL) so I was constantly surrounded by that world and still am to an extent, as I have a lot of people I grew up with that have gone on to become very successful actors who I love watching on television and on the big screen.  I even studied acting at the famous Actor's Institute for a time because I thought that was the path I wanted to go and God knows I had some crazy connections in that world, but alas, it was not what I wanted to do even though I was told I had talent for it. I tried to picture myself in California, living the life that actors live and I realized it was not what I felt would be a fulfilling life for me.

I think my experience and love for acting (even though I chose not to pursue it as a career) further influenced my love for movies and television and to this day, I LOVE watching both.

I dont' think it's true that you have to be an avid reader to be a great writer. Although, now that I have discovered a new found love for reading, I do believe that it can only further add to my ever developing skills in the art of writing. I think what makes a good writer is the ability to tell a kick ass story (no mater what the genre) and some basic knowledge of grammar and writing mechanics. I read a LOT of plays during my years, especially while studying acting, and I think that it has really helped me in my ability to write dialogue. I also have the most important thing that any writer needs and that is 1. a good imagination, and 2. life experiences. And part of my life experiences that I believe has helped me in my writing is all the movies and television I've seen because when I write (and even when I read), it only works if I can see it like a movie in my head.

It's funny that writing has come in to my life not too long after a real love for reading has. I do see now that they are intertwined, but I believe that I do have a knack for this writing thing and it didn't come from a life time of reading, but a life time of experiences and yes...television and movies. As an example,  when I tried to figure out how I came up with my story, what it was that influenced my idea for the story, plot and characters, I realized that my book can be best described as X-Men meets Girl Interrupted with a large slice of Taken. Reading is now a very important part of my life (although I still tend to stay away from all things poetry, but that my friends is a sad story for another post) and I know as I read more and catch up on a lot of great literature that I have missed over the years, it will only add to my experience and make my writing that much stronger.  But I will always have a very strong passion for televsion and cinema and I for one don't believe there is anything wrong with that.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Theater Thursday

Two pieces of info I found on line today that seem very exciting (at least to me). I WISH that I could see Christopher Lloyd in Death of a Salesman! It is one of my favorite plays and I can only imagine how fantastic he will be in it. If you are in VT I hope you get to see this. It is such an emotional and moving story!! If not, buy the play and read it. It's such a great read. Plays are a really interesting form of literature and the thing that I really love about them is that when they are turned into performances/plays/movies, they are usually exactly how you pictured and imagined them. They don't change things the way they do when they convert a book into a movie so the experience is close to what you felt when you read the words on the page. It would be nice to see Kevin Spacey in Richard the III as well. It would be nice to see Kevin Spacey in ANYTHING.

Kevin Spacey to Star in Richard III at BAM; Sam Mendes to Direct
By Andrew Gans
26 Aug 2010 
Tony and Academy Award winner Kevin Spacey, who is currently the artistic director of London's Old Vic, will play the title role in William Shakespeare'sRichard III in 2012, according to the New York Times.

Part of the final season of the Bridge Project, the theatrical collaboration among the Brooklyn Academy of Music, the Old Vic and the British production company Neal Street, Richard III will play the Brooklyn Academy of Music in 2012. Performances are scheduled for February-April 2012 at the BAM Harvey Theater.
Oscar winner Sam Mendes will direct Spacey in the Shakespeare classic. Mendes previously directed Spacey in the award-winning film "American Beauty."
Following the Brooklyn run, Richard III will play a short international tour before arriving at the Old Vic in May 2012 for a four-month run. A longer international tour will then follow the London engagement.
The Bridge Project kicked off in 2009. Among its previous productions are stagings of The Tempest, Winter's Tale, The Cherry Orchard and As You like It.

Christopher Lloyd Is Willy Loman in Vermont Death of a Salesman Starting Aug. 26
By Andrew Gans
26 Aug 2010 
Christopher Lloyd
Christopher Lloyd
Photo by Hubert Schriebl

Stage and screen star Christopher Lloyd — best known for his work on the acclaimed TV series "Taxi" — plays the ill-fated Willy Loman in the Weston Playhouse's production of the classic Arthur Miller drama Death of a Salesman, which begins performances Aug. 26.
Directed by Steve Stettler, the production will play the Vermont venue through Sept. 11.
The cast also features Nathan Darrow as Happy, Markus Potter as Biff, Matt R. Harrington as Bernard, Munson Hicks as Charley, Philip Kerr as Uncle Ben, David Bonanno as Howard/Stanley, Amy Van Nostrand as Linda Loman, Brandy Zarle as The Woman, Elizabeth Morton as Jenny/Letta and Beth Hylton as Miss Forsythe.

Death of a Salesman, according to the Weston, is "the powerful, heartbreaking story of a traveling salesman fighting changing times while struggling for one last chance to capture the American Dream for his family."
The production has scenic design by Timothy R. Mackabee, lighting design by Stuart Duke and costume design by Kirche Leigh Zeile.
For ticket information visit www.westonplayhouse.org

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Tuesday's Tempting Teaser

Okay, don't know how "tempting" it is, but Teaser Tuesday and Tuesday's Teaser are such common titles that I had to change mine up a bit lol.

If you haven't read chapter 1, you can read it here. And feel free to leave a comment or feedback if you'd like :-). Or you can click on the link at the top of the page that says WIP chapter 1.

So, this is my first teaser that shows something that's not part of chapter 1. The only people who have seen anything other than chapter 1 are my BETA readers so this is extremely nerve racking for me! Okay so this is the opening scene from Chapter 2. It takes place in the cafeteria of Alina Lodge, which is a facility for troubled teenage POPs (Person of Powers). These kids aren't necessarily mentally unstable. They are there because they have "issues" or have gotten into some trouble with the law (usually for using their powers for illegal means). Also, if you haven't read chapter 1, you should know that when Sam (Samantha) and Josh are talking in italics, they are talking telepathically.

            My eyes scan the cafeteria. Everyone looks familiar. The new girl isn’t here. Searching for the most isolated table, I head toward the back of the room, tray in one hand, waistband of my pajama pants in the other. They keep falling down.
The food here sucks.
I must have lost at least four pounds. Like I need to lose any weight. I’m withering away to nothing and my 5’10" height is making me look like a gangly string bean. At least that was the comment some bitch threw at me last week—a comment that landed a tray of food in her lap and me several extra hours of laundry duty. 
It was worth it.
"You’re in a better mood." Josh comments from behind me.
"Don’t worry, it’s only temporary." I peer back over my shoulder with a cheesy grin. "Apparently my sister sprained her ankle during soccer this morning so my mom had to cancel. She’s coming next week instead."
Josh nudges me toward a table. We sit down.
He stares at me for a moment, reading my face. "You look tired. Another crappy night?"
"If they would just give me my damn iPod I’d sleep like baby." Knowing this discussion will take me to a dark place, I rapidly change the topic. So tell me about the newbie. Who is she? What’s her deal?
I ask him this telepathically because Sarah, aka, Dumbo, is here. She doesn’t have big ears, but she does have supersonic hearing. I don’t like having people in my business.
             She’s nice. Quiet. Seems a bit shy. She’s right up your alley. I’m sure you guys will become the best of friends.
I pick up one of my grapes and throw it at him. He catches it, tosses it in his mouth, and grins. "Thanks," he says.
So what’s her deal? I ask again. Did you find out what she did to get in here? What her powers are?
He’s focused on his food, adding salt and pepper then mixing it around with the fork. Actually, I was in the lobby reading a book last night when she was being checked in.
And…her name’s Marina, she’s our age, comes from a wealthy family, lives in the upper-East side of Manhattan, attends private school, blah, blah, blah.
Great, so she’s a seventeen year old, snooty rich bitch.
Hey, take out the rich and she’s not much different than you.
He’s failing miserably to suppress a laugh. He knows how to get to me. I show him an upside down middle finger. "Can you hear it?" I ask.
No, but I betcha Dumbo can. "Better keep it turned down," he retorts with a wink.
I roll my eyes and snort a laugh. He can always go to battle with me. I like that about him.
"So you still haven’t told me what she did to get in here. What are her powers?" I realize there’s no point in keeping this between us. Everyone eventually knows why we’re here and what our powers are.
Josh has shoveled a glop of food in his mouth. It’s supposed to be some kind of pasta dish—alfredo, I think—but it looks and smells like a plate of cat puke. It’s killing my already limited appetite. I wait for him to swallow and watch as his face scrunches up.
"This food tastes like crap," he finally says.
"Ya think?"
"Let me go see what else they have to eat. I’ll be right back." He gets up with his tray and walks off.
With Josh away from the table, I munch on some fruit and pick at my peanut butter and jelly sandwich, but I’m quickly bored. 

Tip of the day Tuesday

Tip of the day: For those of you who don't know, I have a really hard time maneuvering around my computer. I know how to do a few things, but when I have to figure out something new, I get so nervous and freaked out (like figuring out how to create a blog and add stuff, which I'm still struggling with). Anyway, one of my beta readers had pointed out to me that whenever I had dialogue where a character was getting cut off that my end quotation was coming up backwards. So, I went to the ever reliable AW website and posted my "How do I..." question in the Basic Writing Questions Forum and I discovered something I had no idea about...curly quotes vs. straight quotes. At first I felt so stupid that I didn't know about them, but I soon learned I wasn't the only one. Here is the thread if you are interested: http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=189397

Here is what I learned: To turn off the curly quotes so they are straight ones,

1) Go into the Tools menu and click on AutoCorrect
2) Click on AutoFormat as You Type
3) Uncheck the box that says, "straight quotations marks" with "smart quotation marks"

Now I had to figure out how to change all the quotation marks in my ms without going one by one cause God knows that would have taken a year! So, I posted another "How do I..." question over at the ever reliable AW website in the Tech Help forum and again, I received the help I needed from some very smart people. It wasn't as hard as I thought. Here is the Microsoft link that someone referred me to: http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/word-help/change-curly-quotes-to-straight-quotes-and-vice-versa-HP005190124.aspx?redir=0  I'll be honest, that I actually found it easier, since I had changed to straight quotes and had changed a few of them manually in the document, to highlight one of the curly quotes in my document, go to the Edit menu, click on Find, paste it in the Find box and then hit Replace with tab and type in my straight quote and then hit replace all and voila, my entire ms was replaced with straight quotes (over 4000 of them :))

So, that's the tip of the day, hope it has helped someone and that I continue to discover I'm not the only lost soul with this computer stuff.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Monday...'Nuff said :-)

So, the title seemed fitting since Mondays can often be the most dreaded day of the week. If I ruled the world there would be a mandatory three day weekend (no over time allowed!). 

I want to start today by announcing that my good friend Angie (aka to some: adktd2bks) is running a super cool contest to celebrate the completion of round 1,237 on her revisions (I'm exaggerating of course haha, but I'm sure those of you who've been through the revision process, know that it can feel like that sometimes). Anyway, check it out. She is giving away a choice of one of several books and a 50 page lbl critique (which in my opinion is worth more than all the books combined in her contest's book depository). I have been incredibly fortunate to experience this first hand and let me tell you, the girl knows her shinizit. So get your butt over there and join her contest. Or at the very least, become a follower if you haven't already because her blog totally rocks and she has a LOT of good info to offer writers of ALL levels. 

And now for today's post. I have decided that I want to use Monday's to talk about movies (and sometimes music and music videos). My husband and I are movie addicts. It is very rare that a weekend will come and go where we haven't seen at least one movie, (sometimes we'll see two or even 3). 

One of the best gifts we ever got was from my father last Xmas when he purchased us a membership to Netflix and got us a Roku box (a small box connected to our tv that has a wireless signal to our Linksys, but I've heard that you can now use your Wii game console as well). This boxis so amazing. I sit there with my laptop, go on the Netflix website and download the movies I want to see and it shows up on my television screen. For the newer movies, all I have to do is add it to my cue and they mail it to me. When we finish watching it we mail it in the envelope it comes in (postage paid by them) and four days later, we have the next movie on our cue, in our mailbox. We get an email confirming they received it and then another email says that we will receive such and such movie on such and such day and the movie is ALWAYS in our mailbox on the day they said it would be. It was even there on the day we had a HUGE snowstorm!! It's great and since having the Roku box, I have cancelled all of our movie channels from our cable company (although we did order HBO recently so we can watch True Blood, but we will cancel it again as soon as the season is over :-) ).

Anyway, the movie we saw this weekend was The Fourth Kind. I absolutely love Milla Jojovich. Her movies have never let me down and this one was no different. If you've never heard of it, or don't remember what it is, here is the trailer:

The way they filmed this movie was really cool. "Supposedly" this movie is based on real events/facts/video footage. In the beginning of the film (and you see a little bit of it in the trailer), Milla Jojovich introduces herself as herself, an actress playing the part of the actual Dr. Abbey Tyler who the  movie is based on. They cleverly incorporate bits and pieces of real footage so you know and see how authentic it is.

After the movie I had to find out what the deal was with this movie. Here is what I discovered.


I now know that this movie is not real because of two things: 1. This article I read from CNN  http://www.cnn.com/2009/SHOWBIZ/Movies/11/06/fourth.kind.real/index.html and 2. I googled The Fourth Kind, went to IMBd and discovered that "the real Dr. Abbey Tyler" is an actress named Charlotte Milchard.The whole thing kind of reminds me of the time when The Blair Witch first came out and they were trying to make everyone think that the movie was based on some actual recordings that were "recovered."

I have to admit that I was a little disappointed to find out she was an actor and that the video footage was not real because that would have made things a whole lot more interesting. I was certainly fooled with the set up of this movie. Of course there were some things that made me say, "yeah right" during the film. Like the fact that whenever the supposed aliens appeared, the cameras always went crazy and you couldn't really see much of anything. How convenient, right?  

All in all, I really liked this movie. I loved the way they filmed it using the "real footage" mixed in (and sometimes overlapping) with the film.

My rating system:

1=hated it, just wasted an hour and half of my life and I want it back damn it!
2=meh, not the worst I've ever seen, but I don't ever need to see it again 
3=entertaining, maybe I'll watch it again when it comes to Netflix
4=pretty awesome, I'll probably buy the DVD when it goes on sale
5=OMG, this film was kick ass awesome, it is pre-order from Amazon worthy, add to my list of favorites

The Fourth Kind- 3

The Creation of an MC

Where does the creation for an MC come from? Is it someone you know? Bits and pieces of several people you know? Is there some you in there? Your mother? Sister? Brother? Your alcoholic cousin? Your ex-best friend? Is it someone you knew when you were young or an ideal view of a person you wish you knew? How do writers manage to come with the personality/traits/qualities/looks of their MCs?

Yesterday I was riding in the car on the way to a wedding and my husband played a song I LOVE called As Fast As You Can by Fiona Apple http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NbxqtbqyoRk&feature=av2n

I absoltuely LOVE this artist. Her album, When the Pawn, is one of my all time favorites. I can listen to that cd from beginning to end. Every single song on it is amazing. But the thing I really love about her music and lyrics is the raw emotion and passion behind every song. It is a very YA album to me because many of her songs deal with relationships and all the intense and raw emotions that one deals with during those early times of one's life. I listen to her songs and I can hear/feel her sadness, anger, desperation, frustration, etc. She had a pretty tough life early on which is both fascinating and gruesome. You can read about her here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fiona_Apple

As I was listening to this particular song in the car, it suddenly dawned on me that Fiona Apple's music was a huge influence in the creation of the MC in my current WIP. My MC, Sam is hard, tough, angry, sarcastic and doesn't easily trust...on the outside. On the inside, she is desperate, sad, vulnerable, hurt and trying to cope with who she is, what she is and things that have happened in her life.

I've known since I started writing that music can influence certain scenes I write in my works, but I never realized how music actually formed the basis of the main character in my novel. It was totally subconscious, but now that I've made the connection, I think it is pretty darn cool and I have Fiona Apple and her music genius to thank for that.

Thursday, August 19, 2010


Gotta go with the TH thing. :-)

So, I thought I'd dedicate Thursdays to some sort of discussion about the theater world. Sometimes it will be a show I've seen (or want to see) and sometimes I might just talk about something I've read regarding things happening in the world of theater.

I will admit it's been about year since I made it in to NYC to see a good show. The last one I saw was Mary Poppins and OMG, I'm still so in love with that show. The sets were phenomenal as was most of the acting (was a little disappointed with the young actress who played Jane) and the illusions (like Mary Poppins pulling out a full lamp from her bag) amazed me. I still can't for the life of me figure out how they did it.

I will also admit that I cried twice during the show. I know you may think that sounds so silly. I mean, who the heck cries for Mary Poppins? But I believe it had more to do with the nostalgia of something that brings back great memories from my childhood then the show itself.

If this show ever comes to your neighborhood (heck, it's worth a nice long drive, imo), you really should go see it. It is pure entertainment mixed with great talent, wonderful dancing and music that you can't help but sing along with, and a great walk through memory lane (if you're as old as I am :-) ).

Check out this video on the show. If this doesn't pump you up, I don't know what will. It is traveling around to a lot of different cities. If you click on the link below, there is a tab on the right side with where the show will be. If the show is coming near you, PLEASE GO SEE IT!!! I just watched the video and I swear I started crying again. There's just something about Mary Poppins!


The next shows that I must see and will try to get to this fall is

In The Heights http://www.intheheightsthemusical.com/

ETA: OMG!!!!!! Just found out that JORDAN SPARKS (Season 6 winner of American Idol) WILL BE STARRING IN THIS SHOW THROUGH NOVEMBER 14th! I sooooooooooo hope I can see it with her in it!!!


Burn The Floor  http://www.burnthefloor.com/video.php

Sorry for the links, but I haven't figured out how to put the video clip directly on my blog. Still learning here so bear with me :-)

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Write it Wednesday

Today is Wednesday and writing starts with a W so I thought, "Hey, why not?" Wednesday will be the day I post about my actual writing journey. After all, that's why I'm bloggin' :-)

So here's where I'm at. I've hit over the 70k word mark and I think I'm about 3-4 chapter from the end of the ms (though I think I said that about 2 chapters ago haha). I started to really slow down toward the end here because of a few reasons: 1. life 2. BETA reading for others 3. putting too much pressure on myself regarding the climactic scene of the story 4. A reason I can't say because I don't want to spoil a surprise in the story.

In any event, I've recently got back on track and my words are starting to flow once again. Now I just need to find the time. Fortunately, I will have the babysitter here today, so I will be able to get a nice chunk of writing done.

For those of you who aren't familiar with my WIP, I have been working on a YA paranormal story (think X-Men meets Girl Interrupted with a slice of Taken and you have the basis of my story :-))

I thought I should post my first chapter, so you can see my writing for yourself and get a feel for my style and story. Hope you enjoy (let the fingernail biting begin).

Chapter 1

Wednesday, June 28th


About a dozen chairs sit in their usual, perfectly spaced out, circle. I can’t understand why they refuse to give us the ones with soft cushions for these stupid meetings. The hard plastic is cold and uncomfortable under my boney butt. Why don’t they just sit us on the damn floor?

I’m feeling extra fidgety today and can’t seem to find a comfortable position. I try to sit with my legs crossed, right over left.

Left over right.

I pull my knees into my chest, digging the arches of my feet into the edge of the seat but it’s bothersome. My socks won’t allow me to get a solid grip and with no energy to force them in place, I let them drop to the floor.

Ugh. My hair is coming loose. I pull out my ponytail holder, and throw my hair back up in a half-fast pony bun.

By this point I’m sure I’ve missed most of the introductions. There’s a new girl in the group today. Malina? Marina? I heard someone mention her name when I was walking in but I wasn’t fully listening. I’m not a morning person. Not that it really matters. Eventually I know everyone’s business whether they like it or not.

My foot shakes with vigor. It’s an uncontrollable habit. Anyone here who really knows me—which very few do—will know I’m tired or nervous. There’s only one person here who knows me well enough to know that it’s a combination of both and he’s sitting directly across from me.

My thumb finds its way to my mouth as my eyes dart around the tiled floor, sifting through the annoying swirly pattern for camouflaged spots of dirt. I try to find a piece of fingernail to gnaw on but most of them have been chewed down to the skin. I try my other thumb and find a tiny, thin layer of nail I must have missed. Yes! My teeth get a grip on it and tug with determination.

Ouch. Shit. That friggin hurt.

I look at my finger. It’s bleeding. I suck on it.

Sam! It’s your turn!

As usual, the familiar voice has managed to get through the barrier I’ve put up to block out everyone’s mental ramblings. I look across the circle. Josh is slumped in his chair, hands in his sweatshirt pockets. Like me, he’s too tall to sit with any sort of comfort on these school-like chairs.

He lifts his thick, dark brows, his jade colored eyes widening. Go! It’s your turn!

My eyes shift to Libby, the moderator for today’s meeting. She’s smiling softly, patiently. On a normal day it wouldn’t bother me so much but today I feel like slapping it right off her face. Not that it would make a difference. She’s one of those people who would only smile wider. I’ve never seen her lose it. I’ve never seen her angry or upset. It pisses me off. It doesn’t seem normal.

“Hi. Sam.”

My hand goes up to say hello, but I feel more like an Indian Chief saying, “How.” My eyes shoot around a crowd who may or may not be looking at me. I don’t know. I didn’t actually make eye contact with any of them. I go back to sucking on my finger and continue my search for dirt spots on the floor.

Boy, aren’t you the happy camper. Forget to take your anti-pissy pill today?

My eyes shoot across the circle again. Shut up, Josh.

He smiles.

He’s the only one who can get away with talking to me like that and the only one in this entire facility who has the same telepathic ability as me, something that bonded us rather quickly. I never had a lot of friends. I never wanted them, but Josh left me with little choice. He’s been here for over ten weeks—well, not here at this location. He transferred from another facility a few days after I arrived. When he found out we had the same powers he refused to shut up, barging into my head and reading my thoughts relentlessly until I thought my brain might explode.

I glance at Libby who’s looking back and forth between Josh and I. She knows what’s going on, of course. Most of the people here do, but they don’t care. They’ve given up trying to figure out if and when we’re having a conversation and whether or not it’s about them.

“Sam, Josh, not here,” Libby says, sitting with her perfect posture, her blue eyes shining through her rimless glasses. “Using powers during group sessions is not allowed. You know that.” Her tone is even, placid.

From my periphery, I see everyone’s gaze bouncing back and forth between Josh and I, like they’re watching a tennis match.

“Sorry,” Josh and I say simultaneously. His apology sounds much nicer and more sincere than mine. Mine came out sounding like it was sandwiched between two slices of annoyance. It was. Maybe I shouldn’t have rolled my eyes. I mean it’s not her fault that today is Make Amends Day.

I’ve been dreading this day since I first heard about it when I arrived here seven weeks ago. Make amends? Ugh. The mere thought makes me want to vomit my half eaten bagel and tea. I mean, why the hell would I want to apologize or make amends with my mother? She’s the one who put me in this damn prison…I mean, “treatment center.”

Treatment center. Ha. Whatever. Like I need to be treated.

I’m here because I’m a “troubled, adolescent Person Of Powers.” I’m not a damn alcoholic or drug addict or someone with an eating disorder—although some of the kids here are those things as well. Nope. Not me. I’m just a freak of nature—a POP. So what? All of us here are. Our powers are not an addiction or disorder that can be treated. It’s not something that can just go away or be healed, or solved. There are no underlying issues that have traumatized us or caused us to have the powers we do. We were born this way.

God is a friggin comedian.

My hand goes in the air.

“Samantha, would you like to share with the group today?”

I’m sure she’s trying to sound inexpressive but the inflection in her voice rings surprise. She should be. I never share anything at these meetings. And I’m not about to break that streak.

“I feel sick. I wanna go lay down.”

I’m not being entirely dishonest. I do have a pounding headache, but I get them so often now that I’ve learned to deal with them…for the most part.

She takes a deep breath and cocks her head to the side. “Samantha, don’t you think—“

“Damn it, Libby, I feel sick.” My eyes lock with hers. I’m not afraid to challenge her and she knows it. My tone reminds everyone else of it as well. Some of them shift in their chairs.

As always, Libby remains calm and collected. I can feel my anger teetering on the brink of a major tantrum as she sweeps her bangs to the side and away from her eyes. Neither her facial nor bodily expression show any reaction to my insolence. What I wouldn’t pay to know the thoughts she’s really having—to call her out on her nobody-can-get-to-me pretense. The fact that she—and most of the staff—have the skill to block their thoughts from me at will only fuels my fire.

Chill out, Sam, Josh says with a hint of laughter. He finds my tough exterior humorous. He always has.

I ignore him, pushing the barricade of my mind further out to block what’s coming in or out, refusing to allow any distractions—even from Josh. I want to get out of here.

Refusing to avert my eyes and show submission, I keep them fixed on hers. I don’t even blink.

Damn her and that perpetual smile.

It takes every fiber of my being to not go caveman on her ass. I picture myself grabbing her by her long dark ponytail, dragging her into a corner and beating her with a club. Of course I would never do that for real. It would only land me another God knows how long to my sentence. I mean, “stay,” here at Alina Lodge. Besides, Libby can be pretty cool sometimes. More so than the other jerks who work here.

“Okay, Samantha,” she says. “Just make sure you sign out your time at the desk. Someone will be by soon to check on you.”

“Thanks,” I mumble under my breath as I get up. I don’t feel I owe her any appreciation, but I hope my attempt will satisfy her. I can’t afford to be an insufferable bitch all the time if I have any hope of getting out of here one day.

Josh, let me know when you’re done, I say as I make my exit.

You know it. Feel better, he says.

Already do, I say with a huge grin none of them can see.

I know, he responds. I don’t look back but I’d bet my left eyeball he’s shaking his head smiling.

Ah…freedom for two whole hours.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

My very first post...What to write? What to write?

Since this blog stems from my love of writing, I thought it might make sense to introduce how I got into it.

It was October, 2007 and after experiencing the difficulties of being a SAHM to twins with pretty much no support system around, I felt like I was starting to lose my mind. My girls were a year and a half and I had dedicated my everything to them (I had to, they were babies) and to my husband who was working his butt off to support us since I had stopped working as a teacher to raise our girls. I was trying to be supermom and superwife and I stopped taking care of me and felt guilty at the mere thought of doing anything for myself (including getting myself to the doctors when I wasn't feeling well). I missed me. I missed my adult world and the freedom of being able to just pick up and go. I became rather depressed. It was during this time that I had read about the Twilight series and like so many others, I got sucked into SM's world. I was not an avid reader (the reason for that will come in another post), and so I found a new love and interest in reading again.

I finally got myself to the doctor who told me that I HAD to either put my girls in day care for a few hours a week or get a babysitter so that I could have some Me Time. So, I got a babysitter, joined a gym and then thought to myself, "Okay, now what?" I had no money to go shopping and most of my friends were working and lived about an hour away. I did end up joining a local twin mommies group which made a HUGE difference in my life, but that wasn't ME time.

Then one day, I was sitting at the table and an idea for a story came to me. After reading SM's series, I felt like, "Hey, I can totally write my own story." I got a notebook and started plotting out the idea for my story, but as I started researching and writing it, it turned into something entirely different and five months later, I had a 160K word novel that is now my trunked work.

So, writing for me is only a few years old and I'm learning heaps about the process and art of writing on a daily basis. However, and most importantly, writing has become a healthy venue and means of escape for me where I can lose myself in my imaginary world with my made up characters and take a break from the real world. I'm not saying I don't love my life or my family. They are the meaning behind each breath I take, but I do realize that it's important to find balance in life and let's face it...life can be really challenging at times. It is through writing that I have that balance in my life and I feel like a happier and more complete person because of it.

So, how did you get into writing? I would love to hear all about it :-)

Top 5 Favorite YA books...

As my bio says, I have a LOT of YA literature to catch up on (all literature, actually). So, I thought I'd reach out to you and ask you this. What are you top five favorite, all time, YA books? And what is it about them that you love? I'll start with mine, though I probably don't have as much to choose from as you guys, but your lists and reason will help me to further add to my list of must reads.

The Mortal Instrments by Cassandra Claire--I can't say enough about this series. I just loved it. The characters are all so different and yet so awesome. I loved them all (or hated them when warranted). The story, even though I was able to figure some things out early on, had some nice twists to it. I love twisting plots (when they aren't ridiculously complicated). And, I heart Jace :) The only thing I didn't love was Claire's tendency to give a LOT of description of places. There were several times I found myself skimming, but some people really like that stuff and her descriptions really did captured the feel of where they were, but I was so into the characters and what was happening between them that I wanted desperately to skip the description so I could get back to them and the plot of the story.

The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins. If you haven't read it...YOU'RE INSANE!!! RUN TO YOUR LOCAL LIBRARY OR BOOK STORE AND GET IT. Yes...it's that good. Very different than anything I've ever read and I think Collins opened the door (heck, I think she may have unhinged the darn thing) for what writers of the YA genre can get away with. If that doesn't peak your interest, I don't know what will :-)

Some Girls Are by Coutney Summers. So this one was recommended by my good friend, Angie. Actually, recommended would be too soft a word. She threatened to send me her copy if I didn't go out and get it ASAP! Well, I could tell how much she loved this book, so I couldn't do that to her (make her give up her beloved copy) so I ran (okay, okay...I drove) to my local library, got a copy and couldn't put it down. The book is friggin' awesome! The way Summers makes you sympathize and actually root for a character that you hate and you know you should hate because she stands for the bitch of all bitches, blows my mind. Summers showed some genius characterization for the MC in that story. Wow. Just...wow.

The Twilight Series by Stephenie Meyers. Hi. My name is Melanie and I'm a Twilight fan. I feel like I have to say that because there are so many SM/Twilight haters out there that it makes me feel like I have a sickness if I admit I actually...like it (ducking flying tomatoes). Okay, so I have to give props to SM. I mean, I know there are a gazillion people who are ready to knock her down, but I greatly respect what she did with the Twilight series (minus some of the stalkerish and controlling behaviors of Edward), but the fact is, SM is the one who inspired me to want to write. People can tear her books apart all they want and like many books, it's not perfect, but as far as I'm concerned, it was a fantastic and easy read and evoked many emotions from me as I read through it. There. I said it. I'm not a Twilightaholic, but I am a Twilight fan.

The Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowlings. Looooove them. Loved the whole series. Love the movies. Love the actors who play the characters and I love her writing. It was the first real series I ever read and the only reason I got into it was because at the time, my stepson who was 9, was really into them so I read it to him at night and was like, Oh my God. This story totally rocks. I also loved that the main character was a boy and that his best friends were a boy and a girl and each of their characters had something very different to offer. Something that someone could relate to on some level. Can't wait for the final two movies!!!!

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