Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Kids Say the Darndest Things

Seriously, it never ceases to amaze me the things that come out of my 4 year old girls' mouths. Yesterday, I asked my daughter, Arwen, to put daddy's Pooka shell necklace away. She jumps off the bed and puts it back in daddy's drawer and says to me, "Mommy, daddy will be really impressed that I cleaned up!" Of course I'm thinking to myself, actually, daddy will be really impressed that you used the word impressed! 

Another day, the girls misplaced something and we were looking and looking for this toy and we couldn't find it. I said, "Sorry guys. I just don't know where it is," to which Lorien replied "It's a conundrum." hahaha...I love it.

I taught my girls the word famished and it's so cute to hear them say, "Mommy, I want something to eat. I'm famished."

Just goes to show, if you use these words with your kids and teach it to them, they will learn and use them. Jamie Lee Curtis and Laura Cornell wrote/illustrated a really cute book called, Big Words for Little People. I like knowing that my girls will grow up with a rich vocabulary. I think it's kinda cool.

BTW, if you haven't read any of Jamie Lee Curtis's children's books (and you love children's books), you must. They are so wonderful. Here's a link to her sight.
I own several of these and hope to be getting more of them as soon as the funds roll in :)

These are some other books of hers that I absolutely LOVE.

All of her stories have such beautiful messages and bring out the most precious of emotions. I swear I can't read Tell Me Again About the Night I was Born with out getting teary eyed. The illustrations are so sweet. Jamie and Laura make a great combo.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Teaser Tuesday

This is one of my stories on the back burner that I will be working on next. It has been SCREAMING at me to write, write, write. Now that my other ms is complete, I can finally start to do more work on this story. It is currently titled, The Willow Elves. NO ONE HAS SEEN THIS (not even my most trusted writer friends in the whole world--you know who you are :-)), so I'm extemely nervous about how this will be received. It's also my first attempt at a story that is not written in first person and not paranormal. It is a YA Fantasy/romance.  This is a rough draft, so it could possibly change (especially if it isn't hook-y enough for a beginning). I have an idea to possibly start the story a little before this, but as you will see, that would mean some horrific stuff happening. Let the fingernail biting begin.

Chapter 1

     Autumn ran as fast as she could. The rustling sound her feet made as they smacked through the dry blades of grass became louder and louder as the sounds of her shouting father trailed further and further behind.

     At the age of sixteen, Autumn was much faster than her half a century old, out of shape father. There was no way he could ever catch up to her. Especially with the bum knee he received only moments ago when she struck it with the fireplace poker.

     She knew there was no turning back. Not this time. Her father had gone too far. It wasn’t the drinking or constant screaming and berating she received night after night that forced her to leave. It wasn’t even the beatings he gave her that often followed those times. All of those things she had learned to tolerate—even ignore sometimes. But if there was one thing she would not allow, it was to have her innocence and virginity incestuously taken from her.

     With a mother too afraid to protect herself, let alone her only offspring, Autumn realized she had no choice. Leaving was her only option. And leaving meant she could never return. Having done what he tried to do to her, and knowing it was wrong, her father vowed to kill her if she ever said anything. Autumn knew that by remaining silent, she would ultimately be giving him permission to try again.

     She would never allow him to try again. Never.

     As she continued to run, her father’s screams and shouts soon became nothing more than harsh whispers floating on the wind. For all she knew, it could have been crows or some other animal that made the now distant sounds. She couldn’t bring herself to turn around and look. Not because she was afraid to see her abusive, pedophile father, but because she knew she was leaving behind her home and the farm she grew up on. She was leaving behind the animals she had spent her entire life caring for and loving. And she was leaving behind her best friend, Becky—her beloved mare.

     She knew that Becky would never receive the care and love she needed without her. Her father hated Becky and constantly threatened Autumn to “butcher the damn thing.” It was another reason she had tolerated her father’s abuse for as long as she had.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Funny Friday

Hey guys,

Sorry I've been away from my blog for a little while. As I've been taking a break from my ms, I've been taking a break from blogging as well, which I think has been kinda healthy for me :-) Anyway, I wanted to do my funny commercial segment. As you know, I LOVE commercials. I think the brainstorming and writing for some of these commercials are just brilliant while others are an utter disaster and makes me cringe to think they received a nice fat check for such a lame idea. Commercials are a very interesting form of writing to me. You need to convey a message about a product or brand and you have to do most times in 30-60 seconds. And I will admit that creative and funny commercials ALWAYS get my attention. I remember their product and in a store, sometimes it could be the difference between choosing that product and a similar one next to it. So, here are some funny ones that have cracked me up. Just want to warn you that the 2nd one has some vulgar language in it, but it's actually what makes it very funny.

Monday, September 20, 2010

I FINISHED MY MS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Woot Woot! So stoked.

On Saturday, September 18, 2010 at 10:33pm, I typed the words, The End. Man, what a good feeling that was. A little scary, but exciting. It was almost surreal..."What? I'm actually...done?" I started working on this story in January and as I went along, I had very reliable and smart BETA readers who helped me to make the story and writing that much stronger (though I'm still waiting for some feedback on some of the final chapters).

So now, I will try my best to leave it alone for at least a week (maybe two if I can handle it) and then start revsions. In the meantime, I am compiling a list in a special document entitled "Revisions". In this list I am typing out all the things I need to do. For the next week I'll be doing a lot of reading and researching on line about revision and the things I need to be thinking about as I prepare for the process. PLEASE...if you have suggestions about things you think I should think about in revisions, or things you do when you're in revision mode please share.

I will also be doing some research on outlining (I don't know how to do it for crap) because for my next novel I'll be writing, I want to have the whole thing plotted out before me. I'm very excited about that story, currrently titled, The Willow Elves, which will be a YA Romance Fantasy. I know the beginning middle and end, but I think having an outline will allow me to have better flow (and hopefully less bouts of struggle/writer's block) as I write the story. Also, I am writing the new story in 3rd person limited (I think, still debating if I'll do it in omniscient) which is different from my other written novels which are First person past and first person present.

So that's what I'm up to in terms of writing and I just HAD to share. I'm DONE!!!!!!! Woooooohooooooooooooo :-)

Movie Review Monday: Blood--The Last Vampire

Okay, as you can see from the trailer, this movie looks pretty damn awesome (if vampires, demons and kick ass fight scenes are your thing). The overall story line of the movie sucked me in. Film wise I got a sort of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon vibe from this movie, but with a much darker, YA feel. I like to think of this movie as Crouching Vampire, Hidden Demon, as it had some of the beauty and intensity of CTHD, but it was a hit and miss. In fact, the whole movie in every possible way was a hit and miss for me, starting with the fact that I didn't feel or understand the whole vampire component to the story other than Saya (the mc) sometimes drinks blood from a bottle provided to her by some dudes whose mission/hidden agenda I never really understood.

The effects: Sometimes the artistry of the effects and filming were so beautifully done and other times it was cheesy, fake and awkwardly angled. I don't mind the exaggerated blood type effects (something I actually love about the Kill Bill films), but there were times when the effects didn't look any better than those from the original 1981 version of Clash of the Titans. It was very strange to see these modern effects mixed with antiquated ones. It went back and forth from "cool" to "Boooooo." Disappointing.

The fight scenes: Some of them were great, others were so convoluted that I couldn't tell what the hell was happening. Things were flying through the air (body parts I'm assuming), but the weird angles and dark lighting made it hard to decipher what was happening at times. There was one scene that was so fake looking and so completely unrealistic that I laughed out loud. If it had been beautiful (like the fight scenes in the woods in CTHD), then I wouldn't have minded, but this scene (the one on the truck if you see the movie) was just plain silly and...dumb.

The acting: again, a hit and miss for me. Some of the actors did a nice job, including the main character, Saya, played by actress Gianna Jun. She was very believable in her role. Great with the sword and fight scenes (though I'm not sure how much was her vs. a stunt double). Her emotions felt authentic and therefore I connected to her and her character's situation. However, the secondary main character, Alice, played by Allison Miller baffled me. At times, she seemed to really know how to deliver a line and then there were moments where I cringed and wanted to scold her acting teachers/coach (if she even has one and if she doesn't, she needs one!). I won't blame her ENTIRELY (though mostly), because sometimes I think it was the quality of the script with cheesy lines like "Please be careful, Saya" after Saya had just slained over 100 demons and saved her life. The character who plays her father was also pretty disappointing, but then his character was your typical, overly strict high ranking military father, so there was no real depth to his character. The actress who played Onigen, the head Demon for whom Saya is seeking to kill to avenge the death of her father and mentor, played by Koyuki was actually pretty good, (also known for her role as Taka in The Last Samurai) and not hard on the eyes at all. She is so beautiful that I found myself mesmerized at times (no, I'm not gay...not that there's anything wrong with it :-))

Overall, I found the movie entertaining. The only thing that kept me invested to watch it to the end (because it wasn't the acting or special effects), was the story line/plot. It worked for me (for the most part) and I had to see what would happen to Saya and whether she would win. Which reminds me...the ending left me scratching my head. Very strange and awkward ending for me.

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 or cable
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

I give Blood--The Last Vampire, a 3

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Blogging--My New Insecurity

Good Day to you, whomever you may be that's actually reading this.

Last night I started preparing a post for today about my actual journey in writing and where I am at this point. But this morning I was reading a post on someone's blog about...well, about blogging. Yesterday another blog that I follow had posted about blogging as well and both of the topics seemed to focus on how to come up with topics for blogging and about blogging itself. 

Now, I'm a fairly new blogger. Never even heard of blogging or knew what it was until a few months ago. Crazy, right? Not really considering I'm not a facebooker or a tweeter. However, a good friend of mine from AW started one and it was awesome, but I was too overwhelmed and afraid to begin my own, even with her encouragement that I should do it. I'm not technologically savvy when it comes to the world of computers. I know how to do the things I need to do, but I scare easily when I can't figure something out. And then there's the little fact that I'm a SAHM with two, very attached, needy, can't-get-enough-of-mommy four year olds and I honestly didn't have the time to concentrate long enough to figure it out. 

Obviously, I eventually got my blog up and running, but I'm still trying to figure out all the millions of features that make the blog really come to life. I'm getting there, slowly, but surely and with the help of some of my other blogger friends (Thanks you guys, you know who you are! :-) ).  However, I have a new MAJOR problem. I have come to realize that blogging is making me incredibly insecure. Now, I was reading over at this other blog about blogging, a comment regarding comments. This person poses the question, "Are comments really an important part of blogging? If you're getting a lot of comments does that really mean you're getting a lot of readers?" They go on to say, "Explore the difference between a wide, general readership and a small, specific readership dedicated to commenting." I'm not quoting this person to counter what they are saying (which is why I'm not mentioning names), but only to explore my own feelings about this and my answer is, yes. I feel like it really is an important part of blogging. I mean, how do you know whether or not people are actually reading or interested in what you have to say if they don't leave comments. It seems an easier question to pose when someone is receiving anywhere from 30-50 comments on everything they blog about. Of course, I know that when people start blogging, it takes time to get a following. I get that. I really do.

This brings me to my next and biggest insecurity in the blogging world. Followers. You know that little box with people's pictures, photos, or  anonymous grey heads that tell you they've joined your blog because something you have written in one of your blogs really caught their eye or captured their interest and made them say, "Hmm, I think I'll join this person's blog because I have connected to this person in some way based on what they've said/written and I want more? 

Yeah. Ha. That's what I thought it meant to get a follower. Only, I've just recently discovered that sometimes this is the case and sometimes it's not. And from what I now know, the comments are the only way to differentiate those who follow because they are genuinely interested in what you have to say and those who follow because when you hit that "post a comment" button on THEIR blog, it automatically signs them up as a follower on yours. I didn't know you can even have that feature, but realized last night, that apparently, some people do. I even went to my features to figure out how they did that (not because I wanted to do that, I don't), but because I wanted to just know what button has to be pressed or what box has to be checked to make that happen. How did I discover this you ask? ( for those of you who didn't even know that can happen). Well, I posted on someone's blog last night. I had been a follower for a while, a reader, not a commenter, but last night I connected to their post and couldn't contain myself, and posted a comment. When I flipped back to my blog (which I check about 8,342 times per day, I'm an addicted newbie and insecure hahaha) low and behold, I saw that my follower number had gone up 1!!! Wooohooo. Yay! Now I have 23 followers (pathetic, I know. Not the number of followers, but that I would get so damn excited about it). So I look to see who it is and it happens to be the person I just posted to. Like literally, 4 seconds before. I really like this particular blogger and feel they have interesting stuff to offer (which is why I joined their blog in the first place), but at first I was like, wow, what a coincidence. I mean, here I am, posting for the first time on their blog (and hey, admit feels soooooooo good when you see that comment number go up. Even more so than the follower number sometimes), and at the very same moment they just so a minute. What is going on here? I check my comments on my last few posts and don't see the number has gone up. Hmm....are you thinking what I am? Yeah. It was an automatic something-a-rather that happened. This person is in no way following me because of something I said or wrote or thought (although maybe they will in the future, who knows), but because I hit the post button on their blog.    

And now back to being a Follower (which is totally related imo to being a commenter) As a new blogger (and maybe for some of the older ones), that "Follow Box" has become like my own personal "Security Box." The more that "follow" number jumps up, the more secure I feel. (and of course this ties in with number of comments) The longer those numbers stay stagnant and no one seems interested in following my blog or has anything to say, the more insecure I feel. Now, I'm not saying this because I want everyone to say, "Oh, poor, poor, Melanie. Let's follow her blog, so she can feel less insecure." (Okay, I mean if you really want to join on that basis, I guess I'll take what I can get.  Hahaha, jking...Or am I? No. I definitely am.). But the fact is, when I go to someone's blog and see they have 6 hundred followers, or 1,500 followers or 3,000 plus followers, my brain immediately goes, OMFG, Wow! 3 thousand people are interested in what this person has to say? Okay, granted, this person could have been blogging for ten years already. Or perhaps they have a lot of followers because they are a published author and therefore other writers trust what this person has to say and believes they can walk away with something helpful towards their own dream to become published. Some of these blogs are people who work in the industry and what writer wouldn't want to read and know anything and everything this person has to say? 

I realize this is something that I need to get over. It's something within ME because face it, blogging is a bit narcissistic. And I'm not saying that's a bad thing. I have learned so, so, so much since I've entered the world of blogging. Things that are greatly helping me to improve in this craft in so many different ways. This morning, I had a fleeting moment of quitting my blog and saying F@@K it, but then I realized that it wouldn't be fair because I do have some people who are following my blog and commenting because they do care about what I have to say or share. So, I will continue to blog, continue to read blogs and continue to try and get over my blogging insecurities and remember the real reason I began blogging in the first place: To chronicle my journey through the writing to published process.

ETA: Just want to re-iterate that I didn't write this blog for sympathy, but for the sole purpose to share with you my feelings about blogging and how it's made me a wee bit insecure. And for the record, I'm not generally an insecure person. I think it's just the fact that I'm very new in this writing business and simultaneously new in the blogging business and I think feeling a bit insecure comes with the territory. I'm just thinking that maybe there are others who feel this way, and wanted to let you know, you are so not alone.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Tuesday's Temtping Teaser #4

This is shorter than my other teasers, but I thought this was a perfect piece to share since it gives you a real feel and understanding for my MC, Sam, and why she is the way she is: tough, guarded, and untrusting. When I first started writing this story and came up with the idea of her power being telepathy, I was very excited with the possibilities of what that can mean for someone. Being able to read thoughts? How cool is that? I mean all powers are cool in one way or another, but as I began to write her story, I realized that if there is good to having these powers then there must also be bad and the more I thought about it, the more I realized that being a teenager and having the ability to hear other teenage thoughts, might actually be quite horrible because the inner minds of people is where the real truth lies and we (us regular, POPless humans :) ) don't have access to people's inner truths. And honestly, after getting to know Sam, I feel really bad for her and I would never wish myself to be a telepath. However, this scene also shows why Sam and Josh (who is also a telepath) have become so close and why she has let her guard down for him.

Entering my room, I shut the door behind me and fling my brand new journal across the room like a Frisbee. It flies through the air, ricochets off the wall and lands on the bed with a soft thud. Not my bed. The bed that is unoccupied by a roommate I never have. The staff got tired of hearing them complain that I was always in their head, responding to things they were privately thinking. Of course I did it on purpose.
And it worked.
            I like being on my own. I’m used to it. I’m not here to make lifelong friends—well, except for Josh maybe. I’ve tried several times to have meaningful friendships, but they never seem to work out—at least not for too long. Being friends with someone when you’re a telepath is no easy task. It’s astounding how superficial people can be to your face. Including the ones you believe to be your truest friends.
"Hi Sam, how are you? I love your shirt." As if she could afford it. She probably shoplifted it.
"Hey, Sam, you look so pretty today." Skinny ass bitch. I bet she pukes up everything she eats.
"Sam, I was wondering if you’d like to come to my birthday barbeque next week?" Please say no. Please say no. God, I can’t believe my mother’s making me invite her. Just because our mothers are friends doesn’t mean we have to be. POP freak."
 Sometimes I’m not sure which is better: knowing what people are thinking or not knowing.
At least with Josh the friendship is on even ground. There’s no hiding and no faking with each other. To think it is to say it. There’s a strange sort of comfort in that—a sincerity that I’ve never found with anyone else.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Writer's Brain

Wow, I've come to realize that I now have writer's brain. It's not like Mommy's brain in which you can actually feel your neurons dissipating from your brain and oozing out your ears every time you sit down with your young children to play Candyland or Chutes and Ladders for the 4,587th time...that day. No, I'm talking about the kind of brain where the wheels are turning...NON STOP. Ever since I started writing, which is really not that long ago, everything around me flashes through my head as a story idea. Sometimes it's a fleeting idea. You know, like when you have a sudden memory/vision of something you're sure you dreamt about, but the more you try to pull the info out of your memory, the faster it fades away and then you can't remember crap? (Okay, so maybe that's due to mommy brain? Or maybe it was that time in college when someone told me to put that tiny little square piece of paper on my tongue, let it dissolve, and listen to The Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band cd. Hmm...)

So, what was I saying? Oh yeah. Everything lately is becoming a story. Sometimes it's the weirdest thing that happens or occurs or that I see and I think, "that could make an interesting premise." Immediately my brain starts trying to puzzle things together. Yeah, yeah and then this could happen. Oh! And this could happen to cause this to happen, which in wait. Okay, so this happens to this persona and then...that person...ummm...Wait...shit. Forget it. It's like those dreams. The ones you can't quite grasp the memory of. It's there one second, but the harder you try to make sense of it, picture it and put it together the faster it's gone.

That's kind of the process my brain goes through when I have these strange fleeting ideas, but they happen all the time. Once in a while I'll get one where the pieces are actually fitting together and those ideas go in my notebook with a quick summary of the overall premise. But most times I walk around and I swear people must think I'm a complete wackadoo. I talk to myself in the car, I'll tell someone to hold on in mid-conversation so I can try and complete a sudden thought/idea, or I'll momentarily blank out when someone is talking to me on the phone. You know, when your friend is on the other line and you know they're talking, but you've just thought about an idea for a story based on something they said and you quickly realize that you've just said "Mm hmm" but don't even know if it's a proper response to what they just said?

It's a little frustrating to be honest. Having all these ideas and momentary story thoughts floating around constantly in my head. Hell, they even come to me in my dreams. I got a complete YA Scifi novel idea based on a futuristic structure I dreamt about. At two in the morning, I took out my notebook in my nightstand and tried to draw the picture of what I saw so I wouldn't forget it.

What's my point of this post? I don't know. I ramble. Wait a minute. Hold never mind. See it just happened. Some weird twisted thought for a story about people who blog that somehow turns into a murder mystery/thriller.

Does anyone else out there have writer's brain? Please tell me I'm not the only one with this bizarre condition (even though it can be a great thing to have, when a great idea sticks)

Monday's Movie and Music Review

Shutter Island (2010)


It's 1954, and up-and-coming U.S. marshal Teddy Daniels is assigned to investigate the disappearance of a patient from Boston's Shutter Island Ashecliffe Hospital. He's been pushing for an assignment on the island for personal reasons, but before long he wonders whether he hasn't been brought there as part of a twisted plot by hospital doctors whose radical treatments range from unethical to illegal to downright sinister. Teddy's shrewd investigating skills soon provide a promising lead, but the hospital refuses him access to records he suspects would break the case wide open. As a hurricane cuts off communication with the mainland, more dangerous criminals "escape" in the confusion, and the puzzling, improbable clues multiply, Teddy begins to doubt everything - his memory, his partner, even his own sanity. Written by alfiehitchie

I have to say I really liked this movie. I liked the setting and time period (the 50's) and thought that DiCaprio gave a stellar performance (though I felt his accent was lost from time to time). The beginning (the first 5-10 minutes) were a little slow for me. I think they could have skipped the whole sea sickness thing as it served no purpose to the rest of the film (like a boring unecessary prologue in a book, I guess). What I loved most about this movie was that I didn't see the twist coming. I LOVE a good movie twist. Generally, I can figure things out, but the way they set this movie up allowed me to be pleasantly surprised by the outcome. But what I love even more is they way it left question and doubt in my mind at the very end about what was true and what wasn't. I just don't know. I wonder if the book left you with the same feeling--the not knowing which was the truth. I really enjoyed the dark feel of this movie which occurs from the moment they land on the island to the moment...well, I won't say if you don't know :-) As for the overall acting, I thought everyone played their part well, though I wasn't particularly impressed with Max von Sydow's performance. He seemed the same from some of his other films. I didn't feel his character had much depth for the small parts he had. Ben Kinsley, Mark Ruffalo and Michelle Williams were all very believable in their roles.

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

I give Shutter Island a 3 It's one of those films that I don't feel a need to buy, and since I saw it on Netflix, I probably won't watch it again, but if I was surfing through the channels and there was nothing else on, I would probably tune in to watch it.

Now, for my music video choice of the week. For some reason, Dh and I cannot get over Lady Gaga's Bad Romance song and video (I'm so po'd it's not longer available on On Demand *sigh*) and apparently I'm not the only one who thinks that her video is UN. BE. LIEVABLE!!!

The MTV's VMA show aired last night (grrrr...I missed it!!! Had True Blood's season finale on the brain). But here are the results:

"Lady Gaga swept the night, nabbing eight of the 13 awards for which she was nominated, including Best Female Video, Best Pop Video and Video of the Year. Although she announced the title of her new album, 'Born This Way,' and even sang a sample from it on stage, we weren't surprised to see her take home so many Moonmen. Hello, she got 13 noms!"

I am truly fascinated with her and can't help but think of her as the current day Madonna. Don't hate me for saying that because I know there a lot of people who hate to compare anyone to Madonna. But you can't deny that Lady Gaga is...controversial. However, if you look deep into her work and lyrics she is really quite brilliant. And it's all an act people! Well, most of it anyway :-) The first time I saw her Bad Romance video I was like, WTF? Ohhhhkaaaay. You are a "freak bitch, baby." Then I watched it again and again and again and was like OMG, she's a genius! I am so envious of people who dance like she does and write music and lyrics like she does. I couldn't do it if my life depended on it, which is funny because I've had people tell me that they can't believe or understand how I can write a whole novel. Ha. Guess everyone has their little niches, heh? The thing that really amazes me with her work is that every word in her lyrics and every dance move, facial gesture and miniscule movement has meaning and purpose, which is what we strive for in our writing. Every word, action, and dialogue should count and have purpose and meaning.

Anyway, without further ado, if you haven't seen this video, YOU ARE NUTS!!! If you have, then I hope you enjoy watching it again...and again, and again, and again! And I'm not the only one who could watch this thing a million times. She has over 270 million views on this video on Youtube. Holy shite!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Funny Friday

So, I've been trying to figure out what I should use Friday's for in terms of blogging as I wanted to use it to discuss the various television programs that I've watched during the week. However, most of my shows are on hiatus right now, so I thought I'd do some of the funniest commercials I've ever seen (which I'll probably continue to do weekly if anyone is interested in them. And maybe if they're not, because well, I like them haha)

So here is one that I love. It makes me LOL everytime I watch it. Would love to hear your thoughts on it. This particular one I'm going to show is a tiny bit vulgar so if that's not your thing you may not want to watch it. Hope you enjoy and if you've seen it already, hope you don't feel your time was wasted. Personally, I could watch this thing a million times and still get a good chuckle from it.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

My Productive Black Eye

Okay, so it's not a full on black eye, but I did give myself a nice little bruise on my upper right cheek just under my eye. I feel like such an ass. Picutre it...there I am, reaching down into the shelves of the refrigerator door to grab the ketchup (which I've only done several thousand times in my life) and I smash my eye into the rounded clear tray that holds the butter. I screamed something to the affect of "Owwww $%^#$%%$%" to which my husband and one of my daughters casually asked, "what happened?" to which I said "Owwww" followed by a whine, whine.  No one came running in to check on me hahaha. Geesh. Thanks guys. Don't worry ya'll. Mommy has another eye should this one shut to a closed position.

Anyway, after the stars I was seeing drifted away, I finished getting dinner on the table and then checked my eye and saw my upper right cheek swelling. It's not as bad today. Just a small bruise, but believe it or not, I found this experience to be productive. I hadn't been hit in the face since my days of studying Kyokushin (where I took several shots to the head, thighs, calves, arms, stomach, etc...).

 So you are probably thinking right about now that I'm a nut job, heh? Smashing your face and bruising your eye is productive? Yes it is. Especially when you are writing a scene in your novel where one of your characters gets punched in the face and you need to describe the pain so someone who has never been hit in the face can at least imagine what it feels like.

Now, I'm not saying everyone should go out and smash their face or ask someone to punch them so they can know what it feels like, but believe me, once you get hit like that (or anywhere for that matter), it becomes a good experience that will add to your  ability to describe a fight scene and pull your reader into the actual feel of receiving that strike.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Tuesday's Temtping Teaser

Okay, this is a continuation from the last tease, but this one I feel is a real tease. At least I hope you feel that it is. For those of you who haven't read the other teases, this scene takes place in the cafeteria of Alina Lodge, a facility for troubled and law breaking teenage POPs (Person of Powers). It's  starts with Josh, Samantha's best friend, who has just returned to the table after getting something else to eat. Keep in mind that when you see conversation in italics it's Josh and Sam communicating telepathically. Hope you enjoy :-)

"Man, I couldn’t find anything to eat today. Everything either looks over cooked or undercooked or some disgusting combination of both." He tears open several small boxes of cereal and pours them into his bowl. "Anyway, what’s your schedule like for the rest of the day? Mine’s pretty much slam packed. I probably won’t—"
Josh! I realize now what he’s doing, but I don’t understand why. I can just barely make out the heavy metal song he’s playing in his head. It’s one of the strategies we use to help block out thoughts from those who can read them—from people like me.
"Turn that lame ass song off. Why are you avoiding my question?"
"The 411 on Miss Newbie? Her powers? Reason for being here? Hellooo."
From the corner of my eye, I notice that Dumbo is staring in our direction. I narrow my eyes. "Mind your Goddamn business Sarah or I’ll give you something to listen to," I utter under my breath.
She nervously turns away and makes conversation with some of the kids at her table. My eyes shoot back to Josh. I’m waiting for an answer. He’s shifting in his chair, dunking his cereal in the milk with his spoon.
Something is up.
Damn it, Josh. What the hell?
After a few seconds he sighs, tosses his spoon into the bowl and puts his hands in the air.
Fine. You’ll find out eventually anyway.
Like the instant silence one hears after a needle’s been dramatically scratched across a record, my mind shuts off all background noise, ready to absorb everything he’s about to say.
My left eyebrow flies up. I’m intrigued. It’s gotta be good.
"She snuck out of her house, stole a car, some clothes from some boutique store, money from a couple ATM machines, and crashed a party at an art gallery in Soho with a couple of friends."
I pull my head back and rumple my brows. "Ohhhkay…and you were hesitant to tell me this, because?"
"Because I know you and the way your mind thinks."
Confused and annoyed, I throw my arms across my chest. "You don’t know how my mind thinks…all the time."
He snorts, his right cheek pulling his mouth into a side smile. "Sam, I know how your mind thinks better than you know how your mind thinks. I’m one step ahead of you girl."
Still feeling perturbed and trying to take in what he just said, the neurons in my brain suddenly fire wildly. Turning my head to the side, eyes locked on his, I smile and bite into my lip.
            "What are her powers, Josh?"            
His eyes stare into mine, frozen for several seconds, before he takes a deep breath, rolls his eyes and shakes his head. Leaning back in his chair, he lounges his arm across the top of the chair next to him and runs his hand back and forth across the top of his freshly buzzed hair. "She’s…technopathic."
For a moment it doesn’t register. My memory goes into search mode for the definition. Technopathic? Technopathic? Techno—Oh…my God.
With my thumbnail in my mouth and my teeth searching frantically for a piece of nail, my mind starts flying all over the place. I can’t seem to organize my thoughts. So many things, so many connections, are zinging through it at the same time.
"Don’t you give me that innocent what face. I know exactly where your thoughts have gone." You’ve been talking about it for weeks.
"I gotta go." I pick up my tray and head for the garbage.
Don’t do it Sam. You’re only asking for trouble.
I don’t have to look back to see the concern on his face.
I’ll talk to you later, I say.
After dumping my tray I walk straight up the stairs to the main floor bulletin board with everyone’s posted schedule.
Hmm…no class for another hour and she’s not having lunch in the cafeteria.  I feel myself grin uncontrollably as my teeth sink into my lower lip.
Time to make friends with the new girl.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Movie Review Monday

Good Monday Moring!

Happy Labor day to all. Hope you are not working today and if you had no choice and your boss made you go in, then please feel free to leave your boss's name in the comments section and I'll see what I can do to have them, I mean to have the wacko spoken to.

I made it to the theater this weekend (yay! that means dinner and candy also :-)) to see Robert Rodriguez's Machete. However, I'm sad to say (unless I'm saving you the potential loss of money) that  this movie was a total waste of time and money (minus the delicious dinner and candy). I was very disappointed by this film as it doesn't  even come close to standing up to his other works (IMO).

Machete: Three years ago in Mexico, determined Federale Machete (Danny Trejo) is betrayed and set-up by his boss, resulting in his wife and child being murdered by drug kingpin Torrez (Steven Seagal). Now, in Texas, Machete resurfaces when hired to assassinate Senator McLaughlin (Robert De Niro), an extreme advocate against illegal immigration. Once again betrayed and set-up, Machete plots his revenge against the men who've wronged him with the help of resistance fighter Luz (Michelle Rodriguez), ICE Agent Sartana (Jessica Alba), and the shotgun-toting Padre (Cheech Marin). Written by The Massie Twins

This is a fairly good summary of the story. When it first started out (the first 10 minutes), I thought, okay, this will be a kick ass movie, but as it went on and more characters were introduced it started to all lose shape for me. Michelle Rodgriguez was decent in this movie as was Cheech Marin (though he was pretty much the way he is in every other movie). De Niro was good though I was confused by his back and forth Mafia to southern accent (unless it was supposed to be that way and I missed something behind his character). Danny Trejo was decent and had some comical lines and actions in this film, but it wasn't anything that made me say Wow! In fact, none of the characters made me say Wow! Then again, I guess this is not the type of film that you go to see for Oscar worthy performances, but I have seen Rodriguez films where there were characters and acting that Wowed me (Antonio Banderas in Desperado and George Clooney in From Dusk Til Dawn). 

There were some characters/actors who I felt were poorly casted--Lindsay Lohan, ugh, just awful. Was not impressed with her at all. Then again, I guess it doesn't take much "acting" in her case to parade around on the big screen as a naked, drug addicted slut. I don't know, maybe it was just too close to what's been going on in her real life that made me feel terribly uncomfortable for her in this particular role. Jessica Alba was okay, though I would have found her role as an immigration customs agent to be a little more believable if she wasn't wearing four inch stilettos through the entire movie (but, I guess that's just more of Rodgriguez's style for his female characters). Lastly, Steven Segal...bleh. (stick to being a cop and doing reality stuff on A&E). I don't know why he bothered me so much in this film. Maybe it was his CONSTANT use of the word Puñeta, Cabron and Pendejo which gave his character so little depth. I cringed every time he came on the screen. The other actors, I don't even feel warrant mention because they're roles/acting are not worth mentioning one way or the other. Not horrible, not great.

If you want blood, you'll get blood. If you want some funny lines, you'll get a few. But for me, this movie was not up to par with Rodriguez's other stuff. It just goes to prove that just because you have an all star cast, doesn't mean it will be an all star movie.

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

It's so hard to not compare this movie to other Rodriguez films because I have always loved his stuff, so I'm going to give this movie two separate ratings.

In comparison to his other stuff (From Dusk Til Dawn, Desperado, Planet Terror, Grindhouse, etc.) I give Machete a 1

As a movie overall, I give it a 2. But my advice would be to wait until you have an opportunity to see it for free. Not worth the money (at least not here in NY where the tickets cost us $11 a piece).


Friday, September 3, 2010

Breaking Through the Dam (my first writer's block)

Okay, so truth be known, I had been stuck for quite some time in the final chapters of my WIP. In fact, it feels like the last 1/4 of my novel has taken me as long to write as the first 3/4. Very frustrating to have the words flowing like a downstream river, only to hit a dam with no idea of how to get over or around it. But alas, this is what happened. It doesn't help that I have been completely sleep deprived (let's just say that I often end up on the couch at some point during the night because a king size bed may seem big, but it's a whole hell of a lot smaller when there are two four year olds sleeping between dh and I :-)).

Anyway, I had been really struggling with these final scenes in my ms. I know the ending already, but it's the climatic scenes right before that were stumping me. I knew what I wanted to happen, but couldn't find the words or picture in my head of how to make it happen. The movie in my head got stuck. I'd sit to type and look at the screen and then I'd open my blog and play around with that. And then I'd go back to my WIP, write a few sentences, erase it and then I'd go to my favorite website, AW and search desperately for something new and interesting on the board so I could procrastinate further. I'd smack my hand, return to my WIP, type something, erase and then check and respond to other blogs. Back to my WIP and...oh, I need to check my email. After all, it's been a whole five minutes since I last checked, you never know, right? Ha.

Yeah...I was having a writer's block and it was majorly upsetting me. I guess I didn't realize it was a true writer's block (I had never really had one), but looking at it now that's exactly what it was. I think I was ashamed to admit that. Not only to other's, but mostly to myself. It made me doubt myself. It made me believe for a small moment that there's no way I could be an actual writer if I was unable to get the necessary words down on the page. I tried stepping away for a few days, I tried working on other stories I have on the back burner, but I couldn't seem to concentrate on anything because this mental block was taking over my life. I would wake in the middle of the night and not fall asleep for hours because my mind would not turn off. I was desperate to find a solution on how to break the damn, dam.

So a couple of days ago, I looked at what I had so far in this chapter, took a deep breath, DELETED it and started the scene over, going in a totally different direction with it. And you know what happened? Yep, it started to work. The ideas and words and movie started to play again in my head. When I write, I tend to see everything happening like it's before me on the big screen. So I closed my eyes, pictured the scene in this new direction and voila, it all made sense. It all came together. I realize now that I was trying to force something that just wasn't meant to work.

It was a very well built dam I hit. I tried to go right through it, but that didn't work. It was too strong. I tried to go around it, but that didn't work either. I tried to go over it, but damn if this dam wasn't the highest built dam ever. So what did I do? I back tracked. I swam my way upstream against the current (it wasn't easy to let go of the fact that I had already swam all that way only to turn back), and made my way to that place in the river where it forks off in different directions and tried a different route. Now, I admit I have come across a few small sized dams on this new route, but they're more of the normal sized dams that I'm able to push my way through.

The lesson: Writers hit dams and that's okay. It's part of the process. Don't be afraid to swim backwards against the current. Don't look at it as wasted effort (but I spent so much time trying to make this work) Sometimes, no matter how hard you push and push, things are just not meant to be. Let it go and try a totally new and different approach. Trust yourself enough to let it all go and know that there is another solution out there. After all, in the end, the only thing that matters is getting to your final destination. It doesn't matter how you get there as long as you get there.
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