Friday, November 23, 2012

CSI and Me

The CSI team is always finding fibers, hairs, or biologicals on the carpet of the victim's home. Sometimes in the drain, sometimes on the sheets, there is always some sort of clue that stands apart from the myriad of other fibers, biologicals, etc... that exist in the victim's home. Except that there are no other samples. Why? Because all their victims were surprisingly clean.

Every time I watch CSI, I wash my sheets out of shame. If CSI had to come to my house, they would find all sorts of stuff, very little of it relevant to their case. I think of all the times my daughter has wiped buggers in my bed. When my husband has come to bed, collapsing fully clothed in his lawn-mowing jeans. When the bare feet that earlier went outside to feed the dog then tucked themselves under my sheets.

God only knows what's under my nails or how many toxins are in my blood just from working in Hemet. If they searched my drain, would they find samples of the killer's blood amidst all the human, My Little Pony, and Barbie hair there? Trace would be working for hours to differentiate between all the different samples. By the time they were done, they wouldn't want to solve my murder -- they'd consider it karma for them having to process all the dirty tissues in and around the trash can.

If they had to autopsy my corpse (I know, dark.) they would have to cut off my not-matching undergarments, including my too-big grandma underwear. They'd find evidence of past bruising, a lot of evidence. Eventually they would match it up to the corner of my bed, the open dishwasher, my daughter's elbow, and various other things I don't even know about. They would find all sort of residue of different lotions, topical ointments, etc... none of which were pertinent to my murder.

Of course, they writer's couldn't tell a one hour story if they dealt with someone like me. Even when they dumpster dive or have a murder in a back alley, the tiny evidence is clear enough that it stands out as relevant against the grime of the region.

These are they types of things that go through my head when I watch crime dramas. When it comes to writing a mystery, I have to be careful to give clues, but not be captain obvious. It has to be possible for the reader to solve the story, but not so blatant that the reader is frustrated. Luckily all my clues lay in paper trails and verbal accounts and I don't have to deal with soiled sheets and random, important fibers.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Yes, It is Your Fault

No, really, it is. Whatever horrible thing that just happened in your life, short of a total fluke act of nature, you had some measure of control over the outcome.

I know, that guy over there has more money than you and it's not fair. I know that your mom didn't love you enough or that the socio-economic demographic of your hometown was stacked against you. Yes, people did bad things years ago, but it's what YOU do now that matters. Be accountable. Stop pointing fingers and blaming everyone but yourself. The minute you accept responsibility for your own actions, you empower yourself to change your life.

If you are not published because editors don't understand your voice or *insert generic reason here*, blaming the editor won't solve the problem. Do you want to be published? Take the critiques, build your craft, and take the necessary steps instead of complaining about it. Be proactive, not defensive.

If you are doing poorly in school, don't blame your teacher. Too tired to pay attention? Choose more nutritious food than Flaming Hot Cheetos -- I know, you don't like vegetables, but it's a trade off. Eat well, perform well. And don't tell me you can't afford vegetables as you eat a family size bag of Cheetos and drink a Rockstar. A frozen bag of broccoli which costs $1.99 and will feed you, even if it's all you eat, for two meals. You are making the choices that impact the outcome. Didn't get enough sleep last night? That's because you played Halo 4 until your eyes bled. If you're not performing up to your potential, you've got no one to blame but yourself (except in cases of abuse -- in which case, tell me).

You are addicted to xyz? I'm sorry, overcoming addiction is hard. If it's not worth it to you to succeed  you won't do it. Blaming your genetic predisposition doesn't solve the problem, it excuses it. You think people are judging your decisions? They are.  Maybe having an addictive personality isn't your fault, but what you do about it is.

Right now I'm writing my blog, but right afterward I will do work for my day job. I could blow it off and get some writing done, but then when I'm behind and disorganized I'll have no one to blame but myself.

Thursday, November 15, 2012


We are halfway through the month, but I am not halfway through my writing goal for National Novel Writer's Month. I was doing great for the first nine days, totally on track. Then I got busy with real life. Then I played some Bejeweled. Then I procrastinated (I read The Taker by Alma Katsu -- a disturbingly haunting story).

This weekend I plan to get back on track. I'm using NaNo as a platform to push myself to produce. I am not actually 'competing' since I'm continuing my existing work in progress, Possessing Karma (still not sold on that name). As I read other blogs about NaNo prep and schedules, I feel a little like a fraud because I don't do any of that. Yes, I have my rough outline (from which I have deviated like nobody's business), but I have no spreadsheets, flowcharts, or sacred writing hours. I just write -- which is what I've always done.

Right this moment, I'm blogging as a warm up to writing. Coffee is almost ready, the dishwasher's runing, and I'm caught up on work for the time being -- ready to write.

Do you have ways your prepare for writing sessions?

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Menstruation is not Romantic

Whether it's 'that time of the month,' 'Aunt Flo is coming to visit,' 'the painters are in,' the curse, your monthly, or just plain old menstruation, it sucks. Seriously. It's a few to several day(depending on the woman) interruption of life. All decisions about daily activity, whether or not to leave the house at all, get based on it. It is often painful, sometimes embarrassing, usually unpleasant, and always inconvenient. It is a monthly reminder of the fact women are mammals. Throw your education and sophistication away and bear down for the most basic female reproductive trait, menstruation. It's touted as this magical coming of age thing to young girls, but I have yet to meet the woman who has greeted her period with glee ("Oh, thank God! doesn't count).

I have never, NEVER, read a romance where the heroine has an unpleasant or inconvenient period. She's never had a stain on her dress or had to run to the withdrawing room in a panic. Her lover never has to go to the store for supplies. She can lay sprawled naked in bed with her significant other and never make an unfortunate mess. It just doesn't happen. When romance does reference a woman's period, it usually proves or disproves a pregnancy.

I have, many times, touted romance as escapist reading. It's not supposed to include harsh realism because we have enough of that in our daily lives. Real life things like body odor, gas, or waxing don't come into play. They're just not sexy. Periods - not sexy either. They are, however, profoundly feminine. I would not be adverse to a book that included a woman on her monthly. Historically, it would be interesting to see how that was dealt with. If anything, it might help me relate. I would say, "Hey, that woman, though stunningly beautiful, is just like me!" I don't think I would be disgusted.

That said, in honor of women everywhere, I am writing a scene where my main character is unable to engage in intimacy because of her period. It is awkward and a total let down, in the true spirit of the teasing little steps towards consummation. It will probably be edited out before this book ever makes it to the public eye, but I will know I tried.

(Addendum: I already cut the scene. It was self indulgent.)

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Reviews on Amazon Missing

I like to write book reviews. With the lack of quality control on self-published books, reviews are important to the readers. Good or bad, reviews are also important to authors.

An author friend brought to my attention that a few of her reviews disappeared. When she brought it up to Amazon, they said the reviewer must have removed it. I was one of the reviewers with the mysterious, disappearing review and I did not remove it. Where is it?

No clue. Amazon asked me to provide the URL to the review, but I don't have that information. So, nothing got done.

I'm writing this to alert you in case this is a problem across the board. If you are published, are your reviews all still there? If you write reviews, see any missing?

Monday, November 5, 2012

Little Earthquakes

Allow me to wallow and wax poetic. I don't do this often, so bear with me. Or not. 

It could be a job piling responsibilities and pushing you past your coping threshold. Maybe a drug addicted family member set on killing herself because she's too dumb to choose life. A natural disaster taking everything you own, everything that defines you  and wiping your slate clean. It might even be as stupid as an ignorant but politically possessed friend who won't stop spewing propaganda and takes it as a personal attack when you dare have a different take... whatever it is this time, it will be something different next time you allow yourself an indulgent moment to break down.

When life gives you lemons....

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Educating Myself on Sexiness

I've been married for fifteen years and born two children. Though not super experimental, I like to think I know what I'm doing when it comes to sexual relations. Given that I write about it and that I don't want every scene to use the same sequence of events, phraseology, etc, I do online research. Yes, I have to be careful NOT to leave certain websites up when my kids are playing Wizard 101.

Some stuff I've read is just plain common sense.Some is ridiculous. Articles that guarantee multiple orgasms invalidate themselves right away. The best stuff is approached with a sense of humor and not pretentious.

For your reading enjoyment and potentially to help improve your prowess, I'm posting links to some I've found interesting. Enjoy.

How to Touch a Woman's Breast.  This one is written with a sense of humor and really deals with the fact that the arousal process is primarily in the woman's mind. Perhaps a little overkill in the nail raking, but still good.  Along this line, you find the funkiest stuff when you do a search for "nipple orgasm." It included this picture. Why hadn't I seen this before? This is within my historical zone, a great reference for... something. Man. I've been missing out.

Clitoral Stimulation Techniques. I found this interesting and learned some new things. Not being a contortionist, I've never really been able to analyze the whole region properly.

Expensive Vibrators. Not that this helped with my writing, but knowing that these exist and people buy them was amazing to learn. This one looks steam punk.

Even more entertaining than information that I can use, is the stuff that I can't but leaves me laughing. I have shared this with friends before, but never in a blog. Here is Cosmo's 44 Most Ridiculous Sex Tips. I think the beer facial one may have happened by accident once, though.

How has your scope been expanded by writing research? Any fun stuff you want to share?

Thursday, November 1, 2012

The Next Big Thing Blog Hop

Thank you Stacy McKitrick for tagging me in this blog hop. This tag morally obligated me to answer the following questions (not that I'm complaining -- any excuse to promote my writing):

What is your working title of your book?
My current project is titled Possessing Karma, but I'm not 100% sold on the title. It's a play on words, which I like, but a little cheesy. Karma is the name of the main character and she gets possessed, so there's a literal meaning. Of course, there is the idea of what goes around, comes around, and Karma lives in a haunted home where the ghosts of two lovers are stuck in a cycle of violence and sex, karma for their lives.

Where did the idea come from for the book?
The idea came from a dream. I've been to New Orleans a few times and LOVE it. The city, the history, the streets, the streetcars, the shutters, the brickwork, the accents, the food, even the vomit in the gutter at 2 am. Love it.In my dream, my husband and I had gone back and rented a place famous for rekindling passion. What no one knew (but me) was that it was haunted and the passion came from being possessed. I woke up with the image of the apartment in mind and the sexually aggressive nature of the haunting. Yes, it was one of those dreams -- sort of. It was also scary.

What genre does your book fall under?
Romance. The subgenre would probably be suspense. I hesitate to call it paranormal because that implies the love aspect is with paranormal beings. My love story is with two humans. The supernatural, while sexy in parts, is more of the antagonist. It is set in modern times.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
Joe Manganiello would be Philippe Jarreau, the chain-saw artist/sculptor who purchased the trashed building and turned it into his studio and two condos. He's a solid rock of man, a nice guy, part of the flow of New Orleans, whose brawn makes up for any less-than-macho creative tendencies.
Halle Berry, but with pale blue eyes, would play Dr. Karma Betancourt. She goes by Kay because Karma is such a whimsical name. Multi-ethnic, with no real sense of belonging to any particular group or culture, Kay is a professor of religious studies. She has always felt like an outsider, until she arrives in New Orleans for a teaching position at Tulane.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Karma unwittingly rekindles a century old romance and finds herself the focus of a dangerous, sadistic, ghost.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
Agency, please. Please?

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
Not finished. I started in late June. I plan to finish by the first of the year.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Karen Robards meets Sylvia Day, maybe? Difficult question.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?
Both my husband and my critique partner urged me to move away from the historical Elizabethan era romances I've been writing. I had this idea and they both told me to go for it. I figured it would show agents I was multi-faceted, but that Elizabethan would remain my niche. I'm not so sure any longer. I love this project. It's my best work to date and I have two more supernatural romantic suspense stories percolating, just waiting for me to finish this one so they can be written.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
Two words: Haunted House. Who can resist the curiosity? This book is sexy, spooky, and emotionally stimulating. It takes you to past and present New Orleans.

Here's the hard part -- Tag, you're it! (only if you want to, that is)
Raquel Byrnes - Edge of Your Seat Romance
Tanya Reimer -- Life's Like That
Taryn Tyler - Taliesin
Roland Yeomans - Writing in the Crosshairs
Morgan Shamy - Writings and Ramblings of a Redhead Writer

Rules for The Next Big Thing Blog Hop:

***Use this format for your post
***Answer the ten questions about your current WIP (work in progress)
***Tag five other writers/bloggers and add their links so we can hop over and meet them.

Ten Interview Questions for the Next Big Thing:
What is your working title of your book?
Where did the idea come from for the book?
What genre does your book fall under?
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Who or what inspired you to write this book?
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
Include the link of who tagged you and this explanation for the people you have tagged.
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