Friday, December 19, 2008
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Sunday, December 14, 2008
Friday, December 12, 2008
I went to Luck of the Draw in Millville, NJ, where my SIL got all of his tattoos. He has many. Here are the pictures of mine.
It is on the inside of my left arm near the crook of the elbow.
My daughter received her first tattoo, also. Her's is my logo and her birth date as my copyright because she is my greatest creation.
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
A caucus ensued to determine if the ball should be retrieved in a hit and run maneuver, complete with distractions and decoys or if a sacrificial lamb should be chosen to ask for the return of the ball.
Before a plan could be agreed upon, grouchy faced grandpa tramped out his front door dressed in his yellowed boxers, black knee high socks and tennis shoes. His shirtless belly hung over the loose elastic waistband of his underpants. His combed over hair lay across his scalp in dark, greasy furrows. He scooped up the ball, yelled something obscene in a drunken slur and weaved back to his house, his butt crack waving good-bye.
The kids sat in a line on the round curb like birds resting on a phone wire. Indignity, outrage and plans for revenge increased the ambient temperature. No one went home. Outside meant freedom from prying parental eyes and tedious chores. They decided to play hide and seek until the nice lady came home and returned their ball.
The hiders hid and the counter counted. Right around fifty-nine, the truck rounded the corner. Squeals and laughter, excited calls and feet pounded pavement energized the air. The diesel pickup shot clouds of thick mosquito killing spray from the tank mounted in its bed. The children ran down the street enveloped in the enchanted brume: fumes breathed deep into lungs, eyes burned, nose hairs singed and skin irritated. They frolicked in the foggy fairyland between Avalon and Glastonbury.
Sunday, December 07, 2008
Monday, December 01, 2008
Tuesday, November 04, 2008
Thanks everyone for your birthday wishes and yes, I just turned 50.
I got a tattoo for my birthday. I designed it myself. Guess what it is? I will post a picture of it as soon as I get my head out of my ..., you know.
I am participating in this year's
NaNoWriMo. So far I have passed the daily word count goal of 1,667 to reach 50 thou' by November 30th. I wrote a brief outline and character sketch this year and they have helped tremendously. Total word count as of last night was 5,572.
Thanks to those of you who still stop by. Eventually, I'll get back into the blog reading and writing habit.
Thursday, October 02, 2008
Thursday, September 25, 2008
Kat, I am gearing up for this year's NaNoWriMo. I will actually do a story outline this year.
You can also find me at Facebook.
Monday, August 11, 2008
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Monday, July 28, 2008
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
Friday, July 18, 2008
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
Photograph Copyright 2007 by Vanessa V. Kilmer
"Everything comes to him who hustles while he waits."
– Thomas A. Edison
Last week, as I congratulated myself on completing my errands in record time after work, including a trip to the grocery store, I peacefully approached the street where I live. Unusually, there was little traffic, with the exception of a pickup truck just in front of me and an SUV leaving the parking lot of the new daycare center on the corner.
"Yo, Bubba," I said to myself (yes, that's how I talk in my head,) "there's no way in hell you are making that left hand turn going fifty miles an hour."
I shook my head in disgust as I watched the pickup veer left at an excessive rate of speed.
“Oh, shit, oh, shit, oh, shit…” I eloquently began to chant.
“Oh, shit, oh, shit, oh, shit…”
I watched in amazement as the truck crossed the two southbound lanes, jumped the curb, took out a metal sign and chopped into a wooden electric pole with the passenger side of the truck, continued on the newly turfed grass, drove straight between the daycare sign and the corner stop sign, crossed the street and ran headlong into the side of the church sitting on the far corner of my street.
“Oh, shit, oh, shit, oh, shit…” as I stopped in the road and fumbled for my hazard lights.
“Oh, shit, oh, shit, oh, shit…” as I clumsily dialed 911.
I babbled semi-incoherently to the dispatcher but managed to get out the information about what happened and where. Within seconds, several patrol cars, an ambulance, EMT’s and three fire trucks arrived.
My daughter is an EMT and firefighter in town and takes the pictures at scenes, so when she heard the location, she was concerned. When she arrived, she saw my car in the middle of the road and she came running.
My husband heard the impact of the crash and went to the front yard to see what was up. The neighbors told him there was an accident at the corner and my car was stopped in the middle of the street. He threw his beer can into the driveway (he always has a beer can in his hand, just ask my mother) and came running.
I assured everyone I was ok. I tracked down the proper police person and gave a statement, then asked if I could go home to put my no-longer-frozen vegetables away.
The man (a neighbor from the next street over who went to high school with my daughter) walked away from the accident with minor injures. He smashed his father’s pickup to smithereens. The church has a huge hole in the wall.
I didn’t take any pictures.
Monday, July 14, 2008
I saw this at Peacock Blue and it's the best I can do.
Monday Unconcious Mutterings #285 (word association)
1. Intimated :: Whispered
2. Brush :: teeth
3. Masquerade :: hide
4. Procedure :: surgury
5. Tattoos :: raindrops
6. Square :: peg
7. Tuck :: Nip
8. Boyfriend :: Shhh
9. Badass :: Droopy
10. Thousand :: Years War
Tuesday, July 08, 2008
Thursday, July 03, 2008
Wednesday, July 02, 2008
Tuesday, July 01, 2008
Monday, June 30, 2008
Thursday, June 26, 2008
I wrote the following rhyme in response to a rhyme written by David McMahon. He has a little feature he calls "Verse and Worse" where it has become commonplace to comment in rhyme. He also has lots of hints and suggestions on photography, writing and looking at the world in new ways.
I went and took
a nice long look
and what did I see
when I glanced at the sea?
In a sinking boat,
a scurvy sailor
who was more of a bailer.
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
Monday, June 23, 2008
I harvested rosemary and lavender on the night of the Honey/Strawberry Moon last Wednesday, hanging the stems to dry on the front porch. I put up a pot of strawberry schnapps, too. It will be ready for bottling at the beginning of October.
My small wild flower garden has a few blooms. My miniature hydrangeas are heavy with blossoms and the elephant ears have a long stalk edge with white bells.
Sunday, June 08, 2008
Monday, May 05, 2008
Sunday, May 04, 2008
Today's letter is D.
I have included a Haiku because no one liked my last poem; D
Pink, green, Dogwood blooms.
Sunshine streaming in rivers,
Flowing over bark.
Saturday, May 03, 2008
C is for Chopper
B is for Brandon
A is for Airplane
Thursday, May 01, 2008
They will get worse
before I'm through.
What can I do?
While this one is awfully bad,
I know you're glad
to see me write.
But don't take fright,
for you won't hear me whine and cry,
I've said good bye
to my writer's block
so don't you mock.
- - - - -
Minute Poetry - The Minute Poem is rhyming verse form consisting of 12 lines of 60 syllables written in strict
iambic meter. The poem is formatted into 3 stanzas of 8,4,4,4; 8,4,4,4; 8,4,4,4 syllables.
The rhyme scheme is as follows: aabb, ccdd, eeff
Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
I am sad because I love to read your blogs and I have no time.
I am working on several short stories, trying to get some ready to submit to the WD contest which deadlines May 15th. I am also trying to re-write and edit my two NaNo stories and add to my Divine Death story.
If someone with lots of money wants to be my patron so I can quit my day job and write full time, email me.
Wednesday, April 09, 2008
The red, orange and purple blaze twisted and danced, until the energy formed a demon with finger tips that stretched to the stars. In unexpected ferocity, the fire fiend reached out and snatched an acolyte to its breast, consuming him in a shriek of agony and pain. The unwilling sacrifice melted and congealed, calming the soul of the inferno.
Update 4/10/08: This was inspired by my brother who can't get enough wood in the firepit to satisfy his boyish heart.
Thank you all for your wonderful comments. This is part of a short story which I will be submitting to the WD writing contest in May.
I will be adding an installment to Divine Death this weekend.
And I updated my reading list on the sidebar to the right there.
Monday, April 07, 2008
My father turned 77 on Sunday, April 6th. We will be taking him for a NASCAR weekend to Dover International Raceway end of May. Tickets for Sunday’s race at the Start/Finish line, row six: lots of beer and red meat. His favorite driver is Jeff Gordan, who drives car 24 not 45, like The Dip, yours truly, put on his Birthday card.
The limerick for my father:
It’s possible that Jeff could win
At the race where you haven’t yet been.
He could make your day
Special in a birthday way,
As long as his car doesn’t spin.
Tuesday, April 01, 2008
Froggy, Froggy, I lost a bet.
The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts. - Bertrand Russell (1872 - 1970)
One of our salesmen called out of work today because his neighbor let twelve chickens go in his backyard and he must collect them. It may take awhile because he thinks the chickens are cockfighters from Camden and he's afraid of them.
Foolish April Horoscopes
Aquarius - January 21 to February 19 - Only a fool uses garlic salt with tequilla.
Pisces - February 20 to March 20 - Loyalty changes the fool.
Aries - March 21 to April 20 - Don't play the fool to be loved.
Taurus - April 21 to May 21 - Red leads a fool astray.
Gemini - May 22 to June 21 - Pull yourselves together to avoid being a fool.
Cancer - June 22 to July 22 - Even a fool leaves the house sometimes.
Leo - July 23 to August 23 - A king can be a fool.
Virgo - August 24 to September 23 - Friends won't fool you.
Libra - September 24 to October 23 - Fool and fanatic: two sides of the same coin.
Scorpio - October 24 to November 22 - A fool spites himself.
Sagittarius - November 23 to December 23 - Changing hats doesn't change the fool.
Capricorn - December 24 to January 20 - Lying to yourself makes you a fool.
Sunday, March 02, 2008
cheeriest girl we ever saw
with pink Martini
the liquid genie
and a snappy Ooh La La.
Two gift tote bags, the outside of my sister-in-law's Birthdat Card and the limerick that is inside.
Saturday, March 01, 2008
OK, the Rabid Rabbit is not moving and I'm getting annoyed, so we'll move on for now, after saying Rabbit, Rabbit. As you can see, it's working now. Annoying, isn't it?
Astrology Monthly March 2008 - Wisdom from the Stars, channeled through the me.
The theme for March is Money, Money, Money and may it multiply like Rabbits, Rabbits.
Aquarius January 21 to February 19 – Appearances are not everything, especially when cash is a bit tight the way it is this month for you. Your presence alone is enough to impress, you don’t need to buy your status and respect. No really, I’m not kidding.
Pisces February 20 to March 20 – Just because people buy you expensive things doesn’t mean they really love you, so it is ok to sell the “gifts” you receive for some extra partying cash. Go have fun with your newly found solvency.
Aries March 21 to April 20 – As always, you have more than enough money for your needs which admittedly are few. Take some of that extra cash and throw a bash. You don’t have to talk to anyone; you can just watch. It’ll be fun.
Taurus April 21 to May 21 – Stop trying to budget for your friends. There is no one right way to spend money. Just don’t loan any of your hard earned cash to the one who buys frills instead of paying his bills.
Gemini May 22 to June 21 – Flip a coin. If it’s heads buy the big screen TV, if it’s tails go on a cruise. Oh, the heck with it, do both. You’re getting a windfall this month.
Cancer June 22 to July 22 – You do not need another set of sheets or a set of dishes just for Tuesdays. Save some of your money this month. Your nest egg is going to fall out of the tree and crack, so you’ll need that emergency cash.
Leo July 23 to August 23 – While you certainly should be paid just for being good looking, you may have to wait a bit before that happens. In the meantime, you need to work just like the rest of us lesser mortals.
Virgo August 24 to September 23 – Money still keeps coming your way for no apparent reason this month. You can spend some of it on good times with your many friends, but only after you’ve paid your credit cards from the last time you partied.
Libra September 24 to October 23 – Money…it’s the green stuff used to purchase all the lovely music, art and books you love so well. True, it’s beneath your notice most of the time, but every once in awhile it couldn’t hurt to know how much you have, you know, for more baubles.
Scorpio October 24 to November 22 – There is no need to punish yourself every time you spend a few dollars on yourself. You work hard. You have plenty of dough. You deserve something nice. Quit spending on your kids, they’ve got plenty already.
Sagittarius November 23 to December 23 – You, on the other hand, need to quit spending on yourself this month, especially when it comes to party hats and noise makers. Try having some fun without wearing a costume.
Capricorn December 24 to January 20 – You have gotten so much better at budgeting your money, that’s why you didn’t bounce any checks last month. Do throw caution to the March winds and destroy all of your good work. You’ll be happy you maintained control when April comes around.
Friday, February 29, 2008
Thursday, February 28, 2008
There once was a fellow named Jim
Who liked his glass filled to the brim
He drank all his beer
Saying bring more here
I don’t care if I break every limb.
* * * ~ ~ ~ * * *
There once was a fellow named Jim
Who liked his beer poured to the brim.
He really had to pee,
So he found a big tree
And dampened the topmost limb.
To find some truely funny stuff, visit HUMOR-BLOGS DOT COM
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
These were my Valentine's Day Flowers.
This is The Codes with snow flakes on his fur.
And we Finally got snow.
Find other ABC Wednesday participants at Mrs. Nesbitt's Place.
Get a belly laugh at Humor-Blogs dot com.
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
There were lots of new programs, benefits, employees and year end reporting that needed doing at work. I read eleven or twelve sexy novels (see my side bar), started The Cookie Diet two weeks ago and lost 20 pounds so far, had teeth fixed, so now I'm broke and I think I've found a way to reduce my depressive bouts a bit. All in all a productive three week period.
I think I'm ready to get back into the swing of things. I'll see you all on your sites.
Monday, February 11, 2008
Only at this time of the month did his vision contain a bright and choking red haze that enraged him. His blood stormed through his veins. He alternated between cold spells that burned him from the inside out and heat so severe he shook uncontrollably. During this time he could tear his flesh from his body or throw his carcass upon the jagged rocks below his bedroom window. Only the distant thought that normalcy would come again prevented him from committing suicide in a gruesome way.
He felt the disease as it began to infect his brain and changed his behavior. After years of searching himself, he could now tell when the chemical composition altered in his body. It crept upon him slowly and allowed him to warn those he cared about to hide from his other self; the self he wished no one ever had to see.
Monday, February 04, 2008
In honor of Valentine’s Day, February 14th, this month’s astrological predictions will be about LOVE, sort of.
Aquarius January 21 to February 19 - One would think that the water bearer would have an abundance of love overflowing and pouring onto those nearest and dearest, but unfortunately, all you Aquarians are keeping your emotional juices stoppered in your amphora’s this month. Pop a cork, already.
Pisces February 20 to March 20 - You Piscesians are always chasing the tail in front of your face. Stop swimming in circles. The whirl pools you create in your life will only suck you into the abyss where you will be eaten by sea monsters. Is that what you want?
Aries March 21 to April 20 - Telling people what they want to hear may get you through the moment but in the long run will cause confusion. You'd be better off staying quiet until you know how you really feel. Oh, and farting is not a love song.
Taurus April 21 to May 21 - Snorting and bellowing will not get you any love this month. While forcing yourself on others may seem to work, it's not really passion but stalking. If you are looking for a jailhouse romance, follow a steady course.
Gemini May 22 to June 21 - While no romance with a partner could possibly compare to the love you have for yourself, it does make it easier when dancing at parties. Get a partner, even if it is only to make you look more normal.
Cancer June 22 to July 22 - Not everyone wants to stay home all of the time with only one person to look at day and night. At the very least, going out in public will give you a reason to get out of you PJ's and your partner will feel less like a prisoner of love.
Leo July 23 to August 23 - We all know you are the royalty of the zodiac, but even kings and queens must stay in touch with reality if they do not wish to be assassinated in their sleep or poisoned at the dinner table. Telling your partner how wonderful he/she is will not mean you are less so.
Virgo August 24 to September 23 - Your partner should be your friend, but you should occasionally treat him or her as more than a friend. Either stop treating your friends like lovers or stop treating your lover as your friends. There should be some difference between the two.
Libra September 24 to October 23 - It is easy to understand why you can't make up your mind. There are just so many wonderful and interesting people in the world from which to choose. Just keep an eye on the expiration dates of your favorite little friends.
Scorpio October 24 to November 22 - Being alone is easier than wondering if you can trust your partner, but you are too quick to think everyone an enemy. Once you've let loose, it can't be taken back. Control your stinger.
Sagittarius November 23 to December 23 - Prancing around in a cupid costume will only embarrass your partner. Those smiles you see on other people's faces are really grimaces. Sometimes the funny is only in your head.
Capricorn December 24 to January 20 - Quit hiding the person you love from the rest of the world. Either bring your romance out into the open or end it. You won't find a partner that is perfect for everyone you know, so pick one that you can stomach for more than 5 minutes together.
Friday, February 01, 2008
Second, the Wieners of January's Amazingly Bombastic Creative Scavenger Hunt were
TOM & ICY
The competition was fast and furious and bombastically creative. I, of course, never finished my list. Go see all of their wonderful submissions. The links go right to the posts. You'll get a good idea what it's all about.
THE RULES ARE HERE.
Get Ready. Get Set. GO!
And get a chuckle at Humor-Blogs dot com.
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
To join ABC Wednesday and find others who play, visit the lovely Mrs. Nesbitt's Place.
To find something funny, visit Humor-Blogs dot com
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
Each Tuesday I will do a Tarot reading for someone who has asked in the previous week’s Tarot comment section. If you want a reading, say so in the comments section. If more than one person asks, I will let Cody choose one person at random. Only one reading per month per person.
On the first Saturday of each month, I will post everyone’s horoscope. Look for the first one on February 2nd, 2008. (I predict I may be a little late.)
Dana, the author of MURDER FOR HIRE: The Peruvian Pigeon asked for a tarot reading when she guest posted. And Dana announced the winners of her book give away.
My great-grandmother read regular playing cards for people in the small Austrian alpine village where she lived. She was especially favored by the community's resident herbalist. I learned to read twenty years ago because a friend wanted to learn but didn't want to go to the classes alone.
This tarot deck is called The Sacred Rose by artist Johanna Gargiulo-Sherman.
Dana, here's your reading (as always, you can click on the picture to enlarge):
Wands are fire and they represent the things you are passionate about; the things you must do. The Ten of Wands suggests that you have used all of your creative energy and only have burdens and responsibilities left from your last project. Accept your responsibilities, but be sure to ask for help where necessary or walk away when you seem to be getting nowhere. Ten of Wands tells you not to get burned out. You need to rekindle your creative spark.
The Hanged Man is the card of paradoxes and opposites. When in its normal position, hanging upside down, it says you are in the process of looking for inner and deep meaning and you are working towards profound breakthroughs in your internal life. Inverted, the card suggests you are fighting this learning process and do not want to give up something you know you need to release. For instance, to gain control you must stop struggling; to be strong you must be vulnerable. The solution to your current dilemma is simple but not easy and you are very reluctant to do what you know you need to do. You must make choices which will mean you must sacrifice some other choice, but it must be done. It doesn’t mean the other choice won’t come around again.
Knights are air and moving, change, the enthusiasm of youth. The Knight of Cups is in touch with his emotions and intuition and uses them to gain his desires. He reminds you to follow your dreams and passions but don’t go overboard. A day trip on the water is in your future.
Need a lift? Humor-Blogs dot com has loads of chuckles.
Monday, January 28, 2008
I bet $5 on the number three horse in the fifth race at Philadelphia Park and I won. The horse's name: Magic Mischief. (Doesn't that sound cool?)
Want something to tickle your funny bone? Check out Humor-Blogs dot com
Number One would be the abundant use of irony and sarcasm will get you through the day. I have mastered the high art of saying the words people want to hear while infusing them with my true feelings. It's not easy getting in trouble for your tone of voice (unless you're seven or seventeen) because people are never sure what you are saying when the words are right. Most people are not interested in reading between the lines.
The opposite is true, too. You can say some really silly things and people will only listen to the words and not the intent. For instance, in my first paragraph above, one would think I'm unhappy and downtrodden. I'm actually having quite a jolly time of it and life only keeps getting better. I have a hard time remembering how old I am, mostly because I act like a twelve year old most of the time.
One of the worst things I've ever learned is that you can insult someone to their face without fear of retribution if you say it with a pretty smile and a laugh. This was something I was taught by one of the best salesmen I've ever met.
Number Two would be the importance of learning new things and sharing them with people, even if they don't want to know what you've just learned. I have a Google Account, which is free, and has neat-o stuff to use. For instance, there is Reader which allows you to put in the web addresses of places you like to visit, then it notifies you when the sites are updated. It works for most websites and blogs.
Google also has documents which you can use in your account, with spreadsheets and a word processing area, so you can go on any computer anywhere and work on things. As you can see, the function to add links is really easy to use, as are all of the functions they offer. Adding links in Blogger is easy too. Just click on that thing that looks like a chain link, put in the address and give it a name. One of the things I don't want to learn is how to write code. I'll leave that for people who like acronyms.
I'm not selling things with all of these links, by the way. It's just that I learned that the more links you have the higher a rating you get with search engines, which makes you look more popular and I don't have any friends, so I pretend with my site meter hits.
Oh and I also learned about pinging and Pingoat, where you go and put your blog address or other website a few times a week to let all kinds of places know you updated your site (this is also free.) This is also going to help your popularity, like buying candy for your friends when you were nine.
Looking for a laugh, find it at Humor-Blogs dot com
Thursday, January 24, 2008
1. At what age do you wish to marry?
I considered it at several ages, but never went through with it until I was 43. I figured there was no point if I’d just end up divorced, so I waited for someone I actually liked.
2. What color do you like most?
3. If you have the chance, what would you probably say to your beloved one?
I have the time all of the time and I tell him he better hurry up and win the lottery so I can retire.
4. Where is the place that you want to go the most?
5. Which part of you do you hate the most?
I really wish I had more tolerance.
6. When you encounter a sad moment, what would you do?
Cry, drink, cry in my drink, drink while I cry.
7. What are you afraid to lose the most?
Any of my family members.
8. If you win $1 million, what would you do?
Buy 100 acres in upstate PA and write full time.
9. What’s your wish for the year ahead?
Finish a final draft of one novel and send it out to an agent and/or publisher.
10. How did you celebrate the New Year?
Slept until 11:55pm, woke when the firecrackers went off, called relatives, then went back to sleep at 12:15am. I know, I’m a party animal. We let the amateurs have New Year’s Eve.
11. Till now, what is the moment that you regret the most?
I really don’t have any. All moments brought me to where I am now.
12. Which type of person do you hate the most?
Everybody who annoys me, so that pretty much covers everyone not me.
13. What is your ambition?
To be a self-supporting published author.
14. If you had one wish what would you wish for?
15. Name the one body part your hubby or boyfriend tells you he adores:
Well, my husband says one thing and my boyfriend says another.
16. Do you like it when it rains?
I love it when it rains, but it has to be a real storm, especially with great big booming thunder and lots of wind. It just sort of enters into me and I feel very alive.
17. List two of your Top Ten New Year’s Resolutions.
Relax more and stay focused.
18. What do you need to do this year in order for you to be happier in life?
Publish a book.
19. What new thing have you learned recently?
I just learned about RSS. I signed onto Google Reader. I listed all of the blogs I visit and it notifies me when they update. I have saved so much time.
20. If money were no object, what 3 (materialistic) things would you really like to have?
A 1958 Cadillac Convertible
100 acres in upstate PA
One of the new MAC laptops
Yuck it up HERE.
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
The post below this one is actually a new post. I set it up Monday and saved it as a draft so that's why it has Monday's date. Won't do that again. (TOM and DAVID helped me figure it out. Thanks.)
I am starting a new feature called Tarot Tuesdays.
If you want a reading, read Dana's post below this one and leave a comment for Dana and then tell me you want a Tarot reading.
If more than one person asks, I'll choose one person randomly or maybe do them all. I can't decide.
Now, follow directions, kay?
Looking for some laughs?
Dana Fredsti (pictured here with her best friend and partner in crime, Maureen Anderson) is the author of MURDER FOR HIRE: The Peruvian Pigeon. Dana shares with us some insights into using your real life in one of your books.
Dana says, "Write about what you know. It’s almost a cliché when it comes to writing advice. Don’t try to write about running off to join the circus if the closest you’ve ever been to one is seeing Cirque de Soleil on Pay-Per-View. It’s good, sound advice unless you’re one of those writers who does enough hard research and has the talent to realistically recreate all the necessary details of a place/time/situation he/she has never experienced. Or if you’re writing fantasy and have the imagination to create an entire world out of whole cloth. Barbara Hambly comes to mind as an example of a writer who can do both as demonstrated by her Benjamin January mysteries set in 1800’s New Orleans and seven equally engaging fantasy series, not to mention a slew of stand-alone novels.
You’ll also hear truth is stranger than fiction. You know, the type of stuff that shows up in News of the Weird or the Darwin Awards. Or things that piss a person off, like, “Woman is awarded great flipping wodges of cash for spilling hot coffee on herself while driving.” Incidents that really happen, but if you try putting them in a screenplay or novel, the inevitable reaction is, “Well, that would never happen!”
If you’ve read my bio either on my website or at Elysabeth’s Emerald City you’ll know the inspiration for MURDER FOR HIRE: The Peruvian Pigeon (henceforth referred to as MFH) was my experiences as co-writer/director/producer and actor in an actual theater group called, coincidentally, Murder for Hire, founded by myself and my best friend Maureen Anderson. Maureen was also my co-author on the first draft of MFH. We used our actors and clients as templates for the bulk of the other characters, creating a couple from scratch to fill in the gaps where needed. We wrote that draft in about a month, alternating chapters and POVs between “Connie” and “Daphne,” thinly disguised versions of the two of us.
It’s easy to write quickly when a: you pull incidents out of real life and b: you’re at the age and mentality where you believe everything that comes out of your pen (did I mention the first draft was written long-hand?) is pure gold. It’s not, however, necessarily conducive to a realistic story when the authors are so enamored with using quirks, incidents and you-had-to-be-there moments they won’t consider changing them or taking them out if they don’t serve the plotline and characters. Some of them DID work, mind you. Those that did made it into the 2nd through 6th and final draft. Those that didn’t (a reference to donuts making Daphne’s butt ache, for instance) were excised for the good of the book and of humanity. It only took five years or so for me to acquire the necessary objectivity to do so.
Another issue when writing the first draft was our inability to separate ourselves from the lead characters. I WAS Connie and Maureen WAS Daphne. When I say “thinly disguised” versions of ourselves, I’m talking rice paper thin. Rice paper that’s been gone over with a steamroller a few times. No separation of church and state here, folks! I have vivid memories of writing sessions where the conversation went much like this:
Me: “Dude, Connie would never say that. And she wouldn’t wear pink.”
Maureen: “Well, dude, Daphne would never wear jeans. I’m sorry. She just wouldn’t. And I don’t mean, Daphne doesn’t use margarine!”
Me: “Well, CONNIE wouldn’t let some actor get away with…”
And many more variations on those themes.
In our desire to use every actor we’d ever worked with on every show, the first draft had way too many characters. The reader would need a flow chart to keep track of them so in subsequent rewrites I took out some and combined others. Grant, originally Daphne’s boyfriend, now became Connie’s to add more tension and to clear the field for other things I wanted to add. Based on feedback from encouraging rejection letters I added red herrings and more active sleuthing. The percentage of fiction slowly overtook that of fact.
But the hardest thing I encountered when I went solo on MFH and rewrote the whole thing from my, I mean, CONNIE’S point of view, was taking a huge step back from all the characters based on real people (especially Connie) and figuring out what real life quirks worked for each one and discarding those that didn’t. Once I’d gotten the point where I could say Connie is a character. Connie is loosely based on me. She can do and say stupid things and I won’t feel bad the next day. Bad things can happen to her and it’s not me and really MEAN it, I was able to write a much more effective and (so I’ve been told) scary and disturbing climax. Although some of it still makes my mom cringe.
Bottom line, if you’re writing a book and want to base characters on people in your life (ESPECIALLY yourself), unless you’re writing an autobiography, get over yourself and get on with the story!"
* * * * * * * * * *
I hope you all enjoyed the glimpse Dana has given us into the life of a book. When you read MURDER FOR HIRE: The Peruvian Pigeon, Dana's comments will have even more meaning (and will make you laugh even more.)
Buy MURDER FOR HIRE: The Peruvian Pigeon
Here is Dana’s WEBSITE.
Go to each of the tour stops and leave a comment within three days of Dana’s posts and increase your chances at winning a free copy of Murder for Hire. Dana is giving away three copies of her book to people who comment. The winners are randomly chosen from all of the people who leave comments.
This is the tour schedule.
Sun, Jan 20th - Elysabeth’s
Tue, Jan 22nd - Kat’s Random Thoughts
Wed, Jan 23rd - The Chrysalis Stage
Thu, Jan 24th - Blaize Clement
Fri, Jan 25th - Pointless Drivel
Sat, Jan 26th - Redzilla Attacks!
Saturday, January 19, 2008
Visit KatHere is the tour schedule, the stops and the agendas. You’ll notice a couple old friends on the list along with the new and interesting places to visit.
Date: Sun, Jan 20th
Blog: Elysabeth’s Emerald City
Topic: Excerpt from MFH and author bio
Date: Mon, Jan 21st
Blog: Blog Book Tours
Topic: An interview with questions by Dani Greer
Date: Tue, Jan 22nd
Blog: Kat’s Random Thoughts
Topic: Interview with Dana -
Screenplay and Novel Writing
Date: Wed, Jan 23rd
Blog: The Chrysalis Stage
Topic: Is it Real or Memorex –
The pluses and minuses of using aspects of real life in fiction writing
Date: Thu, Jan 24th
Blog: Blaize Clement
Topic: The Truth Behind Emerald Cove
Date: Fri, Jan 25th
Blog: Pointless Drivel
Topic: How the desire to kill resulted in a published novel
Date: Sat, Jan 26th
Blog: Redzilla Attacks!
Topic: To Be Announced
Go to each of the tour stops and leave a comment within three days of Dana’s posts and increase your chances at winning a free copy of Murder for Hire. Dana is giving away three copies of her book to people who comment. The winners are randomly chosen from all of the people who comment.
Here is her WEBSITE.
Read my review of Murder for Hire at Nessa’s Reading Room.
Friday, January 18, 2008
You can see another of my photos HERE.
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
I hope this stays up long enough for you to see. This is an indoctrination video featuring Tom Cruise who is flat out creepy. They must have done this during the writers strike. Being a “clear” certainly hasn’t helped Tom Cruise’s communication skills any. How is he even a little bit attractive? I suppose if you like maniacal laughter, he’s your man.
Sunday, January 13, 2008
The breakfast table is laden with spaghetti and bowls of vanilla ice cream, cheddar cheese and bacon, and platters of King Crab legs, shelled and drenched in melted butter. A confetti concoction of salsa dribbles over crisp corn chips and starched white linen napkins.
Amazing Grace played on bagpipes is followed by Brown Eyed Girl, It Wasn’t Me and Ravel’s Boléro, the music rising and falling with orchestral deliberation. Clouds of intimidation, hammers of percussion, and waves of melody expand in the lungs like flapping butterfly wings, their movement fanning a storm thousands of miles away.
The skin is tattooed with goose bumps from a cold breeze, smoothed over by the warm touch of an affectionate hand. Fingernails on a blackboard mimic the nails of an inamorata on the bare back of her paramour, raking hard soil into furrows of fertile ground for fantasy.
Patchouli mixes with unwashed bodies. Rue, bay, frankincense, cinnamon and sage burn away ghosts and call the angels afraid to show themselves to uninspired minds. Rosemary and lavender clean away the stench of doubt and beckon lovers to embrace.
Danger and possibility, imagination and death, flight and stagnation, neon colors and nihilism, fear and knowledge, all walk hand in hand through the night.
Tuesday, January 08, 2008
My husband is in the kitchen pounding his meat. We’re having hamburgers for dinner. Was it wrong of me to start off this way? You must forgive me. My mouth hurts. I have a bad tooth which kept me awake all night and I’m tired. I have a tendency to be bad when I’m tired. Poor impulse control.
I love double entendres. Almost everything I think or say has more than one meaning. I find saying things with underlining risqué meanings in a very offhand way entertaining. Most people don’t even pick up on it but every once in a while I’ll look at someone and they’ll have a stupid lopsided grin and I’ll know they’ve understood. People I click with play the same game.
I particularly love to do this in large groups and office meetings when I become bored out of my gourd. I feel bad sometimes because I really can get carried away and I make others laugh and misbehave, too. I do it so subtly that I never get in trouble. I get tingly just thinking about it.
I put up a slide show of
Now I am so worn out from exposing myself to you, that I must take a nap.