Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Fire

Sometime in the last two days, someone started a fire in my throat. I don't know how, I feel like I would've noticed it. Because... OUCH!!!

For some reason, a line from the movie, CLUE, keeps running through my mind:

Mrs. White: "It-it- the f-it-flam-flames. Flames, on the side of my face, breathing-breathl- heaving breaths. Heaving breaths - heathing..."

So, yeah...that's what I'm doing. What are you up to this week?

Monday, March 26, 2012

The Hunger Games Movie Review

I'll start with the movie summary. I'm sure most of you've read the book, but just in case you haven't:

Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen volunteers in her younger sister's place to enter the games, and is forced to rely upon her sharp instincts as well as the mentorship of drunken former victor Haymitch Abernathy when she's pitted against highly-trained Tributes who have prepared for these Games their entire lives. If she's ever to return home to District 12, Katniss must make impossible choices in the arena that weigh survival against humanity and life against love.

Let me say up front, that I did not see this movie under optimum conditions. There was a ridiculously loud vibrating noise coming from the other side of the wall behind the movie screen. After twenty minutes of straining to hear, several people in the theater went to complain, they told us what it was. There was a jackhammer being used outside...yes, a jackhammer. Seriously.

So I watched the movie I've been so excited to see under these circumstances...

And it was still epic.

The cast was incredible. When I saw the first scene with Liam Hemsworth (Gale) I leaned over and whispered to my sister, "Peeta better be incredible." And he was. Josh Hutcherson (Peeta) comes to life as soon as he's picked as tribute. His personality fits the character like a glove. He won me over before they even reached the Capital. Woody Harrelson (Haymitch) stumbled perfectly through his role and Lenny Kravitz (Cinna)'s performance was poignant and beautiful.

Even with all these stellar actors, they all paled in comparison to Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss. She was everything I pictured in my head. Her facial expressions conveyed so much emotion, it was like seeing her thoughts. Loved her. Just incredible.

This is the first time in memory that a movie based on a book I loved inspired the same strength of feelings as the book itself. It is easily the best movie I've seen in a long time, and a strong candidate for my list of all-time favorites.

See it. That is all.

Friday, March 23, 2012

So Freakin' Excited!

I'm going to see The Hunger Games Movie today. I've been excited about this since I saw the first trailer last year. I am so pumped that I pretty much can't think about anything

I decided to take a poll:

~ How many of you have seen it already?
~ How many plan to see it this first weekend?
~ If so, did you love it so much you wanted to take it home with you? Why or why not?
~ If you're not seeing it this weekend, why not? Have you sworn off cool things? Didn't like the book? *gasp* Have better plans? Do tell.

Have a fantastic weekend everyone!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Being Scared - Part 5

Thanks to everyone who left insomnia suggestions on Monday. I'm doing much better now. A couple of things you mentioned helped. You guys are geniuses! :)

Many of my author friends have been struggling lately. With so many things to do, sometimes it is hard to prioritize and easy to feel overwhelmed.

It started me thinking, if there is one thing that every writer has to learn to do, it's multitask. We have to be many-handed, multiple hat-wearing wizards. We must learn to write, edit, revise, plot, outline, tweet, blog, e-mail, phone, etc. etc...sometimes all at the same time. It's also nice to occasionally have lives outside of our writing careers, not always an attainable goal...but nice.

Here is something important to remember. It isn't possible to do it all, at least not all the time. No matter how hard you try, you can't. It doesn't make you a bad person or a failure, it makes you human and to be honest...robots don't tell good stories.

Don't believe me? Ask Siri to tell you an original bedtime story.

Focus on the things that matter to your goals, do those, and work on the other stuff when you have time in between.

And one more thing, cut yourself some slack. We do hard and scary things all the time. Missing one blog post every once in a while isn't worth dragging yourself over the coals. Give yourself a break here and there, getting to your goals will be much more rewarding if you don't burn yourself out on the way.

Monday, March 19, 2012

And It's Monday

I've had some serious sleeping issues lately. My brain feels a little fried, and I honestly can't think of a thing to write about. So, instead, I'm going to ask you guys a question. Anyone have any suggestions to help with insomnia?

Yes, I recognize the irony.

Happy Monday! *yawn*

Friday, March 16, 2012

How Writers Are Like Villains

Today, I thought I'd revisit a post from three years ago. Wow, I've been doing this blogging thing for a while now...anyway, carry on and enjoy!

Think writers don't have anything in common with James Bond Villains? Think again. Villains are just writers with slightly stranger habits. Stroking white persian cats while plotting total world domination, for example. Although, I do know a few writers who do exactly that.

Writers spend all their time trying to figure out how to make their characters lives harder. Sounds like a villain, no? What more can I throw at them? Having the parents murdered, the wife run over by a train and the daughter stolen by robot ninjas isn't enough--now he has rabies!! They strive for complication on all levels.

Writers make nothing easy. (Ask any one of them who is simply waiting for a query response and you'll see what I mean.)

They strive for control of every aspect of the entire world (the one they created, anyway). They want to know what everyone is doing, when they're doing it, what they're feeling and who they're feeling it with. They want to make sure they have absolute control of every aspect at their fingertips. Can anyone say "Big Brother"?

The similarities are clear, the only difference I can think up is that writers (if at times begrudgingly) usually allow their characters to have a happy ending. Oh! and most writers don't end up dead or in prison at the end of their books--I think.

So what do you think? If you don't keep up on your Bond villains, let's expand our options. Which classic villain are you the most like?

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

An Ode to Illness

My whole family is sick, so I'm interrupting my regularly scheduled posts for this list. Why? Because I've spent the last four weeks on pain killer and/or Nyquil and it sounded like a good idea at the time.

10 Things I Learned This Week---Thanks To The Flu

1 - The sinuses are a great and under-utilized storage space...'nuff said.

2 - Lungs, when filled with gunk, don't work as well for other purposes. (like breathing)

3 - Fevers must have been thought up during God's day off. Some under-noticed assistant let the power go to his head and now we all have to pay for it.

4 - When anyone in the family gets sick, Mom gets sick.

5 - Dad locks himself in garage and avoids all contact with everyone until the danger has passed. Thus making him the most intelligent and least liked person in the family.

6 - Sick kids make the best cuddlers.

7 - IF you manage to get your night-time coughing under control, someone else in the family will start coughing loud enough to keep you awake.

8 - My house doesn't contain enough blankets or chicken noodle soup.

9 - The amount of hugs necessary in a given day is inversely proportional to how healthy my kids feel.

10 - Some women have that whole sexy, raspy thing going on when they're sick---I do not. I sound like Kermit---as a bass---it's not pretty.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Being Scared - Part 4

Today's scary things post goes out to all those writers in the query trenches. To those crafting letters about their books and sending them off only to receive rejection after rejection and keep going anyway,

I salute you!

I received well into the three digit category in my rejection tally between the different books I queried. It wasn't fun most of the time. It was downright terrifying occasionally...but still, we keep doing it.

For me, I think querying/being on submission is one of the scarier parts of the process. We line up, send our hearts out via e-mail, and wait for it to be sent back, but only after a few people stomp on it first.

Here is the truth. Putting yourself out there and risking that pain, even suffering through it more than a few times, is the only way to find success.

And we can do scary things.

Happy Monday!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Bear Bottom Klingon

Seriously now, who can resist a post named that? Admit it, you're here for that reason alone.

Now that we're all being honest. I have a confession. This post, and it's title are actually about me. I had something happen to me yesterday that was too ridiculous and embarrassing for me not to post on my public blog...

you know how it is.

So yeah, today we're taking a break from the scary posts to do yet another embarrassing story of Jenn.

Huzzah! Happy Friday to us all.

So, yeah. Last night, I went in to say goodnight to my youngest son. He told me our cat was hiding under his bed. I got down on the floor, not an easy feat after surgery, and shooed her out of the room. Said goodnight to him, and left.

Then I proceeded to say goodnight to my older son, go outside, get the mail, and take out the garbage. After all of this parading around, my husband said,

"Oh, you have something on your butt."

Thinking it was dirt from being on the floor, I reached back to dust off my rear end, and when my hand touched something furry, I screamed and tried to run away from my own behind.

Yes. Yes, I did.

When I finally realized that I couldn't escape something that was attached to me, I reached back and grabbed it. One of my son's stuffed bears that had velcro hands so he could put his hands together, had been stuck on my bum for at least twenty minutes without my knowledge. I'd gone outside for my neighbors to see, I'd walked all around my house...all with a bear stuck to me.

Um, yeah. I don't know if I've ever seen my husband laugh that hard.

So, I hope my moment of humiliation made you smile. Have a great weekend everyone!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Being Scared - Part 3

I want to dedicate today's scared post to the all terrifying query.

Yes, folks. It is a scary thing.

Imagine you walked up to a computer programmer and had the following conversation:

You: "Have you finished writing your first program ever?"

Programmer: "Yes. Yes, I have."

You: "Great. Now I want you to write an e-mail to Bill Gates and tell him all about your computer program and how it is unique and awesome and he should check it out. Then wait by your e-mail for him to respond."

Programmer: *silence*

You: "Did you write it yet?"

Programmer: *runs*

We are brave, brave people. We write queries, and send them out...again and again. And we're not even talking about the rejections yet...

We do scary things. Go us.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Being Scared - Part 2

If you didn't see my post last week, I'll catch you up. I'm taking a few posts this month and dedicating them to the scary things that writers do. Today, I'm talking about leaps of faith.

What is it that turns someone who is thinking about writing a book (81% of people) into a person who has written a book? I found a statistic yesterday. Of every 100 people who start writing a book, only 3 actually finish it--only three.

I believe there are many moments when writers have to take leaps of faith. One is when they sit down and begin to write. Another is when they keep writing. And yet again, when they finish writing...and start writing something else.

These leaps require a belief in yourself and your abilities that is terrifying. No one starts out a perfect writer. I'm not even sure such a thing exists, so you must also believe you can get better, believe you can learn. You must believe that the time, effort, sweat and tears you are putting in will someday be worth it.

Whether you hope to become a NYT bestseller or just have something to pass on to your children, you still must take all of these leaps. No matter the end goal, we all start on the same path, with an idea and hope.

These kinds of dreams are scary, terrifying really. But I'm proud of us for dreaming them and for taking the leaps of faith necessary to head the right direction.

And I'm SO proud to say I'm one of the three that has typed the words The End...a few times now.

Happy Monday!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Being Scared - Part 1

We all get scared sometimes. I've had a lot of scary things going on lately. That doesn't mean they're bad. Actually, I believe they are all very good and exciting things...but that doesn't mean they don't terrify me.

One thing that was both scary and exciting was participating in my first conference as a panelist. I spent the week before trying to convince myself that I actually do know things that people would be interested to hear. Then I spent the morning of the conference trying to remind myself how to breathe. I actually had to wear a scarf because I was so nervous I got hives all over my neck.

It was terrifying...but I loved it.

Now, I feel like I've crossed some kind of invisible velvet rope of knowledge. I really enjoyed being on the panels and chatting with other professionals about what I've learned. It's really quite fun and I still learned a lot, perhaps even more than before.

I would never have known that if I hadn't bitten the bullet and tried it out.

All of this got me thinking, this industry is frightening. And we do scary things. So, I'm devoting March to being scared, and doing it anyway.