Up All Night Again

Last night I stayed up until 2:30 because the ending of Something in the Rain came to me. I've known since I had the story idea back in May how the ending would happen, but the words were coming to me rapid fire last night.

I burned dinner trying to handle my "real" work, get the words out on paper and cook simultaneously. On the bright side, since its only the third time in seven years that I have ruined my dinner, my family let it go.

Tonight I will definitely be working on it again. But I feel victorious in having achieved seven thousand words of it last night, which is almost double what I had before.

Too Scared to Sleep

So last night I stayed up way too late, and its 100% my imagination's fault.

I stayed up till 2 AM working on my very first scary story. Then I couldn't sleep because I had creeped myself out so bad. They say to write about what scares you, well I did. My hope is that this story, once its finished, will keep others up all night too.

Don't Cry is in final draft form and headed to some serious rounds of edits. More to follow.

Padawan Writer Update

Young padawan writer (me) is about two weeks out from submitting my first short story to publishers. Its not really my first, but its the first to be almost ready to see the light of day.

This short story, Survivor, has a lot of meaning to me. I am really satisfied with this story and personally enjoy reading it, which is a tell that it is almost ready to go.

Final round of edits and its off to the publishers. I can hardly sit still.

Florida Today Letter to the Editor

Florida Today published my letter to the editor. The article is an excerpt of my review of Fifty Shades. Check it out: http://www.floridatoday.com/article/20120818/OPINION/120816019/-1/opinion03/Letter-Fifty-Shades-Grey-changes-reading-culture


New short story: The Tattooed God

Here's an update for you. I have been working all day on a new short story. The working title is: The Tattooed God. Its steamy, steamy romance, which seems to be my thing lately. This is good though because every blue blooded American woman wants to partake in a little romance from time to time.

The story I started last week or the week before (they are all running together at this point) is also a romance. The working title today is: Something in the Rain. This one is going to be a full fledged novel. Its in its infancy stages now, but I know how it ends.

I have about 2500 words of another YA novel down as well. This one is going to be awesome. I am entering new territory, but I like where I am headed. This one harkens back to one of other loves, political science. I think this story's underlying theme will keep me on the right path, even though the genre is new to me. So far the working title is: The Collapse, but I know its going to change.

My chick lit short story is simmering on the back burner at present. Its done, I just need to finish editing and send it off to some publishers. My concerns stem from the fact that I don't really know when I am done editing, this particular story is the first one to make it to this stage. One of the things I am strongly considering changing is the title, but I have no idea what I will change it to. I am scared to send it off only to have it rejected because I missed something. You have no idea how badly I want to put that sucker in the mail, but, I think that deep down, I will know when its ready to go.

And lastly, Faceless. This story is still waiting on two scenes and some major edits. I am letting it simmer as well because I think its due another rewrite. The best part about working on these romantic short stories is that my ability to create quality voice and characters that are magnetizing is dramatically improving. My latest characters readers seem to care about. The response has been heartwarming, seriously. Banging out a few of these will allow me to return to Faceless and make Mase and Mela mean more to the readers. So I'm not stalled out, I'm simmering. Besides if I can get a few of these short stories published, those credits will really look good at the bottom of Faceless's query letter.

And the best news, my schedule will be opening up some in the near future. This will allow me to finish all of this in a reasonable amount of time. Oh joy!

Back to writing I go!

Fifty Shades ???

Time to review Fifty Shades of Grey.

I should mention that I spent about two weeks researching this book with no intention of reading it. But then the curiosity overtook me. I just had to know! After reading a substantial part of the book via preview, I was completely in its clutches and just had to finish it. I had to know, and I had to know why I had to know.

I guess one could say that the lure is mostly in the taboo. Fifty Shades has caused a shift that no one saw coming. Books that not too long ago women would have read only in the privacy of their bath tubs are now begin carried and paged through on planes, subways, and waiting rooms. I was in a workshop at a school board watching the woman across from me (who was very level headed) lift the book at every break.

Erotica for women is now welcome pretty much everywhere but church, compliments of Christian Grey. I guess this is a bit of a win for women considering that smart phones allow men (and some brave women too) to browse much worse material pretty much any where they please, covertly. Daring to open the book in public is akin to saying I don't need to hide behind my phone, judge at will. E-readers unfortunately don't get to make the statement, even though they paid for the book.

So when considering whether or not to read this book, I gave it a go because I needed to know how the author single-handedly changed a culture with a series of books.

This is not my first exposure to erotica either. Years ago I started (but did not finish) a series given to me by a then boyfriend. It was far more perverse than Christian Grey would ever go. Part of me (who was younger then) felt that since it was written by Anne Rice it was okay that the material was twisted, warped, very over the top. The other part of me, to this day, wonders why she wrote the books using a pen name when they plastered her name all over the books anyhow. But I digress.

When I finally did read Fifty Shades I was looking for things that were there and were not there because of all I'd heard. I'd heard rumor of a twist, I did not find it. I don't know if it was because E.L. James knew there were more books to come, if she wanted the reader to experience a bit of cliff hanger, or if she just couldn't figure out how to wrap things up, but the ending was a bit off putting. I read the e-book version and found myself clicking the tab button repeatedly thinking, surely this is not the end of the book?

I was also looking for lousy writing. That I did find, but more so I found lousy editing. There were three blatant editing errors in this book that average readers would pick up on. And when I say editing errors, I mean things I would not expect the writer to pick up on, but that shouldn't have survived the editor's scrutinization.

I found droves of oopsies on the author's part as well, but I don't know how obvious all of them would be to reader. Apparently, they are obvious though if one reads the reviews. It is my opinion that most of the errors and no-no's I found an average reader couldn't technically define, but they may read and think, hmmmm something about that was off. No-no's aren't really errors, they just don't fall into the recommended habits for authors category. Of course, they shouldn't really pass the litmus test either, but we all know of plenty of other books that have been published like that.

I still stand on my premise that most of the writing was not terrible, she just did lots of no-no's and got called on it. From what I can tell her background in screen writing may have something to do with this, as I have read some books on writing by screen writers and they seem to operate on with a handful of rules that orthodox novel writers do not condone. But that does not make this book crap.

Fifty Shades capitalizes on two things that engross and sell: romance and sex appeal. Having read both before, I could see where the story was carried on the emotion it kindles in the reader. That's actually a weak description, violently thrusted down the rails of this roller coaster of a book is more like it. It is this intensity that allows the reader to remain involved in Grey's world even when the author makes oopsies. Readers can overlook it because we just want more Grey. Perhaps thats what happened, the author overlooked it because she was too hung up on Grey herself. Being so afflicted myself, I can find it my heart to forgive her.

This book came to me at a good time. It was a fateful reminder of just how you can get hooked into a novel. I stayed up all till 3:15 reading knowing I had to be to work in a few hours. I don't do bad things, but I strongly considered calling out of work to finish reading. That has never happened to me before. I walked around a happy zombie at work as I watched the clock, eager to find out what happened next. I was so tired I felt like the Incredible Hulk had bitch-slapped me. I want to learn to write like this.

However, by the end the feeling wore off and I am still not sure how I feel about how the story wrapped up. Anatasia Steele started to get on my nerves and it seemed like whenever they weren't doing it they were fighting or repeating themselves or some well rehearsed version of both. This could have been the author not realizing she was chasing her own tale (or fully aware with no clue how to undo it) or it was a hasty ploy to get information across that she saw no other way of disseminating, hard to tell really.

One thing is for sure, if you take the erotica out the romance will not stand on its own. Two reasons for this exist, number 1: It is painfully obvious to any Twi-hard how much it is akin to Stephanie Meyer's work, and her readers will not stand for it. Why read Twilight 2.0 when the first one was fine? The scenes and some of the descriptive details, harken back to Forks in more than a flattering manner.

I read the Twilight Saga five times, I am not making this up, the locale (Seattle/Portland really close to Forks) the clumsy protagonist (who shrugs away from nice clothes and gifts,) the dangerous guy (with copper highlights.) I have to add in there a technologically inept teenage girl (those actually don't exist, except in rare cases) and two people under thirty who live for classical music and books. I've never met those characters before, or have I? I could keep going but then I would spoil the book. Suffice it to say, that too many of the scenes seem like they started as cutouts from Stephanie Meyer's work before they became a playground for Grey. In fact, without the incredibly complicated Grey, it would almost feel like I've read it before. Maybe thats why I got through it so fast.

The second reason is that the erotic scenes are the glue holding this book together. Without the sex that pulls Grey and Steele apart and drives them together, these characters really don't have much of a relationship, they are utterly incompatible. It could be argued that the thrill of the steamy scenes is carrying the book on this front as well. But thats okay, this book wasn't meant to survive without it's erotic element.

I may feel differently when I read the rest of the trilogy. One thing is for certain though, I don't know if I will ever look at an elevator the same way again. But there is little doubt that I will be reading the rest, as soon as I get some sleep.

Recommended: Holy fuck yes! (You will get that when you read it.)

Shadows in the Rain

Last night I stayed up all night working on a new story, Shadows in the Rain. Of course, I will continue to work on Faceless, but this new fiction story will be just as good. This is not YA, but it is certain to be an engrossing love story for adult readers. I will keep you all posted on my progress. 9,000 words in so far, I think I've earned some shut eye!

First Day Back

Today was my first day back to school (as a teacher.) I put this up on my bulletin board:

Today someone will:

Walk for the first time,

Save a life,

Help a friend,

Solve a problem.

What will you do today?

Be an agent of worldwide change.

As I was driving home I thought up a couple more I could have added. Most of the below are not school appropriate, but it is still a good exercise in really how precious our time is. Perhaps we could build a list together. I will start us out:

Adopt a homeless animal,

Beat cancer,

Forgive someone who doesn't deserve it.

Come on, add one. Don't leave me hanging. : )