Friday, November 30, 2007

Musical Transitions

Warning! Rant about to happen...

I watched a really BAAAD movie on DVD last night. It wasn't supposed to be bad. Matter of fact it had several "A" list actors and got good reviews, but it still annoyed the H*LL outta me!

And I don't mean just the story line, though I did find that aspect rather weak, cliche-ridden, and therefore annoying. The thing I really objected to was that every time a pivotal scene ended, the director/film editor/whomever would throw up a montage of landscapes along with the character who had just "learned the BIG LESSON" and fill the soundtrack with LOUD WHINY MUSIC.

Worse, this movie (no, I won't name the title unless you ask in the comments) is far from unique. I've noticed the exact same thing in other movies and in TV programs. Granted, I don't watch much of the latter, but the biggest offender that I do watch (and am about to STOP watching for this and several other reasons) is "Grey's Anatomy." I can almost tolerate Ms Wishy-Washy Perpetual Victim Meredith's voice over platitudes... most of the time. But SPARE ME those whiny girl singers screeching away about their broken hearts/lives/tattoos or whatever it is they are carrying on about.

Whatever happened to TRANSITIONS? You know, those little things that move you between scenes? For that matter, at least in films and TV, what is wrong with the old fade to black and start the new scene? This technique has worked for loads of award winning writers and directors in the past.

I think it boils down to trusting your audience. We GET IT already! We don't need some smarmy montage and loud music to hammer your point home. If we do, then you didn't sufficiently make your point in the first place!

Okay, rant over for today.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Finally Sinking In... A Bit

I was wandering the aisles of my local Big Chain Bookstore today, as I do most every weekend. Not necessarily shopping, just enjoying the look, and smell, and FEEL of all those wonderful books sitting on all the shelves.

I browsed over in the Romance section, pulling out books by friends (Anna Campbell, Donna MacMeans, Christine Wells), authors or titles I'd heard some recent buzz about, or other titles by My Publisher... just coz, ya know, they're MINE... When suddenly it occurred to me that by this time NEXT year, MY book would be up there on the shelves! Yup, right up there on that top shelf between Cheyenne McCray and Shannon McKenna!

Oh. My. Gosh.

This time NEXT year, those two women sharing the aisle with me might be pulling out MY BOOK!

Yes, I had a private little *SQUEE* moment right there in the middle of the book store. My Book, written with my own blood, sweat, and imagination will be published in less than 365 days and will be read (and I hope enjoyed) by total strangers! Reality never felt so good.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Gifts To Charities

I'm blogging today on the Bandit Blog about donating to a favorite charity instead of buying a gift. (Just click on this entry's title for the link to get there.)

Please drop by and read about why the American Red Cross is one of my favorite charities. In fact, I probably wouldn't be here except for them!

I hope you will give to your favorite charity this holiday season!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

My First Revision Letter

HURRAY! I received my first revision letter today. And I'm HAPPY about it?!?!? As a matter of fact, I'm tickled pink! And no, I haven't lost what little mind I may actually have left. I'm happy about my revision letter for some very good reasons!

First, and foremost, these are revisions made UNDER CONTRACT on a book that is SOLD! I've never had this experience before and it is one more baby step down the road of my writing career.

Second, even though My Editor assured me that my revisions would be "light" I wasn't sure her definition of "light" would be the same as mine. Luckily they matched!

So I'm off to happily work on my revisions!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Happy Birthday Mom and Thanks!

Yesterday was my mother's birthday. Unfortunately, I lost her in 1999 to cancer. I'm really sorry she won't be around to finally see my long held dream become a reality and find a book I wrote sitting on the bookstore or library shelf.

What a shame because I owe so much to her.

My mom was the one who read stories to me, and who taught me the alphabet and my numbers and how to write my name, all before I ever set foot inside a kindergarten class. My mom took me and my sister and brother to the library every other week during those long hot summers. We got to enjoy the air conditioned comfort we didn't have at home, and she let me check out all the books I could carry. She didn't even scold me too much on those cold winter nights when she caught me reading under the covers with a flashlight, because I suspect she did the same thing herself.

My mom was an avid (if not exactly high brow) reader. She preferred True Story to Ladies' Home Journal or Redbook, and I doubt she ever read an issue of The New Yorker. She didn't read much "literature," but she introduced me to the great old Gothic romances of Phyllis Whitney and Victoria Holt. I'm sure she would recognize their influences in my own work. I also believe she would enjoy my story, in spite of some of the "bad" language my characters use. She was a real stickler about not using bad words!

So Happy Birthday, Mom!

And thanks for everything. I know now how lucky I was to have you.

I still miss you everyday.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Shake, Rattle and Aloha

The DH and I are native Californians who have never lived anywhere but the Golden State. Given California's reputation with regard to earthquakes, the two of us have lots of stories to tell about quakes, right? Wrong. DH has never been in a major earthquake, and the only one I was ever in happened when I was six-months-old. In fact, these two old Californians had to go all the way to Hawaii to experience an earthquake first hand!

We are very lucky because where we live it is easy to find inexpensive deals to Hawaii. Such was the case last October when a travel agency we've used before offered a 5 day trip to Honolulu and we decided to go for it. Our high rise hotel was in a GREAT location, across the street from the Honolulu Zoo and half a block from the beach.

Sunday morning at 7 a.m. I was awakened from a sound sleep by the bed shaking. Thinking the DH had returned from his morning swim and was playing a game of 'let's wake up the slug', I rolled over ready to yell at him but NO DH. Instead, I heard a very loud roar and the bed and the room both started to sway!

I may have never been in an earthquake before but I KNEW what was happening. I threw some clothes on over my pajamas while the room continued to sway. Then I grabbed my umbrella and RAN down nine flights of stairs to the lobby! I had a friend who was trapped in an elevator for 4 hours during the Loma Prieta quake so there was NO WAY I was getting in an elevator, though that stairwell was pretty icky. I'm just glad we weren't on the eighteenth floor.

When I reached the lobby there were a lot of bleary-eyed people milling about, and an emergency generator already set up to run one elevator and some lights. Staff also had set up a battery powered radio and I listened anxiously for about ten minutes for news of death, destruction, and... a tsunami! All I heard was that one power grid had gone down and in doing so, had triggered overloads on all the power grids so electricity was out all over the island. Also, that the quake had been centered off the Big Island, not Oahu. And NO tsunami.

I couldn't quite believe that last part, and worse -- DH was still out there SWIMMING IN THE OCEAN! I walked out to the front sidewalk and peered through the pouring rain. I decided if he didn't show up in five more minutes, I'd go looking for him. Two minutes later he walked up, towel around his shoulders, dripping wet. He headed straight for the elevator and couldn't understand why all those people were standing around in the lobby. When I mentioned THE EARTHQUAKE, he gave me a blank stare.

He hadn't felt a thing!

Luckily the only consequence of the earthquake turned out to be no power in Honolulu for thirteen hours. Inconvenient, yes. No cooked food, no air conditioning, no running water above the third floor... But in the grand scheme of things, it wasn't that bad!