Friday, April 30, 2010

Writing Peril!

Yesterday I spent so many hours typing, hunched over, glaring at my computer screen that when I finally detached from my manuscript and looked up everything was a blur. It took a good ten minutes for my eyes to return to normal and my fingers to straighten out. I tried the whole "Nora Roberts Finger Toss-and-Fan Thing" to get the blood flowing past my knuckles...and it worked for the most part.

You'd think I'd call in a rest day today. Spend some time in my garden (which is begging for attention), or get a pedicure (it's been a good three weeks...I'm due), but neither of those things get me what I really want.

I'm soooo close to finishing my WIP (that's work-in-progress for those who've been snoozing through my posts). I'm inching to the black moment, that point of no return that seems just out of reach.

Maybe I'll get there today. Or maybe my eyes will dry up and my fingers will fall off. Just sayin'...

Thursday, April 29, 2010


Something amazing happened last night while I was sleeping...

I dreamt of my hero from my WIP. And I was in the story with him!

Now, what you have to understand is, I dream a lot. Almost every night. Some of those are recurring dreams, not anything scary just re-dos down to the last detail. But I haven't yet had a dream about a scene I'm writing, a scene to be written or any characters from my manuscripts.

Until now.

In my dream I was kidnapped (does that word apply when you're no longer a kid? hope so.), and somehow changed into a vampire (this part was skimmed over--you know, like a dream sequence fly-by that just is because Anyway, my hero (who looked very much the way I envisioned him--dark skull-trim cut, mesmerizing eyes, strong jaw, muscle bound, yummy), was assigned to transport me to my new coven. I had to spend three days in the back of a van, in the dark, with nothing or no one to talk to except him. And being the thoughtful, rule-breaking hero he is, he sneaked me into a movie theatre for a late night showing of something I really wanted to see. It was great. Even though he's brash and strong, dutiful and quick-witted, he wanted to take care of me...went out of his way (and against direct orders) to make sure I felt comfortable with him. Yeah, he's pretty stellar.

When I woke up this morning I had an epiphany. He's real. I've written him so well, gotten into his head so much that he's taken on an identity that's solid enough for me to dream about. It's a wonderful thing.

I wonder if authors often dream of their characters? And I wonder if they dream of them before they're created (giving way to heroic inspiration for their story) or after (cementing their character traits in dreamland)? Care to weigh in?

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Top Ten Movies of All Time

I kinda liked the Top Ten thing I did last week and I think you did too. I got a lot of people calling and emailing me about it. Here goes another round. (And again, don't get all uptight when Gone with the Wind or Casablanca doesn't make the final cut--I'm not one of those gals who likes to sit with a bowl of popcorn and box of tissues and cry over black and whites. Gimme a action packed shoot-out with a hunky guy who gets the girl and I'm in love!)

Oh, and to top if off with another High Fidelity quote for giggles:

Rob: John Dillinger was killed behind that theater in a hale of FBI gunfire. And do you know who tipped them off? His
f@!&ing girlfriend. All he wanted to do was go to the movies.

Top Ten Movies of All Time by Kristin (Followed by my favorite lines from those movies--boy these were hard to pick)...

10. Back to the Future (1989, Michael J. Fox)
Younger Dr. Emmett Brown: [running out of the room] 1.21 gigawatts? 1.21 gigawatts? Great Scott!
Marty McFly: [following] What-what the hell is a gigawatt?

9. Matrix (1999, Keanu Reeves)
Oracle: You're cuter than I thought. I can see why she likes you.
Neo: Who?
Oracle: Not too bright, though.

8. The Usual Suspects (1995, Kevin Spacey, Benicio Del Toro)
Verbal: The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist. And like that, poof. He's gone.

7. Moulin Rouge (2001, Nicole Kidman, Ewan McGregor)
The Duke: You expect me to believe that scantily clad, in the arms of another man, in the middle of the night, inside an elephant you were rehearsing?

6. V for Vendetta (2005, Natalie Portman, Hugo Weaving)
Evey Hammond: Who are you?
V: Who? Who is but the form following the function of what and what I am is a man in a mask.
Evey Hammond: Well I can see that.
V: Of course you can. I'm not questioning your powers of observation I'm merely remarking upon the paradox of asking a masked man who he is.

5. The Shawshank Redemption (1994, Tim Robbins, Morgan Freeman)
Andy Dufresne: Get busy living, or get busy dying.

4.Titanic (1997, Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet)
Jack: Rose, you're no picnic, all right? You're a spoiled little brat, even, but under that, you're the most amazingly, astounding, wonderful girl, woman that I've ever known...

3. Braveheart (1995, Mel Gibson)
Murron: You're going to teach me to read, then?
William Wallace: Aye, if you'd like.
Murron: Aye!
William Wallace: In what language?
Murron: Ah, you're showing off now.
William Wallace: That's right. Are you impressed yet?
Murron: No. Why? Should I be?
William Wallace: Oui. Parce que chaque jour j'ai pensé à toi.
[Yes. Because every single day I thought about you]
Murron: [hesitates, impressed despite herself, then smiles] Do that standing on your head and I'll be impressed.
William Wallace: Well, my kilt will fly up, but I'll try.

Okay, okay, I had to pick another...

Malcolm Wallace: Your heart is free. Have the courage to follow it.

2. The Notebook (2004, Rachel McAdams, Ryan Gosling)
Young Allie: Now, say you're a bird.
Young Noah: If you're a bird, I'm a bird.

And the top movie of all time in my opinion is...

1. Pride and Prejudice (2005, Keira Knightly)
Elizabeth Bennet: And those are the words of a gentleman. From the first moment I met you, your arrogance and conceit, your selfish disdain for the feelings of others made me realize that you were the last man in the world I could ever be prevailed upon to marry.
[they look at each other for a long time as though about to kiss]
Mr. Darcy: Forgive me, madam, for taking up so much of your time.

So that's it! All my favorites rolled into a single blog post! There were TONS of good ones that didn't make the cut and I wished I could've picked more quotes from those movies...maybe sometime.

What's on your list?

Monday, April 26, 2010

Moving forward

I don't know if I mentioned it or not, but I'm going in for knee surgery. Again. *sigh*

I only have two weeks to get things in order. My house needs to be clean as I'll be down and out on pain meds or crutches for a good couple weeks after. Food needs to be stocked up to feed the family. Stomach rumblings don't stop just because I do, darn it.

And last but not least, I REALLY want to finish my WIP. I've been plugging away every day and have reached 70,000 words out of the 85,000 I'm aiming for. If I don't finish until after surgery I'm afraid my eyes will be different when I look at my work again. I know, I know, sounds crazy. But right now I'm IN that world. I KNOW these characters. And they're *this* close to reaching their point of no return and subsequent growth. If I stop now or go into surgery at that point, I fear I'll have to re-read the entire WIP just to get my head back in the same place. It's not that I wouldn't mind reading the whole thing again because I love it so much, and I'll have to do it when I finish anyway, but that'll take up more time I don't have.

I have a self-imposed deadline, people.

RWA National in Nashville is July 28th. This puppy has to be finished, edited, PERFECTED by that time. AND I need readers to give feedback. So much to do, so little time.

On a side note: We're heading out to a livestock auction today. Should be fun. Oh, and tomorrow I'm posting on my Top Ten Movies of All Time. Have a great day!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

If guys were like girls

This here is the reason women *love* to read about hunky, testosterone-raging, overly protective, Alpha males. Next time you think your man did something that drives you crazy think about the frightening alternative...

I don't know who these guys are, or why they made this video, but it's a riot!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Miss Foster's Folly

If you're looking to pick up a book this summer that'll keep you sizzling long after you've left the sand, choose one by Alice Gaines. Preferably Miss Foster's Folly which will be released June 2010. Not only is Alice a talented writer, she's a wonderfully helpful acquaintance from San Francisco's Chapter of RWA.

She's received acclaim for many of her books, the ones below being no exception.

For Master of the Elements: "Readers who enjoy a quick, sensuous escape from reality will be satisfied."-- Gail Pruszkowski, Romantic Times

For Child of Balance: "Ms. Gaine's style is lyrical, with amazing imagery that will stay with you long after the last page has been turned."-- Jan Zimlich, Author of The Shadow Prince, historical fantasy

A full listing of her books can be found at

I'm sure Miss Foster's Folly from Carina Press will garner the same rave reviews as her last. I mean, come on, how could you resist a cover this beautiful?

Can't wait until June!

Also, head over to Confessions of a California Cheer Mom where my critique partner Lisa Sanchez is trying to build her follower list to 100! Followers are appreciated here or there!

Happy Earth Day and Stuff

I just don't get Earth Day...

I think some bored and boisterous environmentalist developed it to remind those people who don't recycle or take care of the planet (*insert accusatory wagging finger pointed at YOU here) to start doing so.

Rotating green and blue Earth insignias decorate Nickelodeon every commercial break--I'm sure those images are found on other channels too, but with two children under six, Nick and Playhouse Disney plague my screen. Google changes their normal logo to something astoundingly, amazingly beautiful...something we look forward to seeing every year. What, you didn't wake up at 12:01 am and frantically clobber your way to your laptop? Must be just me. All joking aside, it is kinda pretty:

I just feel like Earth Day should be everyday. We live every day on Earth after all. So it should make sense that every day we're here is "earth day", doesn't it? It's not like we'd ever have a Moon Day or Mars Day. Maybe when that day comes and we're proudly sporting Martian hats with airless spinners, Google will create something flaming red with craters of dried lava and pot holes the size of the Grand Canyon. Until then, I'm going to keep doing the things I'm doing and hope I'm paying enough tribute to this planet I live on without having to be reminded to do so.

Side note: The writing's going swimmingly well and I'm not even writing near a pool. Ha! Yesterday between 8am and 2pm I managed to write 4500k words...that's about 11 pages. I didn't mean for it to just did...and I love where the characters are leading me. Can't wait to share it with the world! (Had to go big here, you know, being it's EARTH DAY and all!)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Top Ten Books of all time

I watched High Fidelity yesterday. My brother would be proud--I bet it's one of his top 5 movies of all time. Heh. If you're not laughing you haven't watched the movie recently. Get to it. John Cusack rocks.

In the spirit of High Fidelity and Top *whatever* lists, I give you...Top Ten Books of all time. (In my opinion anyway. You twilighters out there, don't send me hate mail when Twilight doesn't make top 10. And *shocking spoiler* it won't.)

To kick off my first Top Ten list it's only suitable to post a quote from High Fidelity:

Hey, I'm not the smartest guy in the world, but I'm certainly not the dumbest. I mean, I've read books like "The Unbearable Lightness of Being" and "Love in the Time of Cholera", and I think I've understood them. They're about girls, right? Just kidding. But I have to say my all-time favorite book is Johnny Cash's autobiography "Cash" by Johnny Cash. --Rob Gordon

Top Ten Books by Kristin

10. No Greater Love--Danielle Steele
9. Message in a Bottle--Nicholas Sparks
8. Born in Ice (2nd book in the Born In Trilogy)--Nora Roberts
7. Cold Fire--Dean Koontz
6. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (5th book in the Harry Potter series)--J.K. Rowling
5. Valley of Silence (3rd book in the Circle Trilogy)--Nora Roberts
4. Lover Eternal (2nd in the BlackDagger Brotherhood Series)--J.R. Ward
3. Time Traveler's Wife--Audrey Niffenegger
2. A Knight in Shining Armor--Jude Devereaux

And the #1 of all time...*insert Chevy Chase freaky-tongue drumroll here*

1. Rebecca--Daphne DuMaurier

Bet that last one was a shocker, wasn't it? If you've been reading my blog long, you know it's my go-to novel. What's in your Top Ten? Better yet, what's your #1?

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Priorities on a busy Saturday

Today I was a busy, busy bee. I woke up, gulped down some coffee, took off to my niece's soccer game (where she scored two goals--such a proud auntie sitting right here), then I came home, put my kids down for naps, pumped out a page on my WIP (not much but hey, it's forward progress), then went to a three year old's birthday party.

Now I'm beat. I mean dragged down and out, beat. I'm sitting at my computer, dreading the chapter I have yet to write...and it's a good one, let me tell you. Okay, I won't tell you much other than I'm coming down to the "main event". The thing that's gonna bring the whole vampire coven to its knees. Yeah, gonna be good. But tonight I just don't feel up for it.

Sounds sad but I think tomorrow morning I'm going to go to I can stop by Starbucks on the way there...and praise God of course. Of course that comes first...

Me and the FamBam almost took off to Humboldt this afternoon. It was so tempting even with the 6 hour drive and two tired kids. That right there should tell you how bad my withdrawals are for that place. (And I know the way that sounded, but I don't crave Humboldt for the green. I'm not interested in the least--never have been. It's the welcoming, zero-stress atmosphere that's so alluring.) I mean look at how beautiful it is? How could I resist? It was three o' clock in the afternoon and The Husband said, "If you tell me we can go to Humboldt it's on. Let's roll right now."

My mind raced: We'd get there by ten at night. The kids are exhausted from a busy day. I think Tank is getting sick. He wouldn't sleep well. We don't have reservations and our friends that live there aren't expecting us. But I could take the head shots I've been planning and they'd be BEAUTIFUL up there. I miss it so much and haven't been back in years. The kids have never seen where I went to college. (Go Lumberjacks!) But, oh, the packing, unpacking, driving, etc. And then my brain exploded. No really, that's how it felt.

I don't know what happened to my spontaneity. I used to love travelling somewhere unexpected at the last moment. One time after an afternoon full of college classes The Husband (who was The Boyfriend at the time), parked his truck at his house, sat for a second before saying, "Wanna go to the beach?" It was 2 hours away. Smiling ear to ear, I said, "Sure!" And away we went for the day. The sunshine was brighter. The waves crashed louder. Something about the way we surprised the hell out of that pre-planned day made it all the better. I loved it down to the tips of my toes.

I think that kind of freedom was dropped somewhere along the way. Pieces of it are probably floating around in the old crib and stuffed in the creases of a worn diaper bag. I'm sure Tank and Princess drank some of that freedom away in their formula and chewed on it in one hand while holding their binkies in the other. Ah, well. Maybe someday I'll gather it all back.

Needless to say, we're not going to Humboldt. It'd take too much work, too much planning, and I'm just too tired. But hey, sugary-goodness coffee is calling tomorrow. And for that I'll get up early. Amen.

Friday, April 16, 2010

I Don't Belong Here

If you've noticed the title from my blog post matches the first Pink song playing on the MixPod below. It's also the perfect theme song for my WIP, if ever there was one.

So today I'm going to answer the question, "Do you listen to music as you write?"

I wish I could say I stick to one routine. Maybe I'd be more inspirational that way. Instead all I have is the wishy-washy truth. I listen to music when the words are flowing. When the dialogue is snappy and easy and riveting and the plot pieces fall into place like a giant, well-laid-out puzzle board. When the writing is difficult, when I need to focus on something to make sure it comes across in just the right way, the music goes off and the headphones come on (to drown out any and all outside noise).

I honestly will listen to the MixPod playlist every day. Every. Single. Day. When I get to a part where the writing becomes labored I switch it up or turn it off. For the 3 manuscripts I've written (can't believe it's been that many in a little over a year), a song seems to stand out, emerging through the others, speaking to me and the developing story.

For Nine Days in Joliet, my contemporary romance (the unpublishable one), I listened to WinterSong by Ingrid Michaelson over and over again. I'm talking thousands of times on repeat. Looking back, it made perfect sense for the story I was writing. WinterSong became my muse.

For Dark Tide Rising, I mostly listened to Starlight by Muse. I'm sitting here trying to remember the lyrics to see if they plug into the story, but I honestly can't remember. I think it was the tempo and beat that had me going, not so much the words. Odd, but it worked.

For my WIP, the song of the manuscript is I Don't Belong Here by Pink, hands down. I'd never heard the song before a few days ago. I was trying to find something else to link up in the MixPod and sampled the first few seconds of the song. It only took a single line for me to add it. Since then it's on my computer all day. Yeah, I'm a little hooked.

*Side note: Have you ever met those people who eat the same thing day in and day out for, like, years? They're content to eat some bland dish like it's the greatest tasting thing on the planet until one day they just tire of their choice and switch for no apparent reason. Yeah. That's me. I think I've eaten a granola bar for breakfast every morning since college. (We're talking 8 years, people.)

Anyway, the lyrics just seem to fit right, leading me in the right direction without having a tug of war over where my logical brain wants the story to go versus where It wants to go.

If you listen very carefully to the words of the song you might be able to find out the premise for my book--the black moment. Humor me for a minute: I think everyone's been denied, broken up with, rejected, etc, at some point in their life. (If you haven't, lucky lucky you. The rest of us are silently plotting your demise.) It sucks to hear someone say they don't want to be with you anymore; that they can't be with you for whatever reason. What if you knew in your gut they were acting in what they thought were your best interests? Wouldn't that knowledge hurt more than a normal breakup? Because not only are you still being denied, broken up with, rejected, etc, you're actually having the most important choice of your life taken from you--the choice of who to love.

When Pink sings "I don't believe you when you say you don't need me anymore, so don't pretend to not love me at all" my heroine knows EXACTLY what she's singin' about. The complete lyrics are here.

So YES I'm listening to music as I write. Right now. What are you listening to?

Thursday, April 15, 2010

In Memoriam

This is a poem from the book called "The Last Days of Titanic" published in 1912 by Roberts Rinehart. The poem was written by Father Browne (who left Titanic when she docked in Ireland ). It's been my favorite poem for about as long as I can remember.

April 15th,1912

A ship rode forth on the Noonday tide
Rode forth to the open sea
and high sun shone on the good ship's side,
And all seemed gladness, and hope,and pride
For the gallant sight was she.

For the crew was strong,and the captain brave
And never a fear had they,
Never a thought for the turbulent wave,
Never a dread of a watery grave,
Nor dreams of a fateful day.

So the ship sailed on, and the voices strong
Sang sweet on the morning air,
And the glad notes billowed the shore along,
they drifted and died, till the Sailors' song
Was soft as a whispered prayer

And all seemed gladness,and hope ,and pride
As far as the eye could see,
For where was the foe that could pierce her side,
Or where in the Ocean depths could hide,
A mightier power then she?

But far to the North, in the frozen zone
Where the Ice King holds his sway,
Full many a berg, like the monarch's throne
Or castle that fabled princes own
Gleamed white neath the Sun's bright ray

When the challenge came on the whisp'ring air
It passed like a fleeting breath,
But it roused a king in his Arctic lair,
And waked what vengeance was sleeping there,
The vengeance of Doom and Death

But heedless and gay o'er the sunlit waves
The vessel all lightly bore,
Till the distant coast with its rocks and caves,
And the land that the Western Ocean laves,
Were seen from her decks no more

When Evening came with the waning light,
And shrouded the rolling deep,
For never a moment she stayed her flight,
Adown the path of the moonbeams bright,
Though Heaven was wrapped in sleep.

Another dawn with its liquid gold
Gilded the Eastern sky
Lighting the ship so fair, so bold
that sped its way o'er the Ocean old,
Nor recked of danger nigh....

And noonday came, when the burning sun
Rifted the realms of snow
And burst the fetters the Ice had spun
And shattered the towers that Cold had won,
Breaking the great Ice-flow

Till over the ocean's heaving swells,
Like ghosts in the twilight gloom,
The great bergs glided with purpose fell
Minding the quest of their Monarch well,
The quest of Revenge and Doom

The deeper night with it slow advance
Bids even the winds to cease,
No moonbeams bright on the waters dance
But all lie still in a starry trance
And the Ocean sleeps in peace

A shuddering gasp o'er the resting deep!
A wail from the silent sea!
Tis heard where the stars their lone watch keep
Tis heard in the grave where the dead men sleep,
mindful of human glee...

The Springtime dawn with its rosy light
See naught but the waves' wild flow
For under the veil of the moonless night
When the sea was still and the stars were bright
The Ice King had slain his foe.

The Ship that rode on noonday tide
Rode forth to open sea,
But gone are the gladness, and hope, and pride
For the Northern Ocean's depths could hide
A mightier power than she

*I'll get back to posts on general writing goodness tomorrow, I promise. And, hey, maybe I'll share some big big news over coffee.*

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Death of a Titan by Fire, Fate and Ice

Tonight marks the 98 year anniversary of the Titanic's demise. Here's the list I promised. So many things contributed to the sinking of the ship. If any one of these things would have been eliminated, checked off the list, the Titanic might've docked safely in NY Harbor. Combined, they were a recipe for one of the greatest maritime disasters. If these things can't convince you the ship was doomed, I don't know what will.

1. In 1898, long before the Titanic was dreamed, there was a story written for a journal called “The Wreck of the Titan; or Futility” by Morgan Robertson. It told of a triple-screw steamer, 64,000 tons, carrying 2200 passengers, striking an iceberg in the North Atlantic Ocean, not having enough lifeboats, and having 1500 people perish. Every detail in the design and demise of the Titanic was identical. It was republished in 1912 after the sinking. You can read my blog post about it under "Titanic" labels on the side.

2. When the Titanic was first heading out to sea she had a near collision in port. Many say a collision like this would curse a ship. Suction created from the Titanic snapped the moor lines of a nearby tug boat and pulled the tug within 3 ft. of the Titanic’s hull. That ship was named after the port she would never reach-NEW YORK.

3. There was suppose to be a lifeboat drill on the morning of the sinking, but was cancelled due to the belief that many people would not attend a drill on an “unsinkable ship”.

4. The lookout lost their binoculars somewhere after Southampton and were searching for icebergs with the naked eye.

5. The type of iceberg they struck, called a “blue berg”, is nearly undetectable with the naked eye. A blue berg is one that has just shifted or turned in the water, so that the top now has a luminescent glow which blends with the water.

6. Captain Smith took the more Southern shipping route to avoid bergs that might have broken off earlier than anticipated, but still managed to run into the iceberg that sank the ship. Many say that there are only icebergs in that region once in a hundred years...

7. There was no moon on the night of the sinking, which meant no moonshine off the berg’s surface. (The iceberg the Titanic hit broke off of the “Humboldt Glacier”.)

8. After 29 years of sailing, Captain Smith logged that he had never seen an ocean as calm as the one they were sailing. “Smooth like a mill-pond.” This means no breaking water at the base of the bergs.

9. The Titanic was actually coming upon an ice-pack that they would not have been able to pass through even if they'd missed the giant they struck. Two other ships in the vicinity were stopped by the ice-pack and sent the Titanic warnings to tell them that they couldn’t move any further.

10. One of those ships, the Californian, was attempting to tell the wireless operator of the Titanic about the field ice when he was told to “butt-out” and that “important 1st class messages were going to Cape Race” (wireless transmission post in Newfoundland). The Californian operator turned off their wireless and went to bed. They were so close they could see the Titanic’s lights...

11. The other of the two ships in the vicinity was noted to be traveling between the Titanic and the Californian during the sinking. The ship was close enough to be of assistance, but turned around and left. Turns out the ship was illegally poaching seals and was afraid of lawful reprimand.

Is that enough to convince you, yet? Fated. To. Sink. Just in case you want to know more...

12. When men on board the Californian saw Titanic’s white distress flares, they weren’t worried—they knew the Titanic was on her maiden voyage. Ships during that time sent rockets the color of their sailing company flying through the air to celebrate. The Titanic was sailing under the WHITE STAR LINE...meaning her celebration rockets, as well as her distress rockets, were BOTH white.

13. The Titanic was on fire. She was smoldering in Coal Bunker No. 6. The fire was so intense they actually took on more firemen in Queenstown. It’s reported that the Captain was told they would not have the fire out by the time the reached NYC.

14. If the Titanic had hit the iceberg dead-on, she would have stayed afloat because only two of the watertight compartments would have been flooded. By scrapping along the side of the ship, the iceberg cut a 300ft gash in the ship and flooded 5 of the 16 compartments, making sinking a certainty. (The ship could only stay afloat with the first 4 compartments flooded.)

What do you think? Fate? Coincidence? You have to admit that's a lot to pile on the hull of a ship...

Love Pink

I've decided this is the most inspirational writing song EVER. It's on repeat right now as I type away. Just had to share:

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Basic Titanic Facts

I know I've mentioned before that I'm a little of a Titanic fanatic. I've been researching all things relating to the building and sinking since I was in 4th grade (that's a good 8 years before the movie came out). I always like to re-read books relating to the great ship in the month of April (around the anniversary of the sinking), and thought I'd share some info with you! I'll post the basic rundown (from memory and I won't cheat by looking anything up!) and also debunk some movie myths tonight...and if you're interested I'll post some facts tomorrow that will convince you the ship was fated to sink.

And away we go!

The R.M.S. (Royal Mail Steamer) Titanic was built by Harland and Wolff shipyards in Belfast, Ireland. She set sail April 10th, 1912 from Southampton, and made two additional stops (Cherbourg, France and Queenstown, Ireland) before heading to open sea. She struck an iceberg in the North Atlantic Ocean at 11:40pm, April 14th, and sank at 2:20am on April 15th, 1912. There were 2,228 people on board (passengers and crew). 705 people were saved and picked up on board the Carpathia, while 1523 perished.

The Titanic had two sister ships, identical in size. One named the Olympic, and the other Brittanic (Called Gigantic prior to the Titanic tragedy). All three were named for Greek Mythological races: The Titans, The Olympians, and The Giants. In 1934, after a long WWI career, the Olympic struck another ship and sank, and The Brittanic (acting as a Hospital ship) struck a mine during WWI (1916) and sank.

Debunking movie myths:

Information that some people may believe to be true, but has been proven otherwise...

1-JACK AND ROSE WERE REAL—They were not on board the ship. It was not a true story, nor loosely based on one.

2-“THE HEART OF THE OCEAN” DIAMOND REALLY EXISTED–Though it may have existed at some point in history (I can't prove or disprove), it WAS NOT on board the Titanic (or at least not mentioned in the manifest which I DO have a copy of).

3-THE SHIP WAS CARRYING TOO FEW LIFEBOATS–This one is a little sticky...they didn't have enough room in the lifeboats to accommodate all passengers, true. However, during this time, lifeboat requirements were based on gross tonnage of the steamer, not occupants on board. The Titanic actually added more lifeboats, and more collapsible lifeboats to accommodate additional passengers. (Although now we can look back and see the fallacy of their logic, at the time they were abiding by the laws and going above and beyond what was required of them.)

So now that you have the basic facts of the ship, its heritage and voyage, and know the obvious things that are not true, you'll have to wait until tomorrow (the 98 year anniversary of the sinking) to discover why that enormous ship was never going to make it to NYC--iceberg or not.

EDIT: Forgot to mention last night...while I'm on the shipping kick, if you aren't watching Deadliest Catch this season, hurry up and get on board. There are boatfulls of hunky alpha males with ego to share and quotas to reach. Go Northwestern! (Especially now that Jake from the Cornelia Marie is on board!)

Monday, April 12, 2010

Conflict and Judge Judy

I have heaps of conflict! I don't know where it comes from, but my writing is chuck full of it. I went through my WIP (you can now read details about both my manuscripts in the "snippets" tab above, fyi), and realized that each character is conflicted with another and with themselves about something. Good stuff. I don't know how it happened...I certainly didn't plan each internal/external conflict out on paper before I started. It just ended up that way.

My very first story (which is not included in the "snippets" because I'm not seeking publication for that one) didn't have enough conflict...okay, it had very little which is why I think it's unpublishable in the first place. It's like I went from one extreme to the next. No conflict to toil, toil, boil and bubble.

So then I got to wondering...where did all this conflict come from? After much time watching my favorite shows yesterday (hey, you have to unload your TiVo at some point), I realized the answer was staring me in the face.

This is my TiVo queue:

Spongebob Squarepants: 8
Dora the Explorer: 4
Amazing Race: 1
Survivor: 1
Wedding Crashers: 1
Judge Judy: 22


Did you get that? 22 Judge Judy's? Therein lies my conflict.

I watch waaaaay too many of cases of betrayal, broken trust, lies, more lies, degradation, separation, child support frauds, insurance frauds, broken leases, broken relationships, yada, yada. To be honest I don't watch any other television shows as religiously as Judge Judy.

She tells it like it is--gets straight to the point and doesn't fool around. She wades through that conflict like it's easy-breezy Sunday morning.

And I absolutely love it. Honestly, I think my love for the show has more to do with the fact that it works the logic side of my brain for awhile, giving my creative side a break. After hours creating stories of my own it's nice to sit back and think about things in different ways; have stories laid out for me by a master storyteller in a black robe with white doily fringe.

All doily fringe aside, whatever gets me watching Judge Judy is working...yesterday I put my hero and heroine in the stickiest of situations. She realizes she loves him minutes before he reveals he's her sworn enemy. Love. It.

Friday, April 9, 2010

The Writing Diet

When I started my WIP I busted out a rough outline (sideways against wide yellow rule), like I always do. (At least for the 2 1/2 manuscripts I've written this year.) I don't do chapter outlines. Hell, I barely stick to rough plot diagrams with key points. My stories tend to take on lives of their own, moving and shifting in much better directions than I had originally planned.

(I kid you not--in my last manuscript I didn't know who the killer was going to be until the last chapter or so. After I figured it out I went back and added things to point to certain characters and distract from others. The story turned out so much better for it. Had I known all along I think I would've made it too obvious.)

Anyway, for my current work I laid out major obstacles. I had the beginning point (cleverly labeled "beg") start at 0 (aren't I a creative genius?), and had the end point (again brilliantly labeled "end") wrap up at page 400. I knew to keep the momentum moving I needed a series of turning points to twist and turn the action into different directions. (Thank you oh wise turning-point yoda Jennifer Crusie.) At the 200 mark I wrote down the most major thing that needed to happen to propel the rest of my book forward like a speedtrain. (I'd tell you what that thing is, but then I'd have to kill you. Muah-ha-ha! Seriously though, this puppy's gonna be on store shelves *I know it* so you'll have to wait to read it.)

However, one obstacle (no matter how large and overpowering) wasn't enough. People don't only have one challenge in life, oh no. When the dishwasher breaks so does the garbage disposal, didn't you know? So at page 100 and 300 I added two more major events to jam things up a bit. Okay, I like conflict so those events jackhammer my characters to bits. But it's fun to watch them toil and sweat....and eventually grow. I know what's better for them, really I do.

Now for my last two manuscripts I kinda did the same thing minus the page numbers because really, come on, who sticks to page number outlines?

This girl does. That's right.

I checked my progress against the outline tonight and guess what? It's right on target. I'm talking precise to the page number. Ever heard the saying that when you're on a diet program it takes 21 days for your body to realize you're doing something different and positively react to the program? (If you haven't take heed.)

Well I'm beginning to think writing is like a diet program. You have to work on it every day for it to become a habit. If you cheat and skip days you're only hurting yourself and your work will suffer for it. You'll see progress if you stick to your guns. (Or rather the keyboard) (Unless you're doing research at the gun range for your next novel) (Ha! I crack myself up) Staying positive and surrounding yourself with people who support you is the way to make it to your end goal.

And apparently the more you do it, the easier it becomes.

Look at me--I'm an outlining fool! Who would've thought? (Peanut gallery keep your hands down.) From total pantser to reluctant outliner. Now if I could only get that darn dieting thing down...

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Show not tell

Tonight's post was inspired by the many types of relationships in the world--no two alike. And also by the fact that I can sit upright after taking Robitussin. *grin

Over the span of my twenty-nine years I've heard some couples say they've never fought...not once. I used to think they were blowing smoke. There's no way two people could live together for fifty years and not fight. No way. Then there are those couples that are at each other's throats non-stop. You know who I'm talking about--they're the ones you secretly like to hang out with just to see what's gonna happen next. Those relationships are wild roller-coaster rides that the partners seem to enjoy.

I personally don't get either of those.

The hero and heroine in my WIP have a fiery dynamic. She's studious and determined not to let someone boss her around. He's a smart-ass and likes to live life to the fullest. Together they light a fire that keeps the pages sizzling.

Tonight I got to thinking about my own marriage and the dynamic we share. And I found the perfect scene from a movie that'll show not tell. Six hilarious minutes will depict it more perfect than any words could. It's from New York, I Love You (2009). This is totally gonna be me and The Husband when we're 80 years old. Should be loads of fun! I'm laughing my arse off already! No matter how tempted you are to stop the video short, get to the's worth it.

My apologies

I've been MIA around here the last few days...I've had the allergy attack from hell invade my throat and lungs. The Doc says it resembles an asthma attack...except I don't have asthma. Weird. The only position that feels alright is lying down...not conducive to typing out a blog post. Needless to say I haven't been able to make much headway on my work-in-progress. It's been two whole days of nada--man, what did I do before I started writing? Feels like my fingers are itching to stab at those keys and my brain is dying to get back into their world again. Maybe today I'll try to move forward...

Tuesday, April 6, 2010


Talk about throwing a wrench in my gears...

I think the iPhone's are pretty cool even though I still don't own one. The idea that your phone can be your calendar, your camera, your GPS, and your internet connection is freakin-awesome technology. I'd have one already if it wasn't for my two year contract with Verizon (that's up in October--woohoo!). I've heard good reviews on the Droid and Droid Eris but can't come to grips with giving up my burgundy EnV2 that works just fine.

But now the iPad throws a whole new dimension to the problem. It's currently priced at $499 and would perform all the functions of my laptop, but be small enough to fit in my purse! It'd still be able to keep my cheap-o, good-enough-for-me phone and do everything those iPhone people can do. And I bet if I did the math (which I'm not about to do...I'm an English person, people. Math and me don't mix.), I bet the one time high price of $499 would be cheaper than the monthly internet connection for iPhones (which runs $30/month last time I checked) when you add up all the months of use. I dunno.

See what I mean? iPhone or iPad and regular cell phone? Ah, the dilemma.

What I really don't get are people who have the iPhone but want the iPad too. I mean really? Who can afford two high-priced devices that are exactly the same except for one that has a bigger screen? Just in case you wanna...I don't know, see something closer up? Like Jacob's abs in Twilight or Jack Nicholson's nose hair?

Oh, I could go a either way I suppose. For now I'll just sit back with my EnV and envy people who have either one.

Monday, April 5, 2010

30 days of blah-blah-blah

To jog your memory, I went vegetarian for the month of March. I wanted to update daily, talk about my struggles, my victories...but I wanted to finish editing my work-in-progress more. I became so involved in the world I'm building I didn't want to leave. So here's how the month went:

I started strong. Two whole weeks of no sugar, no white flour, no meat of any kind for any reason. Week three I went out to Macaroni Grill and had a dish containing chicken. I tried to pick it out but decided it was too much trouble and ran with it.

Then I got a little weak around week 3. I figured my diet change was for meat only, right? Why was I adding in the no white flour thing for good measure? That was a little extreme. So I started eating white flour again...and heavily smothered garlic-butter bread. (Not the brightest move.) I went to the movies and had the first soda of the month around this time. Who could resist movie theatre popcorn and a big ole drink? Not this girl. But the soda tasted funny--like Dr. Pepper which I detest. I had 3 sips and put it aside. (And wasted like $5 bucks. Ugh.)

As March came to a close, I still hadn't touched any other soda besides my few sips. I hadn't eaten any other meat except the Macaroni Grill that one time...Oh! And clam chowder at the Santa Cruz wharf--twice--but those teeny-tiny bites of clam don't count, do they? Don't tell me they do, I don't wanna hear it.

Overall, to be completely honest with myself, I failed. Miserably. I couldn't last 30 days with no meat. If I were stronger I would've sent the dish back and asked for something else. I should've passed on the clam chowder (but it's so darn good). I don't think I can be too hard on myself, though. I skipped over a lot of logs I'd usually trip over. I passed up birthday cake three times, baby shower desserts, anniversary cake, tri-tip BBQ, rib BBQ, and Texas roadhouse. I think those things are a victory all their own now-a-days.

As for carryover into April...I'm not drinking soda anymore. I've lost 3 pounds this month from eliminating it and I feel better without it. I'm down to my skinny jeans again (Hooray!) I will be eating meat again, but not like I used to. It lugs me down, makes me feel heavy, and I want to be feeling the opposite. I wanna keep these skinny-jeans fitting right y'all! Yesterday excluded, I've learned some about portion control and what being full really feels like, and I'm excited to see where it goes from here!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Bree Tanner: The New Twilighter

Stephenie Meyer fans around the world rejoice! Publisher's Weekly announced a few days ago that Stephenie Meyer will publish a novella titled The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner. Bree Tanner was a minor character in Eclipse and will be breaking out into a larger role for the film which comes out in June.

The novella is scheduled to show it's face on shelves June 5th. Stephenie Meyer has reported that she originally intended the work to be used as a writing tool while editing Eclipse, then decided to toss it into the Twilight Guide. After it became too large a story to fit the companion she (and the folks over at Little Brown) decided to publish it all on its own. It will also be available for free online (Did you hear that? Free.) from June 7th to July 5th. The official website is

I don't know about you all, but I'm waiting for her to finish writing Midnight Sun. That puppy had potential, leaked onto the internet or not.

Craptastic Canon

My plan today was to post pictures from the Monterey trip to prove how much fun we had even through the alarms blaring in the night. But alas, my camera broke. Even though I'm a bit of a klutz (*mild understatement alert), I didn't drop it, shake it, throw it, etc etc etc, this time. I simply pushed the on button, and read the statement on the back screen: "Lens error. Restart camera."

Except I can't restart the camera like prompted. It keeps beeping at me. Who made this craptastic thing anyway? Oh's a Canon. Guess I can't complain too much, it's kind of a good brand isn't it?

Well today I can complain, darn it. Tomorrow is a special day (which I'll post about later). One that I'll definitely need my camera for. Sunday is Easter. And tonight the plan was to dye like a hundred gazillion eggs until my children's hands turned all shades of the rainbow.

This could be the worst possible time for a camera malfunction.

RANDOM EDIT: I bought a new camera at Costco! It's a Nikon. Much cheaper than the Canon, but the jury's still out on the functionality. Huzzah for last minute steals!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Levels of preparedness

I'm back from a 3-day hiatus to Monterey. The weather was great and sunny, the rain holding out until our safe return home. However, the trip was not without incident.

Last, butt-crack of dawn early this morning (try 4am), the fire alarms went off in the hotel. I'm not talking about possibly dismissive hallway alarms, oh no. I'm talking about above the bed, blaring in your ear "An emergency situation is taking place! Please find the nearest stairwell and convene in the lobby! This is not a drill!" The intercom blasted over and over again. White strobe lights shone through the suite. We could hear people running down the halls and yelling at other people to get downstairs.

My first thought? Are you f-ing kidding me? This has got to be a joke, right? Someone pulled the fire alarm by accident and any minute the "emergency situation" would be over. Right? Right?!? We weren't so lucky. The entire hotel was evacuated; all 13 floors. Fire fighters raced to the top floor where a "fire" had allegedly taken place then been put out...AFTER the alarm had been triggered, of course. Groggy and irritated, my husband, my kids, and I stumbled back to the suite once the all-clear was given. But that's not what this blog post is about...

It's about levels of preparedness. I kept thinking to myself, what if this had been a real emergency situation? I'm talking a tsunami-rolling-in, earthquake-rattlin', building-coming-down kinda situation. How did I fare with two young ones? How did everyone else do? Lemme tell you...

There was a hefty middle-aged man wrapped in the disgustingly floral hotel comforter with nothing in his possession. He was sporting an awkward, shameful look on his face. His wife was hiding behind him, presumably nude as well. There were loads of families--every one of them in their pajamas, nothing of value in their arms except scared and bewildered children. Adult couples (sans kids) were dressed...tired and pissed off, but dressed nonetheless.

And now let me tell you about my situation. The second the alarms went off, my husband moved through the room like a cheetah stalking its prey. He wasn't scared, panicked, nor was he moving fast like there was a fire in the building. He was calmer than I'd ever seen him. I was still in bed when he said, "Get the kids jackets on." I got up and I did. Then I scrambled to find clothes for myself that would be presentable enough for the entire hotel to bear witness to. The Husband said, "Get your shoes and the room key." I did. He scooped up one kid, I the other, and we joined the mob of people moving down the stairwell.

It was then that I took a good hard look at him. He was fully dressed. He had the truck keys, his wallet, our emergency information and a cool, collected look in his eye. He was by far the most prepared person I saw. Most people were shoeless, pantless, keyless, clueless. Yet here he was, looking like this was a walk in the park. Like he was ready for the tsunami to hit, his plan of attack ready. Hell, I didn't even have an action plan for my hair! (You really should've seen it. Okay, maybe not. I was medusa's spawn. Really. Not for the faint of heart.)

After I realized the stressful situation was over, his preparedness was almost laughable.
"You grabbed the keys and your wallet?" I asked, a shaken smile on my face.
"Of course I did," he said. "Didn't you bring your purse?"
Hell no I didn't! I left my laptop and the jumpdrive with my book on it back in the room! How smart was that!?!

Then I remembered that in an emergency situation, being prepared isn't about having your book safely tucked away in your pajama's about being saved yourself. It's about having every member of your family accounted for and safe. Thank God we were. Things could've been much worse.

As for that man in the bedspread? Wow. His being unprepared reached epic (and quite disturbing) proportions. He would've been the naked man roaming the streets on Channel 10 After-the-Disaster news.

How do you think you would've fared given ten seconds to jump out of bed and haul tired-ass downstairs? Ever had anything like that happen to you? I'd love to hear some stories even if they're anonymously posted!