Getting Older

Husband was going to call up some friends to play basketball at our house this evening. We have a small court that acts as our driveway, certainly enough room for two on two. He called a few friends and his younger brother to play. When he hung up the phone, he looked at me with a puzzled frown on his face and said, “Damn, we’re getting old.”

My reaction was something like “Well, gee. Thanks.”

He scratched his head, perplexed, like he didn’t hear a word I said. “I called up Joe, asked him to play this evening and he said, ‘Sure…no, wait. I’ll have to check with the wife when she gets home from work and make sure she’s all right with handling both kids on her own tonight’.”

I nodded, not sure how this makes me old.

Husband continued. “Then I called up Sam and asked him to play. He said, ‘Great, what time?’ I told him around six and he said, ‘Well, I got someone coming to fix our water heater. It broke last night. Let me see if I can reschedule it’.”

I blinked slowly. “So because your friends have to check with their wives and fix their water heaters, that means that I’m old?”

“I call Joe and he has to check with his wife before he can come out and play. I call Sam and he’s got to fix something with his house.” He laughed, a playful gleam in his eye. “Wanna know what Cam, my little brother said, when I asked him to come over?”

I waited.

“He said, ‘I’m in. What time?'”

So there you have it. The passage of time does funny things. You get older and wiser, but with that comes all kinds of baggage. (Some of that baggage is priceless and cheek-pinching cute, though, isn’t it?) Although I don’t know anyone in their thirties who would go back to being eighteen, it definitely has its perks. Zip zero responsibilities.

And this is what we have to look forward to from here:

*Wait until the middle of this video for a great laugh. Just when you think he’s being a gentleman, complimenting her hair, he says the unexpected. I suppose there are some things time never changes…

Review, Interview and Florence and the Machine

There’s a few things I want to point out today.

1-Kristin, over at My Bookish Ways, gave an awesome 4/5 hat review for Intervamption. I’ll be guest blogging for a paranormal/urban fantasy event on the site in late August or early September. I’ll keep you posted on the deets as I get ’em.

2-I did an interview for Kaitlyn at Nocturnal Readings. If you’re interested in the inspiration for Intervamption or which character is my favorite, that’s the blog to visit.

3-I’m blogging over at Pensfatales Friday, tomorrow, August 5th. The post topic is “SEXY” and it was oh-so-much-fun to write!

4-Florence and the Machine is totally bad ass…in case you didn’t know already. I found the video below on youtube last night, as I was reeling through songs to listen to while I write Vampires of Crimson Bay #3. It’s obviously not an official video and because of that, I’m not sure how long it’ll last on my page before it’s pulled. If you get to view it, count yourself lucky. It’s true artistry. No Lady Gaga theatrics. No KISS pyrotechnics. No Beiber side-swiped hair. Just a voice that can shiver you to your toes.

(Edited to add: you have to click the black screen to cue video.)

And just in case that one doesn’t last long, here’s another.

Wow. Just wow.

Rejection and American Idol

Rejection was a theme on television last night. At least that’s what I picked up.

On America’s Next Top Model, Tyra decided to trick the models into believing they were being sent home instead of invited on the show. As they were ready to tote their luggage down the empty hall of their dreams, Tyra (as OZ) dropped her big ass curtain, revealing their trendy LA apartment.

The girls fell apart. I’m talking panic attacks and Niagra tears.

Was the point of the cruelty to make them appreciate their blessed position? Was it to make sure they knew how fast Tyra could *snap* her fingers and make it all disappear?

I changed the channel. All those dog-howling screams during the first few episodes really got to me. I may be deaf.

I started watching American Idol instead. It didn’t take long before I was crying my eyes out. I couldn’t believe they cut Chris Medina. (What a man, right? Talk about a hero.) Then Jennifer Lopez went and said something that made me think about writing…and once again, Rejection. There I was in my flannel PJs, sitting on the couch with my legs curled beneath me, munching on some popcorn, my dog snoring atop my feet, and J.Lo literally stops me mid-munch.

While crushing singers’ dreams as lightly as she could, the diva said (forgive the paraphrase), “Don’t let this No discourage you. You’ll get rejected a lot in this business. I did. A lot. Now if you want this…if you really want this…you’ll learn what you’ve got to do to make it happen. And then you’ll do it.”

It was then I realized…some of those singers who got rejected will go home, decide they made it further than they ever thought possible, and be fine-and-dandy with that. They’ll live perfectly happy lives knowing they gave American Idol the best shot they could…they got far…and they’re proud. (As they should be!) They can sleep peacefully at night knowing they at least reached for their dreams. What makes me sad is that many of them had AMAZING talent. I’d buy a few of their songs, had they stuck to their guns and sealed a record deal. But it’s what good enough for them, and not me, or America or the judges, that matters, right?

Some writers aspire to finish that one novel that’s been hanging over their heads for years. Some writers finish that novel, then wait years to begin the agent hunt for fear of being rejected. Putting your heart and soul into something just to see it turned down is a hard pill to swallow. Some writers receive one rejection or ten or fifty and think Hey, I got this far. This was further than most people got. And they quit much too soon. Before they fully developed their craft. Before they really stretched themselves to the limit.

I think Jennifer Lopez was on to something. I think the people who make it…the ones who really make it…they’re the ones who feel it’s never good enough. They can always be better. Their work, their art, their drive, can never be strong enough. Look at the greats in any field and think about their determination, their sacrifice, their drive: Nora Roberts, James Patterson, Al Pacino, Anne Rice, Madonna, Cher, Michael Jackson, etc, etc, etc. I could seriously go on and on. Think about your favorite artist, in any form. Although there are insta-stars in any business, I’d be willing to bet they were faced with hurdle after hurdle before reaching their goal.

At least this is what I’m telling myself as I face rejection after rejection in my own journey.

For all you idol fans, my favorite this season is Tim Halperin. I’m not sure he’ll win because he’s not really the total package that American Idol looks for, but damn his voice is awesome.

JibJab 2010 Year in Review

Oh, boy. Love the folks over at JibJab for coming up with this one…they never disappoint, do they?

Personalize funny videos and birthday eCards at JibJab!

Now is a great time to reflect on the year. I went back through my old blog posts and found the one I wrote back on January first about my goals for 2010. They were:

*Get more partial requests off my query
*Write every day
*Get an agent who believes in my work
*Drop 20 pounds by hitting the gym daily

I’m happy to say I went three for four.

*I did get more partial requests off my query. I got tons of them!
*I wrote just about every day with the exception of day trips to the ocean or mountains or a few days taken off to go to RWA National in Orlando.
*I did get an agent! And she’s great!
*I haven’t lost 20 pounds…yet…but P90X is still going strong and I plan on finishing the program.

Overall I think I did pretty good. My goals for 2011, you ask?

*Sell a book in The Crimson Bay Series to one of the major publishing houses in NYC.
*Find an editor who believes in my work like I do.
*Write every day
*Spend more time enjoying the little things rather than worrying about them.
*Finish another two books: the third in The Crimson Bay Seres and another (maybe a paranormal YA??? I’m tossing ideas around…)
*Final in the Daphne duMaurier Contest
*Final in the Golden Heart Contest

After writing this list out, I realized how much I’m expecting from myself this year. Oh, I realize some of those are lofty goals, but I’m shooting for the moon in 2011.

What about you? What are your goals for the year? Where do you wish to see yourself at the end of 2011?

Top Ten Tuesday: Things I’m Loving Right Now

I give you another Top Ten Tuesday! Top Ten Things I’m Loving Right Now:

10-This beautiful gloomy morning! I know, I know, it’s contrary to what most people believe…but I’m absolutely glowing in this muggy California weather. I love the rain. The drizzle. The mist. I’m floating around the house, lighting candles and fixing up a scrumptious dinner in the crock pot. Loving it.

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9-Because of #10, my muse is refreshed. I’m writing up a storm. Good thing too, because at the rate I’ve written the first eighty pages, it’ll take me six months to write this book. I need to cut that time in half. The rain will help.

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8-I’m absolutely in love with my Droid Incredible. I can access my email in two seconds. I hardly check in on my computer anymore. Who wants to be bothered with the whole “sign in” process anyway? Not me…I tend to not respond to emails as quickly, but that’s okay…right? The speedy Droid apps are too handy…especially since I check my email for agents/editors every fifteen minutes or so…

7-The Biggest Loser. It’s on tonight. I’m in love with Jillian Michaels. I think I may design a heroine after her in my next book.

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6-The promise of a vacation on the horizon! In a few months the Miller fam is heading to Disneyland! Tank and Princess are beyond excited. We don’t make the trip to So Cal very much, so when we do it’s a big deal. Mickey here we come!

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5-Kiersten White’s Paranormalcy, Allison Brennan’s Carnal Sin, and J.R. Ward’s Lover Enshrined. For the first time in my life I’m reading more than one book at a time. I’m a little scattered, but I’m liking the variety. YA, suspense with a paranormal feel, and a hot-and-heavy paranormal. Great combo.

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4-Chocolate. Simply because I’ve officially sworn myself off it starting yesterday and I’m craving it something wicked. Hello. My name’s Kristin. I’m a chocoholic.

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3-Scarfs! This one’s a little odd, I know. But I don’t wear scarfs when my hair is long. And later this month I’m cutting my hair Shirley Temple short. I’ll post pictures of all the purty scarfs I buy to celebrate my new hair-do!

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2-Christina Perri’s “Jar of Hearts”. I don’t know why, but this book is totally written on that song. I have a huge playlist to write to (see down below on right), but every time another song comes on I click it back to “Jar”. I guess my muse is particular as of late.

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And the number one thing I’m Absolutely, Positively Loving Right Now is THIS:

It’s Twilight’s Eclipse in a Minute! And it’s HILARIOUS! If you can’t laugh at this, I’m afraid you might have lost a bit of your sense of humor…

Agents! Or lack thereof…

I’ve been hovering over my email for weeks, waiting for that one message telling me I’ve sold to Grand Central or Avon. (Those are the two NY publishers my agent submitted to. Still waiting for the response, fyi.) Instead of opening my mail and finding a sale of my paranormal, I opened my mail and found a disheartening letter from my agent.

Well, disheartening on my end.

I am now, once again, unagented. *Sigh* Wylie-Merrick Literary has decided to open a small press (I’ll give the details about their name and titles when I’m allowed to do so–1/1/11) which means it’s in my best interest to cut ties. There’s nothing wrong with small press publishers. My romantic suspense, which I should have a cover and release date for soon, are with a small press…I’ve just got my sights set on The Big Six for my paranormal. (The Big Six are the six major publishers in NYC for you non-writing folk.)

I believe in my paranormal. I think the writing is tight and the premise is marketable. I think it resembles what’s selling, with unique twists. Everything it should be to land a place in Borders and Barnes & Noble. But it’s my baby, so I could be biased.

All in all, I wish Wylie-Merrick Literary luck in their small press endeavors. And I could use the luck as well, as I rehash my query and start the dreaded agent search again.

For some reason Tom Petty’s Square One is stuck in my head this morning. Wonder why…

Imaginary Writing Process

Everyone seems to have dreams about what the writing process is like.

You’re a writer? I’ve heard, time and time again. It must be easy for you to write a book, right? You’re good at English, so that must help.

Yeah. That degree in my dresser drawer turns out four hundred pages in three months all by its lonesome. Every night it sprouts legs and stomps its jagged corners all over my keyboard. I wake up and the work is done. Voila!

Oh, and did I mention that the sun is always shining on my work, the inspiration is flowing, and the words falling onto the page are the best ones EVER written in the history of writing? Ever? I’m telling you now. They’re good. (No, no, really. They’re not. In fact, the sun is sweltering in the valley right now, the inspiration is flat and the words falling onto the page are these. BAP! ZOW! WHIZ! See how cool those words are?)

Likewise, everyone who has tried their hand at writing has dreams about what the publishing process is like. Agents and editors are lined up at your door, begging to represent you. Oh, and the New York Times just called…you made #1 on their list…as soon as you write the book of your life.

Sounds dreamy, doesn’t it?

The truth is, writing is hard. Really hard. Most days the inspiration well is dry. Most days I spend hours digging through the muck at the bottom of said well just to find a drop of water I can exploit to give to a thousand thirsty children in the Sudan. Hey, I can be the Mother Theresa of writing, can’t I?

But writing is fun. There’s nothing else I’d rather be doing this fine Friday morning…other than shopping…or getting my nails done…or having coffee with one of my lovely critique partners gabbing about writing…I suppose then that writing is a labor of love.

We push through the muck because we love that muck. We love the way that muck hardens into rubies and emeralds in the sun and shimmers all glossy and slick in the rain. When it’s all said and done, that muck is a work of art. And we’re proud muck holders.

In the meantime, while I’m waiting for that lightning bolt of inspiration to strike in the middle of this summer heat, I can skulk around YouTube and find videos like these…ones that make you scream YES! THAT IS HOW IT SHOULD BE!

So take a look. Fill up your well of inspiration…or not, and just pound on those keys until they turn to dust.

A Whiter Shade of Pale: Lyrics, Meaning, and Video

A Whiter Shade of Pale (the Annie Lennox version) has always been one of my favorite songs. As you may know (if you’ve been reading my blog since last April), I’m obsessed with anything, everything Titanic and have been since I was little. This morning I was in need of some new music to write to. I set up mixpod.com with an all Annie Lennox playlist and, of course, A Whiter Shade of Pale linked up first. As I started writing, my mind started wandering…what on earth do these crazy lyrics mean? I’ve included the lyrics from azlyrics here so you can take a look:

“A Whiter Shade Of Pale”
Originally produced by Procol Harum
This version by Annie Lennox

We skipped the light fandango
Turned cartwheels ‘cross the floor
I was feeling kind of seasick
The crowd called out for more
And the room was hummin’ harder
As the ceiling flew away
And when we called out for another drink
But the waiter brought a tray

And so it was later
As the miller told his tale
That her face at first just ghostly
Turned a whiter shade of pale.

She said: “There is no reason,
And the truth is plain to see.”
But I wander through my playin’ cards
Would not let her be
One of the sixteen vestal virgins
Who were leaving for the coast
And although my eyes were open
They might just as well been closed

And so it was later
As the miller told his tale
That her face at first just ghostly
Turned a whiter shade of pale.
A whiter shade of pale
Turned a whiter shade of pale
A whiter shade of pale

Then I spent about an hour sifting through random yahoo! answers to find a reputable source for the meaning of the song. I found this:

“The song explores what it means to be wrecked, in more than one sense of the word. A nervous seducer sustains his courage with alcohol. As he becomes more drunk, his impressions of his unfamiliar partner become confused by stray thoughts, fragments of childhood reading and his own faint-hearted aspirations. The song’s recurring metaphor is of maritime disaster, and a parallel is drawn between romantic conquest and the allure and peril of the sea. The hero is a callow juvenile, far happier with a book than risking the emotional bruising of relationships. This ambivalence is underscored by frequent allusions to nausea.”–The text is excerpted from Tim de Lisle’s Lives of the Great Songs.

So you can imagine my surprise that one of my all-time favorite songs happens to be about a romantic encounter…and a maritime disaster…and mentions my name in it. (Hello Miller’s tale!) Oh, I’m swooning.

If it’s at all possible, I love the song more. Ever had a song speak to you? Ever feel like you were going along just fine, only to be stopped in your tracks and diverted down another path? A walk down memory lane, maybe? Yeah. Me too. Happens all the time.

Now I’m going to enjoy the video over and over again. I know I said it already but hope you have a great Labor Day weekend! And I hope sometime in the near future you have one of these moments. A moment where, if only for a split second, things make absolute perfect sense.

2009’s Mr. RT and Fresh Prince Get It Right

A childhood friend of mine (who happens to be 2009’s Mr. Romantic Times {hello Mr. Paz!}), linked this on his Facebook page a couple days ago. (He’s also agreed to be the Spotlight Interview for September.)

I watched the video. I listened. Something about what the Fresh Prince said struck a cord within me.

Take a look.

Did you hear what he said? When you decide what you want to do, and who you want to be, the Universe moves out of your way. It realizes this is war and you will get what you want at all costs. Suddenly the road becomes smooth. The clouds part. New goals take shape.

The difference between those who reach their goal and those who fall short are the ones who give up along the way.

So break through that rough spot. Re-prioritize your options, deciding what you will not compromise…and what you will. Re-work that problem scene. Get to it. Challenge the Universe to stand in your way.

I know I am. *grin

If you’re interested in reading the book Will Smith mentioned as his favorite and beyond inspirational, click here to be carried away to amazon.

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Is Chivalry Dead?

Chivalry. Men wielding swords, standing up for their women. Men willing to fight for what’s right, regardless of the consequences. Honor and virtue above all else.

That’s what I’m talking about. That’s why I write romance. I’m a sucker for a knight in modern clothing.

But lately I wonder what’s happening to all those men. They seem to be disappearing. Case and point: the following video.

Take a look and tell me what you think. Is chivalry dead? Are there no men who’d take a hit for a girl anymore? Watch the video and leave your comments; I’m dying to hear your take. Maybe we could figure out what’s going on with men lately. (Not my man, per se, but men in general. Just clarifying before I get in trouble. Love ya honey. *wink)

So? Do you think the lights got in his eyes like he said?

Yeah…I didn’t believe his coward face either.