Thursday, April 10, 2008

A Big Ol' Random: Moving Day!

Hi all! I'm moving digs. Check out my new site, The 5 Randoms, and bookmark me! I'll be posting M-F over there with all things bright and shiny and irresistible.


Thursday, March 06, 2008

The Five Randoms: The Quoteables Edition

What I'm listening to as I begin this blog: A silent house and the heat clicking on.

1) Why I love Project Runway's Tim Gunn: "Let me cut to the core of my issue with Chris’s work: human hair. Yes, you read that correctly, human hair. The Project Runway “collection rules” forbid the use of fur, so this was Chris’s alternative. (He said that he had really wanted to use monkey fur, but that’s strictly illegal everywhere, thank god.)" -- Tim Gunn on Season Four contestant Chris

2) Why Clive Davis is one of the savviest men in the music biz: "Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Barbra Streisand, Frank Sinatra didn't write, and they are among Time magazine's greatest artists of the century." -- Clive Davis on why singers shouldn't waste their energy on writing songs

3) And since I'm a writer, these last three are about writing: "Writers write. Put your butt in the chair and write on a regular basis. Ray Bradbury said, 'The muse cannot resist a working writer.' I start off by writing why I can't write. Type every reason you can't write. Complain, bitch, whatever. Half a page to a page in, the muse says, 'Well, if you're going to be writing anyway, you can do better than this.' Also, if you don't protect your time, no one will. I wrote my first book two pages a day, five days a week." -- Laurell K. Hamilton, prolific and bestselling writer, in an interview with Writer's Digest

4) "[Y]ou can find certain things that bestsellers have in common: characters you care about, stakes that matter to them, and what he referred to as continuous 'microtension' – a story with a high level of conflict, an underlying sense that something important is always about to happen, or could happen. He also said something that I myself have concluded (and in fact blogged about sometime ago): action, in and of itself, is not tension. In fact, it can be downright boring." -- Tess Gerritsen, suspense writer

5) "But I have to write every day. First and foremost because I like it and it is good for me. Second, because by staying in touch with the story every day, the writing flows better. Third (though this one is pretty important, too), the writing pays my bills. Any career in the arts has a simple truth attached to it: you have to do the work every day. That is how you get better. It doesn't matter how many books I've published. I have never before written the book I am writing now. I have to respect the work and keep striving to learn more, keep searching for new tools for my work chest. If you are standing on the outside looking in, it might seem a little boring, and I admit, there are days when I long for a job that has a guaranteed paycheck every two weeks and some kind of health insurance, but the truth is, I feel incredibly blessed to be able to write stories that people want to read. That is extremely motivating." -- Laurie Halse Anderson, the critically acclaimed YA author

What I'm listening to as I end this blog: A silent house and the humidifier clicking on--and what sounds like a snowblower over at one of the neighbor's.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

A Tuesday Random: Happy Birthday, Judy Blume!

What I'm listening to now as I start this blog: A baby blowing raspberries while she plays with her feet.

Judy Blume's seventy! And have you seen the pics of her on her blog? She's one beautiful, healthy 70-year-old. To commemorate her birthday, her is a list of the top seven books I've loved from her:

1) Are You There God, It's Me Margaret
(My favorite book--and above is a photo I found online depicting the edition I have. Not until I started hunting for this edition did I realize how many editions are out there!)
2) Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing

3) The One in the Middle is a Green Kangaroo
(The first Blume book I ever read)
4) Freckle Juice

5) Superfudge

6) Blubber
7) Deenie

What I'm listening to now as I finish this blog: Me crunching through a bag of Spicy Three Pepper Pita Chips.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

A Thursday Random: The Twilight Edition

What I'm listening to as I start this post: My baby crying (it was getting near her nap time).

So I just found out that one of my favorite books,
Twilight by Stephenie Meyer, has been cast! For a while, just Bella and Edward had gotten real-life counterparts. Now, the same has been done for the entire Cullen family. You can read more here.

Can't wait to see this movie. Hopefully, it gets handled beautifully like what was done for Speak, by Laurie Halse Anderson.

What I'm listening to as I end this post: Reckoner by Radiohead

Saturday, February 16, 2008

The Five Randoms: Post-Deadline Edition

What I'm listening to as I start this post: Kathy Griffin doing stand-up on Bravo.

1) I can stay up for 48 hours and, when I finally do go to bed, I only sleep for three hours. The fantastic news? I finished the first draft of "the lottery" story. The not so fantastic news? I ate way too many Riesens due to stress-induced chewing (I exchanged the high-caloric Riesens for sugarfree gum; however, I was known to down three packs a night on particularly sleep-deprived nights).

2) I've been going to bed at 5 a.m. for so long, I drum my fingers and try not to look at the red numbers on the alarm clock if I go to bed any earlier than 3:30 a.m.

3) My critique partners are to me as Tim Gunn is to his designers, Tom Colicchio is to his chefs, and Tyra Banks is to her cigarette-smoking, food-eschewing fame-seekers. Thank you, SSSSers, for calling me on puckered seems, burnt broccolini, and not being fierce enough (or, in the world of writing, the wrong tense, inconsistent characterization, and forced scenes).

4) To celebrate my First Draft Deadline Being Met, I got The 101 Habits of Highly Successful Screenwriters. No, I'm not a screenwriter, but I do get screenwriting books to read screenwriter advice. All stories are pretty much a three-act structure, which plays/movies have down to a science. Probably because a movie is usually around 100 pages, which is nothing in the world of book-writing. When you're writing a book that's 300 to 900 pages (hello, Harry Potter) long, sometimes you forget this structure. Screenwriting books help refresh your memory, especially when you've been up for 48 hours and have forgotten to pee for the last 18 hours.

5) If you write two pages a day, five days a week, you'll have 100 pages in 10 weeks. You can be disciplined enough to just do two pages a day, and I think anyone can find one hour to do two pages, even if you have to do them on a cocktail napkin. Some of the sage advice found in The 101 Habits of Highly Successful Screenwriters.

What I'm listening to as I finish this post: Kathy Griffin still doing stand-up on Bravo.

Monday, February 04, 2008

The Five Randoms: Superbowl Edition

What's playing as I write this: An old episode of Seinfeld

1) I had a great catnap during the Superbowl. There's just something about being a new mom and hearing the sound of a football game that, in tandem, acts like a really wonderful sleep aid.

2) My favorite commercial was the Pepsi/Justin Timberlake ad. Something about him having no control over his destiny--or the commercial's mailbox placement--tickled my funnybone. I also loved The Forgotten quality about the effects, as well as the slapstick ability I didn't know JT possessed. A close second was that e-trade commercial with the talking baby. The talking freaked me out (too much like watching a bad kid's movie where CGI makes it look like a dog is talking "human" to a cat) but the random spit up on the keyboard made me smile in a "Ah, I've been there" kind of a way.

3) I live in New England, which means that over the course of the next year, I'm going to have a lot of gloomy faces around me at any mention of this surprising end to the Patriots' previously perfect season. I'm just glad the Red Sox won last year. That should take some of the pain away for these New Englanders. Me? I had to ask my neighbor today who was playing against the Patriots. I choose to fill my mind with the kind of details that matter to me: like who was Christian's partner during the avante garde challenge on Project Runway, or where I can find a well-reviewed cover for a shopping cart that I can use with The Munchkin.

4) I tried making guacamole for the first time ever yesterday, and as a native Arizonan with a Mexican restaurant every other block at my disposal, you'd think I'd know this recipe and could make it in my sleep. Not so much. I couldn't even make it just once. Seems like you need to have a soft, ripe avocado to work with. A cold, hard, unripe one just doesn't work--especially if it's bending the fork you're trying to mash it with.

5) And lastly, a little bit of writing news on this Super Sunday: I'm revising a scene that involves a Halloween party, a blind German Shepard, and a pregnant priestess. Yeah, I'm having fun. :o)

On a side note, I love watching documentaries (nowadays, they fall into the "reality TV" category) about peoples' lives that I would otherwise know nothing about firsthand. For instance, I love the series Intervention, which looks at the addictions of different people from different backgrounds and for different reasons.

And then there's the weird world of after-dark TV on TLC. I just watched an hour-long documentary on TLC about the world's smallest mom--a little person who, at 2'9", gave birth to a little girl who also has the little person gene. The story made me cry, it made me hope, it made me wonder. The 19-year-old boy who's the baby's dad is full-size (I think 6'3") and sticks with the mom and baby through all the nasty stares and obstacles.

I wondered about the kind of person who could do this, and it was said that he took care of his cancer-ridden mom until she died when he was 12. That explained a lot--once a caregiver, always a caregiver. Maybe this young dad even equates caregiving with love. The reason for me telling this story? This idea explains so much about the guy Reggie puts through the ringer in The Book With 100 Titles...

What's playing as I wrap this up: Something that sounds really corny (I had to look it up on Stargate Atlantis)

Sunday, January 27, 2008

The Five Randoms: The Too-Early-for-the-Rooster Edition

What's playing on my iTunes player as I start this: Say What You Want ... Texas

1) I became a writer because of days like today. The words were flying onto the page for a good three hours. I even hated stopping because I wanted to know what happened next (ALWAYS a good stopping point, by the way, since it makes you rush back to the story rather than letting it languish for a month or two in a dusty Desktop Folder). But it's 2:30 a.m. and my sanity is telling me to get reacquainted with my pillow.

2) I love mixing writing with other artistic pursuits.
For instance, I love drawing (read my bio on to see why). When I'm trying to figure out a scene, I start drawing the scene, and the problem I'm having with gestures, background noise or blocking figures sorts itself out.

3) I reread my favorite bits in an old favorite of mine, Beverly Cleary's Fifteen.
All I've gotta say is Jane Purdy kissing Buzz, Stan stopping to throw a half-dollar into the river, and Stan Crandall's ID bracelet. SWOON!

4) Valentine's Day is coming up and I'm more excited to give my munchkin her first Valentine's Day present than receiving one from the hubby.
As usual, I'll be giving her a book, but it's a book about kittens. Who doesn't love kittens, right? Right?! (See image above to see my side. One day, a boy will get my munchkin romantic gifts. Mommies are the ones who give books, especially since I'm trying not to equate food with special occasions...if only the parents of all the obese Americans in the country had taken note many Valentine's Days ago.)

5) My Phoenix-based critique partners are at a writing conference in San Diego right now.
I miss them. Come home, guys, I miss the monkey on my back!

What's playing on my iTunes player as I end this: Lean on Me ... Bill Withers