Monday, April 30, 2012

Michael Fassbender's Penis...Again

I was going to call this post: Uncomfortable and Adult, a good, hard look at Michael Fassbender's SHAME. But then I remembered that putting Penis in the blog title really brings in the hits. So, instead, we'll take a good hard look at his penis. HA! I joke. Sort of. Husband had rugby and I finally took the bait and watched Shame. Maureen really liked this movie and after Fassbender's award nominations, I've been pretty eager to see it, but it's a movie you need to be in the right frame of mind for. What that frame of mind is? I have no clue. This is what I do know after watching that movie - it's really really really uncomfortable. On about every different level. He's uncomfortable to watch, there's no release to the tension, there's no explanation for the tension. It's one long teeth-clenching tension filled movie. But, I think as Maureen said - it's also a master class in Show, Don't Tell. Fassbender has about six lines of dialogue. I'm only slightly exaggerating and the big long dialogue scene with his sister - doesn't come off right. I'm not sure if that was intentional, or it just honestly, didn't work. I think intentional - he couldn't say what he really wanted to say to her so instead he said these false, heavy hurtful things...? Thoughts from anyone who saw it? He has this big threesome scene - and it's raw!! RAW. And hot. And then...totally totally sad. And then, I'm feeling shame for thinking it was hot. And that is how the movie works. But he's pretty freaking great in that movie - one of those subdued, but electric performances. Totally electric.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Ode to Joss Whedon

I'm a bit of a Joss Whedon fanatic. I've seen all his TV shows, even all 5 seasons of Angel, the Buffy spinoff, all of Firefly and up to the very last episode of Dollhouse. Serenity, his movie spin off of Firefly is definitely one of my favourite, if not my favourite Sci fi movie of the past couple of decades and this week I finally saw Cabin in the Woods.

And it's amazing. I know a lot of people will be scared off by the horror tag line, and it is s horror, I suppose, but it's more than that, it's funny, seriously funny, and entertaining and only a little gory. And it has some of the best examples of genre writing in movies today. The movie was made with a true love of horror movies and the stereotypes that have emerged from the genre.

It not only understands those stereotypes but turns them on their head. I'm trying not to give too much away, but I can say, the first five minutes of the movie articulates perfectly and in ridiculously little dialogue who these 5 main characters are, and they are not the typical horror movie cliched tropes. If I say any more I'll ruin the surprises in this movie and the surprises are more than worth the cost of admission.

But if horror isn't your thing, than Serenity is a great example of what Joss Whedon does well. It has the great, funny dialogue, the way he can sum up a character perfectly in just a few lines of dialogue, and the seemingly frail girl who is anything but and will usually end up saving the world. For another example of this, see Buffy, Dollhouse and well, almost anything he does. And Serenity has one of my favourite endings. Just the captain of the ship and the heroine sitting in the cockpit, and he starts to tell her one of his favourite sayings, but stops, because she knows what he's about to say, but she asks him to anyway, because she likes to hear the words.

And by all early accounts, the Avengers is another great example of a Joss Whedon movie. Me, I'm hoping maybe he can resurrect Firefly again, I'd settle for another movie, but another TV would be great, maybe on HBO? Anyone else seen Cabin in the Woods, or Serenity? Am I alone in my Joss Whedon love?

Thursday, April 26, 2012

I need a book for Book Club

So I want to recommend a book for my book club. We had our first meeting, which was really cool and in the end started talking about books in general. I explained why romance appeals to me and of course one of the men in the group had to say... "Really? Romance? They're all alike."

Of course I lept quickly to romance's defense and in the end they all conceeded that I could give them a book that would change their minds about romance.

So what do you think? I'm thinking Sherry Thomas's Delicious. It's so untypical of what romance is. My other thought is Joanna Bourne's Forbbiden Rose... or really anything by Joanna Bourne. I want something that's meaty. Something the group can sink their teeth into so I can say HA!

We also actually discussed doing a category romance... they are curious about what I write. I don't want to sit around and talk about one of my books obviously and I don't want to do Molly or Karen W's books because I don't want to be biased.

So I'm open to any recommendations from the crowd. Or if anyone else has a book they loved in general.

Our next is ROOM. I'm nervous as heck to read this after Molly's post about it, but I've been dragging my tail for too long on this book so it's good I'm being pushed to read it.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Eternal Youth

Recently I did a talk at my local RWA chapter's meeting about YA fiction and we discussed the "age difference taboo" in YA fiction.

That is: if you have a 30 year old man with a teen girl it's a huge issue (the age difference will be what the book is about) vs. if you make the man 300 it's no big deal--and doesn't have to be what the book is about.

We were talking about some of the things that authors do to pull this huge age difference trope off. Like:

Joss Whedon gave Buffy a superpower and made her capable of killing Angel, which evened out the power imbalance created by their extreme age differences.

Stephanie Meyer placed Edward in high school and in a family life situation with parental figures and siblings. Plus she made him freaking sparkle. (Edward came off like a teen, albeit a creepy, stalkerish, control-freak teen.)

Basically, making a character immortal can make an age difference irrelevant. Immortal characters in YA fiction are usually written as ageless, rather than ancient. And I think that's why it works.

But watching The Vampire Diaries last week, I just realized another thing writers do to erase the "age problem", and perhaps more interesting for me, I gained another insight into why YA paranormals work for so many adult readers as well as teens.

There was a scene in TVD where Rebecca, one of the "originals", who's supposed to be 1000 years old, questions why a mortal teen boy, Matt, is being so nice to her. And the way it's played, the way he does actually play her, and the way she reacts is so teen. It's so relatable. The boy is nice and the girl is skeptical of his motives and questions them, but he says, "Why do I need a reason to be nice to you? Maybe I just like you." And for the girl, his attention is nice and she wants so, so badly to believe in this boy and that his intentions come from a good place, even though part of her knows that she shouldn't trust him.

That is such a teen feeling.

I'll bet one we can all remember. At least I can. And here they have a 1000 year old "girl" feeling those insecurities.

And it got me thinking that what they're doing on that show (and in a lot of YA fiction) that's really smart with some of the very, very old characters, is to give them teen-like emotions and insecurities. I think it makes the show relatable to both teens and adults. Those teen emotions and insecurities are kind of primal.

Maybe some of you are more evolved/mature than I am, but regardless of my body's age, and my accumulated life experience, and the things (I hope) I'm more mature or wise about now than I was as a teen... in many ways--deep inside--I still feel like the same person I was at 15 or 16. I sometimes look in the mirror and expect to see that girl. I still feel many things the same way. Like meeting new people, or attention from "boys", or wanting to belong, or feeling left out, or feeling humiliation or embarrassment or shame when I've made a mistake or hurt someone's feelings.

Yes, I do think/hope I process and deal with these things better now as an adult, but the emotions are still the same.

And that, I think, is one of the many, many reasons why YA fiction, when it's done well, works for adults. too. Maybe YA fiction allows us to tap into eternal youth?

Am I off my rocker? (I am getting old enough for one. LOL)

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

A little tease . . .

My first adventure in self-publishing will be ready soon. Very very soon. I just thought I'd offer the tiniest tease here: my gorgeous cover from On Your Covers with graphics by Teresa Sprecklemeyer.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Restraint and Karen Marie Moning

I've been doing a lot of traveling lately and thanks to the magic of hotel wireless and ereaders, I've read the entire Karen Marie Moning Fever series in like...ten minutes. Not kidding. I had my husband pull over near a coffee shop in Cleveland so I could use their wireless to buy the last in the series. For those of you who might not have read these books and I sort of feel like I was the last one on the planet to do so - GO! Get them! you can read them all back to back without the wait all those keeners had to suffer through. There's a lot to talk about with these books and Sinead and I are going to get righteous about how good these books are very soon - but the thing that truly blew me away was Moning's restraint. Her restraint in getting the hero and heroine together - honestly, she made me pant for those moments of connection. Sinead's post about why rushing to sex isn't always satisfying - Moning's restraint and the scenes she chose - totally satisfying. She's the case maker for why it's better to prolong that tension. There was also this incredible restraint about information. Each book answered some questions and built on others, until the last book all we really truly cared about were two things: who is Mac and what is Barron's. The other stuff, good moments of holy shit, but secondary to those two big driving questions. The last book got a bit heavy with information, but for the most part every scene was an arrow pointing forward. I feel, as a writer, I want to splatter everything on the page. Everything I know - and I try to fight that, but it can still feel like I'm flailing away. Moning never seemed to flail. She wrote with precision and restraint. Great books.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Sex - what's the rush?

So as Stephanie pointed out, you'd have to be living under a rock not to notice the sheer buzz 50 Shades of Grey has created, and how suddenly romantica has entered the mainstream. Which, I do believe, will be good for a lot authors who write similar books, but write them better, sort of like Twilight opened up a world of YA novels.

And I'm only a third of the way through the book and yes, there is a lot of poorly constructed scenes and it definitely needed a better editor and the heroine is weak, but the one thing the book does well is create a nice sexual tension, and that tension drives a lot of the narrative. The author has a talent for creating that tension in a short number of scenes, and so even after the first sex scene, she keeps the sexual tension alive between her main characters.

There isn't a lot I miss about the old school romances, you know the ones from the 80's and early 90's, where the hero was very alpha and the heroine largely useless, but I miss the creation and sustaining of tension between the leads. If they hop into bed in the first chapter, it's really difficult for an author to create that tension again and few authors manage to do so.

It seems romance is becoming more romantica, which is great, but almost at the expense of sensual and sexual tension. That tension was the most enjoyable part of so many of my favourite novels. And I know it's a choice driven by sales results and it's possible I'm old fashioned, but some of the best YA novels have nothing but unresolved tension and it works so well there and even on TV.

Last night on the Vampire diaries, one extended kiss was the sexiest thing I've seen on TV in a long, long time, because they'd built it up and kept the audience waiting for it. And it was worth the wait.

Anyone else agree with me? Are we, as romance writers, giving up the goods too soon?

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Didn't want to do it... but have to do it... 50 Shades of Something

This blog talks about fairly sexually explicit material (not so so much) but fair warning.

But I’ve got to bring up the topic… 50 Shades of Grey…I know, I know it’s been beat to death. And I don’t even want to discuss the ramifications of its originations as FanFic. Dear Author did that better than I ever could.

I will say in full disclosure - I didn’t care for the book. Which of course I would never do publicly except in the rare cases when the book becomes so big (and let’s face it the author doesn’t care about my opinion at this point) that it becomes a discussible topic.

As far as I’m concerned books like the DaVinci Code, Harry Potter and yes, Twilight are open for discussion both pro and con because of the tremendous impact they made when released.

Before the kerfuffle on this book started I had a friend (a non romance reading friend) who suggested this book. Her quote… “All the moms are talking about it.” Then she goes on to say it’s a little kinky… to which I said – sign me up. I’m always up for good kink.

This however was not it. Neither good nor particularly kinky in my opinion. What’s funny is as I was reading it I was like… here we go again. What is it with these books and the Mary Sue that seem to resonate. I felt about this book exactly as I felt about Twilight which when I found out it was previously or allegedly or whatever – Twilight FanFic I thought to myself – well done whoever you are. You hit the exact same vibe.

And like Twilight – I get to a certain extent the appeal. Two million books sold. Five million for the movie rights alone! This book is about BSDM or BDSM or some combination of those letters. It’s about dominants and submissives. Alpha’s males to the extreme max. There is something titillating about it. Especially for people who haven’t read anything like this before.

But my point is if there is an audience so big out there for this book – why aren’t these women reading romance novels which deal with sexuality and sexual issues in a much more interesting and way more titillating way!

I mean comparing the sex in this book to authors like Kresely Cole or Maya Banks or Sylvia Day is like comparing a spring rain to a hurricane. So if it’s the kink you want, than you’re looking in a very tame place. And you can’t tell me it’s not, because I’m sorry the story just doesn’t hold up without it.

The worst, however, is the attitude of the heroine. The “I don’t like it. I like it.” “No please don’t. Do it some more.” drove me nearly insane. Is that what’s making this book so popular? Is it that “no, no this is wrong… please do it harder” concept that makes it acceptable for women who would never read erotica or highly explicit romance to suddenly read this book?

To my way of thinking if you like to get spanked own it. And heroines in romance novels today definitely reflect that. Maybe there are some still out there but I think mostly as women we’ve stopped writing the “No means Yes” kind of stories. The Flame and Flower just doesn’t hold up anymore. And while those types of books lead women into the romance genre, I would wager very few readers who read those books 20 years ago would put up with today what Kathleen Woodiwiss’s heroines put up with back then.

No means no. Yes means yes. If you like a belt on the butt then say so. If it’s not your thing don’t get involved with a guy who is into that. I mean really. I wanted to spank this girl for being such a dumbass! Certainly characters will think about why it is they like this particular fetish, or what it says about his or her past and/or internal psychology, but this story barely touches that. And really only with him.

If there are women out there, who don’t read romance, who are reading this book and enjoying it for what it is, just like I enjoyed the The Flame and the Flower 20 years ago, then we as romance writers need to find these women and bring them up to speed with how it’s really done in romance.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

New Book Jitters

I've got me a serious case of startabookaphobia as I think Steph named it a while back.

Many things have gotten easier the more books I write, but some things never get easier and one thing that seems to get harder each time is starting. Starting used to be one of my favorite parts.

I think because I've got a better grasp now on how important great openings are... it all feels so high pressured to me.

Also, I descended through a few circles of hell while revising my last manuscript, (and those were just revisions for me...) and so I'm probably nervous about plunging myself into that angsty place again.

But, I need to start book 3 in my current contract soon, and I also want to write a short story ASAP. And I'm realizing how long it's been since I started something new...

Yikes. Any tips?

Maybe I just need reminders that this whole writing thing is worth it. There are good parts, right? LOL. Needy much?

* BTW. I don't know who the artist for this fab cartoon is... but I snagged it from here. I think it's my new mascot. I should look at her daily to remind myself how crazy I can be. :)

Monday, April 16, 2012

Men shouldn't write sex scenes

I don't know. Maybe I've posted about this before, but here I am again. Men shouldn't write sex scenes. At least, they shouldn't write them if any women are going to read their books. I honestly can't think of a sex scene in a book written by a man that hasn't in some way made me want to say "ewww."

I'm listening to a Ridley Pearson book on CD now while I drive all over hell and gone in northern California doing my new day job. I picked it because I knew the pace of it would keep me interested and awake. It absolutely has not disappointed. In fact, listening to it may have helped me figure out why I'm struggling so with my WIP.

There's one couple in the book who are getting it on pretty consistently. She's his boss in real life, but then of course likes to be mastered in the boudoir. It's a little cliche and I think definitely a male fantasy thing that has more to do with power and control than attraction and sex. That was my first turn-off. Then there's the idea that he actually wants a deeper emotional connection with her which she is saying no to. She just wants to have hot hotel sex in a variety of positions. I am definitely pro hot hotel sex and variety as well, but seriously, it's starting to get a little skanky. Plus, there's always a little something of that power struggle going on. He walks into the hotel room, unzips his pants and she drops to her knees. In fact, she's on her knees a lot. Oh, and she's always telling him how hot he is and how great he is in bed. One more complaint, who says pubis? I mean, in the middle of this pretty darn explicit sex scene, there's the word pubis. Talk about jolting a reader out of the moment!

I'm singling out Ridley here, but quite honestly, he's not alone. I wonder if men who read novels with sex scenes written by women have the same "ewww" reaction. Is it something in how we're wired? In what we find sexy? Do you see a difference? Am I making this all up?

Thursday, April 12, 2012


I’ve been thinking that I want to go to more writer conferences. Romantic Times is going on now (wave to Molly!) and one year I definitely want to try that one. I’m always checking the location to see if I can bundle it with work or maybe some other type of trip.

I’ll be going to the National RWA conference this year, that’s a given and one of my favorite events every year, but that’s months away and realize that there is no reason I can’t have that same experience maybe a few times a year.

Things I love about RWA is concentrating on writing for four days, talking about books for four days, (okay drinking for four days – but really I don’t that most every other four days anyway) and connecting with other writers for four days.

While it can be a draining experience I know that for me it’s the best way to meet new people. I’m not great with facebook and twitter, but I have no problem sitting at a bar turning to person next to me and starting up a conversation. You meet the most fascinating people and get to hear their stories. I love that.

So maybe the New Jersey Conference, maybe Savannah just because I’ve always wanted to see Savannah or maybe another type of conference completely. I’ve wanted to do NINC and Karen W who comments on this blog recommends that one. I’ve wanted to do Thrillerfest just because I hear they have workshops where you can shoot guns. I mean really who doesn’t want to drink for a few days and then shoot some guns?

Anybody out there know of great conferences you would recommend for a writer?

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

So over Glee

Is anyone else still watching Glee? I'm not sure when I went from being moderately amused to being mostly annoyed.

I do remember when I went from loving it to being only moderately amused. I love, love loved this show in the first season. I loved the subversive, quirky storylines. The characters' bad behavior. The silliness. And that started to fade for me some time early in the second season. In fact, I found this blog post from 18 months ago, and clearly I was already having issues, yet somehow I kept watching... But I'm hitting that point where it's dangling on the precipice of being deleted from my DVR lineup. Glee you have been warned.

It's not that I don't love mindless TV. I totally do. I'm thinking about a discussion we had in the comments last week when Sinead mentioned that there are TV shows that she always records, but doesn't always watch right away. The really heavy dramas are often like that for me too. I love them. They are my favorite things on TV. BUT... I need to be in the right mood to watch them. At the end of a day of writing or revising or whatever, I don't usually feel like something that will require actual thought or even my full attention. This is why I love reality TV and a few sitcoms and why I used to love Glee.

But, is it just me or is it starting to feel like they pick the songs first and then try to fit story lines around the songs, rather than the other way around? Or pick an "issue" and then decide which character will highlight the issue, rather than thinking about what the characters actually might do, or even attempting character arcs or storylines that go past a few episodes. I swear they put Quinn in a wheelchair just so that she and Artie could sing I'm Still Standing.

At best, it's a tad ridiculous that she was in this big car crash, doesn't have a scratch or a bruise or a broken bone or any sign of the craxh, but has a spinal injury bad enough to put her in a chair??? And even if that is possible, or this is supposed to be, say four months later (which clearly it's not), you'd think they've had at least spent a day teaching the actress how to fake being paralyzed. (The guy who plays Artie seems to have it down.) But she kept using her abs and thighs to lift her butt off the chair and for some reason it made me a little cray-cray.

Clearly I'm in a bad mood right now. But how strange (ironic?) is it that my bad mood came from watching Glee. :)

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Greetings from Portland!

I'm in beautiful Portland for my baby to tour the Lewis & Clark campus to see if he wants to attend. I'm so happy for him and excited to find out how he likes the campus, but what I'm really excited about is that I will have a hotel room to myself for a solid four hours.

Yes. Four hours. Alone. In a hotel. For a writer behind on her manuscript, it's a little slice of heaven. No laundry. No cooking. No dishes. Just me and the computer. Well, and the internet.

Wish me luck.

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Book Club...

For the first time I joined a book club. We're reading Stephen King's 11/22/63 all 800 pages of it.

It's my first Stephen King book, I've only read short stories before, and I find that the things I want to discuss in book club are things I'm considering as a writer.

He breaks POV and speaks to the reader. He double quotes a lot. He has a tendency to go off on tangents that until I get to the end I won't know if they were meaningful tangents. His turn of phrase sometimes can be absolutely perfect to describe something. Despite the tangents I find his storytelling completely engaging.

But that's not really the point of Book Club is it. I mean these will be other readers and I really don't know what they will want to discuss. Maybe the plot, or questions about the plot or the characters.

I know this - I can't wait.

On a side note, I know all of you out there are probably tired of me talking about me... but I have do it again.

The Way Back is officially out in stores if you would like to check it out.

Tuesday, April 03, 2012


So I'm kind of grooving on this show Awake. It's about a cop who has been in a terrible car accident and he is now living a double reality. In one reality, his wife died in the car accident and he's trying to parent a grieving teenaged son. Then he goes to sleep in that reality and wakes up to one where his son died in the car accident and he's trying to keep his marriage together with his grieving wife.

Meanwhile, he's working two cases - one in each reality. The details of the cases cross back and forth between the two realities although the cases are different. So an address in one turns out to be the key to solving the crime in the other. It's complicated. Also he's seeing two shrinks, one in each reality. Both psychologists are convinced they're the real one and both have slightly different interpretations of what he's doing and why he's doing it.

I find it very absorbing, but I can't help but marvel at what the writers are doing each week. It's a yeoman's job. First of all, they have to write two crime stories. Then they also have to have two emotional turning points for the character (that are usually linked). Then they have to have the pieces that cross back and forth. Truly, I'm kind of in awe over the whole thing.

I'm a little sad that no one seems to be talking about it, though. I have a bad feeling that it's going to be a one season wonder. Anyone else watching it? Anyone else like it? Hate it?

Monday, April 02, 2012

Am I stupid? Or is it just not good?

So, I finally watched the Mad Man opener. Lots to love. LOTS. Really engaging on about twenty different levels. One of my favorite things about this show is that I, as a pretty smart watcher, have no idea how Don Draper is going to react to things. It's like watching this man tettor totter between the best of himself and the worst. No idea from one problem to the next if he's going to take someone's head off, or give them a pass. And it was hot. Really hot in that awesome repressed sexuality way - totally dug it.

But I was reading a review of it - in Rolling Stone I think. And they were talking about how the aspects that the show gets right - namely Draper - they're A+. But the aspects they fail at - namely pacing, meandering subplots and staging - they really do fail.

And it opened my eyes to the fact that I've let this show get away with so much because I've been convinced it's so much smarter than me. If something doesn't work for me it must be my fault because the show is SO GOOD. But just because something is great and I mean really really great at a few things, doesn't mean it's bullet proof. I've had my blinders lifted.

Are there shows/books/movies out there that you've given the benefit of the doubt because parts of them are so amazing?
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...