Friday, May 31, 2013

How to fix American Idol

A lot of you probably gave up on American Idol seasons ago, and I don't blame you. It's gotten pretty stale and it seems as though the producers have been flailing for the past few years - new judges, new theme nights, cool starburst backdrops - all to lift ratings that have dropped year after year, and to draw back the younger viewers that have abandoned it to go watch the Voice.

But after not watching for, I'd say three years, I got sucked back in this year. And not because of the ridiculous and totally overblown Mariah/Nicki catfight, because they had some truly exceptional singers on this year.

Yep, great talent and no one seems to know this. The subject of how to fix the show has been discussed at great length on many entertainment websites, and almost all have been unanimous, get rid of the judges, and let the contestants have a greater choice of song titles.

Me, I'd start with the judges. They paid Mariah Carey $18 million, a woman famous for needing to be told she's thin and pretty before every interview. She said nothing relevant, looked bored a lot of the time and made a lot of the critiques about her.
The less said about Nicki the better. The show spent too much time forcing the younger, prettier contestants through, even through bad performances.

I started watching So You Think You Can Dance, a show that gets far less viewers, but there, the judges are passionate, opinionated and genuinely in love with the medium. It's so much more fun to watch. And more importantly, the judges are focused on the contestants, not their own careers. Because watching someone grow into excellence is really fun, which is why American Idol became a monster hit.

That said, check out the winner of American Idol this year, Candice Glover, starting with her performance of Lovesong, and then You've Changed, which are both awesome and on You Tube.

And anyone out there watching Hannibal? It's violent, and gruesome and complex and several shades of awesome. The acting is great, and while I already know the basic outline of the story, it's still managed to really entertaining and surprising.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

It's about the love story, stupid!

So as I’ve been lamenting to anyone who would listen I am stuck in the final chapters of my book. I went back and fixed something, but now I'm not sure what the next step is.  I know what needs to happen, but I’m fighting the process in which my hero and heroine get there.
This particular story is more suspense driven and like all good (hopefully) suspense stories you want to have a logical and well… suspenseful end to the story as the killer is revealed and the heroine is saved and love wins out in the end.

I’m so tied up with how things will happen… does the killer confront the heroine. Does the hero save her? Does the heroine save herself? Was the proof in the hotel room the whole time?
So many details to figure out. So many strings to tie up. And with all this going on it occurred to me I have no idea how the love story is going to be resolved. I’m mean sure, they end up together, but how? Why? My freaking amnesiac heroine gets her memory back and all is good? That is so completely lame!

Every once and a while I have to remember… it’s a love story, stupid. Focus on two people who have met, who have obstacles internal and external, who overcome them because they are so damn in love with each other, and that’s why they want to be together.

I’m hoping if I focus on that all the rest of it will come… because I am running out of time. Gulp!

(Wanda if you’re reading this… I’m sure it’s going to be fine. No worries!)

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Maureen's Trip to NYC

Last week I went to NYC to

a) meet with my agent and editor
b) speak at the Backspace Conference and
c) get some writing done.

Instead I

a) met and chatted with Margaret Atwood
b) had a great lunch and meeting with my editor and others at my publisher
c) spoke at the Backspace Conference
d) made some great new friends
e) saw two plays
f) did a little sight seeing, and
g) got zero writing done.

So, the Margaret Atwood thing....

When I was crashing around the coffee station in the Porter departure lounge, knocking people out with my backpack... I saw an older woman with a droopy sun hat who looked an awful lot like Margaret Atwood.

But I was flustered. I hadn't had a coffee, or anything to eat, and I only had a couple of minutes to guzzle the espresso I'd made at the coffee station before the flight left, so I didn't say anything... I did, however, send out a tweet.

And then by complete coincidence (I swear) I ended up directly behind her in line to board the plane. Again, I said nothing to her... But I did whisper, "Was that Margaret Atwood?" to the flight attendant checking the boarding passes at the gate. To which the flight attendant whispered back, "Yes!"

I saw her on the plane, but at the point, decided I shouldn't bother her. I was kicking myself, but happy to be in NYC and waited for the train at Newark to take me into the city. I didn't bother to look for Ms. Atwood at the train station, kind of assuming she probably had a limo to pick her up. 

Then I got on the train, making a last minute decision to rush down the platform to board at a less crowded door. 

And who did I see directly in front of me when I got on??? Yup. 

So, I sat down beside her and introduced myself. Actually, if memory serves, I did not introduce myself. Because that would have been too smart. Instead, I just started babbling about being a big fan and being an author too and we talked the entire way into the city.

I was kicking myself for not even bringing out a card to give her. But then imagine my surprise an hour or so later when I saw this tweet!

And replied with this...

And a little while later I saw this:

So, a great trip to NYC. And that was just the first couple of hours!

I was going to blog about the two plays I saw (MacBeth, with Alan Cumming and Lucky Guy, with Tom Hanks)... and how each of them used interesting storytelling techniques, but frankly, my little brush with CanLit royalty trumped it all.

Monday, May 27, 2013

My first con! Or never eat a banana while wearing Spanx.

This weekend I attended my first science convention -- or con, as the cool kids say -- in Santa Clara. It was an excellent first experience. I learned a lot about the dyanmics of how a con works, I met some nice people, I saw some great costumes. I made one gsstronomic error which plagued me for the rest of the weekend, but it was a lesson learned.

I spoke on a panel about workshops (very meta, if you ask me) with Tony Todaro, Margaret McGaffey Fisk and Aaron Mason. Kyle Aisteach was our moderator. (Aaron escaped before the photo.) We didn't all agree about everything, but it was interesting and we got a lot of excellent questions from the crowd.

I also moderated a panel on whether agents and editors were endangered species with e-publishing becoming more and more popular. Here I am with my panel: Dario Ciriello, Norman Sperling, Tony Todaro and Bobbie DuFaultt.

There was a robot wandering around the lobby. I am very sad that I didn't get a video of the moment that it sort of accidentally smacked a kid in the face.

There were tons of people in costume:

And the bartender at the Klingon Slave Auction told me he was ridged for my pleasure which made me giggle nearly uncontrollably. He's the one on the left.

The only problem? After the panels were over on Friday, but before the cocktail party for the guests and speakers, I got hungry. I bought a banana from the snack bar and maybe ate it a little faster than I should have. I was wearing a pair of high-waisted Spanx. You know, just to keep things from jiggling more than they should. Anyway, it was like the Spanx stopped the banana from actually traveling down into my digestive track. It felt like it was stuck at about solar plexus level.

Despite efforts to wash it down with white wine and force it down with a giant lemon bar, it stayed. By the time I got home and could take off my Spanx, it had turned into what felt like banana-crete and stayed there for the rest of the weekend. It might still be there, to be honest.

All in all, I thought it was a fantastic first experience. I'd do it again in a heartbeat!

Female Friendships Done Right - why is it hard to find?

I have been friends with my best friend since we were in Kindergarten. Kindergarten! My son is in kindergarten right now and I look at his friends and think "huh, I could be stuck with this kid coming over for the rest of my life." Anyway - she came up to visit with her family for the weekend, her two boys and husband. Our kids get a long great, our husbands who haven't spent a lot of time together are finding common ground as they stand over the grill, watching the steaks cook. Lish and I stayed up until 5 AM, drank all the wine and laughed and cried. As we do. As I think women with long-standing friendships do. But the other side of that coin is how difficult our dynamic can be as well. When you know someone so well, and have been dealing with the same quirky personality traits since Kindergarten it can come with frustration. Joy and eye-rolling - that's our relationship. More joy, don't get me wrong.

But I was saying to Lish, that I don't have any relationship like the one I have with her.

One of the reasons I stopped reading "women's fiction" or whatever subgenre those women at the summerhouse dealing with each other's drama books are called is because I felt those female relationships were so pat. There wasn't any tension to them. Or really, reality. And they all felt remarkably similar. I don't write relationships between women that have been friends for a long time because I find it so so so difficult to nail those nuances. It's easier to me to write women who are just starting out their friendships, because there's a little less nuance there and frankly, nothing mirrors a romantic relationship starting out like a friendship. But as Lish has left I find myself epically hungover and wanting to read about female friendships done right.

So, what are some of your favorite fictionalized portrayals of female friendship? (I got in all the F's)

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Goodreads Giveaway!

Sorry I missed my blog day... But I still have a few hours before it's Thursday, right?

I'm giving away 5 signed copies of Compliance -- which comes out in 2 weeks! on Goodreads, if you'd like to enter.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Compliance by Maureen McGowan


by Maureen McGowan

Giveaway ends June 03, 2013.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Game of Thrones

Spoiler Spoiler Spoiler

Okay. You're forewarned. I wanna talk about this season and I don't want to hold back. If you don't want to know what's happening now, click away. I'll give you a second.

Is it just us chickens, now? Good.

I did not watch the first two seasons. I'd read the books and after watching a couple of episodes I realized I wasn't going to see anything I hadn't already read. I haven't read the third book, though, so I've been watching Season Three.

I'm still completely blown away by the world building and the complexity of the plot. The acting is amazing. The sets. The costumes. Everything. It's amazing.

So here's my pickle. I can not stand the torture thing with Theon. It's too upsetting. It's too gross. It's too horrific. Plus it's so well done that I can't stop thinking about it. I can't stop thinking about what it would be like to be in such pain all the time and to not even be able to die to get release and to not even know why the person was doing it to me except that the person is a sadistic monster. I went on some wiki thing to see if it would end soon, but found that it runs through the rest of the books that have been written. Plus there's an interview with GoT co-creator David Benioff and he says he LOVES torturing Theon which I'm pretty sure means he's not going to stop.

I don't think I can stand it. I'm thinking about not watching anymore because it's too upsetting.

Are you watching? How do you feel about it? Has any subplot ever upset you enough that you stopped watching a show?

Friday, May 17, 2013

Our favourite devices

I know that the title of this post could be taken as a little dirty, but it's not. I watched the season finale of Vampire Diaries last night, and as usual they made their finale sweet, and sad and full of lovely twisty plot surprises.

But at the same time, (and without giving away any major spoilers) they're reusing a major plot device that was awe-inspiring the first time and now when used on a different character, feels really, really lazy.

It's perhaps why most shows should stop after a few seasons. Change the characters, change the setting and breathe new life into a format, instead of trying to keep re-invigorating the same characters over and over.

But I digress. The real reason I was disappointed was because even a team of writers goes back to the same thing over and over. I know I do.

It's why brainstorming with other people is so valuable, because they introduce new ideas that my tired, mundane brain would never consider. Because if left to my own devices, my stories would follow the same path over and over.

And up till this season, TVD has surprised me over and over by not doing that, by proving over and over they're smarter than me.

Until last night, when I'm left in doubt and worried for the next season.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

When You Like the B Plot Better

A lot of the reviews for my last book Act of Persuasion were only so-so, which I’m not going to lie is disappointing. You invest yourself in the characters and I really thought Ben and Anna, a couple I carried over from a previous book, were very special.
But I do concede that Ben was a very restrained very tight character and in many ways so was Anna. So you really don’t get to see all their vulnerability until the end of the story when they both basically lose it.

However, with almost every bad review the one thing that did stand out was that everyone really liked Mark’s story as he reunited with his estranged daughter. It will be interesting to see if people who liked Mark will still like him as he takes center stage in For The First Time which comes out in October. When people ask me about this book, they ask are we going to get Mark’s story and I tell them you’re really going to get Mark and Sophie’s story. Because this isn’t just a story about him and finding love. It’s really a story about Mark and Sophie and their journey of building a relationship and then finding the person that fits both of them.
Now in that story, and peripherally in AOP, I introduce Greg. I’m working on Greg’s story now and it’s probably the most suspenseful, the most plot driven of the Tyler Group series. But here is my problem. More than half way through and I find once again I’m really digging the B plot.

I shouldn’t be more excited to get to those scenes with the B couple then I am about writing the scenes for Greg and Liza who are the hero and heroine of the story.
At first I figured it was just because I was messing up Greg and Liza and knew I would need to go back and fix them. But honestly I think it’s because the B story is just easier. It’s not as intense as the main relationship. I don’t have to support the whole book around them. I just get to write a few lines of banter and emotion and then I’m done.

Then it’s back to the A plot and all the hard work of making good.
What about you? What happens when you like the B plot better? Does it mean you failed the A plot?

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

50 Shades of Don Draper

I'd love to know when that last episode was written and whether or not the whole 50 Shades explosion into popular culture influenced the writing.

But in this week's episode, Don Draper totally became a way hotter and cooler version of Christian Grey. And I have to admit that I kind of loved it. I wasn't sure how far the Linda Cardellini character was going to let him push it, and I kept thinking how Betty would have had NONE of that, and Megan, while she's way more sexually adventurous than Betty, wouldn't have either. Megan would rather be on the other side of that dynamic, I think....

So, it was interesting to see Don bring the kind of control he loves to exert over people at work into the bedroom. Especially at a time when he needs to feel extra-powerful at work.

Oh, I do love me some Mad Men.

Others who've seen it... Was it 50 Shades for you? Love? Hate?

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Con Virgin

I am going to attend my first science fiction convention. I got the news yesterday from BayCon that I've been selected to speak on one panel and moderate another. The thrill of pure terror that coursed through me when I opened the email was like a glass of cold ice water poured straight down my gullet after a hot and sweaty 10K.

What was I thinking? I've never even been to one of these. Now I'm going to be stand in front of people at one and talk like I know something? What role does the moderator play? Is it like at RWA where you introduce people and try to control the Q&A at the end? Or do I create questions for the panel to discuss?

I've been googling my fellow panelists (I know one of them - Jeff Carlson - who is an incredibly fun guy on top of being a terrific writer) and everyone is way more science fiction-y than me. I had to look up what speculative fiction was and I'm still not sure I truly understand.

More important yet, what do I wear?

Please. Give me some advice. Tell me you've been to one of these and know what to do.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Don Draper is an Ass! Should we ruin him? Or redeem him?

This isn't news, is it? From the get-go we've known Don Draper is an anti-hero, but his ass-ness has been a moving target. It gets obscured partly by how good he is at his job, how freaking handsome he is, his strange and disastrous past, the odd moments of kindness and decency he shows people. Distant people, never those close to him. Those close to him get a very special kind of awful from the man. But last night - the cracks are showing. Don Draper is getting nervous about his job, his place in the universe and to counteract it he's going above and beyond in efforts to feel powerful. In control. The Big Ass On Campus. He sexually dominates a woman who needs, for a few days not to do any emotional heavy-lifting. And he drinks his competitor - a super nice guy - under the table in a chest-beating, bullying exercise of dominance.

I wanted to see his come comeuppance a dozen times in this series - and last night - someone put a pin in him. Three times. The sexually dominated woman puts her clothes on and says enough. The super nice guy out macho's him. And Peggy. Peggy says act like a grown up. Really really gratifying television.

I've often lamented that Mad Men has been too smart for me at times. It's glacial pace makes me feel like I've missed something - WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT? But I think some of the plotting and pacing has just been bobbled by the creative team. This season though!! We are a match. Draper's feelings don't manifest in any normal way - we can't look at him and see any kind of trajectory. And that frankly is awesome. His character requires foils and mirrors, he's the rat in the maze, we're on his back and Peggy is a wall he has to figure out how to get around without showing too many of his faults.

I'm worried that the end point of this show is that he'll just be ruined. There are a lot of shows right now with protagonists who - in the end - will just be killed and should be killed. I would Don Draper to be redeemed. Is it because he is more handsome that Mr. White? Maybe. I am just that shallow. But it doesn't change the fact that the writers have worked hard to keep us intrigued and invested by showing glimpses of his humanity. I want him to find more humanity, be ruined so he can come back worth the time and energy I have invested in him.

How about you? Don Draper in ruins? Or Don Draper redeemed?

Friday, May 10, 2013

The times they are a changing

So I loved Stephanie's post from yesterday, and how she verbalized so wonderfully what almost all writers want. Because success means readers loving your books and acknowledgment, proof that we are good writers.

And you really can't 100% percent go after something until you admit you want it, so that is the first step.

But the route there has become a lot more fluid, and it requires writers to be fluid along with it. We've been hearing for many years now about the death of the midlist, and for the longest time I'd hear that pronouncement and shrug, and think no way. I've read mid list authors my whole life and I'm not stopping now. But now I think it might actually be happening.

A writer on one of my loops asked about her New York published book, thinking maybe she'd missed some sales numbers, because she got her statement and it didn't make any sense, the numbers were too low. A few other authors have expressed astonishment with how low their numbers are with their NY published books, so I know this is a common complaint.

And part of this is the reduction of the number of book stores out there. Walmart and Target are reducing the number of titles they buy, and so the retail outlets for the mid list authors have greatly reduced. But as an author, if you're lucky enough to be one of the books chosen for distribution into all the majors, then you can almost be guaranteed bestseller status.

But then there's the rise of self-publishing which has created breakout bestsellers and something of a mid list, but where most authors are lucky to sell a few hundred books.

Promotion is now something done mostly by the author, unless again, they are one of the chosen authors, and from what I've heard, the authors doing the best financially, are the ones doing a cross of self-publishing and traditional publishing.

I know for many years, my idea of success in this industry was being chosen. By an agent, by a publisher, by readers and that is still a measure of success, a really important one. But some really smart authors have adapted, they have chased, they've found other routes and found readers and success and I'm really impressed at their ingenuity.

so the point is that as authors we need to know what our version of success is, because it varies. For some authors it's still being chosen, for others it's readers, or great reviews and for a few others, being on a bestseller list, and not all happen simultaneously. Not any more.

I'm trying to figure out my version of success right now and I'm honestly not sure what that is. I think it's readers, but that could change, because you can get readers and not make any money, as many self-pulished authors are discovering with books given away for free or priced at $.99.

What's your version of success? It is one thing, or a combination of all?

Thursday, May 09, 2013

I Want More....

Have you all seen that commercial? Where the guy asks the little kids if two is better than one and more is better than less. And the little girl tries to explain why more is better. And it basically boils down to… I want more…I want more….
That’s what I want for my writing career. The other night I tried to think about what that meant. Is it money? Sure. Who wouldn’t want more money? Is it fame? I don’t know about fame, but I do like the idea of respect. Of people being able to see my name and recognize that I’m a writer. Is it popularity? Maybe. There is this idea that there is a club of writers that everyone knows and you want to be in that club.

I remember last year going to the RITA/Goldenheart reception and seeing all these crazy talented writers sitting together at a table and thinking… wow, I don’t really belong here. But instinctively I wanted to feel differently. I wanted to feel as if I could sit at that table.
But really at the core of what “more” is… I just like the idea of more people reading my books. Lots of readers who read them, hopefully enjoy them. Maybe even talk about them.

I was thinking about how that is … I don’t know…. selfish, or self-indulgent or obnoxious. (Because as women we have this crazy mechanism that tells us being ambitious is somehow unladylike… read Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg if you don’t believe me.) But then I realized that no, wanting more people to read my books is completely normal. Because I’m a storyteller. Not all people in the world are storytellers, but the ones that are out there want to tell stories and more importantly we want listeners/readers to hear our stories, to read our stories.
So I want more…. More readers to read the stories I make up. I wouldn’t be a writer if I didn’t want that.

What about you as writers or readers… what “more” do you want?

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Exploring the dark side through unlikable characters

Eileen posted about one of my favorite topics yesterday. And it's one I realize I'm slightly hypocritical about as an author vs a reader.

And since I'm not decisive enough to pick a "best movie ever" (but I was considering doing something controversial like Clueless) I decided to continue on with yesterday's topic.

As a reader, I love books featuring protagonists I wouldn't necessarily want to meet or talk to in real life. I find it interesting to try to understand how the mind of someone works, even if I wouldn't like them.

To use one of Eileen's examples, as disgusting as Humbert Humbert is as a character (and I agree that he is), I found Lolita a pretty fascinating book, and that novel helped me to understand, not only him, but also Lolita and her mother. I can't imagine liking any one of those three people in real life, but I found them fascinating to read about in a book (or watch in a movie).

Maybe that's one of the many things I like fiction. Whether it's reading or watching movies or TV shows, fiction lets me gain insight into people, without having to actually meet them or talk to them. It helps me gain insight into the uglier parts of human nature.

On the other hand, I can respect and appreciate that not every reader wants that kind of experience from books. I think my personality type strives to understand others and fiction helps me fulfil that need/desire/interest and I think that's why I enjoy difficult characters in fiction.

But, and here's the hypocritical part, I've spent a LOT of time as a writer trying to figure out how to create and introduce characters that readers will like. It's something I struggle to do better.

That said, I don't think I'm going to apologize for that... The kind of stories I've been writing, at least the last, um 5 or 6 of my books, are stories that require protagonists that readers can get behind and root for. I think it's particularly important in plot-heavy stories which often have less emphasis on character growth. (Character growth/change still has to be there... but it's often not what the book is about.)

I'm trying to think of other examples of books about characters I pretty much hated... Maybe the main character from the Shopaholic books. I didn't *hate* her but I think I'd be too aggravated with her to be her friend in real life, even though I enjoyed reading about her and laughed a lot.

I'm sure I've read others, but right now I'm coming up with more characters from TV than books. Like Tony Soprano (or Carmella, for that matter), Dexter, Dexter's sister, Don Draper, Carrie or Brody from Homeland, just about anyone on Son's of Anarchy, and even Schmidt from New Girl. All people I love to watch on TV, but I'd never want to hang out with in real life.

Can you think of any books you've loved with an unlikable protagonist?

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Main characters: do we need them to be our friends?

Thanks to awesome short-story writer and new Facebook friend Valerie Fioravanti, I saw this interview with Claire Messud about her new book The Woman Upstairs.

I love a lot of things that Messud says in the interview. I love what she said about illuminating a particular human experience and what she said about women and anger. I relate to what she said about how we feel when our life hasn't taken the shape we thought it would.

It's her response to the last question, though, that really struck me. The interviewer asks if Ms. Messud would like to be friends with the main character of her book. Messud replies that the question itself is irrelevant (and maybe a little stupid).

Unfortunately, in the world of romance and women's fiction, it isn't irrelevant. We're always told that our characters must be likable and relatable to the point where they become bland sometimes. I can't tell you how often I feel my secondary characters take over a book because they're allowed to flaws and do bad things. Messud's answer made me want to stand up and cheer. In fact, I might have jumped up in my living room and yelled something about speaking truth to power.

Here's the ugly truth, though. As much as I love what Messud said, I still want to have someone in the story that I can relate to somehow. She lists a couple of heroes of stories in her reply and I have to admit that I've never understood why anyone likes the book Lolita. I think Humbert Humbert is disgusting. There has to be something redeemable in that person whose eyes I'm seeing through and whose shoes I'm walking in to get me into the story. Otherwise I lose interest. Or in certain cases start hoping the main character is going to get killed which is also not good. So I love what she said, but feel a little bit hypocritical about it in terms of what I like to read.

Do I have to want that person as a friend? I don't think so. I would not want to be friends with Carrie in Homeland. She's exhausting. Do I love her as a heroine? Absolutely.

So what do you think about it? Is the question irrelevant? Do you have to want to be friends with the main character?

Monday, May 06, 2013

Why Field of Dreams is the best movie ever

Beaches is fine. I cried. I cry every time I see it. I remember the first time I saw it at Jennifer Wolfe's house and how I had to go hide in the bathroom to sob. Terminator was the first really delicious mind-game movie. A complicated twisty idea boiled down into something so delicious, so action-packed and dark - how could you not love it. But Sinead and Steph are both very wrong. Field Of Dreams is the Best Movie Ever

1. Kevin Costner in worn Levis. I sort of feel the argument begins and ends there. If you are not a fan of Costner in worn blue jeans, you're missing out on one of the best parts of the movie.

2. It romanticizes sports, fatherhood and manhood in a way that makes me want to hug all the men in my life, stroke back their hair and tell them to go have a catch with their father. This might be because the men in my family are guys who play sports. And the sports they play is how they bond to other guys, it's how they work through their stuff. For my father and brother - it's how they talk. I know not every family is like this - but mine is. Mine totally is.

3. Amy Madigan owns that movie. She's perfect as a wife and mom. The realist and the dreamer. She was perfect. "Shut up you Nazi cow" is something I LONG to say to someone.

4. James Earl Jones. James Earl Jones and the "They will come, Ray." speech. "Memories so thick they'll have to brush them away from their face." It's stunning writing. Nostalgic and dreamy, but delivered in that voice? It's like a creedo. Who would argue with him?

5. It absolutely cements my belief that no matter what is wrong with you, what damage you carry, even if it's not that much. Even if for the most part you are totally happy, whatever causes you to make bad choices or selfish decisions - almost all of it has it's roots in your childhood.

6. Ray Liottas eyes - the first time wide-spread audience saw them. Blue like ice. Like a chlorinated pool.

Friday, May 03, 2013

Why The Terminator is the greatest movie ever....

Ok, so Stephanie threw down a bit of a gauntlet yesterday with that whole Beaches fiasco. Sure the power of friendship and love and blah, blah, but really, if we were to think this through, there are other, better movies. Movies like Alien and Aliens, but for the purpose of the Beaches comparison, I'm going with the Terminator.

So here's my list

1) It is really suspenseful. Watching Linda Hamilton fight off a seemingly unkillable machine kept me on the edge of my seat through the entire movie.

2) It teaches us to be really careful about the technology we develop - killer robots seem like a bad idea.

3) It has a really touching love story. Reese was a lovely hero, respectful, resourceful and well - doomed - but while he lived, a great hero.

4) It's the best use of Arnold Schwarzenegger's acting skills ever - he plays killer robot really well

5) Great character arc of innocent, somewhat regular girl into strong, resourceful action heroine

6) Really interesting backstory woven into the current story - except the backstory is the future... let that one twist your mind for a while

7) Time travel told simply and well

8) It you take away the hairstyles and clothes, it doesn't look dated, which is pretty amazing

So there you go. I'm putting forward Terminator as a better movie than Beaches, because well beaches are great, but killer robots are better.

Thursday, May 02, 2013

Why Beaches is the Greatest Movie Ever...

I got sucked in last night. Start to finish. From the crazy that is Mayim Bailik looking exactly like Bette Middler as a child, to the end where you just cry and cry.  And as I was watching it I was wondering what it is about this movie in particular that gets to women.
I think it’s all the lessons that women seem to learn along the way throughout their life.

1.      Sometimes you can be more talented, but the pretty girl will get the part.

2.      Sometimes if you’re pretty people don’t take you as seriously as they should.

3.      Sometimes you are jealous of your best friend.

4.      Sometimes you fight with your best friend.

5.      It doesn’t matter if you go five, ten or twenty years, if that person was really a friend they will still be your friend after all those years.

6.      You have to laugh a little.

7.      You have to lose a little.

8.      You have to even get the blues a little.

9.      Because that’s the story of and the glory of life.

10.  Also, if you have to die… you should do it in a beach chair looking at the ocean.

I’m sure there are many more lessons but these are the ones that stood out to me last night.
What about you? What did you learn from Beaches? And are you like me where you just can't NOT watch it when it's on? My eyes are really puffy today.

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

COMPLIANCE Cover Reveal Giveaway!

To celebrate my cover reveal, I'm giving away 2 copies of DEVIANTS. Signed if you live in North America, unsigned if you don't. (Sorry... often mailing a book overseas costs $35-$40 and I just can't afford that. But I will send it to you from The Book Depository.)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I'm starting to get excited about this release... I can't believe it's May already!!!

Oh! And the Spanish version of DEVIANTS (LOS INDESABLES) was recommended on what my publishers in Spain tell me is the most important cultural TV show in Spain! They made it sound like this was the US equivalent of being featured on Entertainment Tonight, or something. So, Yippee!

Here is the video. My book's mentioned at about minute 20:50 and it's easy to scroll ahead.

And if you'd like to pre-order COMPLIANCE, here's some linkage.
Pre-order Compliance here:
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