Ain’t that always the way….

It has been the craziest week. Seriously.

Last weekend my girlfriend was here. I took her to the airport on Sunday and then went out to dinner with a book club who wants to do a Q&A with the author for my book. Then I went back to the airport to pick up my Father in Law who decided to pop by. LOL

I briefly considered taking a part time job as a personal chef but the kiddo was adamantly opposed. Given that I would need to take him with me, that was a deal breaker.

I finished the changes to my cover. Finished editing my proof. Uploaded all my changes. Jumping up and down.

Then I got to set up my royalty information.

It is so close. So close, I have butterflies constantly right now.

My postcard for marketing is about half done. Ok the front it done and I am happy with it. LOL. The back on the other hand….um let’s not talk about that.

I have four stops for my virtual book tour. I really want more. But beggars can’t be choosers right.

So today I am going out of town for the weekend, without my hubby and kiddo. And this morning my son woke up with a cold. Ain’t that always the way? LOL

Friday Fun: Wicked Fun

Greetings from my trip. I would like to call it a vacation but I read an article recently that was very clear: if you are on a trip with your child it is not a vacation. LOL. So let’s just call it taking the show on the road.

Speaking of road shows. Wednesday night I skipped write in and went out with some girlfriends. It was K’s birthday and we had dinner at the Tap Room and went to see Wicked at the Paramount Theater. About the Tap Room, hundreds of beers on tap. What I like, I don’t drink beer, is they have Wicked Baked Apple cider on tap. Yum! They also have an amazing Moscow Mule and mouth watering Calamari.

So on to the show. um….I really want to say I loved it. But I didn’t. The solo vocals were beautiful. Gorgeous voices, good lyrics. The ensemble vocals were less than stellar. I couldn’t understand the words and I wasn’t the only one.

The dancing. Oh god, the dancing. Fifty percent was turns, or spins if you want to be generous. Most of what came to mind was that Choreography scene from White Christmas where they are making fun of the loss of actual dancing in dance routines on stage. Yeah.

Moving on, the stage set was Awesome. Really intriguing construct of steel and screening.

The plot was good, but I did find myself thinking, all this over a guy, really?

Of course the sap in me was thrilled when Fierro and Elphaba sneak off together in the end to live in the spare castle together and in peace.

But still, all that over a boy. Laughing.

It is the last day of Camp Nanowrimo. I didn’t make goal. In fact, I don’t think I wrote the last three week on my spy novel. Ce la vie.

I am off with my friend to go to a Fusion class at her gym. With a little luck I won’t hurt anything important.

Friday Fun

There is no fun in whoville today. And there hasn’t been in at least a week. I am not writing on my spy novel. It’s sitting forlorn and abandoned. It just isn’t fun to write and I’ve heard if it wasn’t fun to write it won’t be fun to read. So it sits.

Technically I’m justifying this lack of writing by researching for it. LOL. A book I wanted eons ago came in at the library and I’m slogging my way through a badly written SAS handbook. But I know and you know, it’s just my way of avoiding writing.

And today I’m ok with that. I will finish this damn spy novel…just maybe not this month. Chalk up a loss for Camp Nanowrimo 2015.

Have you ever shelved a book fifty times and finally managed to finish it and be happy with the final product? Do tell.

Wednesday Writer’s Cafe

I had the hardest time writing at cafe tonight. But really I can’t blame it on cafe. I didn’t make it last week which meant much chatting needed to happen. And really I haven’t felt much like writing at all these days. I’m just frustrated with my spy novel. This happens a lot with my spy novel. I get into a groove, it last a few thousand words, and then I’m done. I just want to throw it on the fire and toast a marshmallow.


So far this week I’ve written 430 words. That’s since Saturday. Yep. That’s less than 100 words a day. Bleh.

On the plus side I think I talked D into reading a book I really liked. LOL. Glad I could help someone else to get their book out there.

I’m not sure the spy novel will ever see the light of day which is a little sad to me because it was my first. And there are parts of it, that I think are really, really high quality, especially for an action novel. LOL. But I’m not sure there’s enough meat on this carcass to give it legs.

Talk to me? Do you abandon a novel that is resisting being written? Or do you bang it out no matter how painful the process is?

Weekend Workshop: Saturday Edition

Coming to you live in smell-o-vision. Does anyone out there remember that? We got into a discussion last weekend about Soaring Over California and I congratulated Disney on their fabulous use of Smell-O-Vision. People were shocked that was a real thing. It was. Some film companies were trying to complete with color back in the day without paying to upgrade. Shrug. It didn’t really work because the technology wasn’t sufficient to get the smells in and out properly. Not like Soaring Over California.  Bravo Disney. Now if only you could do something about the obscene lines….

Story Sense, Chapter Four: Scene Structure

Once again I am editing and paring for the parts that really apply to any fiction writing not just screen play writing. I think this book might be getting a little too screen play focused but I toil on.

A bit is a short piece, that lacks internal structure but moves the plot forward.

A scene is more complicated with internal structure, think three sections not unlike the 3 act structure, and is more likely to deal with emotional development.

Hoard your plot information and release it in small increments to sustain interest in the narrative. This dynamic is essential to writing simple plots with complex characters.

So, what is the point of the scene? No really, do you know? If you don’t the reader sure won’t. If you’re having trouble with a scene maybe it’s because you aren’t clear on where the scene is supposed to go. Don’t let your characters run away with you. Keep them moving toward the point of the scene. When a new idea hits you, really work it over to make sure it makes sense for your story line, if it does, rework your plot to incorporate it seamlessly. If you need it in your scene, put it there. If it’s just window dressing, make it go.

Energize characters by making them comical, sexy, egotistical, unpleasant, aggressive, eccentric, or whatever will justify their internal life and motivation.

According to Lucey, a crafty writing strategy worth remembering is this: do not make your hero give excuses, it diminishes the hero. If in his past the hero has been a scapegoat for a situation, he shouldn’t talk about it, have other characters transmit the information. But be careful that your back story doesn’t linger so long that it impacts the momentum of the story negatively.

Don’t forgot the golden action – reaction set up. It should be logical but unexpected.

Camp Nano is going fabulously. I don’t have a word count update for today because I just got out of bed but never fear, words will appear.

Fun Friday Camp Nanowrimo Updates

What a week it has been. My Father in law arrived very late Tuesday night with a truck full of antique furniture and other assorted physical memories of my husband’s life. Of course he had said he would arrived Wednesday night but that’s neither here nor there. LOL.

So I posted Wednesday very briefly, I was drunk and I didn’t want to fall into a long rambling drunk post. But I did no writing for Nano Wednesday or Thursday which meant this morning my word count was just above 4400, or behind. sigh. It was bound to happen at some point, right? But I thought it was ok because it’s Friday and Friday I go to a writers cafe, great chance to make up some word count. Only, I couldn’t get my kiddo out of the house. Do not underestimate the ability of a six year old boy to derail the best laid plans of mice and men.

Before you slap yourself on the forehead and say what is going on with this girl, let me throw in really quick I did write for an hour at home this morning and got 1060 words written. Not bad words either in my humble opinion.

Currently my total is 5462/5000. Ahead again. Tis a lovely place to be.

No excerpt today. I’m not on my laptop with scrivner on it. I’m borrowing my hubby’s laptop.

Camp Nanowrimo Day 6 Update

Hello campers and regular people with other things to do this July,

I’m not going to lie, it was hard to write today. It was hot, AGAIN. Too many hot days in a row turns my brain to mush. And then just as I got into a really good flow I hit a geographical quandary. I had to stop and consider my options. I’ll sleep on it and hopefully know what I am about tomorrow.

I did write 477 words today. (A little shy of goal but I really need to figure out which port makes the most sense for my terrorists to be landing their ship at before I go on.)

Total 3881/3000 I’m still ahead. Holy Cow Bat Man!


Galatea returned to the work room in time to hear Stanley yip gleefully. “There you are.”
“You have something?”
Gareth and Talon both sat upright.
“Yes, I have your ship.”
“Do tell.”
“The Al-Uzza is a Liberian ship based in the port of Monrovia. According to known intel it is a ship for hire if the work is dirty and the money clean.”
Talon opened his mouth to tell Stanley that was information they already knew or could have surmised given the situation but Galatea forestalled him with a quick shake of her head. “Go on, Stanley.”
“It last left Monrovia 22 days ago and is not expected to return.”
“Wait they filed that they don’t intend to return?” Talon needed clarification.
With a sigh, Stanley went on, “They didn’t file a return date, so they are classified as no expected to return.”
Talon nodded but didn’t feel particularly put out by Stanley’s insinuation he should know this, he was SAS, what did he know about boats.
“It was last spotted in the North Pacific about five days ago.”
Galatea nodded and smiled hoping he would get to something relevant.
“And that’s about it unless you want to see the floor plans now.”
“That’s it? No information on where it might be or where it might be going? Who’s running it?”
Stanley shook his head. “It’s not like boats file flight plans or carry beacons like airplanes. Once they leave port, they’re invisible until they pull into the next one.”
There was stunned silence for a few beats. Then Gareth cleared his throat. “That’s not necessarily true.”
All eyes turned to him. He opened his eyes, slowly lowered his legs from the coffee table to the floor, and sat up. “They pull Local Notice to Mariners, right?”
“I suppose so. I thought those got sent automatically from the map company.”
“Notice to Mariners and Summary of Corrections do but you can radio in for a Local Notice to Mariners. When you’re approaching an area and you aren’t sure how up to date your map is.”
Stanley frowned and began typing like a hacker, which was essentially what he was preparing to do.
Galatea returned to pacing, Gareth leaned back in the chair and closed eyes once more. Talon attempted not to watch Galatea’s body as it roamed the room with her usual casual grace.
The assistant breezed through with take away which they fell upon immediately with gusto. It took Stanley long enough that mere remnants remained in the bottom of the cartons when he announced he had something.

Monday Book Review: Mad Science Institute

I just finished this fab book by Sechin Tower.msi_front-cover

I have to figure out some sort of ratings system, I know, I know, but if I one, Mad Science Institute, would be up there.

First off, I love his straight forward style. There is no extra malarkey. You get what you need to be there in the story, no extra puff, no extra wall paper.

He writes in a rapid fire way that really propels me through the novel.

His characters are intriguing. I like that he spends some time weaving in a bit of back story for the characters who really matter and giving you pure personality for the ones who are less important. Saves time and effort in remembering extra stuff that won’t matter when the character dies. Red shirt alert without being quite so obvious. (no offense to Star Trek).

Sophia, affectionately known as Soap, is accepted to the Mechanical Science Institute, less affectionately known as the Mad Science Institute. Housed on the campus of another university, the institute is devoted to the exploration, adaptation, and expansion of Nikola Tesla’s inventions. But as usual with massive power comes some asshole who wants it for himself and rather than settle into classes Soap is forced to do battle to protect the world with the help of her robot dog scorpion, her cuz, and some mad scientists.

I suppose one could classify this a YA work but I didn’t find it YA ish in the negative connotation. Yes, Soap is a young protagonist, her cousin however is not and this is half his book.

There is a lot of science jargon going on. But Sechin writes it in a way that I can almost believe is possible. However I will deduct half a milk dud, dog bone, or other ratings item for one of my pet peeves. He references a picture of Mark Twain holding a light bulb that isn’t connected to a wire because supposedly he was in Tesla’s lab testing wireless energy, I googled the picture, you can see the wire large as life. Bah. Historical lies. Minus half a light bulb.

On the plus side I did actually stop to read out bits to my husband who laughed so maybe he gets half a light bulb back for that. I’ll have to sleep on it.

I leave you with the link to Sechin’s page. The link to buy this book on Amazon. And a quote from Soap, “It’s much better if we keep it secret, because a bunch of teenagers and college students who answer to no higher authority would never misuse infinite power.”

Camp Nanowrimo Day 5 update:

525 words written while watching the old pink panther cartoon with my son, is it any good? I have no clue. But I did manage not to write dant dant dant dant dant anywhere but here so that counts right?

Total 3404/2500. Still ahead. How did that happen?

Weekend Workshop: Sunday Edition: Chapter 3 Exercises

I really wanted to do these exercises on this amazing book I read this week (tune in tomorrow for the review) but then I realized I would totally be giving away the entire novel if I did. No bueno.

So, I decided to do as Lucey suggests and answer the questions on a film. Three Days of the Condor (1975).

1. Jot down a beat by beat summary of the film studied. Note how the action-reaction dynamic develops the beats of the story.

Background establishing shots of the office and the city. Bit conversations revealing the nature of the work at the American Literary Historical Society. Analysts talking about gun shot and slugs hitting the wall. References to unauthorized research, lack of proper channels. Its the hero’s turn to bring in lunch. Uses the non proper exit which saves him a block because it is raining. waiting for the lunch order, talking about artists and the number of rejection slips he has had. men watching the proper entrance. Approaching. shooting everyone in the office as they come across them. Pulled something out of the book carousel in the front office. Hero returns with lunch order, finds front door open. discovers the bodies (cigarette still burning in the hand of one of them), takes the gun from the receptionist’s desk and exits, leaves his bike behind, runs to phone booth calls the “major”, who asks a lot of questions, tells him to leave the area but not to go home, call back in two hours, cleaning service arrives at the office, hero in an art gallery/museum, Hero gets a pretzel, goes to missing agents home, door is open, agent is dead in his bed, men coming up the stairs, hero runs up, waits till they go and then leaves, goes home and his neighbor tells him his two friends are waiting for him, he runs, calls in again, gets directed to be in the alley to be picked up by the head of his department, but he refuses to go unless someone he knows is at the meet, mutual friend gets a bullet proof vest and some nasty questions about his relationship with hero, head of department checks out a 45 gun just like the one condor is carrying, head of dept tries to kill hero, hero wounds head of dept and flees, head of dept kills friend, hero hides in store, kidnaps a woman as his exit, man arrives by helio, reads report, Five Continents Imports staffed by marines, hero takes woman back to her home, dept head made statement that condor shot them both before going into surgery, despite not being qualified with a handgun the committee believes he did the murders, their only suggestion is he is not the man he appears to be, hero explains his background to the girl, explains what the agency does, appeals for help, he makes her sleep next to him so he can nap, hit man discussing the finishing off of Condor and the tying up of loose ends with the head of dept, hero discussing the photos the woman takes, lonely pictures, news report hero thinks friend is dead, calls friend’s wife, argument with woman about his  treatment of her, ties her up in the bathroom, hero goes to friend’s house, interrogates his wife about who called, then shoves her in the elevator to go up to friends as the hit man steps off, they both get in a down elevator, the ride is prolonged by teenagers who push all the floor buttons before they get off, hero talks a group into going with him to his car, which creates a barrier around him that foils the snipers plan, but the hit man gets the license plate of the car he is driving, he unties the woman and makes her answer the phone, prolonged conversation with rude boyfriend who doesn’t catch on that she is being held hostage, more conversation about hero’s treatment of woman, her art, her prediction of his imminent death, heavy sexual overtones, oddly shot sex, facial expressions, and close ups of body parts interspersed with her black and white photos, flash back series as the hero works out the overall conspiracy, background talk, hospital nurse monitoring a flat lining monitor, mailman delivering a package, pen fails so the main follows hero into apartment while he looks for a pen, hero flings coffee pot at man who has gun, fight ensues, hero shoots villain, hero searches villain, gets key and a paper from Five Continents with phone number and ext, hero dials it immediately, its the CIA, he and woman drive somewhere, conversation about figuring it all out, she does into the CIA as a visitor, pretends to get lost and goes into Higgins office, ts a face check so hero can follow him, woman joins Higgins at lunch, woman delivers message for Higgins to follow her out to the car, hero interrogates higgins, finds out hit man used to work for the company, Hero finds out Wicks is dead, hero wants Higgins to bring him in, Higgins says he’s sorry, hero realizes that he’s being hung out as bait, hero uses distraction to steal something from a new york telephone repair truck, gets key identified, and goes to the hotel to call in on the line, records the next call the hit man makes, then calls into langely to get the phone number and gets a name and address for the owner, Higgins mean time checking out the mailman and wicks, hero goes to the phone company, calls in to the major for route to Higgins, tells higgins where to find the hit man, because he used the phone company the trace is useless, background with woman, more about her art, hero gets on a train to washington, emplores woman not to give him up, which makes her cry, higgins in conversation with superior, about careers/history, someone is being held at New Yprk Center, hero sitting in someone’s office blasting the music, man comes down stairs, confrontation with the big bad, it’s the deputy director of operations middle east section, hero figures out it is all about oil, hit man shows up in the door way, hit man kills the deputy with condors gun, puts the gun in his hand and wipes down all the prints, hit man is back with the company, hit man explains why he is not going to kill the hero, hit man wants to know about the girl, how hero choose her, the hit man offers advice, they will kill you, it will be someone you know, soon, the hit man suggest he go to Europe and become a hit man like him because it is so restful and someone is always willing to pay, hero says he would miss the united states if he went away too long, the hit man gives hero a gun “for that day,” hero meets up with higgins, a car is there to take him to debriefing, hero wants to know if we are going to invade the middle east, you think not getting caught in a lie is the same as telling the truth, he walks higgins to in front of the new york times building and tells him he told them the story, higgins say you’ll be dead if they don’t print it, hero says they’ll print it.

2. How does the film deal with subplots and continuity? Analyze how the subplots are used to fill out the span of the second act.

Subplots are minor, a bare relationship that actually feels like it drags the film down. I really don’t care about Cathy’s art. I certainly don’t care enough to talk about it four different times. And I don’t know about you but I don’t willingly have sex with the man who’s holding me hostage after talking to my significant other.

3. What strategies of time, logic, editing, sound, music, dialogue, and action link the scenes into a story? How much story time passes between the scenes? How does the film create momentum?

The entire film is three short days. They use simple light versus dark for day and night passage. Verbal queues such as how long till the 6 o’clock news and in the morning I will…I need 12 hours, just till noon tomorrow.  The film uses a pretty standard ramp up the intensity, then allow it to drop but not quite to the bottom, then up a little higher, drop but not quite to the previous low, etc. Each time getting edgier with the break less down.

4. Work out the story armature that organizes the film.

Someone has killed his entire office and will kill him. the hero had no one to depend on and can trust no one.

5. Summarize the first act set up in the film. How does the set up  invest the story with dramatic potential?

The entire office is killed, he doesn’t know who to trust, then his friend is shot by someone he thought he could trust.

All in all not a bad movie. A little slow moving in some places but a fun thriller. I suspect the hero will soon be dead and sadly I don’t much care about his fate so I suppose the movie failed in some respects.

Yesterday was Day Four of Nanowrimo and I chose to spend the day with family and friends. 0 Words written. But I am still ok because the first three days were banner awesome. 2879/2000