I just wanted to remind everyone that I’ll be sending out my newsletter tomorrow, along with the first edition of history before the prologue! Check out the Prologue and Chapter One of Betrayed in the Scriptorium for an idea of why YOU WANT this history. It is so fun to write.
Also, I will be drawing the winner for the contest tomorrow and will announce the lucky person who gets to celebrate with me in my newsletter.
See you tomorrow!
Last night, 300 came out. That’s one movie my husband is just about giddy to see. However, we didn’t plan well and ended up showing up at the theatres when they were already sold out. So we went to the bookstore.
So much for cleaning off the bookshelves. I bought my father-in-law The Art of War, myself a book on medeival warfare and barely restrained myself from several others. The ones I went there for, however, I fully splurged.
Susan Kearney’s Island Heat!
Christine Feehan’s Deadly Games!
Gena Showalter’s The Nymph King!
Alyssa Day’s Atlantis Rising!
And last but never least: Warrior Angel by Margaret and Lizz Weis!
Holy cow! The queen creator of Dragonlance and her daughter wrote a paranormal romance together! I’m not sure who wanted it more, Craig or me.
I just have to say, I dropped $50 on books. $50 that would otherwise have gone on seeing 300. Seriously.
$10 per ticket, 2 tickets, 2 drinks, popcorn and nachos. 2-3 hours of enjoyment.
5 fiction books, 2 non-fiction books and weeks of enjoyment. Then years of having those books on my shelf so I can introduce family and friends to these authors.
Methinks the movie industry thinks too much of itself.
Every few years, they’ll put out a good one with a decent plot and graphics, but for the most part, I’d rather wait for video. I don’t need to see the big name stars that bad. It might have been a big deal, theatre vs. tv, once upon a time, but most homes now have entertainment systems that rival the theatres. Big TVs with HD, surround sound and the ability to pause when it’s time to go pee. And the comfortable chairs! Popcorn and drinks and candy or food at a decent price. The ability to share with family and friends without breaking everyone’s bank.
So why the horrible prices? They aren’t off-setting their losses because of home entertainment systems and whatnot. They’re actually forcing more and more people away from going out to a theatre. Thereby getting more out of a few tickets instead of less out of many tickets, which would probably net them a higher gross.
Why are they doing this? A few (compared to the total number of actors and actresses everywhere) need multi-million dollar paychecks? Then billions of promotional dollars? It would be interesting to see a price break down of those $10 tickets.
How much am I paying for the doorman and ticket seller to have a job and support their family and how much and I paying for Mr. Big Name Star to buy ridiculously expensive car #15?
Most likely, each dollar and cent of a book and a movie can be broken down so their prices make complete sense. But speaking as a consumer, if they want to keep selling things, they need to pay more attention to the little guy. Because maybe that $10 ticket is necessary in their eyes, but as an ordinary person, I’m comparing.
$50 for 1 movie or $50 for 7 books.
My family loves entertainment, but the 1 or 2 good movies a year are losing out to the 10-20 good books a month. I mean, when my daughter has to go through difficult procedures, we bribe her. Fight through this as best you can and we will get you something to offset the pain.
You know what’s interesting? She’s never asked for a movie. It’s always been books.
What does that tell you? Seriously, what’s your take on this topic?
Today is one of those days I really enjoy. We’re getting work done on the house, which so far means a new roof and windows. Soon it will be new siding, carpets and bathroom. *happytoecurlingsqueak*
There are two shelves full of books in my living room. They are five cubicles high and each is two cubicles wide. Cubicles that are a little wider and taller than one sq. ft. I organized them this week. All the household binders on bottom in 2 cubes. The other two hold all our hard backs except the Harry Potter set. We really don’t buy many hard backs. The next row up has two cubes of biblical/religious books, 1 cube of self help/general knowledge/history books (Yes, this section could grow) and the final cube holds health-related exercise and cancer books and some of my writing books. I know there are more of those around here somewhere.
The middle row has stacks of romance books all the way across. The row above that has two cubes of romance, 1 cube of all Christine Feehan and is finished with one half-empty cube of Laurell K. Hamilton. Half-empty because I loaned them out to my daughter’s mother and best friend. Soon, I’ll get them back and it will be full. I love it. I very nearly had no room for my faves because I’d alphebetized the rest first.
But!! The best part is my cube that has left to right hearts and feathers! I don’t have all the Tor Romances, but I cleaned at least one store out of them and can’t wait to finish the rest.
Now, the top row of four cubes, I very kindly and generously left for my husband’s fantasy books. Aren’t I a sweet wife?
If he discovers the extra two stacks I added to my TBR pile, I may be a dead wife. LOL
Right now, the door is open and the chilly half winter/half spring air is blowing through the house. Our dragon incense burner is blowing Ginger Lemon Meringe candle scent with the Rasberry Thyme simmer scent through the house. Makes for a nice spice and fruit scent.
Craig is fixing the wood flooring in the hallway and classic and 80’s rock is sounding along with hammering and pounding.
It’s a lively, energetic atmosphere. My fave. Have a good day. I’m off to work.
First, really great news. I’d like to thank God for helping my daughter and our family yesterday as she had her 7th surgery in the last 39 months. I can’t fully count this year or the first year since she was diagnosed at the end of November, so I counted months. It’s been a long trip, watching her grow and change. She’s learned to accept responsibility and gather her own strength to get her through the most trying of times.
She was so calm yesterday!! I think that may be why I cried a little as she was wheeled away. She’d begun to cry for the first time all day. (Except for the rubber band incident. ) Usually we’re in calm-her-down mode and that keeps us tense and prepared to deal with tears. I don’t cry those days, working harder to keep her from crying. (Not because it denotes weakness, but because she can work herself into a panic that makes the whole day much more stressful on everyone than it really needs to be. Seriously, if you don’t have to, why go there?) Also, tears cause congestion and get the glands going and combining anesthesia–that’s just bad.
But, yesterday, she played and giggled and told us to leave her alone-she was reading. I owe a huge thank you to Michele Bardsley, author of I’m the Vampire, That’s Why. She kept her distracted and happy and laughing on an extremely stressful day. There’s really no bigger compliment to an author, I think.
THANK YOU, MICHELE!!!
We’re home now and she’s not in pain. The really good thing about brain surgery, once you’re inside the skin and skull, there are no pain receptors. Other than the air they blow in to push scar tissue and stuff away from the catheter so they can drain the cyst, she doesn’t feel pain. The air, however, gives her a horrible headache for quite a while.
Now it’s all good and we’re getting back to life as normal.
So, for the last few hours, I’ve been friending people from one My Space account to another. www.myspace.com/JamieLeighHansen will host all the news about my up and coming book and the other one will be for family. No need to make everyone cry because they can’t fly to Spokane for all the BBQs we’ll be having this summer. LOL
Thank you to everyone for being so patient and helpful.
And if you don’t have a My Space, you can still connect with me in three ways:
Newsletter: enter your email in the Monastary/Home Page and hit subscribe.
Now, I’m off to read Howling Moon. I love it. In the hospital, I finished Dangerous Games by Lora Leigh. Very distracting. LOL And HOT beyond the telling of it!!
The revisions for Betrayed are good and we’re moving forward now. The new release date will be in early 2008! Over the next few weeks I’ll be changing most of the pages here. Not the graphics, since I love them, but the content will be updated. I just wanted to share the good news as soon as I could.
And remember, I’ll be drawing a name from among the members to win my romantic celebration package and announcing the lucky winner in my first newsletter.
This one is actually going to be short. Just wanted to let you know that soon I will be unveiling www.myspace.com/JamieLeighHansen If anyone wants to join me there, come say Hi!
Have a great day tomorrow!
I am now running my very first contest! To kick off the gift-giving, I’ve pulled together a special celebration set. To win, I will draw a name from my Newsletter list and some lucky person will receive this:
Sparking Apple Cider, 2 rose-tinted wineglasses, a Cranberry Sparkle candle and a silver tray.
Enter by March 10th and I will announce the winner on March 11th!
The added benefit here will be that each entrant will receive an email newsletter from me. Starting from the first one I send out on March 11th, I will include a special story leading up to Betrayed. Now, I do tend to write a bit long. It won’t be book size, but it will be a substantial story and you won’t want to miss it.
See, I am not prolific. Sometimes I feel I am, but mostly I know I’m not. I just have really good days sometimes. But this is something I need to work on. I guess you can call it a Post New Year’s/Holiday Resolution. You know, like when the fun stuff is over and you spend a few weeks trying to get back into the swing of things and you’re body and mind are like, “I don’t think so. I still want to have fun!”
I remember March 2000, the house was a mess. I’d worked my tail off to get a book I’d written into the Golden Heart the Fall before and it didn’t final. All I had was a mess of 6s and 7s, which at least told me I was on the right track. My dh, as supportive as he’s always been, was on his way to work and said, “Honey, I don’t care if dinner isn’t on the table when I get home. Or if the house is picked up. But I’d really like some clean underwear, at least.”
All in all, that really wasn’t a huge thing to ask of a housewife. I know that now, and actually, i did know that then. But, me being me, I didn’t get up and clean the house or get the laundry going. Instead, I sat and examined WHY I found it so difficult to upkeep a house. I’d gone through years where we had one big cleaning spree and everything was perfect for a day or two. Then it would go downhill for a day or two. Then I’d gather together the energy for another cleaning spree. Then I’d clean and the house would be perfect.
It was a vicious cycle. I wanted it to end. I see the same in my writing. I stay up all night for weeks on end and all my thought and energy goes into the book and I meet whatever deadline was set. (As long as it wasn’t set by me. I ignore myself.) Then weeks or months go by where I’m blank, empty and can’t concentrate. Or it’s life’s way of making me balance family and writing time. Suddenly there’s a flurry of appointments or changes or family things to concentrate on and I can’t concentrate on the next big project.
But I need to concentrate on my ability to create and make it work faster. So I started to do what I did when the house wasn’t clean. Beyond analyzing why, I began to go to different writer’s sites, looking for articles on increasing productivity. I ran across one just the other day, but after 3 sites, I didn’t find it and I realized. Here I am again.
In 2000, I researched housecleaning, trying to find a good way to establish an upkeep habit. I joined listserv after listserv, read all kinds of articles and advice things. I spent a good 8 hours on research.
When Craig came home, nothing was done. I smiled at him, all proud of myself for trying to fix the root of the problem, and told him about my research on housecleaning. He said, “Great. More email.”
Okay, now I can laugh at myself for my naivete. How was my poor husband to know what an absolute brain flash I’d had? Seriously. The best idea ever.
I’ll tell you how. Because I am *me*. I mean, come on. You’d think the man would learn to listen to me sometime.
Through my hours of research and joining lists, including lists with cleaning buddies who would get in contact and each go clean their house at the same time so no one would ever feel alone, I found the ultimate resource. It started as a Yahoo group, but now has a website. www.flylady.net
Lots of people commented how they couldn’t stand to have someone else tell them what to do. All I could think was that it sure beat having my mother in law do it. I love the lady, seriously. She’s the best example of a nurturing wife and mother I’ve ever met, but from her it was criticism. From something I chose to join, it was advice. Big difference.
Within two weeks of following her routines, the house was the best it had ever been and I actually had energy to do other stuff. It still, even on it’s worst days, hasn’t gone back to what it was.
Now, in 2002, I joined Survivor Writers. I was able to finish a book in 5 months by doing 15-21 pages a week. That was the closest to a writing schedule I’ve ever managed. l try to go back to it, but the beauty of SW was that it was all new stuff and that doesn’t help when you’re trying to revise. Or revise to finish, because now that I’ve done so much work on Betrayed, I can’t finish Cinderella’s Shoe until I get back into the book.
So, my plan tonight was to get back into CS. Revise up to where I took a wrong turn so I could fix it and finish the last 8,000 words of the book. Of course, that’s been the plan for all of January. Then I get busy doing all the smaller things I can find, in this case the need to increase my productivity. So what did I do? I began to research being prolific. Of course. Duh.
But then I remember how my husband came home and the house was a mess. And I equate that with going to bed without having anymore of CS done.
Sound like a deal?
Now, back to CS.
In the last few years, my reading time has gone down. I watch movies, spend time with the family and cross stitch or crochet. Part of this has to do with the complaints of family since I was 10 or so. I was always reading and not spending time with them or being interested in what they had to say. As a teenager, if I was in trouble, I was grounded from books. Or worse, books I hadn’t already read. Because I remember stories so much and there are so many new ones to read, I didn’t like spending time re-reading. There were even times, as an adult, that my mother in law hid my books when I came to her house so I’d be forced to converse. So that’s one part of my reasoning for not reading so much now.
The other part is because as a writer, I am more critical and I do need to balance reading and writing time or I’ll forever be reading the stories of others and not finishing my own. So that part is a careful choice.
But there are nights like tonight where I absolutely had to have a book with me. Spending hours in a hospital without a book or cross-stitch is nothing short of HELL. I was stupid. I didn’t feel good and wanted to go to bed and wasn’t paying enough attention as I transferred to my wheelchair. I fell and sprained my ankle bad enough to need to make sure it wasn’t broken. Hence, the hospital. Now I’m on enough drugs that my typing sucks and that’s only counting the mistakes I find. Please be kind and forgive the ones I miss.
So, book. I had one with me. The cover is gorgeous. The writing is beautiful and evocative. The story was clear and aching and made sense in too many horrible ways. Only because it was skillfully and beautifully written will I mention the author and title: Windwalker by Natasha Mostert.
Of the many books I have ever read, it is now the second one I hate. There have been stories I don’t care for, about three I’ve never finished (Usually I force my way through them so the story doesn’t stay an unanswered question in my mind.) and authors I love as people but know I can’t read their books without feeling tortured.
But Windwalker is now in a different category with only one other book, Three Wishes by Barbara Delinsky. The stories are heartfelt and emotional. The characters finely and deeply drawn, but, at the end, a main protagonist dies. In Windwalker, the hero. In Three Wishes, the heroine.
I know there are so many people who don’t understand why a romance needs a Happily Ever After (HEA) And there are many authors who find that ending binding and constricting. They want to grow as writers and try new things. They want to branch out and stretch their wings and write new stories.
Good for them. I wish them the best of luck. However, as a reader, I feel betrayed. (And no, that’s not any kind of plug for my book) Betrayed when I expect one thing, in this case safety, and get a hammer upside the head instead.
I trust romances. I’ve been reading them since I was 13. The HEA is hugely important to me. If I need a dose of the reality of things ending badly, I’ll pick up a different book or go to the movies. In one week, I read Three Wishes and watched Armageddon. I cried for days between the both of them. I was stressed and working around the clock to fail in a class I am so not suited for: Anatomy and Physiology. And there I was, trying to take a break and I read a romance and the heroine dies. Then I watch Bruce Willis’ character die in a totally heroic way.
That was 8 years ago and I still feel betrayed over it. See, in movies, I can handle it. They’re two hours long. The Notebook. Braveheart. But in books, where I spend hours to days with them, I read what I need. If I’m feeling secure and want to branch out, I’ll read another genre. But there are times when I need to feel a bit safe and read something that will work out in the end. Be positive. I like knowing that if a few right decisions are made, or with a little luck, then good things will happen. Once the ending is assured, then it’s all about the journey and all the angst and pain you stuff in between the beginning and end is okay. I can suffer for the middle.
Or, even if I go into the book knowing that things are up in the air and it may go outside my comfort zone, I’m prepared and can brace myself. With fantasy, my husband got me to read RA Salvatore. When the funny talking sweed druid dwarf, Pikel, lost his arm and said, “ooh”, I cried. But it was a fantasy and I knew anything could happen. It was unexpected, but I wasn’t completely unprepared for it.
With life, I SOOOO know that anything can happen. I’m in a frigging wheel chair. My daughter has a brain tumor that is cancerous. (some aren’t) I am fully, completely, totally aware that life doesn’t always, or even all that often, have a happy ending. There is loss and tragedy and depression and angst. I am aware of this. More than most, I think I can safely say.
I will never read Lurlene McDaniels. My daughter loves her. I’m sure she writes wonderfully. But I know her characters die, from cancers, tumors, car accidents…the list goes on. She writes about tragedy and after reading one of her books I would likely go to bed and cry myself to sleep for several months. I couldn’t handle it.
Some people don’t understand the love of a story that is guaranteed a happy ending. I don’t understand the love of a tragedy that is guaranteed a horrible one. I do understand the love of a mystery that is always solved, the crime that always reaches justice, the fantasy where the hordes of orcs are repelled or the world is saved. I love Rocky, where the ultimate underdog always wins the impossible fight. So, I love a romance where love can conquor, unite, heal anything. Why is that so difficult to understand?
So when I pick up a story that is marketed as a romance, I have expectations. I believe the hero and heroine will go on to create a relationship. That there is a tomorrow for them. Tomorrow they may struggle more or fail in the end somewhere down the road, but the part that concerns me is that they will have struggled to reach a point together where love is the ultimate gift and the future is full of possibility.
There are a few trends in romance that I find disturbing. I’ve always loved what it is and don’t embrace every single change. I do love how it’s growing and allowing new twists. But there are a few things I feel are inviolate. The HEA is a primary one. If I want a tragedy, I’ll watch a movie or read a mainstream novel, or hell, go visit some of the sick kids I know before they are gone forever.
When I read a romance, I want to be left with a positive feeling where the future is full of possibilities. Tonight I threw my second book ever. And it wasn’t because it was badly written. I have nothing against the author. But I do want to speak out against the bait and switch. I don’t want to be betrayed.
I’m not an excessively superstitious person. I don’t walk under ladders because they’d likely fall on me. I love black cats and have two. They have a lot of white on them, but they were free, so hey. That works. But, in 2002, right before the end of the year, I read a comment that stuck with me. At first, it wasn’t a prediction or a superstition. It just seemed like good sense. A good way to set your mind for the new year, kind of like making New Year’s resolutions.
The comment was: How you spend the first day of the year is a sign of how the year will go.
It’s not a superstition yet, but it’s becoming something it would be ridiculous to ignore. You see, coming up to New Year’s Eve 2002, our brother was in the Coast Guard in Seattle. He’d been in Spokane with family for the holidays. On his way home, he realized he’d forgotten his cover. You know, the military hat, and he needed to report for duty with it. So, being a loyal brother and sis in law, Craig and I drove overnight from Spokane to Seattle to bring it to him. I thought it began 2003 with a road trip. Excessively awesome.
Instead, my husband missed work and we were in a state of emergency. So, Craig got sick, missed about 7 months of work and had surgery in July, resulting in a week in the hospital. A month later, he returned to work. As he was gone, I fell and broke my leg. I went from a walker to a wheelchair and spent a week in the hospital as we tried to figure out how I’d be able to function for 3 months with no balance due to FA and being unable to put any weight on my right leg. A few weeks later, as I was teaching my daughter how to crochet a chain stitch, her left arm began shaking. Within 3 months, we got an MRI with sedation, our daughter was diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumor and we spent a month in the hospital.
2003 in a state of emergency and months of missed work.
We rang in 2004 at the hospital with our nine year old in her new pink, silky pajamas looking out the window at the best view of the Spokane fireworks ever. From her arm trailed the tubes full of her first chemo treatment. Every Friday, all day long, and for several entire weeks, that was our 2004.
For 2005, the phrase rang in my head over and over. How you spend the first day of the year is a sign of how the year will go. We stayed home. We watched TV and we hibernated and I wrote. That year, I finished a second full version of Betrayed. Everything else is revisions. And I signed with the most amazing agent ever. We finished chemo and revised Betrayed and the year turned out very productive and fulfilling.
For 2006, I had to get ready for jury duty beginning Jan. 3. I spent one day in court, waiting, and a week making all the necessary phone calls to check in. The legal aspect of this last year, coupled with endless, relentless drama, did nothing short of suck. The rest was a pretty good year.
Now we are on the eve of 2007. 7 is my favorite number ever. I have a lot of high hopes for the year. We plan to spend the first day with friends. Tonight may be with family, or it may be resting at home. You can never quite guess what that will mean for the rest of the year. All I know is this:
Protect the first few days of the year with all you’ve got. No sickness, no emergency, no hospitals, no missed work. Whether it’s mentally motivating or a curse of some sort, I’m finding it a piece of advice that’s foolish to ignore.
How you spend the first day, or few days, of the year is a sign of how the year will go.
I hope you all have the greatest day possible with hours full of the things you most need in life.