Aug
7
2011
The Sanction Chronicles

Sanction is a town where all peoples paranormal live and thrive. We have vampires, werewolves, witches, humans, ghosts, trolls, hellhounds and more! This YA project will be accessible digitally with print coming soon, beginning in September. In the meantime, come meet some of the teens that live their lives in this crazy place here:

www.The SanctionChronicles.com

Though not nearly finished with my passion for writing a good romance, this project will mark my first foray as a YA author, starting with the round robin story written to introduce everyone to the people that live here. Please, come by and vote for the direction of the next installment of our story!

Jul
2
2011
La Femme Nikita – the one with Peta Wilson

It’s interesting sometimes, when you remember something from years ago and love it so much you risk watching it again and then your entire perception of the show changes. I mean, I have seen Buffy from episode one through season 7, and even a few issues into the comic season 8, over and over without my first fascination changing. I still feel Buffy and Angel belong together, even though I agree she needed the experiences of Parker, Riley and Spike in order to grow. And while I think her and Spike can have an enduring closeness, they weren’t completely tied to each other the way she and Angel were…but I digress.

My husband absolutely loved the old movie Excalibur. Considered it one of the best of all time. Until he bought it to share his love with the kids and found he’d really outgrown it. I don’t remember all the issues he had with it, I just remembered he was really disappointed.

A few months ago, Craig and I started re-watching La Femme Nikita. I had originally planned to enjoy this kick-ass heroine show with my girls. They hate whiners. They hate wimps. Occasionally, they have tuned in. Out of a smidgen of interest and a great deal of pity, Craig took over watching it with me. The issue? Michael is an ass-hat. Or was in seasons 1 & 2.

Well, the show wasn’t nearly as spoiled for me as Excalibur was for Craig. But I observed things I didn’t catch before. My friends and I had loved watching it the first time around, and while this was before I learned about internet discussion boards, we would call each other up, tape shows, plan to watch them together, all that. We were convinced Michael and Nikita were the loves of all time.

Fast forward a dozen years, and I wonder. This time I saw all the ways Michael played her without the “oh, but he’s so hot and he’s just forced to” justifications. My daughter didn’t buy them for an episode, let alone over and over for a season. Good girl. Then I saw, knowing the end, how Nikita changed after season 1, becoming more distant and cold. I hadn’t remembered some of those moments, but this time it made me genuinely wonder about her statement at the end of season 4: “I don’t love you. I never did.”

The first time, it shocked the hell out of me and I was mad at the studio and mad at the writers. Well, I was mad anyway. Birkoff’s death was pointless. That position hasn’t changed. But this time, though I had forgotten that line, I’d remembered Nikita was a counter-spy. This time when she delivered the final line, it wasn’t met with total disbelief.

We are now wrapping up the final two disks. I don’t know what to believe. But I read a statement about how season 4 was planned in advance that way and season 5 was only brought back based on watcher demand.

The lesson I learned is a mixed one. Do not play with watcher demand. Don’t break their hearts. But at the same time, if the clues are laid from the beginning, who’s fault is it? The viewer or the writer? And how much is assumed by the people watching, when they attribute emotions and motivations to a stoic face?

But mainly, it was sad to see Walter and Birkoff’s care of Nikita and Michael  wasn’t as reciprocated as I’d remembered. And his death was still a pointless, stupid mistake. Emotional, yes, and I liked Jason, but I would have rather seen twin drama than pointless drama.

Have you ever re-watched an old favorite and have your perspective change? For the better or the worst?

 

May
13
2011
Piracy vs. Censorship

I realize there are some things I should not look at because it is guaranteed to piss me off. But there are times I can’t seem to help myself.

http://tinyurl.com/4465766

This is for the benefit of all the lazy, internet morons who believe everything should be theirs for free, even when it belongs to someone else. Thank you to www.dictionary.com and www.thesaurus.com.

pi·ra·cy: [pahy-ruh-see]
–noun, plural -cies.
1. practice of a pirate;  robbery or illegal violence at sea.
2. the unauthorized reproduction or use of a copyrighted book,recording, television program, patented invention, trademarked product, etc.: The record industry is beset with piracy.

cen·sor·ship: [sen-ser-ship]
–noun
1. the act or practice of censoring.

cen·sor: [sen-ser]
–noun
1. an official who examines books, plays, news, reports, motion pictures, radio and television programs, letters, cablegrams,etc., for the purpose of suppressing parts deemed objectionable on moral, political, military, or other grounds.
2. any person who supervises the manners or morality of others.
3. an adverse critic; faultfinder.

Censor
Part of Speech: verb
Definition: forbid; ban; selectively remove
Synonyms: abridge, black out, blacklist, bleach, bleep, blue-pencil, bowdlerize, clean up, conceal, control, cork, criticize, cut, decontaminate, delete, drop the iron curtain, edit, examine, excise, expurgate, exscind, inspect, launder, narrow, oversee, prevent publication, purge, purify, put the lid on, refuse transmission, repress, restrain, restrict, review, revile, sanitize, scissor out, squelch, sterilize, strike out, supervise communications, suppress, withhold

Notes: to censor is to disallow portions or the entireties of books, plays, etc. on the grounds that they transgress propriety, ‘to scrutinize, revise, or cut,’ expurgate or suppress; to censure is to criticize vehemently or harshly, or condemn

Piracy
Part of Speech: noun
Definition: robbery
Synonyms: bootlegging, buccaneering, commandeering, copying, freebooting, hijacking, infringement, marauding, pirating, plagiarism, rapine, stealing, swashbuckling, theft

So, people:

To Censor something is to take it away based on MORAL/IDEALOGICAL grounds.

To eliminate a pirate site is to take it away based on LEGAL grounds.

You steal, you get caught, you get prosecuted. That’s how the law works. Crying censorship is not going to save thieves.

 

Apr
11
2011
127 Hours

Yesterday the family watched the movie, 127 Hours. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/127_Hours The movie is based on mountain climber, Aron Ralston’s autobiography, which I have not read. I didn’t really want to see the movie because I knew it would make me sad and sick, watching with that knot I get in the pit of my stomach. Kinda like Buried with Ryan Reynolds.

I was happily surprised. This wasn’t a movie about someone freaking out or dealing with their situation emotionally. And, honestly, I think that kind of understatement made the movie even more intense.

Even better, Aron is someone I can truly admire. He doesn’t give up, he doesn’t freak out and he doesn’t sit there acting helpless, like half the people in the Titanic movies. Or like Ryan in Buried. (Though I do understand that was his character.)

No, Aron falls and gets his arm trapped. He struggles to get free and when he doesn’t, he takes stock of his situation and supplies. He uses his head, step by step. He takes all those survival lessons he knew from his active lifestyle and he systematically applied them. Patiently, calmly, even though you know impatience, horror and stress are fighting wildly inside him, desperate to be released.

Iron control. Refusal to quit. Intelligent and capable. Yep. I admire him.

 

Apr
1
2011
April Fool’s!

I think there is one story that will forever be our favorite April Fool’s Day Story. Our daughter was diagnosed with a brain tumor the day after Thanksgiving. She was eight. She was immediately admitted to the hospital and not released until her 9th birthday, Christmas Eve. She went back in on New Year’s Eve, had a port for chemo installed over her heart and underwent her first chemo treatment as she watched fireworks from her perfectly placed hospital room. Fast forward a year and a half…

4-1-05 was the last day of chemo. She’d completely planned to go in and pull a joke with the nurses, pretending the access really hurt despite all the numbing cream they put on. Well, that backfired. It really, truly hurt. April Fool’s!

Well, after having our holidays hijacked for a year and a half, we have finally approached a normal life. It’s that bright light in front of us, right? LOL

Yeah, she’s not doing that again

Happy 6th Anniversary, my lovely little girl!

Jamie – finally done being sick and dropping everything until I felt better :)

Mar
11
2011
Ride Ataxia Fundraiser

watch?v=AVdnBsfddRA

Ride Ataxia Fundraiser Page

Here are two wonderful links to information about Ride Ataxia. A fundraiser supporting FA research. These participants are riding three-wheeled trikes for thousands of miles. It’s so amazing. I want to do this one day. So far, I have never used a trike, but it looks like loads of fun. :)

Mar
4
2011
Roswell, Netflix and Craft

My daughters and I just discovered Netflix and their extensive lists of TV shows. Yay! :) Movies are one of the best ways to understand the process of telling a story. You can see the beginning, middle and ending all in about two hours. And in there you watch the development of character, setting and plot.

Expanding on this is the joy of watching TV seasons, one episode after another. It used to be that watching a show once a week was entertaining for that week and the characters hardly changed and there wasn’t an over all season arc. But viewers and writers have become much more savvy.

Now we watch the episodes with barely a pause in between and it becomes one 22-hour movie with a potty break every forty-five minutes or so. Even better is watching a show that has wrapped up the series.

I watched Roswell when it first came on and somewhere in there I missed episodes. Didn’t want to, but that used to happen. Then I saw the end. Three short seasons and it was over. I remember feeling really disappointed because the first season had so much promise and I felt it jumped the shark and ruined the show.

Well, I wanted to see it all again, in a row with no missed episodes. I knew the girls would love it within a scene or two and, yep, I was right. :) There were actual whoops and cheers for Michael and Maria’s first kiss. If the pause button hadn’t been accidentally hit, Max and Liz’s would have been the same. And now I realize they broke one of the “rules” of writing. Three main character’s names began with the same letter: M. Yet, I never realized it.

I am pretty sure I’ll still be disappointed by the end of the series, wishing they could have stuck around long enough to fix the problems and develop the story better, but we are now toward the last 3rd of season 1. These episodes renew my faith in all the many things they did right.

Sexual tension, the move closer/withdraw, the mystery, the slow acquisition of a “scoobie gang”, the humor and the pairing. I love how Colin Hanks played this somewhat geeky nice guy who could stand up for himself and his friends. He has had some really nice moments.

And Katherine Heigl is beautiful and talented. You see it in her eyes and minute facial expressions. I loved Katherine in The Ugly Truth and look forward to seeing her this summer in One For The Money, in which she plays Stephanie Plum herself. I believe the screen casting was pretty good. She doesn’t scream “Italian” to me, but good natured comedienne in a tough business like bail bonding where she has no experience, yeah. I can see it.

I still love Jason Behr and Brendan Fehr. I’ve seen them here and there in different shows. I’d like to see them more often. The girl’s love Brendan Fehr’s depiction of a wounded-soul, tough alpha male with just enough tenderness to keep him loveable. :)

Seeing the arcs played out in 22 vs. 2 hours is a great way to watch more development in smaller, less showy ways. I hate when shows and movies may as well have a big neon arrow saying ‘Character Development Here”.

So, a great big thank you to modern technology and Netflix for making this possible. :)

Feb
28
2011
The Publishing Pie

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-6iMBf6Ddjk

This is a fascinating talk given by Margaret Atwood at Tools Of Change (TOC) 2011. What a beautiful, gracious lady. I love her slideshow pictures. :)

She brings up a lot of valid points about publishing. Now, in my opinion, as an author, there are many aspects of putting a book out that interest me, and there are many that horrify me. Making my own covers could be fun. Formatting and putting a product together could also be fun. And of course, writing a book. But there are aspects I wouldn’t have time, money and energy to do. Printing the book, I could do, but is there any concept of how many *hours* it can take to print just one copy, let alone hundreds to thousands? Then there’s the cost of ink, something that brings tears to my eyes anyway.

All that’s before you even look at electronic books. Yes, Smashwords makes it easy. But then there is the dilemma of getting the word out, making banners and buttons and trailers, getting royalty free images and music, researching where best to advertise. And hoping, somewhere among all the blogs and fan fiction and emails, that your book gets notice.

So, do I want to do all this work in addition to writing? Not really. I want to write my stories. I’m slow enough at that.

But, do I think authors, the people who put out the product that fuels an industry (Cover designers, editors, printers, advertising and promo departments, agents and lawyers, reviewers, libraries, colleges ((I’m using Margaret Atwood’s examples also)) and even more than I can name.) , do I think authors should get the smallest piece of the publishing pie? No. No, I don’t.

It can take an editor weeks of effort to edit and revise a manuscript. It takes a printer a couple of days to a week to format, print and package. Cover designs, anymore, are a bunch of graphic images collaged together. It takes hours to a day to fiddle and get it just right. Perhaps a bit more if you want to do something special. But a writer?

Yes, that differs. Some writers can knock out a book in 3-6 months. They can become faster as they get older and more experienced, much of their research is done if it’s the same world or point in history and they’ve learned well how to put interesting characters and a good plot together.

Some writers, even successful, experienced ones such as Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Patricia Briggs or Eileen Wilks have been vocal that they need more time to write the best book they can. Not lazy time waiting for the muse to strike. Not because they want to play games and ignore responsibility. No, they want more time because thoughts take time to gel, to form a more well-rounded, tightly written story.

The kind of story people are willing to pay money for.

How often are there complaints that even a favorite author has let you down? They didn’t deepen or develop a story as well as you’ve been waiting through five books for? With a little more time, it might have been what you were expecting. At the very least, it would have been better.

One year, more than that even for many authors. But 92% of a 7.99 book goes to the rest of the industry.

Out of 8% royalties, after they have earned out their advance, authors must afford or they do not get:

  • An agent (Going rate is 15% of that 8% and 15% of the advance.)
  • Health Insurance
  • Paid Vacation time
  • Paid Sick leave
  • Maternity leave
  • 401k, savings, investments
  • Day Care
  • Training (Books, classes, workshops, etc.)
  • Mileage
  • Contest prizes and give-a-ways
  • Conferences (RWA  National, RT Convention, RomCon)
  • Advertisements (websites, postcards, bookmarks, magnets, magazine ads, etc.)
  • Office space and supplies (paper, ink, dividers, binders, post its, poster boards, binder clips, pens, pencils, markers, envelopes of all sizes, hole punch, labels, etc)
  • Publicity photos (And the clothes for them.)
  • Book launches/signings (posters, cake, flowers, thank you gifts to the establishment holding the event.)
  • Technology (Desktop, Laptop, (I’ve gone through 5 each in 13 years.) Online Storage, flash drives, external hard drives, software (that must be compatible, updated and bought anew on a continual basis), CDs, DVDs, eReaders, smart cell phones with benefits, etc.)

You can work at Verizon and McDonalds and get several of these benefits. But authors fuel an entire industry and die because their royalties aren’t consistent or lucrative enough to pay for a trip to the doctor to diagnose the breast cancer they know they have.

Yes, I’m thinking of someone specific.

The pie is getting cut in some very odd shapes. I’ve read reports of what publishers have to pay for and how little money they really make, bottom line. I can’t say exactly where or how much to cut one slice so another is slightly bigger. Perhaps there are too many slices? I just know we can’t cut out the author completely. So we need to support the author better.

Feb
24
2011
Fated by Rebecca Zanetti

On Feb. 22nd, friend and chapter mate, Rebecca Zanetti, launched her intriguing debut vampire romance, Fated!

View the trailer on You Tube!

This classy function was at Gourmet Way off of Government Way in Hayden, Idaho. Surrounded by flowers, chocolate and every kitchen tool you can imagine, (Not to mention the wine tasting in back…) Rebecca signed a very long line of books. Definitely a successful launch. :)

As for me and my spanking new copy of this Kensington Brava release, I cannot wait to read it! :)

Here’s what it’s about:

MARRY ME

Cara Paulsen does not give up easily.  A scientist and a single mother, she’s used to doing whatever it takes to protect her daughter.  But “Whatever it takes” has never beforeincluded a shotgun wedding to a dangerous stranger with an attitude problem…

OR ELSE

Sure, the mysterious Talen says that he’s there to protect Cara and her daughter.  He also says that he’s a three-hundred-year-old vampire.  Of course, the way he touches her, Cara might actually believe he’s had that long to practice…

 

 

Feb
21
2011
Friedreich’s Ataxia

Because so much work is being done behind the scenes and it occupies so much of my time, I will likely be blogging often on this subject. So, for anyone interested, and for myself as a bookmark for info, here is a list of links to more information about FA and the Literary Collaboration. Enjoy! :)

# 1 – ENG: INTERNATIONAL LITERARY PROJECT AGAINST FRIEDREICH’S ATAXIA – INVITATION TO WRITERS, ASSOCIATIONS AND FA PATIENTS

See: http://www.babelfamily.org/en/latestataxianews/808-international-literary-project-against-friedreichs-ataxia-invitation-to-writers-associations-and-fa-patients

# 2 – ENG: Video – Dr. Lufino’s talk for BabelFAmily about gene therapy for Friedreich’s ataxia

Transcription by Kristin Kamm and Claudia Guiraldes / Subtitles by Hasan Çiçek

Click CC on the player to select the subtitle in your language

See: http://www.babelfamily.org/en/latestataxianews/809-video-dr-lufinos-talk-for-babelfamily-about-gene-therapy-for-friedreichs-ataxia

# 3 – ENG: Reviews – The Dandelion Diary: the tricky art of walking, by Marguerite Black

See: http://www.babelfamily.org/en/latestataxianews/805-the-dandelion-diary-the-tricky-art-of-walking-by-marguerite-black

# 4 – ENG: Patent application publication – Methods and compositions for mitochondrial replacement therapy

See: http://www.babelfamily.org/en/latestataxianews/807-patent-application-publication-methods-and-compositions-for-mitochondrial-replacement-therapy

# 5 – ENG: A Cocktail of antioxidants as a new therapy against a neurodegenerative disease

See: http://www.babelfamily.org/en/latestataxianews/810-a-cocktail-of-antioxidants-as-a-new-therapy-against-a-neurodegenerative-disease

# 6 – ENG: Open-access article – Mammalian Frataxin: An Essential Function for Cellular Viability through an Interaction with a Preformed ISCU/NFS1/ISD11 Iron-Sulfur Assembly Complex

See: http://www.babelfamily.org/en/latestataxianews/806-open-access-article-mammalian-frataxin-an-essential-function-for-cellular-viability-through-an-interaction-with-a-preformed-iscunfs1isd11-iron-sulfur-assembly-complex