Saturday, March 29, 2008

The View From Venus

I'm blogging today at Writers At Play about what it's like to be a Double RITA finalist! This fun little group of writers is very special to me, because we've seen each other through some tough times over the last four years. Knowing that I've had friends like this beside me on my writing journey is very special, and I hope you'll stop by and say hello!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

A Double RITA Finalist..Ka-Thunk!


I got two phone calls this morning - the first was enough to make me laugh, cry and shake like a leaf; Ruth Kaufman, a lovely woman from the board of Romance Writers of America, called to inform me that DEAD GIRLS ARE EASY was a finalist in the Best First Book category of the RITA awards! I was so overwhelmed that I started crying, and Ruth cried with me! I babbled and tried to take notes about what happens next, and then I got off the phone and called my husband, my agent and my editor (still babbling, I'm sure!)

And then the phone rang again. Another lovely woman from RWA informed me that DEAD GIRLS ARE EASY was also a finalist in the Paranormal category!! I was so stunned to get two calls that I became worried they'd made a mistake!

Me: You mean I finaled twice?
Her: Did someone else call you?
Me: Yes, Ruth Kaufman.
Her: Best Book Category! Congratulations!
Me: So I finaled twice? (like, duh?) Are you sure?
Her: Yes, it seems so! Congratulations again!

Omigosh. It means I've got two shots to take home the gold (statue). Isn't she pretty? (oo... shiny....)

For those of you who aren't familiar with the RITA (do you live under a rock or something?) here's the official description:

Romance Writers of America proudly sponsors the romance-publishing industry's highest award of distinction — the RITA Award. RITA awards are presented annually to the best published romance novels of the year. The award itself is a golden statuette named after RWA's first president, Rita Clay Estrada, and has become the symbol for the best in published romance fiction.
Every year at the annual RWA conference (it's in San Francisco this year), there's a huge formal award ceremony (similar to the Oscars) where the winners are announced. I can't believe I'm going to see my name and title up on those big screens (twice!). What if I *gulp* win??

Oh, wow - you know what this means, don't you? The hunt for the perfect dress (and shoes) is begun!!!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Happy Easter Weekend!

Yesterday was Good Friday and tomorrow is Easter Sunday. I have great memories of Easter; coloring eggs as a kid, searching the house to find an Easter basket full of candy (and usually a stuffed bunny) that my mom claimed the Easter Bunny left for me. I'd end up with a bunny of some kind every year, long after I outgrew the eggs and baskets, including a real one, once. I have memories of coloring eggs with my own kids, of my youngest son getting baptized on Easter Sunday when he was twelve, of egg hunts in the yard, hiding the eggs over and over and over again for the kids to find.

I also have another memory of Easter, which involves a nasty incident over a pot of hardboiled eggs, which led me to the decision to end my first marriage, many years ago. My two young sons deserved to have great memories of Easter, too, and I remember being in a drugstore at 11 o'clock on a Saturday night, putting together Easter baskets for my boys to replace the ones I'd left behind, determined that they'd have their magical Easter morning in spite of our family's emotional turmoil. And they did, too. :-)

Memories of Easter - some good and some bad. What about you? Was it a religious day for your family or was it all about the eggs and chocolate bunnies? ;-) Does anyone still make the traditional Easter ham? Do you have any special memories of Easter?

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Love The Scene, But Love The Book More

Most writers are familiar with the phrase, "Kill your darlings". I just killed one of mine, and there's blood all over my computer screen.

Ha! Made you cringe, didn't it? LOL

Before anybody calls the police, I'm talking about "literary darlings", which in this instance, was an entire scene that I'd worked on for days. I LOVED this scene - it had some affectionate reminiscing on my main character's part, introduced a new character and added some local flavor, and the dialogue was fantastic, if I do say so myself. :-) But last night, I decided to do a total read-thru of the novel so far, and you know what? The scene didn't work. It was a beautiful in a stand-alone kind of way, but it did absolutely nothing to move the story forward. The new character was unnecessary, and so was the reminiscing. In fact, the scene slowed the pacing of the overall novel, which led me to break out the figurative red pen and KILL IT.

You could say that today's blog post was a memorium of sorts. "Alas, poor scene, I loved you well." (yes, I know it's a misquote, but it's how I feel... *sob*)

The inability to kill your darlings has killed many a writer's career, in my humble opinion. We get so attached to the words we put on paper that we'll do anything to keep them; a tweak here, a move there, use this bit of dialogue somewhere else... when really, a clean break would be best for all concerned. We justify keeping it, thinking of all the time and effort that went into creating it in the first place, and not wanting to waste our prose or our time. But a good book is worth the time, and perfect prose may not always be perfect in the bigger sense - the BOOK is what's important, not the scene.

It's a tough lesson to learn, but liberating in its own way.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Happy Birthday, Mom

My mother would've been 83 today. We lost her almost 10 years ago to ALS, and I still miss her. She was funny and sweet and kind, and looked far younger than her years despite having 7 children (ACK, can you imagine?) Her name was Louise, and she loved collecting beautiful things like delicate old china and vintage jewelry.

My mom and I were always pretty close, maybe since I was the last one at home with her for a few years. (I was the baby of the family, the unplanned footnote, I'm sure.) :-) We didn't have a lot growing up, but she always managed to make sure we had nice holidays even if she had to skim grocery money all year to make sure we had enough presents. Christmas was magical, and Easter was new dresses, ribbons in our hair, and a picture in the yard with our Easter basket. Thanksgiving was a big dinner eaten on special china with her elderly Uncle Vic, who was the closest our family came to a grandfather.

She wasn't perfect, my mom, but who is? To me, she was a great mom, and I wish I could tell her Happy Birthday again. But instead I'll take flowers to her grave, and I'll remember.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Why Do Women Torture Themselves?

I find myself pondering something today, and maybe you've pondered it, too: Why do we, as women, torture ourselves over the way we look - and why do we give so much more credence to the negative instead of the positive?

My husband (a/k/a Captain America) tells me every single day that I'm beautiful. He's always complimenting me, very sincerely, about the clothes I wear, my hair, my figure, the fact that I wear lipstick even if the rest of my face is without makeup, the color of my nail polish. (Yes, Captain America is a very smart man, which is why he left for work this morning with a great big smile on his face!) :-) Other people tell me I'm attractive. I can look in the mirror myself and see I'm not hideous, but one little negative remark in passing from a friend, and I feel like the fattest, ugliest person alive. WHY IS THAT?

My friend, who is male, is going through a divorce. I've known this man for twenty-five years, and in many ways he's more like a brother than a friend, which is perhaps why he felt comfortable saying what he said. We were talking about his future, who he might meet, who he might like to be with, who I could introduce him to - when he said this:

"No offense, Terri, but I've never been attracted to the size 10s of the world."

NO OFFENSE? No offense? The logical conclusion here is that I'm a size 10 (which I am), and that's just too fat (which it isn't), and he doesn't want to offend me my pointing it out, but he will anyway.

I won't repeat my response, because it involved me using foul language.

He didn't even try to backtrack. In his opinion, he was simply stating a fact, but in my opinion, I'd just been dissed (along with any other woman who happens to be bigger than an eight). Luckily for him, because he's my friend, and because he's going through a rough time, I will forgive him his idiot insensitive remark. This time.

This one and only time. :-)

But it really got me thinking. I'm very aggravated at myself for letting one little negative comment about my size negate all the wonderful comments I hear every day, even for a moment. Anybody else ever do that?

Monday, March 03, 2008

A Cool Optical Illusion Widget - Try It!