Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Laissez le Bon Temps Roulez

Happy Mardi Gras day Mes Amis!

Even though I've decided that I won't be sad that once again, I'm somewhere besides Mobile or New Orleans on this day, I have decided that a celebration is in order no matter where we're located, n'est-ce pas?  I'm thawing out the ham hock so I can get the red beans and rice going along with the creole chicken for later.  In the meantime, here's a little taste of Tipitina's own Neville Brothers to tide you over:

So, dance like you're in a parade, maybe throw some candy, moon pies or beads to your loved ones and enjoy the blowout party before Lent sets in.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Are You Watching The Olympics???

YES?? THEN TURN OFF THE TELEVISION AND GET BACK TO YOUR MANUSCRIPT!!! Dear friends, please scream those words at me once ever so often if you please.  I made great strides in my revisions the other day when I turned off the television, turned on some nice music (not too loud so no M.I.A. or Lupe Fiasco, thanks) and then just concentrated on getting the words rearranged properly or out of my head and onto the page.

I've had some medical troubles recently but now that I'm on the road to recovery, I hope that I'll get much more writing done.  Especially if I have all of you cheering and swearing lovingly at me from the sidelines.

So, carry on and I hope you're all well.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Happy Holidays to everyone! In keeping with the spirit of giving and sharing, I'm posting a short mashup of my version of Dickens' A Christmas Carol starring Jane Austen's Lady Catherine DeBurgh. I wrote this more than a few years ago (so forgive all the mistakes) for an Austen fandom fundraiser.   Enjoy!


Wednesday, September 11, 2013


Today is the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.  I remember listening to Brian Williams break into the AM news radio broadcast on my drive to work with an update that "something" had happened in New York.  By the time I made it into the offices, everyone was gathered around a television, watching. Then the second plane hit and nothing's been the same ever since. That day marked the second time I'd ever seen my firefighter husband cry, the first being when my eldest son was born.

We've all experienced sad and traumatic events and it's hard to not let the emotions attached overwhelm the rest of our existence. How can you go on when you think you might never smile again, that the world is a sad place populated with evil, uncaring and unfair people or things? Personally I try to utilize the forget but try to forgive adage but I think the best mechanism uses balance to keep us from total meltdown.

My mother died on Easter morning so no matter when Easter falls, and because the date is a moving target, I get a double whammy of sad--both on the actual date of her death and then on Easter morning. I remember the phone call, the searing pain of hearing the news and the angst of having to gather myself so I could make plane reservations and also arrangements for her.  After the funeral, I returned home and decided that Easter wasn't for me anymore.  Nope. Maybe I'd just sit in the bathtub with a bottle of wine all day and cry once that horrible anniversary rolled around.

But then, my son was born and aside from the religious implications of the day, I thought why should he miss out on Easter egg hunts, chocolate bunnies, baskets and all the other trappings? Because his mother was sad about something he didn't understand yet? So, I decided that instead of propagating my very sad but relevant memories, I would try to make some new, happier imprints to balance things. Not that I was giving up on my blanket of misery, but I'd drape myself in it instead of wearing it as swaddling. Plus, I knew my mother wouldn't want me to carry on being so upset about it. Sad, yes, but upset and emotional--no. She'd worry about the toll that coping method would take.

So, I'm using the same tactic to deal with the 9/11 anniversary. It's the birthday of two dear friends, so even though I'm never going to forget the terror and sadness of the attacks, I'm going to remember to celebrate the good things this day also brings.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Who Do You Write Like?

A writer friend asked my opinion in assessing her writing style. Not that I'm any expert, but we've both been asked the question "who do you write like or what book is your story similar to?" Yeah, I know.  The first time I heard the question, I was tempted to laugh too.  Like, really? How would I know?  I don't think anyone sets out to write "like" anyone, but I know that sometimes it happens. And when I took that meme test that made the internet rounds a few years ago, it said I wrote like David Foster Wallace.  Well.  If that were true, then things might be a bit different for me, but whatever.

Back to my friend.  She's preparing a proposal that she's been asked to put together and that's a very good thing.  So, I started thinking, which sometimes doesn't lead to good places but you know, I finally got to a reasonable outcome.  The roundabout way to assess similarity in my mind, came from thinking about writers who write different stories (single titles, I guess) but that bear a distinctive mark.

 The simple and easy example came in the form of one of my favorite authors, Neil Gaiman.  If you've read Coraline or the Graveyard Book or Neverwhere, then you'll know that Himself really loves to build alternative worlds that exist right along with our everyday and mundane lives.  This trait transcends mediums too because if you've seen any of the Doctor Who episodes he's penned (The Doctor's Wife and A Nightmare in Silver) then you'll see the common thread there.  Also as an aside, I see the same phenomenon with George R.R. Martin in the episodes he's penned for the HBO series of Game of Thrones like Blackwater and most recently, The Bear and the Maiden Fair.  The episodes seem more like compact novels and are sometimes paced slower,  instead of the usual bouncing about of the characters that we've come to expect in serial television.

But the point I want to make is that it's hard to assess similarity in writing style because everyone brings something unique to the way they tell a story. Jane Austen shines a light on the foibles of her characters in the way she utilizes language and the period details.  Maugerite Duras does the same thing by stripping the language down.  So, the best guess of who's style you might emulate might be found in the broader aspects like description, world-building, and characterizations.

Who do you write like?

Monday, February 18, 2013

REVIEW: A Most Scandalous Proposal by Ashlyn Macnamara

Disclaimer:  I received my copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley.

Ashlyn Macnamara’s smart and sexy debut is a pleasure to read and should earn her place in the annals of talented historical romance authors.

Benedict Revelstoke is shocked, no alarmed to find his childhood friend, Miss Julia St. Clare, the object of a wager in the infamous betting book at White’s.  As if the bet itself wasn’t outrageous enough, the wager’s been placed by the man who hopes to land Julia. The same man that Julia’s sister, Sophia, finds herself desperately in love with--William Ludlowe.  When Benedict learns that Julia means to accept Ludlowe’s suit because of a misguided notion, he makes a practical counter offer.

This story has been touted as a take on Sense and Sensibility and I can certainly see the parallels: one eminently sensible sister, the other in love with being in love and an utter cad coming between them. Being a Janeite, I was very excited to read a variation on Austen's theme.  But in my mind, this story is extremely original, even with its nod to Austen, in its realistic portrayal of all the characters’ circumstances and emotional reactions to said circumstances.  Julia’s desire to please her parents, to sacrifice herself to Ludlowe in order to save Sophia from unrequited affection and to settle herself into the unhappy life she thinks she deserves, all ring true.  Macnamara’s talent with language and her deft turn of phrase will have you eagerly re-reading passages.  Though Sophia’s story arc takes a few twists and turns and I did find myself wanting to strike her with a heavy object from time to time, things settle on a very satisfying note. Throughout Sophia’s storyline, her emotions and reactions show her to be a layered and textured character.

Usually I take a few turns with the hero, just to get their measure, both physically and mentally, but Benedict is so finely written that I could picture him in my mind from the beginning and he only rose in my estimation with each page.  Even when the characters reach a turning point, I couldn’t help cheering for them because they were so “real” and behaved like people instead of clichĂ©d, cookie-cutter, tried-and-true characters.  That is a feat not easily achieved and Macnamara does it with aplomb.  Plus the sensuality and passion of this piece is smoothly done, especially in a friends-to-lovers piece where things can sometime seem awkward in that transition. 

Do yourself a favor and visit the author's site.  She's a wealth of information on Regency times and customs and it shows in her writing.  I absolutely adore books that entertain and teach me something at the same time.  The hot and sexy book trailer for A MOST SCANDALOUS PROPOSAL is just a bonus for visiting there :-).

I highly recommend this book and can’t wait for this author’s next book.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Postcard from the fringe

Happy New Year! Ha, bet you didn't expect that did you?  Well, things have been kinda crazy 'round these parts which means I'm probably the mayor of Crazytown. It was Mardi Gras earlier this week and I managed to survive being away yet ANOTHER year :(.  Could be worse, right? I could've been trapped in Connecticut with that 40 inches of snow, so I won't complain out loud.  But don't worry too much--I kept it interesting on Tuesday by saying "hey mister, THROW me something" at random times during the day.  It's the small things that make me happy :)

Speaking of things that make me happy, I thought I'd share a picture of the flowers my godchild gave me for my birthday.

I'll come back later to post something more interesting, relevant, funny, writing-related, whatever...

Enjoy your day!