Friday, October 12, 2012

Football, Dialogue and Other Musings

Drums beat. A crowd rumbles like thunder. Must be a home football game tonight. I love living near the high school. There's something about football Friday nights that makes it feel like magic is sizzling in the air. Someone's going to have their first kiss tonight. A touchdown in a game I could care less about is going to make someone else's entire week. Raw, animal energy pulsates through the whole thing like it's electrified.

It's exciting and I love hearing the residual noises and imagining all the fun that's out there being had. I especially love it in my fuzzy pajamas, laying on my bed, enjoying the otherwise quiet house. That must be the part where I'm getting old. Ah, well.

Tonight I'm reading the newest Rick Riordan installation in the Percy Jackson universe. Can't wait to roll around in it. I've missed Annabeth and Hazel. Powerful girls with powerful problems. Nothing more distracting. I'm a huge fan of the series, but I'm coming off a John Green run.

I inhaled An Abundance of Katherines, Looking for Alaska and Will Greyson, Will Greyson. It's going to be a different deal reading Percy and friends now. Nobody does dialogue like John Green. He made me laugh and cry at the same time. I think the feral pig hunt in Katherines might be the best scene I've ever read. I'm feeling inadequate in writing dialogue like never before. Seriously, the man is a genius. A real one.

Since I'm rambling, I spent this evening with another real genius, the very talented writer we shall call "Q".  I learned some very interested things about web comic strips, fandom and the correct pronunciation of Manga. Am I the only one who didn't know you ship two characters when you put them together? Also, I apparently have no idea the proper way to use Tumblr. But that's beside the point.

In conclusion (that's my Freshman Lit Class finally coming into good use), listen to football games from a far, read good books, especially John Green books and then go out on Tumblr and do whatever it is people do on there after they read a good book.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Inside a Writer's Conference

It's been several weeks since I returned from the Romance Writer's of America Conference. I'm still tingling with excitement. I spent time honing craft in workshops with amazing writers like Julia Quinn. I had my picture taken with romance writing legend Nora Roberts. More amazing, I met one of my favorite authors, Darynda Jones, who is as amazing in person as she hilarious in her books. (If you haven't read her Charley Davidson series you must do so!)

The agent and editor opportunities were also great. I met a dream agent while waiting for friends in the hotel bar. She asked for 30 pages of my work in progress. All in all, I left nationals with seven requests, all of them from carefully researched, and on my target, list agents or editors. I've been missing in action blog-wise lately, focusing on sending off the right items to the right requesters.

Hands down, though, it was the time I spent with my amazing writer friends that meant the most. Hysterical laughter, twisting plot premise discussions and simple encouragement ensued right from the first minute of the conference.

The weekend of Sept. 28 I get another chance to live large in the conference world with the Central Ohio Fiction Writer's Conference. We've got an all star line-up of agents, editors and authors. Hilarity will ensue. And, since our keynote speaker is the world famous YA author Simone Elkeles, we're hosting a free teen event at 6 p.m. All the fun happens at the Holiday Inn in Worthington. Check out for more information on the conference (which you can still sign up to attend!) or the teen event (which will include a free copy of Simone's Perfect Chemistry for the first 50 attendees). 

Friday, July 20, 2012

LA Bound

My bags are packed and waiting by the door. Tonight I hop a plane for Los Angeles. John and I are going to spend some quality time with his sister and parents for a few days. Then its off to the Romance Writers of America National Conference in Anaheim.

I've been to regional conferences but never a large national conference. I can't wait to meet new people, experience new things and learn like crazy. To make it extra fun I'm actually conducting a workshop for authors about media relations. Better yet, I am sharing a room with two of my writing friends from Central Ohio Fiction Writers and I know it's going to be epic.

Stay tuned for more details about my experiences in sunny California!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Movie Magic: Safety Not Guaranteed

This week's inspiration is the independent film Safety Not Guaranteed. John, my sister Casie and I went to see this movie on the strength of its excellent trailer. Check it out below.

The stand out part of this movie is the dialogue, which is witty, sharp and riveting. This is the story of a sad girl who meets a crazy guy and finds out that crazy is all a matter of perspective. Love, regret, growing up and getting by weave back and forth neatly between the lines. That the movie manages to capture your heart and imagination, while delivering moments that are hilarious is a true feat.

The premise on which the entire story  sits is a classified ad that reads:

WANTED: Someone to go back in time with me. This is not a joke. You'll get paid after we get back. Must bring your own weapons. I have only done this once before. SAFETY NOT GUARANTEED.

Everything about this ad, from the words to the topic, make me want to know who wrote it and why. It's no surprise that a ragtag group of reporters head off to the beach community from which it originated to figure it out. The smart banter between the characters, the way they grow and change and an unexpected twist ending are surprising in every wonderful way imaginable.

I learned three important lessons for my own writing from this amazing little film:

1.  Comedy and drama can be entwined together with well developed characters.
2. Dialogue can carry your audience through and keep them on the edge of their seats.
3. Unexpected endings leave your audience dreaming of new beginnings. 

Friday, July 13, 2012

Five years of Summer Institute... Magic and Inspiration

This week my second post is not a book review. I know I promised I'd be reviewing a book every week, but this week I haven't read anything new. That's unusual. The reason for this strange behavior is that I've been busy sharing the week with almost 600 friends at Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio.

For the fifth year in a row I'm attending Summer Institute, a regional gathering of families who belong to the Unitarian Universalist Church. Once a year this magical community springs up and exists in time-outside-time. You may have seen me tweeting strange things this week about youth with multicolored hair, tie-dying, a class I'm teaching and how much I love this beautiful little campus.

The first year we came, we made friends with two other couples who both live hours away from our home in Columbus. Reconnecting with these couples, hearing about their lives, sharing our children, laughing until joy is the only emotion left and reinforcing friendships that have become some of the most important in my life are part of the experience.

New friends are also part of the mix. People from our church who we know, but don't necessarily get to see and connect with regularly is also hugely gratifying. I've met brand new people from five states who have offered me a hand, a smile or wisdom.

I'm also teaching a class this year on promotion and social media. You might have seen me tweet about that, as well. The class is completely engaged and so excited to learn about how to use social media to get the word out about their causes, churches and businesses. Their enthusiasm makes me want to do better and do more.

The best part has been watching my children connect with their communities, both other kids they wait all year to see and older youth and adults who are causing them to question and grow in new ways.

While I haven't had much time to read or to get much writing done-- we go from dawn to midnight around here-- I have rarely felt so inspired. Every person here has their own story. Every story, real and imagined, is aching to be told. I have a feeling I'll be writing like crazy in the week to come. Maybe that's a way I can keep the magic alive.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Power Outage Interupts Schedule

If God made the world in seven days, why did it take eight for AEP to get our power back on? Apparently, the downed trees in the neighbor's backyard took out a transformer that affects only about 20 houses on our side of the street. This was not exactly top priority with more than 680,000 customers without power across the state. Understandable. But so not enjoyable when your house is affected.

At any rate, this note is a bit of a dog-ate-my-homework kind of apology note. The lack of posts this week does not reflect a lack of commitment to the blog or love of the readers. It simply reflects a lack of air conditioning and internet service.

Today is Saturday and I am back on schedule. I'm currently thinking of writing a fantasy world where it is never 94 degrees inside my house. Ever.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Lighthearted Fun with The Grimm Legacy

Last week I found The Grimm Legacy on my couch. I occasionally find great books that have dropped out of the sky and ended up on my sofa, so I scooped it up. It took a about a week before one of the other five people who live in my house admitted buying it at the school book fair weeks prior. It had surfaced on my couch after a backpack cleaning that included purging anything school-related to make room for a bathing suit and towel. Ah, summer.

Still, I had the book, so I was good. Elizabeth is a High Schooler who has recently had to switch schools so her dad can afford her step-sisters' college tuition. She's mostly ignored at home other than to  do chores. When she does a favor for a homeless woman her life takes an unexpected turn. Her eccentric English teacher recommends her for a job as a page in a library for objects.

Not long after she starts the job she makes friends with several other pages, an attractive basketball star named Mark, and talented Indian girl named Angajli. Then she learns the secret of The Grimm Legacy, a collection of objects from fairytales that each have their own magic. The problem? Someone's trying to steal the magic objects and her new friends might end up taking the blame. The three pages are joined by a reluctant page named Aaron for an adventure to stop a thief.

I enjoyed this book. It was a light-hearted read, totally appropriate for an eight year old, with romance to interest a teen or a mom like me. Author Polly Shulman does a great job rounding Elizabeth out, so that even when you don't agree with her decisions you love her spirit. I call this one a great family read aloud book. It will be debuting in our bedroom routine soon.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

A Visit with Appendicitis

It started out a lazy Saturday morning. Arielle was at a soccer tournament with her dad. Alysia, John and I went to the North Market to buy wine for a dinner party and have breakfast at the lovely waffle stall. We sat a picnic table with the sun shining and a warm breeze blowing by.

I'd had a bit of an ache in my side since I'd woken up, but I dismissed it. We were busy. Friends were due for a Spanish dinner that evening. We'd cooked Friday night and still had paella and tapas to make during the day.

As I waited for the cheese counter man to hand me some Gouda and tried to resist the urge to purchase goat cheese just because I adore it, chills hit me. When we got home I promised my husband I'd help cook after a 15 minute nap.

When I woke up three hours later my side was burning. That's when I asked the most important question of the day, "which side are your appendix on." The answer is the right side, just north of the center of your belly. On that fine information I called the doctor, who sent me to the urgent care, who sent me to the ER, who proceeded to test me for hours.

The nice doctor assured me it was a routine surgery, but is any surgery really routine when you're the one being cut? The morphine kept the hysteria down and my amazing husband handled all the thinking in his regular loving way. As they wheeled me into the operating room I announced as loud as possible, "I am here to get my appendix out." Several residents tittered in amusement. A nurse promised me I was about to get something in my IV that would relax me like a margarita. Then the world went blank.

I remember a little of the recovery room, but mostly I remember waking up in the room with my husband there holding my hand. New pains from tiny incisions had replaced the appendix burning. Pain medication coursed through my system and I felt worse than ever.

The weeks that followed were a haze. I expected myself to get better faster. I resented the throbbing pain that limited my motion and consumed my thoughts. I hated my new limitations-- no lifting for six weeks, stomach aches from the antibiotics and constant weakness. Most of all I hated the unplanned nature of the thing. I'd just started a new job. I didn't get to see the kids on Mother's Day because I'd been in the hospital. I tried to go back to work too soon and had to stay home for more days.

The whole experience humbled me. It made me realize how life can change in an instant. I was lucky. It really was minor surgery. Six weeks later little remains but a few scars and a ghost of pain now and then. But many are not as lucky. So many suffer from chronic health problems. I have so much more empathy now that I've experienced something like this. There were days I railed against the universe. Why me? There were days I cried or just felt down. There were days I did nothing but stare at the wall. Lucky for me the window was short. But it doesn't always go that way.

As a writer, I think about how I can tap into these emotions and experiences. Perhaps I'll write a young child who must have her appendix out. The entire world will feel strange and horrible, a sea of grown-ups swirling around poking and prodding her. Or perhaps I'll write a teenager who comes out of her surgical haze to find her best friend has taken up with her boyfriend.

Maybe I'll write about the amazing friends and family who gave so much support to one mother who spent Mother's Day in the hospital. Wait, that's a true story. That's my story. Perhaps that's the greatest chapter. I'll end my musings with a thank you to all my dearest and nearest who helped and to the farthest and dearest who called and sent well wishes. And thanks to all who read this blog. too.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Thumping Thursdays: Anna Dressed in Blood

If you've ever read Anne of Green Gables then you know what I mean when I talk about Kindred Spirits. Yes, the title of this post is Anna Dressed in Blood and I realize its a big jump from Anne Shirley to Anna, whose dress literally drips blood all over the floor. But my journey to Anna started with a Kindred Spirit, because it's not a book I would have picked up on my own. I typically don't read horror. When I read a few of the Goodreads reviews, I shivered at the thought of not sleeping for a decade or two.

I had to plow forward, though. I've always wanted to be in a book club, but my complete lack of time has thwarted that dream again and again. This is where the Kindred Spirits come in. If you haven't read my all time favorite Anne, I'll just say she has a great imagination and is always looking for those few folks that just click with her right away. Folks like my new lunchtime book club mates, who were once simply coworkers.

When the three of us stumbled upon a love for YA fiction, the book club was born over lunch. This is our first book and I wanted to get it right. Could there be anything worse then reading a book, brimming with anticipation to discuss it only to reach the blessed day and find your mates had not read it? Gasp. It was not to be considered. Jen picked this book and if she picked it, she must see something in it beyond the horror factor.

So, I picked the thing up. And, I didn't put it down until I was through. Cas, the narrator and hero, captured my heart right away. He's a ghost-hunter by birth, a loner by circumstance and a grief-stricken son in the shadow of his father's long past murder. It's Anna, though, who steals the story. By turns ruthless, crazed and out of control, she's also a victim in her own right. There's a spark that's gentle, loving and wistful in her, although not so much in evidence when she's tearing someone in two.

The gore factor was much less than expected, which for me was good, because I have a hard time reading Stephen King and the like. Kendare Blake, the author, balances the right amount of teen angst, humor, gore and suspense with a romance in the mix. The book takes an unexpected twist in the last quarter that might have been better served in a sequel, but overall I'd still give it five stars.

Check out the book trailer below or pick it up here.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Super Saturday: A vacation from real life...

I love listening to snippets of conversations swirling around in airports, coffee shops, along beaches or at the local pool. There's nothing that jump starts the imagination more than these real life story starters drifting past me like balloons in the wind.

We're on vacation this week and there are so many opportunities for new stories. To start, there's the setting. Duck, North Carolina is a slip of a town comprised of souvenir shops, bakeries, ice cream stores, coffee shops and pizza places. Nary a grocery store in sight, but you can eat fresh fish by the water at several unique little restaurants. Duck Donuts makes donuts right in front of you starting at 6 a.m. if you're one of those early riser types like my husband.

With the sound on one side, a gently rolling blue carpet of water, where crabs can be pulled off docks to dance for you, and the ocean just four blocks the other way, Duck is a paradise even with June winds whipping about. The sea here is choppy and green with dark red sand. Shells are chopped into bits before they reach the shore.

The houses here are small and tall, each meandering up four stories, saving their kitchens for the top floor, I suppose to keep the most expensive equipment dry in case of flooding. Hot tubs, private pools and sand volleyball courts guard each structure and multi-layered decks hug them for dear life.

Stories, of course, are usually more than just place, but the people who fill that place up and make it their own. We are a rag-tag group of six. My husband, me and the kids. We're a blended family, maybe more chopped at times, always searching for a combination of desires and outcomes that suits the whole, and sometimes landing on a moment of pure bliss somewhere in the equation.

I wonder sometimes what the shopkeepers think of us as we pile into their stalls. Two dark-haired children, two-fair haired children. I doubt the shopkeepers could match the children to the correct one of us, but then you never know. I always think they assume we created them all together. They range in ages from 16 to 8. Each is a story into themselves, full of mischief and joy and the moment of genius. Each is a blessing beyond anything I ever imagined in my life. And of course, we didn't create them really. Us and our former spouses, all we did was give them entry to this world and all we can do now is love them and guide them. Enjoy these waning moments where they sometimes still feel like they belong to us. Because they belong to themselves of course, so much of their stories still unwritten.

We wonder about this land outside of responsibilities and work, gazing at others trying to determine their stories. The boy at the beach yesterday, the one that Sam chased a crab right into, he looked to be about 15. Perhaps those older folks were his parents. Maybe they waited years to have him and now as older parents fairly worship him, spoiling him terribly. Maybe he had young parents, unable to take care of him, and his grandparents were the couple lying on the towels, applying sunblock and scowling at the errant crab scuttling across their blankets. They never intended to raise a child at this stage of their lives, but they love him and they give him all they can.

What is the story of the woman walking ahead of her husband, brandishing a stick like a sword and pretending she doesn't hear him yelling for her to slow down? Her neon blue hat is visible from three houses away. Is she angry, wishing she could stab him with that sword, perhaps for cheating on her with a housemaid back in their native New York? Is she simply bored, imagining a time when she was slimmer, more adept and could fence her way through a sea of competitors at a tournament in Texas?

What was the gruff, whiskered older man at the bait shop thinking when he winked at a Alysia and said softly, "You're a very pretty little girl." Perhaps of a granddaughter too far away to wink at or a daughter now grown to adulthood living her own life out there somewhere. Or perhaps he was thinking of a painting he saw once or a television show. Or maybe he was just struck by the quiet little girl watching her brother gather fishing gear with avid interest.

I so love vacation for the relaxing moments, for the time spent with family and for the stories to be.

Friday, June 15, 2012

What to expect from me...

I like to make plans. I like it so much, sometimes I set aside time to plan for making plans. My plans are grand. When it comes to my blog, for reasons that have to do with time and energy, I have been totally without a plan. 

I want to get serious about this relationship now. The one between you and me. So, I'm making a plan and I'm upping the commitment level. This is where the fun begins. 

My grandmother always says to take it one day at a time. My plan is to post at least twice every week to start. 

You can now look forward to Super Saturdays and Thumping Thursdays, at a minimum. 

Super Saturdays will focus on stories I'm thinking about or working on. Thumping Thursdays will focus on a story I'm enjoying, either a book I'm reading or some other interesting story out there in the world.

Any posts I make in between will likely be fun musings or personal stories to connect us together and let off some steam. 

I can't wait for us to get to know each other better!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Stories of Falling Water

Last week I had the chance to tour Falling Water, the architectural wonder designed by Frank Loyd Wright. 

I studied Wright in my college art history class so I knew the house was built over a river and waterfall. I still wasn't expecting something so integrated into the natural world. Walls of windows, low terraces and natural stone draw your eye outside. Everything about the house is simple, minimally functional and bent on driving you outside. 

While it was designed by a famous architect, the father of the modern ranch house and all that jazz, our tour guide asked us to think about the clients who paid for Falling Water. The Kaufman's were a powerhouse couple in the 30's. Owners of Kaufman department stores, they had one twenty-seven-year-old son when they built Falling Water. Egar Kaufman was Jewish and despite his tremendous wealth couldn't join the country clubs of the time. Hi son, Edgar Jr. described Falling Water as a "rich man's toy." 

Touring the house. it was easy to see the family dropping onto the low beds, sitting out on the flat terraces and listening to the gushing of the waterfall below. There was not a single book in Lilianne's room, yet Edgar Jr.'s was filled to the brim. Questions swim through my mind. What stories are held by the boulders jutting out of the mountain? What secrets pass through the currents moving below Falling Water? Why did Lilianne not a share a room with her husband? Why did Edgar Jr. never marry?

I could do research. I might even find answers. But the stories swirling in my head are sweet possibilities, pieces of which will swirl together until someday, someway, they emerge as stories to be

Saturday, April 7, 2012

The day I didn't have to...

The apartment in Des Moines is clutter-free, light and airy. It's a perch, nearly a tower, three stories up in the trees. The boys are discussing fishing using fake accents and made-up words. The periodic wrestling matches shake the floor. Tickling, followed by fake roars and a fair amount of laughter emanate from behind me. The shower switches off. Tooth brushes are vibrating down the hall.

I sit in repose. I don't know exactly how one sits in repose, yet here I sit. I consider this rare Saturday away from home and outside my regular routine of running, running, running. Generally on mornings such as these I am ignoring the nagging sensation that I should clean up the house or at least fold some laundry. Various commitments loom ahead. Our modest home balloons to massive size with the list of things yet to do.

None of these commitments and lists exist in Iowa. This grand plain is a blank slate for my life. I have no one here save the three in this calm little space. Today sits before me in all its glory. This day is unclaimed, unplanned, untamed. Mine to live.

Stories to be written call to me.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Promotion! Prepping for RWA National Conference

I'm hard at work prepping for the 2012 RWA National Conference. It's not until July, but my handouts are due in early April. This is my first chance to attend the conference and I'm going to be leading a workshop. 

This week has been all about perfecting the handouts. Since I'll be translating all the skills I've learned in my marketing and public relations day job into a powerful package for authors, I've been doing a little extra homework. I sent a few interview questions out to journalists to understand what their pet peeves are in the publishing industry.  he good news is that they're much the same as they would be in any other industry. The golden rules of PR are still solid.  What a relief.

As we get closer, I'll post tidbits about the workshop. If you're planning to attend the conference, put my workshop on your agenda. If not, I'll post the link for how to order the recording from RWA after the conference.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Confessions of A Hunger Games Avoider

It all started with Sam. He read the Hunger Games and called me right away. "You've got to read this book," he said. "You're going to love it."

But when he told me what it was about I recoiled. Seriously? No way was I reading a book about a reality TV show where teens fight to the death. I like romance. I like cosmic battles. Give me a little bit of magic. 

I've never gotten the whole dystopian thing. The world's in ashes and the last few survivors are in hell. It's just not uplifting enough for me. 

Or so I thought. 

Pretty soon you couldn't throw a tweet without running into a Hunger Games fan. People at work were raving about the books. Every teen in my life was either reading the books, talking about reading the books or waiting for the movie. 

Then last week I saw the movie trailer. I realized I couldn't wait any longer. I downloaded the whole darn trilogy on my Kindle and took it along on an airplane trip from Ohio to Palm Springs.

That's when the obsession began. (SPOILER ALERT) This was so not a series about a reality TV show. This was a series about survival, humanity, growing up, love, family and maybe above all else the corrupting power of government. 

Katniss is motivated by love for her sister, confused by love for two very different men and powerless to stop herself from being used as a game piece by both sides of a revolution. She is in every sense a rebel. She wants to bring the Capital down. But Katniss is first and foremost a survivor. What she wants most is her family's survival. She's caught between a Capital that will stop at nothing to destroy her and a rebel force that would sacrifice anything, family included, to bring the Capital down.

This story simmers with a quiet truth. Power corrupts. The end won't always justify the means. Yet sometimes the struggle is worth it. Katniss in her meadow at the end isn't the same person she was at the beginning, she isn't fully whole, maybe never was. But she's in the meadow and she's not alone. 

Maybe that's the most any of us can hope for in the struggle to find what's right. 

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Enter the Ignite the Flame Contest this Year!

Last year I entered the YA category of Ignite the Flame and won first place. I'd recently spiced up the sexual tension in my first meeting based on feedback from an agent. The Ignite the Flame win was a great confidence boost that I'd gotten it right. I got a partial request from my contest judge and some invaluable feedback to make the book even better.

Take a look at the details below...

***Permission to forward granted, encouraged and appreciated***

Central Ohio Fiction Writers' Annual Ignite the Flame Contest is accepting entries SOON!

Opens March 5, 2012
Deadline May 20, 2012.

Authors get your pens out and enter the Central Ohio Fiction Writers' Ignite the Flame Contest today. This is a perfect way to get your writing seen by some truly wonderful agents and editors!

The Ignite the Flame Contest is designed to help you polish that critical first meet scene so that it crackles with romantic energy! (A reunion scene is also acceptable.)

Entries should be 15 pages MAX, with an optional one-page, un-judged, set-up (no synopsis).

The top 3 manuscripts in each category that score 80 or above go to one of the final judges listed below:

•Laura Bradford: Romantic Suspense (Agent at Bradford Literary Agency)
•Deb Werksman: Historical Romance (Editor at Sourcebooks)
•Rhonda Penders: Category-Length Contemporary (Editor at Wild Rose Press)
•Andrea Somberg: Young Adult (Agent at Harvey Klinger, Inc.)
•Katherine Pelz: Single Title (Editor at Berkley Publishing Group)
•Alicia Rasley: Erotic Romance (Editor at Red Sage)
•Lindsey Faber: Paranormal Romance (Editor at Samhain Publishing)

Here's what 2011 contestants say about the COFW Ignite the Flame Contest:

"It was quite valuable information and I'm anxious to incorporate it into my writing. I was so nervous to have another person read what I have written – no one ever has before. Thank you so much for the opportunity!" - Melissa Paull

"I appreciate the feedback you gave me and even now I am busy revising my manuscript. I have two requests for the full manuscript, so I want to get it perfect! Thank you so much." – Lexi Post

"I was very impressed with the professional (and supportive) manner in which you ran the show. I will definitely be recommending Ignite the Flame to other Aussies who are contemplating sending off to RWA competitions." – Lynn Ward

Visit COFW for more details.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Inside a Video Shoot...

I've always wanted to be a star.

I've been a part of many, many video shoots before. Normally, I'm on the producing side of the equation. I know how to ask the right questions to help folks relax and give us the best possible sound bites. I also understand all the myriad of ways to coach someone to sound more natural, even if there is a teleprompter smack-dab in front of them. I can notice that little popping noise, the eyes wondering to the left that make someone look an itty bit insane and the quivering dry voice of a person who has been talking wayyyy too long. 

All that hot confidence disappears on the other side of the camera, though. All eyes are on you. And, they should be because a very talented woman just spent a long time applying a truck full of make-up to your face and turning your hair into 1980's Charlie's Angels hair. Incidentially, she will call this "sex kitten" hair, despite the fact that you are going for highly sophisticated credible woman hair. 

While the camera guy tried to deal with the glare from your glasses, You will explain that taking them off is so not an option. You need to read the teleprompter and your blind without them. The producer said reassuring things, while the make-up lady clips your pants at the back to make them look tighter. You will never know for sure if that means your legs are too skinny or your pants too baggy. 

Once you are rolling it will get a little easier, but you will have to say each line three times so they can get three different camera angles. Unless you mess up, of course. Then you have to say it more times than that. 

Eventually you will be done. Your voice will be hoarse, your eyes will water and your skin will itch. But the 80's hair will stay rocking the entire day.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Deadline for Central Ohio Teens to Get Published is April 2!

Calling all teens in Central Ohio! Thurber House is launching a new teen literary journal that is looking for your work. 

According to an e-mail from Thurber House:
"Flip the Page is a literary magazine written and staffed by Central Ohio teens. Our mission is to showcase the great work of young local writers. We are asking 13- to 19-year-old writers to submit a poem, story, personal essay, play, comics, song lyrics, or cartoons for publication. If their work is accepted, they will be published, receive a complimentary copy of the magazine, AND have the opportunity to read from their work at the Columbus Arts Festival in June 2012. Submission deadline is April 2, 2012."

Don't miss the chance to get your work out there. You never know until you try.

Visit the link at this site to learn more.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Check out Teen Ink and Get Published!

When I was in High School the internet was a distant concept. I'd heard of it, but I had no idea what practical uses it might have and it certainly had zero affect on my life. I wanted to be a writer. That meant someday I wanted to be published in a newsletter, or a newspaper, maybe if I was really lucky in a book. 

The whole wide world is different today. Teen Ink is a great example of the resources that are available to hone your craft. This online literary magazine is for teens, by teens. And, the best part is it's totally democratic so you can participate and read awesome stories. Plus, If you love to write, it provides a great opportunity to show the world what you've got.  Check out Teen Ink now!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Romancing the I-Phone...

I've fallen in love. Real love. I mean really, really love. With my phone. Seriously.

It all started when I opened the box. The sleek white shape called out to me. "Twitter with me," it screamed. "Facebook with me. E-mail with me." How could I resist?

Then there were the Apps. How I yearned to find more of them to fill my heart and soul. I can name that tune. I can make that reservation. I can figure out how to get somewhere. Apps make me smarter, better, happier. I can even lose weight with my Apps. 

The only problem with this love affair is how much time it takes. My husband wants my attention now and then. My job requires a great deal of focus. And even though I got 200 words written on the Evernote App once, it isn't helping me meet my word count goals. 

Still I can't let it go. I take it everywhere. I sleep with it next to me by the bed. I know that we will work it out, my I-Phone and I. Our happily ever after is still within reach.