Friday, March 30, 2012

Pet Peeves

Everyone has pet peeves, those little things that make them want to scream, grind their teeth, and get out the throwing knives.  I don't think I'm unusual in this respect, only perhaps in the individual peeves themselves.  Some are writing related.  Some are not, but this is officially a hodge-podge blog, so you get them all.

1.  "So, which character are you?"  This question pertaining to a memoir is one thing, but if you're writing fiction this is one of the most annoying questions you can be asked.  For me, there is a little bit of me in every single character that I write, but every character is also a mix of many different traits, characteristics, and physical attributes, some from people of my acquaintance, some from strangers, others purely imaginary.  The process is much like cooking. You keep throwing in different things and sampling until it tastes right.  You use imagination and personal experience in about equal measure, and the insight that comes from personal experience is generally used in reference to something completely alien to the experience that produced it in you.  We've all experienced the gag reflex.  Just because your trigger is blood sausage doesn't mean your character can't experience it in relation to asparagus.  Otherwise, we would all write memoirs.  The idea that one character is "you" and the rest are "other people" is very limiting, not to mention unimaginative.  I have quite a bit in common with Anna, but there are ways in which we are entirely dissimilar, and it is the same in varying degrees with my other characters.

2. "Hubby" and related terms of endearment.  The sound of this word makes me bristle, much like Ferdy when he is startled.  I can feel the quills rise.  Luckily, my husband shares this particular peeve.  We are not terms of endearment people.  As anyone who has read last year's Valentine's Day post may recall, I also have a special aversion to being called anything food-related (cupcake, muffin, sugar, etc.) because I am not edible, except to cannibals, and even to them I'm sure I wouldn't taste like any of those things.  Maybe chicken.

3.  Misplaced apostrophes.  They are everywhere.  It's an epidemic, but the worst was in an article I read recently about "the problems with indie authors".  They listed all the usual issues, all the things that nearly kept me from going indie, such as poor editing, lack of gatekeepers, etc...  They are all viable arguments.  I've seen some dreadful indie books.  I've also seen some exceptionally good ones.  So what nettled me about the article was not their reasoning, though they had a clear bias, but the fact that they misplaced an apostrophe in the article.  There they were, going on righteously about poor editing and lack of gatekeepers...and then they referred to self-published authors as "the last of the starving artist's."  Groan!  An article which has clearly been professionally edited, particularly an article criticizing anyone for a lack of editorial diligence, should not provide a loophole in its own theory.

4.  Jumpsuits and rompers.  Why are they coming back in?  They don't look attractive on anyone.  I am particularly amused by the clothing catalogues which attempt to portray tight at the ankle, baggy in the butt jumpsuits as "sexy".  My dad's grease-stained coveralls would be sexier on a woman than that.

And while we're on the clothing topic:

5.  Some people's hangups about male ballet dancers' costumes.  They wear tights because they need full range of motion so they can do amazing things like, oh, splits in the air!  It's not their fault that that's where some people's eyes go.  The thing I find especially odd is that many of the same people who have issues with male ballet dancers will watch wrestling without complaint.  Wrestlers wear spandex onesies and roll about on the ground groping each other.  I have no problem with wrestlers, I am merely pointing out the contradiction.  In my mind the ability to carry a woman over your head on one hand and make it look effortless wins out as a display of strength.

There are more, certainly, but I can't gripe all day and I think I'm done now.  No offense intended to anyone.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Another Interview

I am one of the featured authors this week on Amy Manemann's site.  Check it out if you're interested and let me know what you think.  It's always a privilege to be interviewed by other authors.  Thank you Amy!

This weekend was exceptionally chaotic.  Really, it hardly felt like a weekend at all.  My husband played a show Friday night, my sister was visiting from Portland, my friend Lexie was home from college and her younger sister was competing for Chewelah's Junior Miss competition (though apparently they call it Distinguished Young Women now, though it's the same thing) on Saturday.  She won, by the way, as she should.  Then Sunday I drove my sister to the airport.  We left early and stopped to meet a friend for coffee, then, when we were ready to leave again, Gerry refused to start.  He had been running beautifully all the way there.  Of course, it wasn't a dead battery or anything simple, and even my dad's mechanic friend who came to our rescue couldn't find the problem then and there but had to tow it away to his house so he could examine it more closely.  But of course we still had to get my sister to the airport, so Aaron had to drive down in his car and we managed to get her there in time for her to catch the last flight of the day.  So, success in the end, but all factors combined to make the weekend rather exhausting.  And now Gerry is gone, hopefully to be reborn from the ashes soon like a black, worn, and dented phoenix.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

A Mishmash of News

I am just home from spending the weekend in Portland.  The daffodils were blooming, and the flowering trees.  Two days of gloriously sunny spring weather, and two days of rainy spring weather.  Balance.  Balance is good.  Yesterday, my first day home, we had a blizzard.

I left my characters in a rather uncomfortable position when I went to Portland, and now I have to jerk myself back out of vacation mode and write them out of it.  I know where I need them to go, but I got out of the right mindset and must work my way back into it with the aid of coffee and solitude.  The poor things need to be rescued.

I made the move recently and joined KDP Select, so Ashford is available now for Amazon Prime members through the Kindle Lending Library, and I will have periodic free promotion days, of which today is the first.  So far today I've given away over five hundred copies for the promotion and Ashford is #7 in free historical fiction.  I'm just pleased that it's getting out to so many people.

We're starting rehearsals next week for our June show, and I've been commissioned to create several costumes for it.  I also have to finish choreographing my solo.  It's the first dance I've choreographed for a show, so I'm rather excited and nervous about that.  Of course, Ann is helping me polish it up.  I wouldn't dream of just throwing it on stage without the sort of polishing only Ann can give.  We'll see how that goes.

I'm planning a summer book promotion to coincide with my ten-year celebration of being cancer-free.  The plan is to donate all proceeds from Kindle sales for a certain time range to the Union for International Cancer Control, and then finish it off with a head-shaving party.  I'll post updates on here and on Facebook once I know more details, and I may be asking for help spreading the word, if anyone's interested.

And now...back to the novel!