Monday, January 31, 2011

Movie Mania Monday

Currently reading - Magic Bites by Ilona Andrews

This weekend was spent watching some old favorites.

My choice: Galaxy Quest is funny in its own right, but a hell of a lot funnier if you're a Trekkie.  The sci-fi satire is still my second favorite comedy next to The Wedding Singer.

DH's choice: Weird Science has a lot of plot holes, but still... It's John Hughes and Oingo Boingo. Oh, and GK pointed out Iron Man is a dick in this movie.

GK's choice was Eragon and his analysis: A lot less boring than the book!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

And If the Muppets Can Do UF, Then UF Can Do Muppets

One of the best scenes during Angel's last season. . .

Saturday, January 29, 2011

True Muppets

No bad words or blood, and heck, yeah, I'd mudwrestle Vampire Bill any day of the year!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Digital Book World 2011

Currently reading - Magic Bites by Ilona Andrews

If you haven't been keeping up with the latest info out of last week's DBW conference, Bob Mayer has a run-down at Write It Forward.  Lots of interesting tidbits.

And frankly, it sounds to me as if a lot of publishers are running scared.

Right now, I LOVE being a writer!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Riding the Wave

Currently reading - Magic Bites by Ilona Andrews
It's been a couple of months since I've done some serious wordage.  Yes, I can blame the holidays.  Or the weather.  Or the housework.  Or to quote Larry Finkelstein--"Who here has not blamed the dog!"

Yesterday, I glued my butt to the chair and researched my legal column, drafted the first page of the column, and then hammered out five new pages of the current wip.

To sum up my accomplishments--I did more writing related stuff in four hours than I did in the past four weeks.  Throw some additonal business-related research and I feel like I'm back in the proverbial saddle.

And, damn, it feels terrific!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


Currently reading - Magic Bites by Ilona Andrews

Trust is not an easy thing to come by.  Ninety-nine per cent of trust is perception, and even the illusion of trust is hard to earn.  A miniscule crack in the fascade destroys the entire foundation of the trust.  You're left with nothing but shards and an unstable base that may never support trust again.

And in the insane upheaval surrounding the publishing industry today, the fact that trust can exist at all surprises me.

What disturbs me is the rising polarity in discourse about the state of the industry.  Fear of the unknown, of change, of 'what will happen to me' feeds this animosity.  And the illusion of trust, that 'we're all in this together,' disappears in the flame wars and is burnt to a crisp.

Why?  Because many people confuse trust with the road to be tread.  They forget not everyone is on the same road.  And they also forget they must earn your trust that they will not run you off the road or crash into you when you both reach an intersection, just as you must earn theirs.

There is no one perfect path to your dream.  And don't let anyone roll over your trust in yourself.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


Currently reading - Magic Bites by Ilona Andrews

Yep, it's a late post today.  Got a little sidetracked today.

I was lucky when GK was a toddler.  He never went through that stage where he asked the constant 'why' questions.  You know the ones.  Why is the sky blue?  Why do birds fly?  Why do we have pet dogs?

He's making up for it now.  We started the events of WWII during 1942 as today's history lesson.  Since WWII was the first well-documented war, there's lots of pictures, recordings and info.  We got stuck on the Bataan Death March and Executive Order 9066.  It took me nearly two hours to explain why Japan and the U.S. did what they did in the first six months of 1942 and how those events affected (or would have affected) members of our family.  Two hours later when I finished answering all GK's "Why?"s, he looked at me and said, "People are stupid."

I couldn't agree more.

So, to the victims and survivors of Bataan, to those Americans who were illegally incarcerated in U.S. concentrations camps, and to those Americans who served in the European and Pacific theaters, I salute your sacrifices to human stupidity.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Movie Mania Monday

The other movie DH and I watched during this weekend's date night was Hellboy.  Ron Perlman is one of those actors who doesn't fit the classical handsome mold and subsequently doesn't get a lot of credit for his skill.  Besides Hellboy, the only other good guy leading role either of us could remember him in was Vincent from TV's Beauty and the Beast.  Can anyone else remember Ron in another leading role?

There's some editing and storyline issues, not to mention poor Doug Jones getting screwed over when the producers didn't like his vocalization of Abe.  But over all, Ron and Selma Blair's pitch-perfect performances of H.B. and Liz made the movie.

Well, those two and Jeffrey Tambor (who cracks me up no matter what he's in).

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Flash Gordon

Guess what DH and I watched last night.  Thirty-one years later and it's still terrific, campy fun.

Friday, January 21, 2011

The Only Constant Is Change - Part 3

Currently reading - Percy Jackson and the Olympians:  The Lightning Thief

DON'T FORGET!  The gals at Killer Fiction are gving away books, gift cards and a Kindle.  Tomorrow, January 21st, is the last chance at these cool prizes.  To enter, comment on the daily blog posts starting on January 10th.

[P.S.  I highly recommend two other blogs mentioned in the comments on yesterday's post:  Kristine Kathryn Rusch and Dean Wesley Smith.  They've been in the publishing industry for decades, so they definitely know the business.  The also happen to be married to each other.]

It'd been the rejection day from hell.  When DH asked if I'd thought about self-publishing, peanut butter stuck to the roof of my mouth.  The time it took to clear my tongue also gave me a chance to formulate a semi-polite answer.

ME:  "Are you fucking nuts?  Wheaton was a movie star before he hit puberty.  He's got a platform already.  I don't."

DH:  "You're working on it."

ME:  "I don't have an editor.  I'm not conceited enough to think I don't need one.  Wheaton was smart enough to hire an good editor."

DH:  "Start talking to your friends.  I'm sure Colleen or Christie or someone can recommend a decent freelancer."

ME:  "But I can't draw.  I'd need a cover artist, even with an e-book."

DH:  "What about M__?  You love her work.  And she wants to get back into graphic design."

ME:  "I'm not sure.  I'm still getting a lot of rejections."

DH:  "But look at why you're getting the rejections."

ME:  "Because I suck?"

DH (after giving me a dirty look):  What did the last couple of e-mails say?  'Great writing.'  'Great voice.'  But then they turn around and say, 'I don't think I can sell this.'"

ME:  "Because I suck."  [Yes, I was feeling a tremendous amount of self-pity at the time.]

DH:  "Sweetie, face it.  You're a niche writer.  Focus on that niche.  It doesn't mean you won't go mainstream down the line, but you need to focus on your core audience."

ME:  "I'll think about it."

And I have been thinking about it.  Thinking to the point, I've been playing with formats on a couple of rejected manuscripts and doing research.  DH put a bug in M__'s ear about designing my cover.  She was incredibly enthusiastic about working with me, so at some point, I need to send her the manuscript so she can brainstorm.

Am I totally giving up on NY?  Not yet.  I've got two fulls and two partials sitting on four different agents' desks at the moment I write this.

But that doesn't mean I'm not looking at all the alternatives in the meantime.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Only Constant Is Change - Part 2

Currently reading - Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordin

WARNING:  This post contains mostly my opinions plus a few facts.  I make no guarantees or warranties.  Your mileage may vary.

To NY publish or not to NY publish?  That is the question.

I've always considered Hamlet a wuss, but for the first time, I'm starting to understand his dilemma when it comes to publishing a novel.

Even as little as three years ago, self-publishing was considered a major no-no.  Quite simply, the distribution companies would not deal with anyone who wasn't one of the Big 6 or an affiliate.  Without an adequate distribution system, writers had a difficult time getting their products into the hands of consumers.

Despite many slams against the publishers, simple economics rules their actions.  They cannot possibly publish every single writer who comes to their doors.  They pick and choose which books to publish, and it's an acknowledged fact that they don't always pick right.  But on the other hand, readers were generally assured they would purchase a quality product.

Therefore, self-publishing was considered by many folks (agents, editors, published authors, organizations such as RWA, etc.) as the mark of an amateur.  The prevailing wisdom was that if you couldn't make it in New York, then your work couldn't be quality.  Add into that mentality the failure of the early e-reading devices such as the Rocket Reader in the late '90's, and you had a recipe for a paper-books-only-through-publishers world.

Then came an upstart little company out of the Cleveland/Akron area.  Tina Engler Keen had been writing erotic romance, only to be rejected repeatedly by agents and editors who claimed there was no market for this type of story.  So in 2000, Tina created her own company Jasmine-Jade Enterprises, Inc., to publish her erotic romances as e-books under the imprint Ellora's Cave.  Within five years, Jasmine-Jade was a multi-million dollar company doing the two things New York said they couldn't do--e-books and erotic romance.

Is what Tina pulled off easy?  Hell, no!  The woman worked her butt to the point she wasn't writing novels anymore.

But the playing field has shifted radically in the eleven years since Tina pulled the rabbit out of her garter belt.  Writers can now upload their novels to Amazon, Smashwords, Lulu, and/or PubIt (among many other e-distributors).  The author sets the price in most instances.  Then the reader picks out their purchase, plugs in their payment, downloads the book, and (hopefully) enjoys the read on their Nook, Kindle, Sony Reader, and/or their PCs (among many other e-devices).

So what put the nugget of an idea that I could possibly self-publish as well?

A little over a year ago, I had one of those days.  You know the type, multiple rejections from agents hit your Inbox within minutes of each other, and you just want to drown yourself in Haagen Daaz Chocolate Peanut Butter ice cream.  At the same time I wallowed in chocolatety soothing, DH was listening to Memories of the Future 'Cast, a series of podcasts by Wil Wheaton.  Wil promoted his book, Memories of the Future, Vol.1, a part-review/part-memoir of the first half of the first season of Star Trek: The Next Generation he self-published through Lulu, by reading excerpts of his prose and adding in verbal bon mots not found in the book.

DH pulls off his headphones, looks at me, and said, "Why don't you self-publish?  Wil Wheaton's great at it."

TOMORROW: What happens when a writer's kernel of arrogance gets popped?

In the meantime, what are your thoughts, opinions, experiences in the Big 6 vs. Self-publishing smack-down?

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Only Constant Is Change - Part 1

Currently reading - Percy Jackson and the Olympians:  The Lightning Thief

CAVEAT:  This blog post is personal opinion.  I make no guarantees or warranties as to the following information.

(You do know "caveat" means "beware" in Latin, right?  The lamentable state concerning the knowledge of definitions and origins of words by my fellow writers will be the subject of a future post.)

Borders announced another set of lay-offs yesterday.  Publishers Weekly has a story about another well-known independent bookstore closing nearly every day.  Dorchester went from traditional publisher to e-publisher overnight.

The only common thread in the above sentences is that the publishing industry is finally going through the major upheaval based on digital content that plagued our sister entertainment industries: TV, music and motion picture.

Unpublishd fiction writers, like myself, watch the train wreck still in progress and wonder, "Which way do I jump?"

WARNING:  The following information is anecdotal, and in no way constitutes a legitimate scientific study.

I've been talking to published friends about their experiences with the paradigm shift in the industry.  The people I spoke with ran the gamut of the publishing business:  published with one of the big six houses, published with an e-only publisher, small press published, and self-published.  Most of these people gave me information for my own personal use.  Therefore, I do NOT have permission to name names or give out actual figures.

So far, everyone I've talked to who has the same titles out in both paper and electronic editions has seen an increase in e-sales compared to paper-sales over the first three quarters of 2010.  Those published in e-book format only have also seen an increase in sales.  Everyone with a backlist has seen an increase in sales once the backlists have been released in e-format.  This includes books that were originally print only editions, that have been out of print for years and that the author has received their rights back from the original publisher.

The increases range from single digit percentages to factors of ten with the majority averaging a twenty to two hundred per cent increase PER MONTH.

Yeah, folks, that's the figure that astounded me too.

I've been in corporate America and the legal profession long enough I take things with a huge block of salt.  When I read J. A. Konrath's blog, I swallowed it with enough sodium chloride to season every pretzel, french fry and potato chip in the country.  But what I'm hearing is in line with what Mr. Konrath is reporting.  Digital books are gaining more rapidly on traditional print than publishers, or even some authors and pro-author organizations, want to admit.

This is all well and good for Mr. Konrath and my friends who've had publishing contracts for five years or longer.  They've got a platform and an audience already built and ready to buy their product.  And they know the business of selling their books.

TOMORROW:  So what about a newbie like me?  Do I take my chances with an agent and/or NY publisher or do I strike out on my own?

In the meantime, would anyone out in the interwebs like to share their own experiences?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Another Big Thank You!

Currently reading - Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordin

Thanks to the Incredible Ivy at The Happy Whisk and the generous folks at Movie Ozone for mentioning Wild, Wicked & Wacky as a blog to check out.  You folks have no idea how much the word-of-mouth means to me!

In the meantime, the boys got home from Ohio early Sunday evening.  After the unpacking and the relaxing, we're trying to get back into the groove of work and homeschool today.

Starting tomorrow, I'l be talking about aspects of my pro/con list concerning self-publishing vs. traditional publishing.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Movie Mania Monday

I hope everyone had a fabulous MLK Day!  Ironically, racism played a prominent role for the family this day.

As I said yesterday, DH and I dragged GK to see The Green Hornet this afternoon.  The movie had received some pretty bad reviews (not that I pay much attention when it comes to comedy or superheroes because some of these guys just don't get it).  One of the few positive reviews called it a story by 'R' writers trying to tone their schtick down to a 'PG' level.

Which I have to say is true.  There's definitely a frat boy feel with all the kick-to-the-nuts scenes.  This was definitely a Seth Rogan film, not a Christopher Nolan 'The Dark Knight' which has become the gold standard for the superhero films.

What this movie did best was in-your-face satire of the inherent racism in the original Green Hornet radio plays and the 60's TV series.  There's no equality here.  Kato's the super genius, the martial arts expert, the weapons master.  Hell, he even got the girl (or at least had her interest until he lowered himself to Britt's frat boy level).  The Green Hornet can't do shit without Kato.  Everyone knows it, and this film acknowledges it.

This film ably skewers both racism and the superhero image, and I loved The Green Hornet for that alone.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

How to Torture Your Kid

Here's what DH and I are dragging GK to tomorrow afternoon.  Movie Mania Monday will appear late in the day!

C'mon!  You have to admit Black Beauty is a way cooler car (and better camoflauged) than the Batmobile.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Season of the Witch

My regular readers know I'm a Nick Cage freak, so of course, I went to see his latest on my day off this week.  Not terrific, but not as bad as the critics say.  I'll give you two hints:

1) You won't recognize Christopher Lee.

2) It was worth the admission price for the zombie monks.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Protecting Your Livelihood - Part 5

Currently reading - Greywalker by Kat Richardson

A couple of days ago, we talked about physical health, but mental health is just as important.  This means taking a break from the writing and do something else creative or entertaining.  Colleen Thompson refers to this as refilling the well.

Take a hard look at the writers you loved twenty, ten, even five year ago.  How many are still writing?  (And I'm not referring to folks like the late, wonderful Marion Zimmer Bradley.)  Sometimes it's raw bad luck, but in a lot of cases, burn-out is the cause.  To prevent burn-out, you need to give your mind something else to focus on.

Actress Jane Seymour paints.  Writers Jim Butcher and Sherrilyn Kenyon play RPGs.  I cook.

In fact, yesterday was my last free day before the boys come home from Ohio.  So I tried out a new chocolate, cherry shortbread cookie recipe.  I watched a couple of episodes from season 2 of True Blood.  I cleaned the living room.  (Hey, for me, it's relaxing.)

And while I dusted and vaccuumed, my insolent little brain got bored and decided to work on the latest wip.

Stupid brain.  Now I have to type up the plot points before I forget.

Anyone else want to share their methods for relaxing?

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Protecting Your Livelihood - Part 4

Currently reading - Greywalker by Kat Richardson

I guess I and other pundits can't say this often enough--BACKUP, BACKUP, BACKUP!!

This week a member of one of the local RWA chapters lost her entire manuscript.  Yes, the WHOLE FREAKIN' THING!  She'd only saved it to a flashdrive, not to her harddrive, and the flashdrive decided to croak.  Add on that (a) she's a published author and (b) her manuscript was due to her editor in a couple of weeks, you can feel the heart-stopping panic she experienced when she opened the file, only to see nonsensical characters.

If you use any computer, multipe backups are a necessity, not a luxury.  External hardrives would be the most expensive option, other than another computer, but even they are relatively cheap compared to the ER bill when you stroke out over losing an entire manuscript.  Flashdrive, hardrive, burned to a CD, or copied to floppy disk (assuming you can still find one), it doesn't matter.  Multiple versions of your file--even better.

I've been lucky.  The most I've ever lost is a couple of pages because I literally do all of the above at different stages of the week.

And when all else fails, have a geek in your pocket.  This writer was lucky.  Another RWA gal and her computer wizard husband were able to retrieve the file through some techno-magic, so our writer friend will meet her deadline after all.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Protecting Your Livelihood - Part 3

Currently reading - Greywalker by Kat Richardson

You hear everyone talk about writing the book of you heart, social networking, editting before submitting, etc.  But there's one very important writing asset I rarely hear anyone talk about preserving--you!

This mean excercising.  Believe me, I'd prefer to sit on the couch and watch True Blood on DVD than exercise.  However, my nag, aka Wonder Dog, pressures me for that mile and a half walk every day.

Sitting in a chair and writing is harder on the body than people realize.  Muscles and joints locked in the same positions can lead to conditions from carpal tunnel syndrome to potentially life-threatening deep vein thrombosis (DVT).  So find a form of exercise that's comfortable, enjoyable, and most importantly, SAFE for you.  Something you'll stick with.  I may complain about Wonder Dog's nagging, but a quiet walk often unsticks my plot points.

Also, make sure you eat right.  I've belabored this point in a previous post, but it's still an important one.  Even my diabetic nutritionist would say you can have an occasional treat, but if you're not on some medically restricted diet, make sure you eat reasonable portions of all the food groups during the day.

One suggestion I find irresponsible is telling new writers to skimp on sleep.  Now some people can get plenty of rest with only six hours of sleep, but most of us are not superpeople.  If you're an eight-hour person, get those eight hours and find some other way to squeeze in some writing time.  There's too many studies showing how lack of sleep leads to more accidents and heart problems.

The lesson here--take care of your primary writing tool, YOU!!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Protecting Your Livelihood - Part 2

Currently reading - Greywalker by Kat Richardson

If you're like me, your computer is your primary writing tool, your storage unit for all your stories, and your contact with everyone else in the publishing world.

Late last week, hackers tried to hijack my laptop, primarily through holes in Microsoft and Google.  Thank Djehuti, I had blogs written and timed to post through Sunday, but most of my writing time for the weekend was instead spent cleaning out the deposited malware.  I was lucky.  I had updated anti-malware that thwarted the worst of the attacks.  My only real problem was the CPU suck as Norton valiantly battled the hacking dragons.

The lesson here--keep your anti-malware programs updated, no matter what the cost.  And don't let anyone install programs on your computer that you don't fully understand.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Protecting Your Livelihood - Part 1

Currently reading - Greywalker by Kat Richardson

A ton of stuff's happened over the weekend, and we'll talk more about that over the next few days.  First, I must give a whole-hearted salute to the authors at the Killer Fiction blog.

In the quicksand that the publishing biz has become, the ladies at Killer Fiction have been through some serious downs last year.  Most of these gals started with the same publisher, and then that publisher took off and stranded them.  Add in major upheavals on the personal life front, and no one would have faulted these ladies if they let the dark grains close over their heads.

Now, the KF gals could have wailed and cried and let themselves be swallowed in the cesspit of despair, but they used the planks and vines of friends, agents and their own indomitable wills to haul their collective asses out of that sinkhole.  Some have signed with new publishers, some with new agents, and some are self-publishing.

The lesson here--other writers are not your enemies.  You have to have the guts and desire to pursue this career, and be smart enough to work together for everyone to succeed.

Starting today through January 21, 2001, the KF gals have a Kick Off the New Year contest.  In addition to daily drawings, they are giving away a grand prize--a KINDLE E-READER.

And to top it off, today Jana DeLeon is giving away e-copies of the first book in her Ghost-in-Law series, TROUBLE IN MUDBUG!  Trust me, you'll get hooked.

So go check out Killer Fiction and support these lovely ladies by buying their books!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Saturday, January 8, 2011


Here's a clip video matching the ladies of Avatar: The Last Airbender with the Moulin Rouge version of Lady Marmalade. AmicableAlien did a hell of a job with this!

Friday, January 7, 2011

The Latest in E-Publishing

Currently reading - Greywalker by Kat Richardson

Have you been keeping up with the e-book craziness?

Former agent, now tech guru, Nathan Bransford talks about our tablet overlords at the Las Vegas International Consumer Electronics Show.  Thriller author and ER doc CJ Lyons discusses her e-book pricing experiment over at Pimp My Novel.  Then there's mystery/suspense author J.A. Konrath's ongoing battle with the print overlords, the latest with uber-agent Richard Curtis.

The problem for newbies like me trying to shove their foot in the fiction door?  The publishing business is in a wild state of flux.  And if you're one of those writers who's on the hunt for the perfect idea/query/whatever break into the business?  Well, you definitely won't find it now.  (Though if you do, I'll give you chocolate if you'll tell me.)

In my quest for releasing my stories into the wild, I'm on the fence.  I'm a pros/cons list maker for major decisions.  The two columns are even as far as print vs. electronic.  And I've got people who care about me trying to sway the decision both ways.

Ultimately, I can only do the same thing as the rest of you.  Analyze the situation, then take that proverbial leap of faith.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

You Have to Research Even When You Write What You Know

Currently reading - Insatiable by Meg Cabot

A few years ago, I pitched a particular manuscript at a couple of conferences.  I was roundly shot down by two agents for the same reason--location.  Apparently, some NYC agents do not appreciate stories set in Los Angeles.  One agent soundly berated me for never having been to L.A. so how could I write about it, and that I needed to stick with what I knew.

I managed to swallow my smart-ass comeback, smile pleasantly and thank the agent for her time.  So what if I couldn't write about about L.A?  That meant I couldn't write about New York since I 've never been there either.  That left places I've lived (Ohio Amish country, Canton, D.C., Philadelphia and Houston) and places I've visited (Boston, Baltimore, Richmond, Williamsburg, Charlotte, Miami, Key Largo, New Orleans, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati, Las Vegas, Reno, Denver, Seattle, San Francisco, San Antonio, Dallas, . . .).  You get my drift.

The trouble is that even when you're very familiar with a place, things change.  The picture above is City Center Mall in downtown Columbus, Ohio, as it was being torn down last year.  I spent a lot of time shopping there with friends.  I ate dinner there each night of the three days of torture that was the 1999 Ohio Bar Exam.  I found the perfect leather jacket for DH in a little shop that was next door to Lazarus department store.  A lot of memories of a place that no longer exists.

So even if you think you know a place well, always ALWAYS do your research.  The heroine of my latest wip definitely can't eat lunch at Max & Erma's if the block that housed that particular restaurant is now a park.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Villainy and the WIP

Currently reading - Insatiable by Meg Cabot

I was caught up in villain motivations yesterday because I've finally got my head back in the current wip.

In fact, on Sunday, we finally had a c.p. get-together for business gossip and some brainstorming.  After Christie and I picked up the pizzas and I pulled into traffic, she gets all Serious.  It's rare for her to get serious with the capital 'S.' 

"I'm only going to say this once.  You'd better finish this book."  And then she shut up.  Folks, if you've know Christie or ever been around her, you know she can't stop talking.  It's in her DNA.  But no, she sat quiet as a church mouse for a couple of blocks until I said, "I will."

Monday morning, I clicked the file open and got back to work.  Only to realize that other than a brief passage in Chapter 1, I hadn't fleshed out, much less mentioned, my primary villain.  And since my villain's long-term goal is the destruction of the universe, he definitely needed some backstory.

It probably helped that on Sunday, Jody called my 'Vette evil.  Then she added that it suits me.  Fleshing out my villain shouldn't be a problem, right?

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Motivation Applies to Villains Too

Currently reading - Insatiable by Meg Cabot

How many times have you heard about Goal, Motivation and Conflict as it applies to your hero/heroine?  A dozen.  A hundred.  A couple of thousand.  (If you haven't read Deb Dixon's Goal, Motivation & Conflict: The Building Blocks of Good Fiction, I strongly suggest you beg, borrow or buy a copy.  Like now.  For reasonable prices, check out

GMC applies to villains as well.  Doctor Evil didn't just wake up one morning and decide to be evil.  (Okay, in Mike Meyers' world, he probably did, but roll with me on this one.)

In little scene in the first Austin Powers movie where Dr. Evil and his son Scott attend father-son group therapy, Dr. Evil lays out a pretty horrendous childhood where he's abandoned by his parents.  Even Scott wants nothing to do with him.  Constant rejection is the catalyst that send Dr. Evil into his downward spiral of "I'm going to screw you over before you screw me over."  Not even Frau Farbissina's love can save him because he can't recognize it.

And ultimately, he hates Austin Powers because everyone gives Austin the love Dr. Evil believes he's owed.

The antagonist of your story must have his own GMC.  Otherwise he becomes another two-dimensional cookie cutter villain.  Take a look at your ms.  Does the villain's GMC make sense?  If it doesn't, pretend you're his therapist and have a long talk with him.

Preferably not in public where the guys with the nice white coats can find you.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Absolutely No Regrets

Currently reading - Insatiable by Meg Cabot

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. . .

Okay, it was really Ohio shortly after I earned my bachelor's degree.  My immediate superior Peggy was a woman in her mid-forties.  One evening, I and a couple of other twenty-something co-workers were at her apartment.  We were talking business and how much the computer industry had changed.  Peggy mentioned she regreted that she never pursued college.

This was back in the day when a secretary with smarts could break into the computer biz.  Peggy was a lady with a lot of gumption, something I'd admired about her.  Her litany of regrets continued as the evening and the wine progressed.

And I realized that same evening I didn't want to hit Peggy's age, only to regret my life.

Our decisions, for good or ill, are what shapes us.  Regreting a decision means regreting the person we've become.  And as I stride into that same age-zone, I realize regrets for what they really are--self-loathing.  You don't like what the person that choices you've made have turned you in to.

It's a new year, a clean slate.  If you didn't make the world's best choice, make amends as best you can, learn from it and move on.  It's not worth your mental health second-guessing yourself.  And when you're at a crossroads in the next weeks or months, ask yourself which option is the one you can live with.  That cuts down on most of the regrets.

And repeat after Madonna--"Absolutely no regrets."

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Human Nature

Most people pay more attention to the imagery in this video than the lyrics. They miss both points Madonna was trying to make at the time. And her points are even more true today than they were nineteen years ago.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

One Girl Revolution

This video clip combines Superchick and Toph of Avatar: The Last Airbender.  Did Stargazer777 put together a terrific video or what?

Time to get your New Year's writing groove on!