Writing, Chaos, Order and a Whole Lot of Pens with @MeganSlayer #iamwriting #planning #posting #writing

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 (By Luis Argerich from Buenos Aires, Argentina (Cross Pen) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons)

I love my writing utensils. Love them. I’ve got a pen collection that’s probably out of control. Why? Because when I go somewhere, I want a pen to commemorate being there. Also, they look pretty. I tend to use the ink up in them, too. With my luck, once I decided to display the pens, the one with the ink left in it would explode and I’d have a mess. But that’s my luck.

But this post isn’t about just my love of pens…although based on the photos I added, you’d think it might be. Grin.

I wanted to write today about something that may seem small and silly, but it’s pretty big for me.

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(By André (Own work) [CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons)

I’m a stress writer. Yep. I admit it. I am. I tend to know what I want to write and have deadlines, but for whatever reason, I seem to wait until I’m down to the wire before I get things done. That doesn’t mean I’m sitting around doing nothing. No…I’m usually finishing up whatever it was I put off before this project.

It’s not a good thing to do, stress writing. I tend to create these crazy schedules for myself, then stress when I don’t feel like I’m meeting my own deadlines. It’s worse during National Novel Writing Month (NaNo). I usually have a project to finish BEFORE I can start the NaNo one and then I try to get both done y the end of November (that’s the month NaNo takes place in).

Europen-nib

(By Europenpen (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons)

Right now, I’m currently trying to wrap up a short for Changeling involving Christmas Magic. I won’t get into the gritty nitty, but it’s short and it’s HAWT. Before that, I finished another Christmas tale for another publisher. Because I love Christmas? Because the stories were begging to be written. Oh, and I’ve got another short planned for once the Changeling book is done. Have I lost my mind? Sometimes it feels like it.

I enjoy Christmas, don’t get me wrong. I love the joy, the togetherness and the fun of the holiday. But it’s July. It’s not entirely hard to think about snow (it’s been well into the 90s for temps here of late),  but I’m not really in the mindset to write Christmas. I won’t lie. When it’s Christmas time, then I’ve got all sorts of ideas for stories. It just happens to be too late or too early to turn them in (depending on who you ask). But the stories I just finished and am working on demanded to be written.

I don’t have big spreadsheets of what needs to be written and when. I might have a schedule that’s in my trusty notebook next to my laptop, but that’s got maybe a week or two out scheduling wise. I let the muse talk and pants my way through most of my stories. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t just write whatever pops into my head from the muse. That’s what ends up in the notebook where I can tweak it first. But it might be May and I’ll have the characters for a Christmas story show up. Or it might be Halloween and I want to write Valentines stories. Although, a mash-up of a Valentine Halloween might be fun.

So while I’m sure I rambled through this post, this is a clue into my writing world. There’s some order and some chaos, but it’s all mine and I own it. I might as well. 🙂

 

 

Random Thought ~ Reused Actors and When the Plot Falls Apart

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First of all, I have to start by saying this post concerns movies. All the way around, it concerns movies.

I’ve been watching the Christmas in July movies on the Hallmark channel. Why? To get into the Christmas headspace to write Christmas stories. Grin. I know when I watch these movies, I’m going to get a happy ending and there will be tension, but the plot is what matters–not the hot stuff or stolen kisses.

Don’t get me wrong. I wish there were a few more stolen kisses and hot moments. I’d love to see them ramp up the sexual tension. No one has to be bound or spanked, but a little heat wouldn’t hurt.

But the thing that’s bothered me this Christmas in July season isn’t that I’m dying for Christmas cookies or a break in the hot temps. Nope. It’s the reusing of actors and the plot holes.

The reusing of actors wouldn’t be bad, but after a while all I can see is who they played in previous movies. Oh, she was a princess in that one. He was a prince, then a plumber, then a corporate raider. I don’t see the character, I see the actor and that ruins the fun of the flick. It kind of drives me crazy.

Then there are the plot problems. How come the boyfriend just let her go? Why didn’t he put up more of an argument? Why didn’t the guy try harder? Why, if he loves her, didn’t he go caveman? Why didn’t she stick up for herself? Why when she DOES stick up for herself, do the powers that be make her look so…cranky?

Maybe I’m too picky as a viewer. Maybe I want too much. Maybe I’m seeing things that aren’t there and hoping for what I’d rather see. I’m not sure.

Do you have those things that drive you nuts about movies? About the all weekend sprees of movies on the same theme? I’d love to know.

Random Thought Thursday ~ When the Outcome isn’t What You Thought

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I’ve mentioned a time or two that I love movies. I love TV, too, but movies are my thing. One thing I’ve noticed is every so often, movies and television shows have a plot that’s easy to figure out. That happens. What might be complicated to me, might be easy to figure out to others. Murder She Wrote is one example. I never knew whodunit until the show revealed it.

But I’ve been thinking about some shows and movies that didn’t quite get to the ending the way I wanted. Now, who am I to say the show/writer/movie/etc was wrong? I’m a writer and I know I’ve got characters who didn’t quite do what I wanted them to do and the ending wasn’t the one I expected.

But there are times when I’ve gotten so emotionally involved in a show/movie that I was upset by the end of the movie.

CONTAINS SPOILERS!! If you don’t want spoilers, then don’t read this part.

For example, I didn’t like the way the character of Credence in Fantastic Beasts. The poor kid was misunderstood and abused. Instead of getting the kid some help, they destroyed him. Wasn’t there a way to talk him down? It felt like the easier answer was to destroy him. Hmm…

Then there’s Night Court. I LOVED that show. From the moment she showed up, I wanted Christine and Judge Harry to get together. They teased at it and that was great, but at the end… that’s when I wasn’t able to stay with the train. Dan, the prosecutor, had chased EVERYONE with a skirt on during the run of the show. The last episode? He’s ready to chase Christine. When was he not? Then Harry chases her, too. I liked that they both did, but I wanted closure. Yes, insert pouty face. Lol. I wanted Harry to get his happy ending.

But that’s how movies and television work. You don’t always get what you want. Is it good storytelling? Copping out? Depends on how you look it it. If you want to be negative, then it’s shortchanging the viewer. For a more positive spin, life doesn’t always work out the way we want.

That doesn’t mean it doesn’t irk me when the story doesn’t take the turn I expect. But that’s a mark of a good show to me. If I’m emotionally involved, then I’m paying attention. It’s worth my time. But then I have odd taste in movies, music and television. I still love Agent Carter and Forever. Neither are on television any longer. Shame.

What about you? Are there shows/movies that had endings you didn’t see coming/didn’t like? Let me know.

Wednesday Random Thoughts ~ Most Remarkable Characters with @MeganSlayer

Check it Out BannerNormally on Wednesdays I write book reviews. I have some books I could review, but I’ve had this blog topic on my mind for a while and I thought maybe I’d build up a bit of a backlog for book reviews and take this week off.

Now to the topic…

I love television and movies. I love music, too. While I was in the middle of a M*A*S*H binge, featuring McLean Stevens as Col. Henry Blake and I got to thinking. There are some truly remarkable characters. Is Henry remarkable? Some might disagree, but I think he is. I love the episodes he’s in more than the later ones. I like to laugh and he’s guaranteed to bring the laughs.  Oh, sure, I like Hawkeye and Trapper, but there’s something about Henry .

So in the middle of this binge, the episode where Henry goes home aired. I don’t know about you, but there are certain movies and tv shows I can’t watch when I know someone won’t make it. The episode, Abyssinia Henry, is one of them. I cry each time. I know what will happen. I’ve seen it a dozen times. But Henry is one of those characters I don’t want to see go away. I cry each time. Yes.

Now I’m going to make a huge jump. M*A*S*H is in a level above CSI: Miami, but these two shows have something in common. The loss of a character. Where I’ll cry because Henry doesn’t make it, I cry because Speedle is shot in the line of duty. I started watching CSI: Miami because I liked Wolfe. I won’t lie. I was drawn to him because he’s cute. Well, he is. But I had to get the rest of the plotline and I like to go back to the beginning with series once I know I’ve come in halfway through. So I binged the show’s first two seasons before they were pulled from the air. (They aren’t making any new CSI: Miami episodes and it’s kind of a shame. I liked that show.) Anyway, I watched and came to love Speedle. He’s a punk, cocky and snarky, but lovable. Plus, he’s kind of cute in a rugged kind of way. I had NO idea he wasn’t going to make it. When that episode came along…I was gobsmacked. Again, I cried. I liked this guy. WTH!

The same thing goes with The Fox and The Hound, Where the Red Fern Grows and Eight Below (but in those cases, it’s the dog(s) that don’t make it. I don’t like when the ones I love die.

Now I understand why the writers get rid of some characters and phase out others. You’ve got to evolve. BUT…that doesn’t mean I have to like it. I don’t like change. I really don’t. I’d prefer to have my characters live on forever.

What about you? Are there shows you have a hard time with because of the characters? Is there one or more that are your favorites?

 

Strange Bedfellows with @MeganSlayer #signings #romance #funny

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I happened to be watching an old Clark Gable/Carole Lombard movie when I realized I needed to write a post for Dirty Birdies. The premise for the movie was two people who probably shouldn’t work out actually doing so. It reminded me of a few book signings I’ve done. You see, I have an interesting talent when it comes to book signings. Either I’m placed next to my friends, or I’m placed next to my polar opposite. Don’t believe me?

One of my very first signings happened to be at my local library. They did an interesting event called Cascade of Authors. Basically, they brought together a whole slew of authors and let us talk about what we wrote. As a mixer, it worked well. Now everyone who knows me or has read Megan Slayer knows I write hot. Real hot. Damn hot. HAWT. For some reason, the organizers thought it would be smart to place me next to a nun. Yes. I didn’t mind being next to her. I thought it was rather interesting. I’ve never been a nun and knew nothing about them other than what I’d see in the movies or television. I know not all nuns are the same, but this one made certain I knew that my books weren’t ‘appropriate’ for the library. Of course, the cover she took issue with was of a single girl. It’s the cover for When You’re With Me. It’s not as bad as it could be. Then the nun insisted on asking me during the Q&A how many books I had out. Back then it was closer to a hundred. I guess that’s not what she wanted to hear. She refused to talk to a ‘smut’ writer and hurried out of there as soon as she could. ☹

At a different year, but the same event, the Cascade of Authors, I was placed next to a Friar. Uh-huh. He had beads made by children in an African country and was giving them out to anyone who bought one of his books. Now this particular year, I brought my M/M titles to the event. I’d written one about football players and wanted to talk about it. Instead of being put off like I thought he might be, the friar bought a copy. We had a great conversation about his mission work and getting young people involved in the church. Did I mention we were placed at the one table that wasn’t in the semi-circle with the other authors? We joked it was because we were so polarizing. It was a great experience. Strange, but it worked.

Now, I don’t just seem to be placed next to the religious set. Nope. I have a knack for being placed next to sweet romance authors, too. I don’t mind the sweet authors. Heck, some of my very best friends write sweet. They write mystery, sweet and pretty much everything. But one time in particular, I was placed next to a person who wrote sweet. As soon as she found out what I wrote, she wanted to be moved. I understand the whole idea of our heat levels not meshing so it could be a problem. Sweet and super spicy. Hee hee. Needless to say, we weren’t separated. But the funniest part? We became fast friends. Being thrown together was the nicest thing that could’ve happened.

So I guess being the dirty birdie has actually been a blessing. More of one that I thought. I get to write what my heart wants, work with the characters that chatter to me all of the time. It doesn’t matter where I’m placed. I always have a good time and make the best of everything. What about you? Have you ever been placed in a strange situation? How’d you handle it?

Originally posted on the Dirty Birdies blog: http://wp.me/p6bvcM-1Fe

 

I Love My Library by @WendiZwaduk #celebratelibraries

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Originally posted at: http://www.readersentertainment.com/blog/2017/why-i-love-my-li…hor-wendi-zwaduk/

Libraries have been an integral part of my life pretty much as long as I can remember. Going to the library when I was a kid was a treat. We tried to keep our trips—anywhere—to a minimum, but the library was within walking distance. My mother made sure we went. If there was a summer reading program, we took part. If I’d have had my way, I would’ve had my first job at the library. The smell of the books and the feel of the cards in the card catalogue are something I’ll never forget.

When I was in the sixth grade, I took part in the summer reading program. I don’t remember what made me want to, other than I liked the competition of trying to read as many books as I could. But one different part of this particular summer reading situation was a competition. Not just who can read the most books, but it involved creating a project/diorama/or however your imagination ran. I remember my mother had no idea I was even thinking about taking part. She knew I was doing the program, but to go to that next step? I figured…why not? So I created a diorama for a Baby-Sitters Club book about a wedding. I created a wedding scene and turned the thing in. That’s the last I thought about it. I just wanted my artwork posted at the library. I don’t know what the criteria happened to be for the contest, but my little paper wedding scene was chosen as a winner and I ended up on the local television station to talk about it.

This event fostered a different kind of love for my library. It showed me the power of words and pictures. I could take my interpretation of a book and run with it. I’d like to think this was part of my early training to be a writer. I loved the freedom to go to the library, find a book and lose myself in it and if I so desired, I could create art to go along with it.

Another thing I love about my library is the people. Back when I entered that contest, the children’s department head was a lady by the name of Mary Court. She reminded me of the grandma figures in most kid books. The lady with the warm smile, the happy attitude and the one who ready the books out loud. I guarantee if she hadn’t been so nice, I probably wouldn’t have hung out at the library so much. In my local library, I made a close friend. Melissa Mallinak has been so instrumental in my writing career. How? She helped me get my books on the physical shelves, but the virtual ones, too. Plus, she’s a friend. She genuinely cares about the library, patrons and the experience. When I visit, we spend a lot of time talking and having fun.

Without experiences like the summer reading program and people like Mary and Melissa, my writing career wouldn’t be the same. I owe a lot to my library and those wonderful books.

When the Idea Comes Alive by @MeganSlayer #ideas #writers #PNR

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Originally posted on the Paranormal Romantics Blog: http://paranormalromantics.blogspot.com/2017/03/when-idea-comes-alive-by-meganslayer.html

Sometimes I wonder what the next story will be. I know that sounds crazy. Aren’t authors supposed to have characters talking all of the time? Usually, that’s correct. Most often, I can’t keep a notebook close enough of a pen full because I’m scrawling information down. I can see a music video or a sequence at the store and an idea shows up. It’s fun. 

But every so often, I’m in a lull. No one’s talking and nothing’s happening. I call it my time to recharge my brain. Hey, sometimes I need to. 

So while I was sitting here trying to decide what to write about and being mildly puzzled… I had an idea. Actually, I’d been thinking about my local library. I was given the opportunity to write a short piece about why I love my library. Now you’re probably wondering why I mentioned the library. Simple. The library and this post (Yep, this one) inspired me. 

I used to love going to my local library (a bigger one than the one where I live now) and wondered what would happen if the furniture came to life. What if the paintings could talk or the books could, too? What would it be like to be in that world. Kind of a cross between Beauty and the Beast and Alice in Wonderland. When you walk in, you don’t know who the librarians will be that day or what the books will tell you. It’s a mystery! Could be Alexander the Great talking about his conquests while the statue of birds flies around the rafters.  I don’t know about you, but I’m certainly putting this idea on the back burner and letting it simmer a while. 

What about you? Have you ever had a whiz-banger of an idea? Or one that won’t leave you alone? I’d love to know. You don’t have to disclose the idea, but maybe the how and why. 🙂