Friday, March 31, 2006

Quick! Watch it before GM figures out

Hooo boy. Some great marketing types put up a Make Your Own Ad at the GM site.

Maybe GM doesn't mind the way people are using the Make Your Own to create little videos like this.

and this.

or this.

and this.

and for the romantic? It friggin loves you.

Heck, thanks to lots of people emailing this around, GM's getting lots of traffic and that's what counts, right?
See if you can do worse or better. Email me the results!

updated to include one of the funniest ads ever. Nothing to do with GM though. Big Ad for beer.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Thursday Thirteen -- a table of horrors

Thursday Thirteen

Thirteen things I've taken from my dog's mouth

1. A penguin missing a face and flipper and foot.

2. The last bit of a kid sculpture.

3. Her leash.

4. A book

5. A dish towel

6 Doesn't look impressive untill you see that all of those gloves are left handed. The right handed ones are Gone. We have a corresponding bag of orphaned rights. No one wears matched gloves around here.

7. The remains of a plastic flower pot.

8. The top to my water bottle. I suspect the bottom is out back somewhere

9. A stick. She brought it inside so she could have company while she chews it to bits.

10. A stuffed toy. A donut, I believe.

11. Part of a sandcastle kit. It came with a shovel which is long gone into little bits.

12. A yogurt carton. I gave it to her, so I'm not sure it counts

13. A milk carton.

I thought it would take a while to find 13 chewed things because most of her victims end up tossed in the garbage. Took me less than five minutes to gather these.

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!

Joan, (I love that blog name)



(leave your link in comments, I’ll add you here!)

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

my doctor story for Doug

My mother was slipping, heading downhill fast mentally. She had some sort of scan done (I really can't remember if it was brain or vessels or what) and we went to talk to the specialist who'd done it. He was in his seventies and my mother loved the fact he wasn't young enough to be her son. She was sick of baby-faced doctors.

He pulled out the report to read us the results. I could read the paper upside-down and saw that the name at the top of the paper was not Rothwell but something long and Germanic, I'll say Medizinischesverzögert.

"That's not my mother's name." I pointed at the paper.

"Here are the results I have for her," the guy said.

"Medizinischesverzögert is not my name," my mother said.

"Is it the scan doctor's name maybe?" I asked.

The doctor wasn't paying attention to us; he was flipping through the notes.

"The name of the doctor who did the scan?" I said again.

He leafed back to the first page. "I did the scan myself. I always do the scan. Let me tell you about the tests--"

"No, wait, look, that says patient's name. Medizinischesverzögert is not my mother."

He began to tell us the results--everything looked good for Mrs. Medizinischesverzögert.

"My name is ROTHWELL," my mother said.

He smiled and nodded.

I looked at the pile of blue folders on his desk and saw one labeled Rothwell. I picked it up and shoved it at him. "That. Is. My. Mother's. File."

His smile didn't even flicker when he took it. He pulled out the report and began again as if nothing had happened--everything looked good for Mrs. Rothwell.

Anyway, a couple of months later, the doctor retired and one of the ladies at the nursing home where my parents lived told me that he'd been diagnosed with Alzheimer's.

(I wanted my mother to go to another doctor--"Jeebus, Ma, maybe he couldn't even read and just said the same thing for every patient," but she insisted he was good enough for her.)

my apology letter.

Dear ________,

I just sold a story to another publisher and the reason I'm letting you know is because you guys:
a. Saved my tuchus by sending the story back to me when my computer blew up.
b. Gave me great suggestions for changes.

I was just going to let the subject drop, but I felt like I owed you some kind of heads-up. (If only so you'd know which author's portrait to make into this week's dart-board portrait).

Thanks you again for your time, patience and everything else,
Kate Rothwell/Summer Devon

I didn't add that the reasons I'm going with pub#1 are strictly non-personality based--which is always lovely. Personality issues floating around this kind of decision make the process yuck-city.

Here's why pub#1:
1. The book will eventually go to print and be in bookstores (oh, but it turns out pub#2's books do too. oh well)
2. They pay an advance (#2 doesn't).
3. I've already published with them.

I think I've probably said good-bye to my chances at being published with #2 but some of the personal slime factor has been reduced.

* * * *

Last night I dreamed that an editor made me turn a standard third-person manuscript into a second and first person peculiar mess, and made me add a huge blob of backstory/history at the start. Talk about nightmares.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

selling helps

basic summary of an email exchange just now

Samhain editor: I have a strange question--did you submit a book to me?
me: The one with the references to Bewitched? Kind of weird?
SE: I'll buy it.
me: Are you sure? Have you read it?
SE: Sure I read it. I'll buy it.

It's the shape-shifting rat book erotica--by Summer, naturally, since anything by Kate goes via the agent and is mainstream And makes big bucks**, dang it.

Here's the Dear Abby situation though:

I'd submitted it to another epublisher who pointed out all sorts of things that were wrong with it. I fixed a few of the problems (not all, because I wasn't sure what some of the comments meant).

I appreciate epublisher two's time and useful suggestions. Do I tell them that um, never mind, I sold it to someone else?

So dang many ebooks a week come out, chances are epub two won't notice the book and I bet it could slide through without notice. But I don't want to be slimy...well any slimier than I already have been. They really did make great suggestions--and implied that if I made the changes, they'd buy the book.

Oh, and epub two also managed to save my butt with this story. The computer crashed and they sent me back a copy of it.

What do you think? I know, I know--epub two isn't lying awake at night, fretting over this sucker, wondering when I'll get the story back to them with changes. Still, one does want to Do The Right Thing.

But how would I write the letter?

Remember that story of mine that I submitted to you? And you gave me great comments about? Such fabu comments that I thanked you profusely? Remember it? I sold that to someone else. Thanks!

added for clarification: I didn't have a contract with publisher#2, just the hint that if I make the changes mentioned I'd get one. Jeepers, I'm not that slimy.


**Irony alert.

Monday, March 27, 2006

aww, it's SBD and I have a bad case of it.

I'm sick of writing books publishers don't buy... It's been a while, so maybe it's time for a "Not Fooling Them Any More Day"

So why bother posting, you ask? ....
wait a bit, I'll find an answer.
hmmmm. No. Not yet.
Well, there is the question about pseudonyms. I mean people seem to resent them. I use one to keep my writing styles separate and so that my kids can pretend they don't know an erotica writer. But is it worth a whole post?


A recipe instead.

My favorite scones (mostly from way, way rich, so don't make it when you're alone. (they freeze okay though--cooked, I mean)
400 degree oven.

2 tablespoons freshly grated lemon zest
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar plus 3 tablespoons additional if using fresh cranberries
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter, cut into bits
1 1/4 cups fresh cranberries, chopped coarse, or 1 1/4 cups dried cranberries or dried cherries
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 cup heavy cream

Use the food processor to cut up the cranberries. DON'T pulverize them, okay? Just a bit of cutting. Take them out. Then use the food processor or the pastry cutter to mix the butter into the drys.

No more food processor. No. Toss the cranberries and the lemon zest with the butter/dries.

Mix the wets together then add all at once to the butter/dries. You know--like biscuits. Don't overmix. Stir gently. Don't get too enthusiastic. only stir until mixed.

Make them however large you want. If you make them about 2" all around they'll need about 15 minutes to bake.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

today's way best fun site. ever.

Maili discovered the best online toy for anyone interested in 19th century London. The best, ever, ever. Oh lordy, it's fun. I thought playing with regular addresses on google earth was a gas.

Serious Saturday night excitement here, yessirreebob, but time to wind down. I have to go read Hank the Cowdog aloud which will mean I'll speak with a horrendous southern accent for the next few hours. Yeehaw lil dawgies.

today I blogged at Romance Unleashed

I've been reading a bunch (well, four) of non-romance non-fantasy non-mass-market-land books lately.

After a few years of a full diet of mass-market, I can no longer evaluate books that are not romance or mystery or have the clear plot pattern of, say, a fantasy. If something in the plot or characters seems off I think well, maybe the author meant us to think it's off--I don't automatically think this writer is an unclear doofus. I look for messages and symbolism just because I figure it has to be there. I think I'm going to go back to Mass-market-land soon. I'm tired of being overawed. Actually I want to read Doug's book, if I can find it on my computer.

What I do like? Reading the Amazon reviews of one of those books wherein I discover everyone else knows the truth:
What a pretentious dolt.
I loved this book--it changed my life forever.
It's a load of garbage.
Best book of the decade. READ it NOW.
Don't waste your money on this immature batch of scribbles

Over at RU, it's all about books to movies.

Friday, March 24, 2006

today's school walk theme, comfort

this yammering was on the home trip from school. I got the low-down on my high-flying neighbor's time in Austin (this is the Emmy Award-winning neighbor). He's pumped because a band he plays with was voted number one of 1,400 bands in Austin by the LA Times. Very cool.

The neighbor mostly talked about how much he likes playing with Big Al Anderson. The best part of this current round of excitement isn't the admiration, the money and all that (at least when he was talking to me, the less wealthy neighbor. Dude's a diplomat). It's that the guy he's playing with/for/whatever has been his role model since he was twelve and that Al is a nice guy. The professional musician neighbor hates meeting a lot of the big names because so many of them are assholes. Not Big Al. That's cool--and so's the fact that the band isn't full of partying drinkers and they all have kids. It's a comfortable fit for a guy who saw 20 a while back.

I keep trying to figure out what personal success means because when I hit my late 30s, had my last baby, it seemed like it was time to push or give up. I hadn't really defined it for myself because of my singular lack of ambition.

I've met some Big Time Names, people who've had Success as defined by outsiders and it turns out I was right in a lot of ways. A lot of capital S Successful types apparently also define success as the little stuff that can be achieved in all sorts of lives.
* Doing what you want to do with your on-time, not just off hours,
* doing it with people you like or admire--or both--and
* doing it in a place and wearing clothes that make you happy. (There might be big money for a lot of those capital S people but, eh, that's something else.)

The neighbor asked me about my writing. I said Summer was doing okay but Kate hadn't sold in a while. He said next time I sell, I needed to get a publicist and go on tours and signings. I said nah and then he agreed, nah. He added that he's excited about going on tour but it's not a life he wants forever. He has a kid and doesn't want to miss seeing her grow up.

Of course now he's the one being offered the chance at capital S. I'll check in with him later to see if hitting the big time in his field has drawbacks other than missing his kid's bedtime. For his sake, I hope not. The rest of us who don't make it might like the comfort of knowing capital S Success isn't fun after all--but I want someone else to tell us about that. Someone less deserving should be the one to tell us capital S is not all it's cracked up to be. Not my neighbor, who's a great guy and already had rough winter with an Attack Snowblower.

* * * * * *

OH! and speaking of SUCCESS, I just got an email from fellow Romance Unleashed writer Pam LeBud saying she got a very nice call this morning. . . .

Wednesday, March 22, 2006


first: Portia De Costa's new cover. Wow, eh?

and then, some chocolate -- a review site.

oh what the heck, in honor of Wendy, a chocolate recipe.

I just made fudge sauce (I didn't want to, but boy 3 and mike insisted)

1 can condensed milk
2 oz unsweetened chocolate
a few teaspoons of unsweetened cocoa
some tablespoons of butter
a couple of teaspoons of corn syrup.
a few tablespoons of water.
heat it (stirring constantly), eat it.

Not sophisticated like pad thai but it works better on ice cream. I've eaten a teaspoon and will now pretend there is no chocolate in the house. Maybe I'll go for a run.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Congratulations, SBD

Smart Bitches Day is a year old?

I wish I had a good present to give it. I don't. Here's a local SBD retrospective instead. Sometimes I put in links, and sometimes I put in a bit of the SBD post. Not always. You want consistency? Pay me to edit this crap, okay?
Onto the year of SBD at This Blog.

You can always do an orgasm on your own. The standard picture of aroused people is with closed eyes, head back--off in their own world of sensation. Check out all those women on the clinch covers. Orgasm is a private moment.But when you have a laughing fit with another person? The meeting of the eyes is a powerful thing. A simple wiggle of the eyebrows, a little smirk and -- you both go off again. Yeah, okay, the smoldering look across the room is fine, but I like it when people can't make eye contact across the room because they'll start laughing again.

Just say no to dildoes (not really SBD, but it's sort of romantic. Okay, not really even a little bit.)

My first romance.
I read it, enjoyed it more than I thought I should and left it on another bus--but it was too late. I'd been left with that horrible inspiration that eventually leads so many well-meaning people down the garden path, past the pergola of good intentions, to the ha ha of doom: Huh. I can do better than that.

What gets you happy in a romance .
I posted one of my examples above.
Sam said: OK - I'll admit - I'm a sucker for a Cinderella story, it gets me hooked every time, lol. However, if she gets amnesia and pregnant and has a secret baby the book flies into the nearest wall.

loathing heroines.
But I'm not even sure why I wrote this part of it? I think this is a tangent--there are a lot of those in the blog.

For Whom do I write when I'm working on a book? Absolutely no one. And the one time I tried to write for an audience I failed miserably. It's Second Book Syndrome, a common occurence in which the writer turns into an author and suddenly realises people are going to actually read her dreck--and suddenly there are too many scary people between the writing and the author. The author becomes self conscious and grows hysterical and drinks a lot of wine. Eventually the writer loses interest and moves on to a new neurosis called Omigod Second Book Due In One Month Syndrome.

a fun toy (create your own romance covers) from January.

A chocolate recipe on SBD

Another chocolate recipe

November. why it works.
I'll bet I've said it before: romance can help what ails you. Everyone else has said it. Every conference I go to has a big name romance writer speaker who talks about the most horrible moments of her life with the climax of her speech being How Reading/Writing Romance Helped Her Through It.** We're all sniffling along with her and then uplifted at the conclusion. Yowza, talk about endorphins. (Not to mention the buzz brought on by sharing common emotions)

Everyone's talking about romance as food.
Judith Ivory or Laura Kinsale= one of those chocolate cakes that's so rich that you moan through every bite but don't want to eat the whole cake at once.

Standard Category= twinkies. Sometimes NOTHING ELSE WILL DO. You can wolf one of these down and not even moan about the wasted calories. but don't kid yourself into thinking it's always homebaking.

Really Good Category= twinkie-like sometimes it is home baked and the filling is a wonderful surprise. Woowee, better than you expected.

sub-standard Category=stale halloween candy. You can eat it, but why bother?

Pirate Day sneering about the fakey-pants pirates of romance.

"avast, matey, Starbucks off ter port bow. Fetch me a mocha latte or I'll lash ye to the capstan and drub ye wi' broken bottles. 'N mark ye, plunder the CVS fer some wax. I be feelin' some stubble near me navel."

I'm getting bored with this. A couple more and then I'm done. . . okay.

August in which I figure out porn is almost always romance. (Kate tries to rile people into posting. No one does)
Last night when I couldn't sleep and read a whole lot of stuff over at I mean A. Lot. Of. Stuff. And except for the stories in which the writing was so bad the work was about body parts coming together, I was suprised to discover that even the very basest, most despicable stories--the stories labeled "nonconsent/reluctance" were about...relationships.

Another snotty entry this one is about other writers. (again no one rose to my bait)
So I'm reading a lot of unpublished work right now, judging contests. A few of the entries I read cause me . . . enormous frustration. Tonight's raging bitchiness is brought to you by the letters PM and S and entries 1 and 2.

After that it's July and the other blog and I have to go get a kid from school.

hey! so!

Sunday, March 19, 2006

gettin political again?

Sheesh, only about 1,000 people at most showed up in Hartford today. Where were you guys? Some dude walking past said, "Now that's too bad, around here I'd expect 40,000 people." He didn't stop though. (It was pretty cold, windy and it snowed. Ahhh, New England in the springtime.)

And I was expecting to see lots of people who didn't look white, middle class and badly dressed. . . kvetch, mumble, moan.

I posted about the erring Uncle Joe in dailykos. Basic theme? You're not going to win hearts and minds of CT voters by calling them morons. I was called a moron by one of the readers.

That's enough politics for the day. I don't want to drive off my very last reader. [waving at her: Yes, turn off the lights but please, don't slam the door on your way out.]

Yes, yes, this I have to promote. . .Douglas wants orgasms.

No, really. He wants your favorites and he wants them NOW. I haven't sent him any but I haven't looked through my impressive list o' smut. I think an 80s romance would do the trick. That's when universes shattered and euphemisms raged and metaphors soared. These days? Rioters call a blissful coming to climax an orgasm.


Do you suppose that cleaning scene in the Pine Sol commercial might count?

Saturday, March 18, 2006

questions about the secret service guys pretending to be fox news types

From 3/17/06 The Sun Herald

Your assignment: to read the article and answer my questions:

1. Why aren't more people put out about this? (I wrote "why aren't more people angry", but I suppose no one was harmed. It just seems stupid--and unprofessional, too.)

2. Why isn't Fox News pissed off? They'd have reason. **

3. Why did they bother misrepresenting themselves?

4. Eh? Has this sort of thing happened a lot and I've just missed it?

I wish ferfe would weigh in . . .


**from the Sun-Herald article:

Aly Colon, who deals with issues of ethics for the Poynter Institute, a school for journalists in St. Petersburg, Fla., said such a scenario undermines the public's trust of the media.

"I think when individuals who are not journalists pose as journalists, it creates, at the least, some confusion in the public's minds," Colon said. "The key to journalism is credibility. So what the public wants to be able to do is trust people and organizations who represent themselves as part of the journalistic community."

Kate adds: one would suppose that any sort of law enforcement agency would also hope to have some credibility with the public.

Argh. Oh. my EYES!

I'm sure you all remember the eye-boggling, mind-warping Brawny man link I gave you?

Pine Sol's caught on with a house-cleaning hunk video. Not interactive like the mortifying Brawn-Dude sequences, but one can't have everything.

Update: I figured I owed it to my readers to watch the whole thing through. No, I've tried three times and I. . . Just. Can't. I get to the pant-stripping bit and am too embarrassed for them all.

Prudish Porn Writer Kate

curtsey to Sue Seeley

Friday, March 17, 2006

random crap

I always:
1. Underestimate how long it takes to print out 403 pages.
2. Want chocolate.
3. Waste time on trying to find the quote. No, can't do an approximation. I want the real thing.

* * * * *

I was over at the General's trying to recall the two 19th century Save Our Souls gents who remind me of Wildmon. Big Daddies who make sure our beautiful minds aren't besmirched.

Ahhhh. Of course! Comstock and Parkhurst. I spent an hour messing around with book and web searches on those dudes. Apparently public ridicule helped to bring those guys down.

See why history's worth studying?

Parkhurst seemed more sincere and less self-aggrandizing (an earnest twit. really, the wiki thing on them both is more polite than the other sources I've found). Comstock? Hoooeeee. That power-hungry dude loved his fun, legislating morality.

Here. I'll copy my own dull notes from the general's comment section:

Wildmon discusses going into gay bathhouses to do his own investigations and exposes** and preaching. He's taken a page from the Rev. Parkhurst! In 1892, Dr. Parkhurst hired a detective to go check out dens of ill repute. Details of their undercover operation were made public.

Here're the lines of immortal poetry composed soon after his noble adventures were printed in the newspaper:

Doctor Parkhurst on the floor
Playing leapfrog with a whore
Tarara Boomde-ay!
Tarara Boomde-ay!

. . . Oops, printer ran out of paper. . . only 200 pages to go. . .

I'm back again and ready for Comstock. He could have taught Bill O'Reilly and Rush Limbaugh a thing or two. (The below is copied from myself which was copied from Luc Sante and Wikipedia):

Mr. C's career began when he was 18 and he opened all the spigots on the kegs in a CT liquor store. [no word about whether or not any vessels were placed under the spigots]

Anthony "I Know What's Good for You" Comstock

In 1873 Comstock created the New York Society for the Suppression of Vice [the very name sends shivers through any right-thinking decent being] a Republican institution dedicated to supervising the morality of the public.

Comstock successfully influenced the United States Congress to pass the Comstock Law, which made illegal the delivery or transportation of "obscene, lewd, or lascivious" material.

During his time of greatest power, even some anatomy textbooks were prohibited from being sent to medical students by the United States Postal Service.

The guy had some run! He successfully banned Margaret Sanger's work from NYC. More than 3,000 people were arrested for obscenity during his reign--and more than 160 tons of "literature" destroyed. He had that lowlife, Walt Whitman, fired from his job at the Dept of the Interior.

He initiated prosecution to get store window dressers arrested for clothing nude mannequins in full view of the public.

Here's the wiki part that made me sit up and take notice: Before his death, Comstock attracted the interest of a young law student, J. Edgar Hoover, interested in his causes and methods. Scary, innit?

Hmm. No fun poems about him. But the term comstockery (which has only gone out of style in the last couple of generations) has some pretty negative connotations. It's worth noting that George Bernard Shaw--one of the many artists and writers Comstock went after-- coined the term.


Mockery works.

**that's supposed to be expose with a little accent thingy. Gawd, maybe he'll expose too? Ya think? Bleargh

I'm playing with font a la Megan. So? Does it make you read it?

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Tell us about it.

Okay, I liked these stories of peculiar brushes with the rich and famous:

Cora--"I once asked the German secretary of culture (who was not secretary of culture back then, just a local politico) to speak a little less loud in a restaurant, because no one else was interested in his political opinions."

Suisan--"My father once asked Alan Dershowitz to leave our house because he had come close to insulting my mother during an ACLU meeting in the living room."

Without providing details (tchah!) Suisan claims the story is off, so we'll add this for her credit: "My great-great-uncle signed the letter, printed in the official biography, which expelled Humphrey Bogart from prep school."

I don't just want shaking-hands-with or going-to-school-with stories--well, they're all right, I guess. I really want to read about how you accidentally poured salad dressing on some politician's wife. The best I can offer is picking up Eleanor Mondale while she was hitch-hiking in D.C.. Ho-hum. I'm going to have to think hard. Oh, and I once was a clown (bad! very bad school-aged clown) hired to do Eric Severeid's kid's birthday party. Bleh.

Better to have had a conversation like this (bookstore clerk in the Boston airport talking to the late Robert Ulrich) :
Bookstore clerk: Are you who I think you are?
RU: You know if you think about it, that is the stupidest question I ever get. How am I supposed to know who you think I am?

Okay! Your turn.

Megan Frampton Sends the Meme

4 jobs you have had in your life:
art model
service manager in a Saab garage
editor of a regional magazine

4 movies you would watch over and over:
whether I want to or not...
Princess Bride
Pie-rats of the Carribean
Philadelphia Story
The Snowman

4 places you have lived:
Washington, DC
Beloit, WI
Frederick, MD

4 TV shows you [- love to] watch -- I don't control the remote ( because I don't particularly care):
Good Eats
Iron Chef
Myth Busters
that hideous dubbed thing...Extreme Elimination

4 places you have been on vacation:
St Barts
Moosejaw Saskatchewan

4 websites [blogs, duh] you visit daily:
Jesus' General

4 of your favorite foods:
good bread

4 places you would rather be right now:
anywhere warm
by myself
somewhere cleaner/neater than this place
a place that smells like coffee and has quiet (live!) music playing

4 friends you are tagging that you think will respond:

I'll go for some of my fellow smut-rioting pals: Ann Wesley Hardin? Kris Starr? Arianna Hart? Lyn Cash? . . . Tag.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

He should be famous . .

I love that game of "Which Famous People Have You Seen/Met?" The six degrees of separation thing. The waitress who got yelled at by some movie star, the guy who hit some senator's dog.

I knew this guy a gazillion years ago--we went to the same small high school. Of all my brushes with the famous or semi-famous, this guy's the coolest -- just because of what he said on March 1st to a Maryland State Senator:

Senator Nancy Jacobs: Mr. Raskin, my Bible says marriage is only between a man and a woman. What do you have to say about that?

Jamie Raskin: Senator, when you took your oath of office, you placed your hand on the Bible and swore to uphold the Constitution. You didn't place your hand on the Constitution and swear to uphold the Bible.

[He's running for office in Maryland, by the way.]

A Discussion of Literature During a Walk To School

boy3: So how well are your books selling?

me: Eh.

boy3: We need more money so you have to sell more books. You need more suspense, more action. That thing you said. "I'm not with you in body but I am with you in spirit" [I'd just yelled that to him when he got indignant because I'd disappeared to drag the empty garbage cans to the back while he stood on the porch yammering at me] Make that someone's dying words. Make the scene last a long time. That'll be good for the suspense.

me: If he's obviously dying there's not a lot of suspense. I think suspense means you're not sure of the outcome. Or maybe it means--

boy3: [not paying attention] he'll be lying in a pool of his own blood. His own life fluids.

me: Not someone else's? Might add suspense if you had him lying in someone else's life fluids.

boy3: [still caught up in his ideas.] Better stabbed than drowned, I think. You had someone drowned already.

me: No, I didn't.

boy3: I thought you drowned your cousin.

me: Oh, that story is old. It didn't sell.

boy3: It should! It has to have a lot more suspense. Have her stabbed.. Or the plague! Thousands die. Rats. The plague! Put that in the story you're writing now.

me: The story takes place in the 1880s. The plague came through Europe a few centuries earlier.

boy3: How about a time machine? Yeah! A time machine in a toilet.

me: Oh, hey! Now that has potential. I like that time machine in a toilet idea.

boy3: I was just kidding. They didn't have toilets back then.

me: Yes they did. I like that idea.

boy3: No, I think you should have them all stabbed and taking a long, long, long time to die. And have them say that line about not being with them in body but with them in spirit and have the words blow away like the wind.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Flipping through SBD

Bah. Doug is first on the subject. Romance? Erotica? He's got it covered so I'll just take a tangent and run.

When I first discovered Romance (not that long ago) I'd flip through looking the books for the heat. Yowza, man, I liked that stuff and I'm not gonna pretend otherwise. Yup. Pant. Pant.

But now that I'm writing erotica, I'm often tired of the physical heat. Sexual tension, blah blah blah. Followed by Sex=insert tab a (or b) into slot a (or b, or c or d)

B-d exist because there needs to be more for those hungry readers. Push that envelope. Not that envelope! We need a new envelope. Bring on oral gratification! Bring on butt sex! Bring on the living dead blud suckers.

I always thought that readers who professed to be bored by sex in books were just hiding their prudishness as ennui. Eh, maybe not.

Never mind the knobs and slots, bring on the people.

Lately I've been flipping through looking for other sorts of tension. Not the bickering stuff--I hate you; no, I hate you more-- not unless it's really well done. Something sparking between the personalities. I was rereading Heyer's Black Sheep and getting a kick out of the way the hero enjoys making the heroine laugh. And watching his blase facade break down (without changing his personality. Nosirree, despite that title, Heyer didn't go for no bleating heroes) as he actually makes an effort for another person. They have a great meeting -- she's mistaken him for another man and is berating him, he has no idea what she's talking about but he agrees with everything she says just because she's so amusing and he likes her smile.

And then there's Farr's description of a woman learning to laugh in Fair Game. The story is a Traditional Regency, nevertheless it's full of sexual tension. But you know Trevor's falling in love when he gets a kick out of watching Clarissa fighting her newly emerging sense of humor.

Okay, time to go off on the other tangent: laughing together.

I've just realized that nearly all my stories have the heroine and hero laughing so hard they can't speak. Talk about cliche. Yikes, I think I'll go look through my stuff to see if I'm right (I hope not. The Last Mind Reader doesn't but that's a catharsis anyway).

But really, shared humor is a fine intimacy. You can always do an orgasm on your own. The standard picture of aroused people is with closed eyes, head back--off in their own world of sensation. Check out all those women on the clinch covers. Orgasm is a private moment.

But when you have a laughing fit with another person? The meeting of the eyes is a powerful thing. A simple wiggle of the eyebrows, a little smirk and -- you both go off again. Yeah, okay, the smoldering look across the room is fine, but I like it when people can't make eye contact across the room because they'll start laughing again. It's clearly one of those plot ploys that suck me right in.

Lots has been written about the alphadoo/post orgasmic state, that relaxation after a big O. What about that profound relaxation following a laughing fit? That "aahhhhhh" of tension release.

It's what's kept me with Mike for the last 23 years. Ahhhh, last night . . . so romantic.

On the food channel Cat Cora was yet again making dessert with some inappropriate object (eggplants, I think). Mike went off on a riff, bellowing at her, haven't you learned? Aren't your disasters with the ice cream machine enough to teach you anything?

Within moments we were snorting and giggling so hard, the kids had to tell us to be quiet.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

dadblamed page

I'm going to give away a book through JERR, a newsletter. That meant I needed to post an excerpt from a book on my Summer webpage. Simple, eh?

An hour later, I'd managed to wipe out the entire site from the internet.

Six hours later, I got the thing rebuilt and back on, but there are ghostie copies of pages flitting and cluttering. Sometimes when you hit a link, you get somewhere. Often you get somewhere else, old and outdated.

What I've learned today: Webpeople are not paid enough.

Bec is rescuing my page from some of my mistakes. Maybe when she's done, she can change her becaverse thing at the bottom of this blog.

Friday, March 10, 2006

God Speaks Through Terry Jones

That's T. Jones the Pythoner. And yes, yes, yes, it's politics but it's British politics for a change...
God: I've lost faith in Blair.

A high-level leak has revealed that God is "furious" at Tony Blair's attempts to implicate him in the bombing of Iraq. Sources close to the archangel Gabriel report him as describing the Almighty as "hopping mad ... with sanctimonious yet unscrupulous politicians claiming He would condone their bestial activities when He has no way of going public Himself, owing to the MMW agreement" (a reference to the long-established Moving in Mysterious Ways concordat).

click on the link above for the rest.

no thursday thirteen

I blame the niece who's still here. She's doing one last load of laundry (it's traditional, isn't it? we are strong on family tradition!!) before getting on the bus to visit her sophisticated, cosmopolitan older sister in NYC. Hope she has a more sophisticated, cosmopolitan time there than she did here--our big event of the week was visiting a tiny little farm so she could draw a few chickens.

I blame her for not getting my thirteen done, but it's my fault. I started out complex on my TT, writing those buzz phrases for novels. Damn. What are they called? High concept. That's it. "Gone with the Wind set in post-apocalyptic-earth Spaceports and Scarlett as a kickass** heroine." Heh. that kind of thing.

Here's a cover of Summer's novella, a historical erotica (historotica! Summer's first!), coming out next month at Samhain. This is a story that mortifies me, which is always a good sign that people will like it. Seriously, that seems to be the way these things work. The stories that make me turn red are the ones that I get the enthusiastic notes about. I didn't say I hated the thing--it just makes me mumble and change the subject.

It's clear that Scot, the awesome cover dude at Samhain, read the blurb about the book. "Classy portrait of a slightly skanky woman**** who's embarrassed about her lifestyle choices," would be the low concept phrase for the illustration.

**are you as sick of the phrase "kick-ass heroine" as I am? Yeah, really. And enough with the comparisions to Lara Croft. She's so ten years ago.

**** mind you, I don't think she's a skank, says Kate who worries about hurting Scot or the model's feelings. It's just that plucked eyebrows and obvious dye job wouldn't have been considered ladylike in the 1880's.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

online fun

Not politics, though I lifted this particular toy from a political site.
Go make Einstein talk to you.

last political post, no really

The bitches have invented a new word. Here's a new definition of Bill Napoli. God, yes. Napoli is a turkey beyond all turkeys. Idiot deluxe. When he dies, may he come back as a dirt-poor, extremely fertile woman with a normal sex drive, a tendency for pre-eclampsia and gestational diabetes who marries to a series of husbands that tend to take off when the going gets rough.

I read a pro-life complaint about how the federal government has no right to interfere with a state's right to decide what's best. Huh. Why didn't that person see the obvious? If you take that to the logical conclusion the question is what politician at any level has any right what to decide is best for any woman?

Don't get me wrong--I don't think abortion is a black and white issue. I'm real queasy about it. But I'm completely certain it's not up to me to make such a personal decision for anyone else.

There's the accepted medical position that the end of life comes when brainwaves are gone. Is there some possible arguments there about the start of life? I don't know.

All I know is, after this, no more politics for a while. Unless....anyone heard anything about Jill Carroll lately?

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

More Bizarre Stories From PoliticaLand

DeLay, the guy who's in trouble because of his links to lobbyists--guess where he's spending this election night? (primary day in Texas)

With a
bunch of lobbyists.

Unbelievable, but true. But unbelievable.
UPDATE: and he won--yowza!

I found this at Boozhy's place. His comment:
Umm... I'm not a crack political strategist or anything, but it seems common sense that if you're at the forefront of a huge scandal involving your relationship with lobbyists, you'd ummm.... I dunno? Steer clear of lobbyists?

stir that pot

Monica Jackson got a lot of traffic in her blog** and went all polite again. She's STAYING polite this time. Did you know there have been studies concluding that holding back passionate beliefs will make the top of your head come off?

Come on Monica....what can I do to stir you up and stop channeling the politician's wife?

Get you to watch this maybe? Actually it's worth listening to Graylan Hagler but I got annoyed by the video portion of it. (check out the Thanksgiving video a couple of posts below just because I love that thing.)

P.S. Hi Uncle Andrew and Brian!


** traffic's not a problem for me. my readership's going down, down, downnnnn.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

good people

I [heart] my dentist. Yeah, he's good with the teeth and he's a Red Sox fan. . The icing on the cake is that he's a good guy too.

The flipside of the story is that every time I see the line between the haves (raising my hand, that's me) and the have-nots (the refugees--except the young ones who'll learn enough English to get good jobs) I'm worried for my country. Heck the refugees are even plugged into a system. They actually have minimal of health insurance. The people without any sort of health insurance**, I would rather think about my dentist just now.

Last Wednesday, Senija was in terrible pain. She's been in terrible pain before--and it's her tooth. Her dentist can't see her until April or May--she's on state aid and practically no one takes it. Senija could barely eat or talk she's in such pain. So I called my dentist.

The receptionist apologized that they couldn't see her until the next day. Thursday we slid through the snow and showed up about a half hour late at the office. No problem.

"Oh, whoops," said the receptionist when Senija handed over the card. "I thought you said she worked for the state. We don't take welfare." I started to say I'd take care of it****. The receptionist--who is unfailingly cheerful in a manner that doesn't even annoy people with toothaches--said "we'll work it out."

A half hour later, Senija's got an x-ray of her bad tooth, a prescription for antibiotics, and a piece of paper with a diagnosis for the oral surgeon. She needs to have it out. Of course if she was one of us "have" types, she'd get a root canal and save the tooth, but no, no, sorry. Back to the dentist.

"No charge," he says. "It's a snow day special."

See that's what I want to think about: how great individuals are.

The other stories I've heard and seen--the people sent home hours after an appendectomy because they don't have insurance, people who have to wait until they need emergency care because they can't pay for anything else, the kids with the blackened teeth who will wait years to get help, the hours and hours we spend in crowded waiting rooms with horrible chairs (and nothing to read but outdated STD pamphlets) . . . nope. Not today, batman!

Today is I love My Dentist Day. I told him I wish I could give him a big kiss. Poor guy looked way startled.


** okay so we've only had dental insurance for the last seven years--the difference between us haves and have nots before then was that we could pay for the care we needed.

**** Before you go all awww, what a nice Kate: I planned to work out some kind of house cleaning deal with Senija. I'm not as altruistic as I was seven years ago when I started the job. (Senija is the world's best house cleaner--she's given me lessons on how to do it but I'll never be as good as she is. She still has some kind of innate talent)...which leads me to
tangent #3
I bet you're rolling your eyes at the thought of it requiring "talent", but here's what I think: house cleaning is a female job and therefore people don't think of it in terms of talent or skill or intelligence. The argument is that house cleaning is a matter of training and nothing else. But I think that some people have more than training, they've got the "eye" -- some kind of skill in spades. I can't wait until this kind of skill becomes noted and valued by TPTB. Heh. It'll be great.

Of course to be raised to the Real World Of Skill it would have to have some kind of name--something to do with Interior Environmental Intelligence, eh? Oh this is worth a whole post on its own, but nah....

Friday, March 03, 2006

writer of the day

A M Riley doesn't avoid the blood and gore of vampires . . .and in her stories the supernatural sometimes fits our world like OJ's glove (and other times like a latex "glove").

Every now and then I buy some online books-- when I know I have to be stuck somewhere with only the computer. I started reading this (it's free! it's seriously just for grown-ups!). And then as soon as I could, bought that -- it's a little less grim.

She's got lost souls down and hot m/m sex too, so if that seriously squicks you, avoid it. It turns out that m/m doesn't do a whole lot for me. But the writing and the characters turned me on. Lost boys, only far better than the other takes I've seen. Riley seems to have done her research about fairies and banshees**, too. I wouldn't know, because I haven't.

I sometimes try to guess which ebook rioter will be The Next Big Thing (so far it's clear I shouldn't be an agent or publisher). Today's guess is that the NYC publishers will discover Riley and I think I'll throw on an extra bet for Amelia Elias, who writes at the other, more escapist fun end of the supernatural spectrum. Her stuff makes me laugh. Yeah, I know Amelia --and I have actually even met her in person and I'm not supposed to recommend friends****, but pppppppffffffthhh.


**There's nothing Disney about her characters.
**** This is according to some rules I made up a while ago.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Thursday Thirteen. Stupid and/or Silly

Thursday Thirteen

Thirteen Stupid things I've heard or said

1. My Washington, DC driver's license had "District of Columbia" on it. Three people (one in Wisconsin, two in Boston) asked to see my passport when I used that license for ID

2. When I was a bartender, the worst pickup line ever attempted with me: "Hey, you're kinda cute. Wanna fuck?"

3. When my baby sister (who's Eurasian) was tiny, her babysitter said she couldn't wait to find out what language the baby would speak. No, I am not kidding and she wasn't either.

4. Me, to the naked woman in the YWCA: "When's your baby due?" . . . You guessed it--she wasn't pregnant. I couldn't even use the "the dress tented funny" argument.

5. I was taking the baby sisters out for a walk. I was 12, they were 4 and 2. A lady asked if they were my children.

6. I said yes.

7. She told me I should be ashamed of myself.

6. My first two kids are 2.5 years apart. I have frequently been asked "Are they twins?" Not such a strange question once they hit about 5 and 3 -- #1 is small for his age and #2 is large. VERY weird question when they were 6 months and 3 years old. Yes, someone really did ask then. In her defense, she was old.

7. The Don Juan Tip of the day is usually pretty good for bizarre ideas. Here's today's: "I was walking down the street and I saw a street performerbeing ignored by crowds of people -- he started to pack up his things.I quickly jogged up to him and handed him a few bucks. He thankedme and said 'You just made my day.' I felt pretty good about what I had done.Soon after I was approached by two hot girls complimenting me on my kindness. They asked if I wanted to join them for coffee. I agreed and moved through the steps of convo and kino. It was all so natural, thanks to this site and now I have two numbers of two beautiful girls. Like taking candy from a baby." Huh? Candy? From a what?

8. My mother to me, about something I really wanted (I think a dress). "I can't buy it to you because you want it too much. Wanting things too much is bad for you."

9. My mother to me, about marriage. "It's not a good idea to marry someone you love."

10. Me to my husband the night before our wedding: "You're not nervous? Not having second thoughts? That's a terrible sign. You are supposed to be nervous. I'm not nervous either. Omigod, we're doomed. We're supposed to be freaking out. I'm not! You're not! Oh blast!"

11. My husband to me the night before we got married: "Are you always going to be like this when we get married?"

12. The doctor examined our 2-week old boy #1 head to toe. With diaper and without-- and for rest of consultation doctor referred to boy#1 as "she."

13. Speaking of sex mix-ups. Boy #3 is listed as female on birth certificate. I'm supposed to go to a judge to have it changed. I have to "bring proof" about why I want to change the certificate.

Hmmm. Some of these are kind of weak so I might go back and change a few. Surely I've heard or said stupider stuff'n this in all my years of life.

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!

Joan, (I love that blog name)



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Wednesday, March 01, 2006

nothing, nothing worse

A Shiva for a 15-year-old son of a rabbi. I don't know them well, but I know it's time to pay respects.

Just now his mother is the person in the family who is strong. She tells us it was a virus, it took a week. She can describe what happened and what he said and did before he died. She can even thank us for stopping by, the cautious neighbors who studied the internet to make sure they don't make some sort of mistake in manners. (Don't speak until you are greeted. Don't knock, just walk in. Don't bring food.)

I suppose the formal rules help, but one fact won't go away: There's nothing worse. That must be universal.

When I got home, I hugged my 15-year-old son who squawked and struggled. Thank goodness. If he'd hugged me back I'd still be crying.

a haunting book

A few months back when the laptop went south, I lost a whole manuscript-- 380-something pages of a historical. I'd backed it up on a zip stick which turned out to be corrupt, so that puppy was gone.

I tried to rewrite it but nah, I'd been there, done that and couldn't remember why I'd wanted to the first time out.

So last night I dreamed a few of the characters came to visit, uninvited (I think they were secondary characters. I don't recall the heroine). They were belligerent, drunk, maybe, and they demanded to know what the hell I was doing ignoring them. I was out in the backyard picking tomatoes and they joined me--and took all the good tomatoes, the rat bastards. They also yelled so much the neighbors peered over their fences to see what was going on. By the time I woke up, I had a basket of mushy tomatoes and I was afraid to go outside and get those funny looks from the neighbors.

Silly dream.