My Interview with Jack

Jack has agreed to meet with me at his restaurant where he is busy trying out recipes for his opening. The parking lot is empty as I park around back and look for the entrance that he said would be unlocked. . .

“Hey Jack.” I said as I walked through the double doors of his restaurant and into his kitchen. He was standing at a metal counter in a white chef’s coat decorating some kind of yummy looking chocolate ball with an even yummier looking sauce.

“Try this.” He said pushing one of the balls towards me.

“I don’t know, I’m getting a sugar rush just looking at it, I’m not sure that’s a good idea.”

“Don’t be a wuss,” he said, “it’s only chocolate.”

I bit into the chocolate glob and my senses were overloaded with different flavors, chocolate, mint, cream. “What is this?” I asked through a mouthful of wonderful.

“Crème de Mint Oreo Truffles.” He grinned. “What do you think?”

“I think I’m in love with your kitchen powers. Wanna move in with me?” I asked while licking my fingers clean.

“Aren’t you married?”

“Oh. Yeah.” I sighed. “Oh well, at least he can barbecue.”

“See? Every man has at least one redeeming quality.” He said. “Now if only I could get some other people to see that.”

Ah, the opening I’d been hoping for. “Yeah, about Carly.” I began.

“It wasn’t my idea to keep it on a first name basis.” He said with a little irritation and a whole lot of force. “I really like Carly. I want to know everything about her. She’s the one who was so insistent on playing games.”

“What kind of games were you playing Jack?” I asked quietly.

“Me?” he looked surprised. “I don’t play games. You know that.” He turned his back on me and walked the truffles over to the walk in refrigerator.

“You’re right. I know it’s true. And that’s great that I know, but we’ve already established that I’m only hot for your truffles. What are you going to do about Carly?”

“I don’t know.” he sighed. Walking over to the large mixer he began dumping ingredients into the giant bowl and flipped it on; then he looked over at me and grinned, “Maybe I should take her some truffles.”

“It certainly couldn’t hurt.” I laughed. “Of course, you could always just tell her the truth.”

He starred at his shoes for a minute and then glared up at me. His eyes were dark with anger and frustration. “You think I don’t want to do just that? Do you think I enjoy having her think I’m the biggest asshole on the planet?” he spit the words at me. “Erika, she doesn’t think I’m a good man. She doesn’t believe that I’m capable of honesty, faithfulness or worthy of her trust and it is killing me.” He said as he pound his fist in the center of his chest. “But I know that I am all of those things she thinks I’m not, and if I tell her the truth, if I break my promise, then it’s all for naught because she will have been right.” He let out a sigh and crossed his arms over the top of the mixer, resting his head. “This isn’t forever, this promise. Not that I’m in any hurry for Ellen to die, but that is what is going to happen. Why should she be burdened with this bullshit in her last days?”

“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean that you should compromise your principles.”

“I know you didn’t.” he said turning off the mixer and running both hands over his head. “I’m sorry I yelled at you. I’m just so aggravated. The only thing I’m guilty of is being too stupid to not divorce Trish years ago.” His cell phone rang and he reached into the front pocket of his jeans to answer it.

“Hello?” he said and paused. “Hey Norman.” A longer pause. “Okay, give me 10 minutes.” He flipped his phone shut and took off his chef’s coat leaving it on the table by the mixer. “I’m sorry, I gotta go.” And just like that our interview was over and he was gone. Damn.


How do you write?

Every author has their own way of writing. Jennifer Crusie creates dioramas. Anyone who has visited her web page/blog has seen examples of what she creates in order to understand her characters and her storyline. Iris Johansen has been said to just "sit down and write". Lee Child is quoted as saying "I never outline. I try to feel the same excitement that I hope the reader will: never knowing what comes on the next page"; while Val McDermid says "I'm a ferocious outliner. I can't begin a book unless I know where it's going and how it gets there." Janet Evanovich says she creates a timeline and then keeps her story straight by storyboarding.

Almost every single "How To Write" book says you should have an outline. How To Write Romance for Dummies defines an outline as "...the road map you use as you write. It's a document-in-progress...” where as in Writing Romance by Vanessa Grant says "Some published authors begin writing without much idea of where the story is going, what will happen, or even who the characters are...Other writers know every detail before Chapter 1 begins. Most of us fall somewhere in between these two extremes..."

So how do you know which style is right for you? I have no idea, but what I'm learning about me is this; I can start a story off strong without an outline but once the build up is over and I have to come up with the middle of the story, I'm lost. I’ve read on other blogs that the middle is the hardest part to write and I couldn’t agree more. I can see the movie montage in my head, music and all, but it’s not helping me get it down on paper. So I’ve gone back to the drawing board. I’ve pulled out my entire ‘how to’ collection. How to: Craft Scenes, Create Plot, Write and Sell Your Mystery Novel. I’ve got them all sitting here just starring at me. Daring me to come up with something brilliant. Is it wrong that I feel pressure from the ‘how to’ books? So I’m coming to all of you, my brilliant published and unpublished friends. How do you write? How do you get past the sticky middle part? Any and all advice is accepted here.

Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example ~ Mark Twain

UPDATE: Check out Murder She Writes, Toni Causey is talking about how she starts a new book. Coincidence? Maybe.


LSM Photo Shoot - Heroes

This week we're nominating heroes. Thank you for everyone who sent in a nomination.

Antonio Banderas as "Zorro"

Christian Bale as "Batman"

Dean Cain as "Superman"

Billy Zane as "The Phantom"

Chris Evans as "The Human Torch"

Some days I really hate posting pics on Blogger *sigh*


LSM Nomination Day

Happy Tuesday Ladies! It's that time again. This week we have super hero nominees.

First up, Chris Evans, also known as Johnny Storm from the Fantastic 4:

Next is James Marsden, also known as Cyborg or Scott from X Men:

Alright ladies, you're up. Who have you got for me?


Remember Our Veterans

Because real life doesn't always have a happily ever after we lose miliary men and women every day. Bless our veterans for being brave enough and strong enough to risk their lives for ours.

Remember our veterans this Memorial Day.


So I'm watching Joe Kidd with my husband and I see Clint Eastwood from 1972 and I think "Wow, he looks a lot like Hugh Jackman," and then I correct myself and think "Wow, Hugh Jackman looks a lot like young Clint Eastwood". Tell me, do you agree? Disagree?


My Muse

So I've been to a couple of blogs that have spoken of Muses or lack thereof...

Everyone has a Muse, some people just choose to ignore us.

I'm sure you're right.

Of course I'm right. Hello?

If I could get back to my point,

I'm sure you mean MY point, I am your Muse . . .

Yes, you are, but you don't get to write everything. I am capable of writing without you.

Uh, no you're not.

Uh, yes I am. It's just not as easy. You see, despite what she thinks, I am capable of writing without my Muse. The ideas and the scenes just come that much faster with her around to help out. When my Muse is present I can see the scene playing out in my head like a movie. I get sound, color, a clear picture. It's like watching an action movie in high definition. I can see all the details. When she's not around, for instance say, she got all butt hurt and deserted me for an island vacation with a couple of hot angels on sabbatical . . .

They weren't angels exactly...

Whatever. Anyway, when she's not around, the movie isn't as clear. The edges are fuzzy, and it's all black and white. Sometimes there's sound, but most of the time there isn't so I'm stuck trying to read their lips or even worse, their minds.

So my Muse takes a lot of abuse and a lot of the blame, but she also gets all the credit when it's really really good.

See, I told you that you can't write without me.

*sigh* Okay, I give. You're right.

Silver posted a link over in the comment section at The Prarie Chicks to a website where you can create your own superhero. I created my Muse instead and here she is for the world to see.

Okay, first of all I wouldn't be caught dead wearing that, but that whip thingy is cool, where can I get one of those?


League of Shirtless Men

Our nominations are down this week. I only have two not including Shemar. So, for your viewing pleasure I give you Antonio Sabato Jr., Shemar Moore and Randy Orton . . .

LSM Nomination Day

Okay ladies, let's have it. Who are your nominees this week?

I nominate Shemar Moore from Criminal Minds. It should be a crime to be this sexy ladies, I'm just sayin'....

I mean hellooo . . . even dressed . . . just DAMN!

Sorry, I got carried away . . .
So who's your pick let me know . . .


What is it about a book?

What is it about a book that makes one (two, three or four) the one you can read over and over and over again without ever getting sick of it; and another one only worthy of one read?

Everyone has a different opinion of what book it gets to be. For my husband it's Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry, my daughter, Twilight, the entire series, by Stephanie Meyer, my son, Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney and for me it's The List by Steve Martini. Of course then there's also The Horse Whisperer by Nicholas Evans, Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie, Mirror Image by Sandra Brown, The Senator's Wife by Karen Robards . . . anyway, I'm getting distracted.

For my DH Lonesome Dove is the great American novel. Larry McMurtry takes him back in time to a down and dirty western civilization. He likes that he doesn't romanticize the old west. He enjoys the characters, feels that they are real to the time. This book is 945 pages long and yet he reads through it in no time at all and says the story never drags.

For my daughter, it's Twilight by Stephanie Meyers. For her it's the entire series, but for my purposes here we're going to stick to the first book. It's intriguing, Stephanie Meyers brings the characters to life for her and just like any good paranormal story has her believing in the unbelievable. Bella is close to her age (which makes it easier for her to connect to) and it's a love story. Sort of.

For my son, it's Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney. I would love to wax poetic here, but they make him laugh and that's enough for him. He's eight, what can I say? :-)

I have a list of books that I can read over and over and over. For my purposes here today, I'm going to go with The List by Steve Martini. The List is a suspenseful work of fiction about a work of fiction. The story has mystery, intrigue, romance, suspense and action. It leads you in one direction and then completely throws you off and starts you off in another. I ran across this book by mistake and I'm so happy I did.
So what book is it for you? What book makes you wish it went on and on? What book is it that you can read 1,000 times and never be sick of it?
Happy Reading.


My Interview with Carly

So I’ve decided to go back to the drawing board and try to regain my sense of what Jack and Carly’s story is all about. Carly has agreed to give me ten minutes before she has to be at her little brother’s little league game. It’s about 107 degrees outside and why anyone would want to sit outside in this heat is beyond me.

As I walk up to Carly’s building I’m glancing into entry ways trying to find the correct door number. I finally track down her door and knock. I wait, and wait, and knock again, wondering if maybe she hasn’t forgotten all about me. As I’m ready to give up and head back to my car, thinking maybe I’d go see Jack instead, she comes walking up in her business suit and a pair of flip flops.

“One day someone is going to figure out how to make these stupid stick ‘em in things actually stick. My heels have been slipping out of these damn shoes all day.” She says carrying her high heels in her left hand.

“I hope you’re right, for the sake of your feet. I wouldn’t know as I work bare foot most of the time.”

“Whatever, just brag, I don’t care, really.” she grins, “Sorry I’m late.”

She unlocks the door and let’s me into her apartment. “Go ahead and have a seat, I’m just going to change.”

“I’ll just wait here.” I find a seat on the couch and look around her apartment. It’s nicely furnished with a white micro fiber couch which reminds me of two things. One, she has no children and two, she has no pets.

“Can I get you a bottle of water? Diet Coke? Iced Tea?” She asks heading into the small kitchen.

“No I’m fine, but thank you.”

“So what can I do for you?” Carly sits cross legged on a big square ottoman on the other side of the coffee table.

“Well Carly, I have to be honest, I’m stuck. I’m beginning to wonder if I’m stuck because I’ve been solely focusing on your story and I haven’t really given Jack’s story a whole lot of time.”

“You can ignore his story, Jack is an imbecile.” She says without humor.

I laugh, “I can’t ignore his story. His story is an important part of you’re story. It’s about the two of you.”

“There is no the two of us,” Carly reminds me “I fail to understand why you’re even bothering, I know how this kind of thing plays out and it’s never good.”

“How do you know that, you’re story is just beginning?”

“You’re just going to have to take my word for it.” She gets up and heads back into the kitchen, “Are you sure you don’t want anything?”

“I’m sure.”

“Anyway, let’s not talk about Jack anymore, he gives me a headache. Besides, I’m sure you didn’t come here to talk about Jack, right?” she returns with a Diet Coke and sits back down on the ottoman.

“Why don’t you like Jack? He’s the leading man in this story. He’s supposed to be you’re leading man.”

“I do like Jack,” she sighs and sets her can on the coffee table. “He’s charming, he’s handsome, he’s good with Will, but he’s also a liar and a cheat.”

I’m sure my tongue is going to bleed in my effort to keep Jack’s secret, but I can see that she’s hurting, she needs to know the entire truth. “Carly, I’m sure there’s more to the story than what you’ve been told. There has to be right? A good man doesn’t cheat on his wife and we both know that Jack is a good man.”

She looks up from the edge of the ottoman that she’s been playing with, “I don’t know that at all Erika. I have yet to meet a good man. Can we please not discuss Jack?”

“Absolutely. Tell me about Will.” I say hoping to bring her to a happier subject.

“Will is just the best. He’s 8, he’s active, he’s a good reader, and he’s smart. He’s been spending a lot of time with his new big brother, Jack. With all the bad things I could and do say about Jack he’s a good Big Brother to Will. Will adores him despite what I think.” She grins.

“You’re very involved in Will’s life aren’t you? I mean despite the huge age difference.”

“Absolutely, that’s what big sisters do.” She grins at me obviously full of love and pride for her baby brother.

“I think my daughter might differ in opinion with you on that subject.”

Carly smiles, “She’s young plus she has a good mom. One who spends time with her and doesn’t flake on important events.”

“Did Bridgette flake a lot on you while you were growing up?”

“Absolutely. My mom’s marriage history is the reason I know that happily ever after doesn’t exist.”

“That’s sounds awfully cynical.”

“Well, it’s not. I have proof.” She says the edge back into her voice.

“Oh, well, okay. Happily ever after doesn’t exist in real life.” I say, thank goodness it does in fiction otherwise my writing career could suffer. I guess now I just need to convince Carly. “Well it looks like my ten minutes are up. Have a wonderful time at the game. Is Becca going with you?” I ask

“Yes she is, she’s Will’s second biggest fan.”

“Thanks again for the time.” I say as she walks me to the front door.


The League of Shirtless Men

I almost didn't allow my DD to nominate Zac Efron, I thought he might be under the age of 18, but as it turns out, he's 22 so I said okay. So, without further ado, here are the men you nominated:


LSM Nomination Day

The League of Shirtless Men

The gentlemen that we have inducted into the League so far are these:

Tatum Channing, Matthew McConaughy, French Rugby Dude, Christian Bale, David Beckham, Daniel Craig, Taye Diggs, Dwayne Johnson, Eddie Cibrian, Eric Dane, George Eads, Gilles Marini, Headless Hunk, Hero, Josh Holloway, Hot Man, Lyon's Cowboy, Lyon's Hunk On Wheels, Hugh Jackman, Jesse Metcalfe, Some other Hot Guy, Jonathan Rhys-Meyer, LSM Soldier, Mario Lopez, Mark Wahlberg, Matt Damon, Matt Shadows, Macksim Chmerkovskiy, Christian De La Fuente, Paul Telfer, Paul Walker, Raja Bell, Ryan Reynolds (who knew?), Naveen Andrews, Kilt Guy, Another Hot Guy, Jason Taylor, Lyon's Twins, Vin Diesel, Wesley Snipes and Will Smith

We all know there are more LSM's out there ladies. Let's get them in the club. Who do you nominate this week?


I Stole This From Kristin Nelson's Blog

This was too darn funny not to share.

Books On CD

Before I get started, I have to share this story with all of you, sometimes people surprise me.

How many of you listen to books on CD/tape? I used to wonder, aside from blind people, how lazy do you have to be to LISTEN to a book, I mean really. Then I got a job as a data entry operator. Let me tell ya, you can only listen to so much music before your brain is crying out for better/different stimulation. A friend introduced me to Books on Tape. I was leary, but I gave it a try. The first book I listened to was The Bridges of Madison County then it was L is for Lawless, The Horse Whisperer, The Midnight Hour and so on and so on. I was hooked.

I am no longer a data entry operator, thank goodness. However, I do have a 30 to 45 minute commute to work every day so I still enjoy listening to books on my way into and home from work. I have introduced a couple of my friends to books on CD and they love it as much as I do.

So what makes a book on CD enjoyable? The reader. Frank Mueller is just one example of a great reader. He reads The Horse Whisperer and The List, I thought it was kind of amusing at first, listening to a man/woman create the voice of the opposite sex, but once you're into the story it all becomes very believable. Judy Kaye reads all of the Sue Grafton books and Susan Ericksen reads all of JD Robb's books. These are just a few of the wonderful actors who portray memorable characters.

So my point, I do have one, is that if you haven't tried this wonderful way of enjoying books, I think you should. There are clubs out there that rent recorded books to you through the mail, but I must admit they're pretty pricy. I recommend using your local city or county library. A lot of times you can search online for the book you want and place a hold on it. The Phoenix Public Library has a Digital Library where you can download e-books onto your computer. Nora Roberts allows her books to be burned to CD so you can take them with you.

Try something new and let me know what you think. If you already listen to recorded books, who is your favorite reader and why?


DANCING SPOILER - if you haven't watched results yet

Can you even believe who went home???
I was shocked. I mean I like Ty and Lil' Kim was not my favorite personality, but she was such a good dancer, it's a shame to see her leave. Just goes to show you what fan voting can do for ya!
Here it is in case you missed it, I finally figured out how to make this work.


It's A Small World After All . . .

I recorded the first five minutes of this ride and then thought that would be enough torture for all my friends, plus my battery died. Here you go. . .


The Magic Kingdom

I love going on vacation, but I think the best part is coming home. Home to sleep in your own bed, use your own shower, sit on your own couch and play on the Internet. How I've missed all of you!

Disneyland rocks! We arrived at our hotel around midnight Tuesday, got in and immediately crashed. On Wednesday we parked, road the tram into Downtown Disney and waited in line to pick up our tickets. We spent the whole day at Disneyland. Our first trip was to Adventureland where we rode on the Indiana Jones Adventure and toured Tarzan's Tree House. From there we headed over to New Orleans Square where Pirates of the Carribean was closed *sigh* for two whole days. We finally got to ride on Friday. It was pretty darn cool. Then we went to Frontierland and rode on Big Thunder twice. Big Thunder is AWESOME, I'm pretty sure it's my favorite ride. We rode the Matterhorn in Fantasyland (super cool), Mr. Toad's Wild Ride, the Teacups, Pinocchio's Daring Adventure, toured Sleeping Beauty's Castle and It's a Small World and then we headed over to Tomorrowland. We went on Nemo's Submarine ride where it was nice and dark and cool and I think I might have fallen asleep for a minute or two, don't tell okay? We rode Space Mountain and Buzz Lightyear's Astro Blaster twice. We did Star Tours which was super fun, but I don't believe for a second that it was that robot's first flight, I think he just likes to go through the mechanical room before exiting out to the side of the space ship.

On Thursday we went back to Disneyland, we had early admission, and we rode all the best rides again. Youngest dropped his hot chocolate on his shoes before we even made it through the gate, so hubby took him to bathroom and rinsed him off. He walked around with a wet shoe and only one sock for the first couple of hours we were there until I could get back to Main Street and buy him a new pair of socks. *headdesk* ANYWAY, after we did all the best rides twice, we headed over to California Adventures. We rode Soaring California which was awesome except I'm afraid of heights and was trying not to panic the whole time my feet were off the ground. I had to keep reminding myself I was only about 10' off the ground and would not fall to my death. What I remember though was pretty damn cool. We did the White Water Rafting ride and of course I was soaked. Super fun, but next time will definitely take a poncho of some sort. We all rode California Screamin' and then hubby and youngest did it again like 4 times cuz they're nuts. DD and I walked around and checked stuff out. Headed over to Tower of Terror around closing time and rested my poor achin' feet as hubby and youngest braved the straight drop down. We bought youngest a t-shirt that says 'I survived the Tower of Terror', he's very proud.

California Adventures closes at 6:00 on Thursdays so we headed back over to Disneyland where I proceeded to lose my cell phone outside the bathrooms at Space Mountain. *headdesk* I didn't realize it of course until two hours later heading up the incline to ride the Monorail back to Downtown Disney. DD and I waited in line at the Lost and Found for almost 40 minutes. Some guy had his video camera turned in, but nobody turned in my cell phone. *sigh*

Friday DD and I went to the mall to buy her a promotion dress. Otherwise known as graduation, but apparantly that's not what it's called when it's from 8th grade. Hubby and youngest headed over to California Adventures at the crack of dawn, okay probably closer to 8 or 9 o'clock and rode the rides we were too whimpy to go on with them about 5 or 6 times each. I made it to the mall on my second try and we finally found a dress at Penney's. Thank goodness, I hate shopping. We met back up with hubby and youngest and spent the rest of the evening riding rides and watching fireworks. I picked up some really awesome pink fuzzy ears and we headed back to the hotel to collapse.

I'm so happy to be home.