Thursday, February 26, 2009

The Confessional: Obsession, Part II

So yesterday I confessed my infatuation with The Bachelor. By the number of hits on this blog, it seems there are many more like me. Kudos to the brave souls who commented ;)

Whether the conspiracy theory turns out to be true doesn't really matter, because I've (finally) realized that I'm not having fun anymore. I'm over it. Meh.

So what about the the whole 'life imitating art' thing I mentioned yesterday? It occurred to me that in my next book, Sweet Waters, heroine Tara is a rational, organized, first-born. She's protective of her sisters and has helped her somewhat flighty mother care for them ever since the death of their father six years prior.

she's obsessed with Eliza Carlton, the lead character on her favorite Soap, Quartz Point. So much so that she reads the soap's daily digest online every night and often mentally consults with Eliza for advice as if she's real.

I confess. When I wrote Tara, I thought, poor girl. I mean, seriously, how could she possibly get so wrapped up in the life of someone on TV? Isn't that a little over the top? Maybe. But then again, so is believing that what I've been witnessing on The Bachelor week after week has been playing out as naturally as the cresting of a wave. Sigh. Right.


Didn't want to sign off without mentioning last night's show. Based on performances, I'd guess that Allison, Megan and Adam will get the votes. Sad for Kai--he treats his mama well so I was hoping he'd do better :). Alas, not so much. So. What say you?

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Confessional: Obsession, Part I

Hello, my name is Julie and I'm addicted to The Bachelor.

It has to stop.

While I've not watched all the episodes, this particular season intrigued me. For those who have been smart enough to stay away from the series, this year's bachelor is last year's reject: Jason, a handsome-enough, single dad of one super cute 4 year old boy named Ty. It was played up last year that Ty's mother abandoned him and Jason, but this year the word is that Ty's mom is actually involved in his life.

Hm. That should have been my first clue that there was mischief in the making. Unfortunately, I fell hard for the series this season, particularly because of Melissa the sweet, gentle and seemingly obvious choice for Jason. Unlike other years when I had to switch off the show because of gratuitous intimacies that, frankly, grossed me out, this year there's been far less of that. So like much of America--apparent by the number of Melissa/Jason videos set to music and posted on YouTube--I fell for the romance that appeared to be brewing.

Then this week I learned about RealitySteve, a blogger who's been dishing on The Bachelor/Bachelorette franchise for 15 years. Only this year he's got a spoiler theory that will break hearts--and if he's correct--turn stomachs. Who knows if any of what he says is true? Anybody's guess, but I'll admit that my own observations plus this guy's have left me with questions. I'll leave it at that. For those who want to know more, go here, but you'll have to wade through a lot of info and of course, read at your own risk.

All this to say that my plan is to go online next Monday evening and find out ahead of time the validity of this widely-spread spoiler. I'm on Pacific Std. Time, so no reason to waste my night waiting to be manipulated by a reality show that, accuracy or no, is anything but real.

Which leads me to my reason for the confession. Let's just say it has to do with life imitating art, and there'll be more on that tomorrow...!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

On Idol, colds and God's prodding

Anyone else disappointed in the revamped American Idol format? By splitting the group into three smaller entities and having only 12 compete against each other at a time, the results show gave off a rather lackluster sheen. Since I'm on west coast time, I think I'll just skip the next two results show and sign into Twitter instead where for several brief moments, all the back east folks are chatting up the winners. (Btw, yay for Alexis, Michael and Danny!)

Other than that, I've been sick with a nasty cold since Monday. Various family members have been fighting it as well. Strangely enough, this has grounded me so much that I'm actually getting a bunch written on my next Otter Bay Novel. After the morning rush, I pretty much climb into bed with my laptop and lozenges, and pound out thousands of words. Of course, just about everything else that needs doing has been neglected (ack).

In addition to the laptop and lozenges, I've also kept my Esther: It's Tough Being a Woman Bible Study on my nightstand. Most mornings, I work on that first. Yesterday, though, I toyed with jumping right into writing when a niggling--you know what I'm talking about?--prodded me toward doing the study. Here's the funny part: when I picked up my study book, I found some very cool writing notes beneath it. The night prior, I'd made myself some notes about the novel I'm working on, and then promptly forgot about them.

So the moral of the story: Pick up your Bible study book, because you just may be surprised by what you find :)

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

American Idol, Round 1

Sarah wrote last week to ask if I was still on the AI boat, and the answer to that is, well, yes, yes, a thousand times yes!!! It may be somewhat hokey and filled with a bit of corn, but AI has become a ritual in our house, a bonding experience, if you will.

Instead of the usual 24 contestants vying for the top 12 (or really, the top 10, since those are the only ones to go on tour), this time 36 singers compete. We saw 12 last night. In case you're wondering, here's how the new system works:

The top vote-getter of each sex automatically advances to the Top 12. The next highest vote-getter of either sex also gets in. For everyone else, their only hope is to make the wild-card round, either as the next highest vote-getter or as a special pick by the judges. (A grand effort to avoid having a terrific singer get 'Daughtry-ed')

So what did you think? Did you agree with those rascally judges last night ... or not?

I agreed with the judges and loved (loved! loved!) both sultry Alexis and heroic Danny. However I disagreed with them concerning AnnMarie, and maybe even a little about Michael.

Both Alexis and Danny deserve the top pick, and as for the next top? I'm going to guess the public will vote in ... Jackie (or possibly Tatiana--Vote for the Worst's top pick--sigh)

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Check it out. I got my mullet on over at Linda Lou's Book Trailer Park.

Kudos to B&H Publishing Group--Woot!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Confessions of a movie-holic

Nothing like spending the weekend watching trippy movies. Life's been busy and stressful lately, so when a chance for R&R presented itself, we grabbed hold of it. This weekend, while our teens were off at winter camp, the rest of us (hubby, Elementary Girl, and I) biked along the beach, ate toooo much (thanks Dad for the heart-shaped box of chocolates--it's almost gone!!!), and watched various movies.

Ever seen Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind? I'd seen it before, but hubby hadn't, so we watched it on Valentine's Night. I know, weird. Underneath all the strangeness, though, is quite the (dysfunctional) love story. It's one of those movies that you need to watch a couple of times to catch all the layers and clues. Adaptation is another movie rife with odd-ness. While I usually prefer romantic comedies or Austen-style films, sometimes I'm in the mood to jump out of the box.

Elementary Girl and I also saw a movie together: Pink Panther 2. Pretty predictable stuff, but c'mon, it's Steve Martin--and who doesn't love him? Especially as clueless Clouseau, and with that ridiculous French accent. LOL!

Later today--provided all the homework gets done--the girls and I are hoping to hit the theater together, this time to see Confessions of a Shopaholic.

How about you? Have you been running around like crazy this fine double-holiday weekend, or have you found time to kick-back and hang with the ones you love?

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Memo to self: Clean your desk

When Katie Cushman and I went to see prolific author Karen Kingsbury last year, we ended up chatting with her about how she cranks out books (seemingly) every other day. From what I understand, she's a 'pre-writer', someone who gets the story as together as possible before sitting down and cranking it out at a nearly non-stop pace. The incredible Susan Meissner has taught on how she pre-writes as well.

Other writers are more SOTP -- seat of the pants. They work on the chapters from the getgo to get a sense of the characters, often stopping and revising along the way.

I started off as SOTP and have morphed into a sort of mix. I really love to write the first chapter even with limited info at my finger tip because when I do this, I often come away surprised! For example, in my current WIP, someone I planned on bringing in much later in the book decided to show up--and it worked. Kristin Billerbeck said in an interview once that she free writes several chapters to get a feel for her characters.

However, I've found though that once I get those first thoughts onto the page, I need to map out more of the details to help me stay on course. I tried story boarding with post-its, but that was just a big mess. I've also tried diagramming the story on paper, complete with arrows, circles and curly-cues, but then I never looked at the thing again.

So now I outline the old fashioned way, in writing, block by block. Sometimes those blocks must move or morph or be stricken, but since I'm not a legalist about it, that's fine by me.

Of course, some habits haven't completely faded away. That pic at the top is of my desk in its current state (although as I like to say, "I know where everthing is!"). Despite my move toward more organization in writing, my desk just hasn't read the memo.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

moving picture show

I posted a preview here a few weeks ago, but now it's official: the SWEET WATERS video is now on the BHFiction Channel over on YouTube. I've been told that my video trailer is the first on the channel!

Even if you've already seen it, I'd love it if you'd pop on over and give it a rating. Would you?

You can also subscribe to the BHFicton channel (upper right on YouTube linked page), and be one of the first to see new B&H videos as they are released.

Enjoy! And have a beachy day my friends--wherever you are!

Monday, February 02, 2009

Back from Camp!

Returned last night from 48 hours of non-stop camp adventure. That's me on my bunk, underneath the magazine. Within an hour of being in the frigid mountains with a cabin-full of 5th grade girls, I was already dreaming of Maui. Ha ha ha.

Had a smaller group with me this year, so we had to share with another church. A different counselor knocked on the cabin door and dropped off three girls saying, "Their counselor's not here yet, so here you go." Or something like that. Fortunately, the newbies in our cabin were friendly and funny and our two church groups melded the way only preteen girls can. Seriously, they taught me a thing or three.

But then the girls told me all about their counselor, the one yet to arrive:

"She's so funny!"
"She's the best counselor ever!"
"Oh, and she's super skinny!"
"She works as a'll love her!"

Gah. Did I need this kind of pressure??? Life's. not. fair!

Haha--as it turns out, Trish was all those things, but Godly and likeable too (our God has such a sense of humor, don't you think?) We ended up being a super good match, as we're both night owls and fairly laidback. We kept the girls safe, of course, but c'mon! It's camp! We wanted them to live a little, ya know? Hopefully, they soaked up all God had for them and enjoyed us as much as we enjoyed them ... :)

I'd like to say that I'm off to take a nap, but no. My dear, sweet, lovable editor, Karen, just sent me a boat load of work (thanks, friend ;p) So I'll be workin' until my eyes just won't stay open. I'll check back in, though, so here's a question for you former campers or counselors:

What's the funniest experience you've ever had at camp?