Friday, January 29, 2010

A Lesson in Humility

I've been thinking about this as a blog subject for a little while now. Today I discovered that it must come to fruition.

Myself, along with a few of my author friends, believe that we have ego issues. We're always seeking approval - hence submitting manuscripts, pushing for book sales, etc. There is something about the writer's ego that makes them fragile yet pompous (I am a pompous ass. I fully admit it). Why?

I especially have to ask myself why. Why do I try to strut myself around like a male Peacock when the reality is my tail is NOT that attractive. Let me explain.

My "colleagues" at VHP are all far superior writers than I. Most of them have been writing professionally for years whether as free-lance writers, journalists, etc. I have not.

There is one in particular who has multiple degrees, has her Ph. D. and teaches at a major university. I have an associates degree in veterinary medicine. Not even comparable.

I just found out today that another VHP author will be interviewing Margaret Atwood next month. MARGARET FUCKING ATWOOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

She's HUGE. She is a name in the literary world, and rightfully so (I defy anyone to try and show me that she has no talent!).

Am I doing anything remotely close to that? No.

I can't believe that I am in the company of these great minds. I don't deserve to be. They are MORE than respectful. They treat me as if I'm their equal, and I'm not. God knows I appreciate their kindness & respect more than words could ever express.

I love writing. I always have, and I think I always will. I pray that my books touch people and hold some significance to some. Truth is, as much as I strut around, I'm just a regular person. I probably will never be a name like Margaret Atwood. I can almost guarantee I'm never getting a Ph. D. in literature or writing or anything of that nature. But damn if I'm not the luckiest ordinary person to be surrounded by such great writers! :)

On a side note, we have all lost one of the greatest writers of our era. J. D. Salinger passed away yesterday. He was 91 years old. His work will live on indefinitely.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

A Writer's Delight

NOW I remember how and why I had so much fun writing fiction when I was a child. This is freakin' great! :)

If you don't know me, I'm very much a "realist" in that I don't write fantasy well because...Well, my brain just doesn't work that way! LOL. I am extremely factual. I was a historical non-fiction person, a former veterinary medicine/science person. I am a nerd & I love facts! LOL. Somewhere along the way, I lost my childhood imagination. I didn't miss it because science and history were chock full of new things to learn, so I didn't even know my imagination was missing! LOL. :)

I posted about Lareina making a possible come back. Well the "sleepus interruptus" as we've been calling it in the VHP reader's group has been kicking my Puerto Rican arse! It's not just sleepus interruptus. It's lifeus interruptus. And I f*ing love it! :)

I'm daydreaming as I wash the dishes. When I'm making the bed, I'm thinking of my characters and their conversations. As some of you know, I have an insane week this week. Part of which is that I am recovering from having my toes hacked (and prepping to have both big toe nails cut & the roots cauterized & all kinds of fun stuff).

Sorry. You don't need to know about my toes. My point was that I have to seriously live in reality this week. I missed my target. Sorry!

Even focused on some serious and important tasks, my little brain is happily dancing in writing world. It's not so bad that I can't carry on a conversation or something, it's just so much fun to let my mind wander!

This is really fun! Maybe it sounds weird or stupid, I don't know. I feel like a kid again! I can't explain it, this just makes me ridiculously happy. Suddenly, my world isn't black and white any more. I'm not innundated with the chores & stresses of daily life. They still exist, but I have my escape. This is my refuge. This is my place for mental relaxation. Come on in, the water's fine! :)

Ok, that being said, it is time for me to get back to writing. When my head is in this state, I almost feel as if I am going to explode if I don't start writing immediately. So off I go, before that whole spontaneous combustion thing. Interesting, but something I really want to try. Not now anyway. I'm happy in my little world! :)

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Lareina Makes a Comeback?!

Good morning, fellow internet junkies!

Today, I am popping open a cork that I really shouldn't, but I don't care! LOL. :)
I still have yet to get the green light from my publisher, but I am pursuing this project nonetheless.

While washing dishes (of all things) yesterday, I was struck. Not by real lightning or anything - metaphorical lightning, if you will. I was thinking about how series of books are quite the rage right now with the Harry Potter series, the Twilight series, etc. That got me thinking that I just don't have the ability to write say 5 books about the same characters. Maybe I'm underestimating myself, I'm not sure. Nonetheless, it's not even something I'm interested in pursuing at this time. I am working on Impeccable, the sequel to Imperfect, and I am quite happy with that. That was when the lightning struck.

Lareina's story isn't done. Seriously? Are you kidding me?! Poor woman needs to go through more stuff?! Apparently so. The idea of a sequel to Unbreakable Hostage hit. Now, this book is only just coming out in print in the next few weeks. It's still fairly new as an e-book as well, and yet I'm writing its sequel?! What is wrong with me?! LOL.

Thus began my newest project. Yes, I am currently drafting a sequel to Unbreakable Hostage. Whether or not this book sees the light of day has yet to be determined, but I'm giving it a shot. I'm already seriously haunted by all the characters again, so I know I have to write if I want to sleep and keep what little sanity I have left! LOL.

So, that's my news, world. May not be much to you, or maybe it's everything to you. I don't know. What I do know is that I need to get back to working on that stat before my characters beat me up! LOL.

Happy reading! :)

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Because EVERYONE needs a little ego mania!

Good morning, world. Thus begins a very hectic week in my household, so please forgive me if my blogs are subpar or just nonexistant.

Today, I am stroking my own ego. Why? I say, why not?! LOL. :)

Once again, I will proudly announce that Unbreakable Hostage is coming out in print in the very near future. For those of you who are like me and actually enjoy HOLDING your book, this is the perfect opportunity for you, now isn't it? :)

As well, for those of you who don't know that I am an uber nerd, there is a fan page for Unbreakable Hostage on Facebook! I have discussion boards & more on there. Please check it out & feel free to become my newest fan! ;)

As you may recall, Vanilla Heart Publishing was hosting its Grand Opening for the Yahoo Readers group. We all had a blast! It was great talking with other authors & readers. Here are a few snippets from this weekend:

On getting to know the VHP authors:

Lauren & my middle initial E are true. Harvey, however is not. As many of you
know, I am half Hispanic (the rest is Irish, Czech & Hungarian. If you need to
know how to curse someone out in an obscure language, I'm your gal! LOl).
Anyway, Harvey is clearly not a surname of any Hispanic origins! LOL. Since my
books are rather political (in tackling issues of racism & prejudice towards
people in the GLBT community), I write under the
name Harvey to protect myself and my family. Not that I have anyone coming
after me at all, but when not in Vegas, Philly or NYC, we do live in a tiny
town, and with a three year old, it's best just to err on the side of caution.

Like Malcolm, I tend to use a lot of references that come from my past.

In Loving Her, Katie is a vet student at U Penn, where I used to teach
veterinary anesthesia. Liz drives a 1977 Chevy pick up, which just happens to
be my ride. ;) She's also a big Metallica fan, which she just so happened to
pick up from me! LOL. :)

Lareina is my name in Spanish, so that's how she got her name in Unbreakable
(can we say ego maniac?! LOL). Oliveira is a family name (and a fairly
common Hispanic name), so that's how Lareina's full name came to be. :)

Will, a co-worker and good friend of Carol's in Imperfect is completely based
off one of my dearest friends! LOL. Ironically, his name is Bill. I was going
to keep it as Bill, but there's another character with a B name. Imperfect is
chock full of characters, so I had to change small details (like the B to the W
for Will) in order to make it clear to the reader who was who. :)

I often reference music, shows and/or movies that I love. If a reader doesn't
understand the movie reference, I apologize. There's a scene in Imperfect where
Carol unlocks and opens the door for Alex because she was thinking about how in
"A Bronx Tale," they say that if the girl opens the door for you, she's a
keeper. I love throwing in small trivia like that. It makes the writing
experience that much more enjoyable.

I also think that we have an infinite library to choose from when it comes to
life experiences, people, music, movies, etc. Almost all of my names come from
someone in my past, people I know, etc. Just as in Malcom's case, the names may
not mean anything to my readers, but they are small little details that just add
some flavor to the story for me.

What turned you into a reader?

I don't remember not reading. Even when we were older, my
mother would still read to us just to give us some family time. My mother has
always been a big reader, so like you I grew up around books.

Reading and writing have always been a integral part of my life as long as I can
remember and I certainly plan on keeping it that way! :)

I'll admit that I am selfishly grateful that my little step-daughter LOVES being
read to. I want to ensure that she reads books because she wants to and that
she doesn't read simply because it's obligatory for school.

Thread on how a story begins:

LOL. My sleepus-interruptus comes after I start! Once I start writing a book,
I am a slave to my characters. They LOVE to haunt me at night! :) I lack
sleep greatly when working on a project! LOL.

For me, a story typically starts with a sight. Whether it's someone's face, a
scene or place, or even a small object. I see something and the story around
that vision just falls into place. :)

(Part II)LOL, Smoky! :) We ALL have those voices! I remember how my mother looked at
me as if I had 3 heads when I saw a panel of authors on a show talking about how
their characters speak to them & the story writes itself & I completely agreed!
I was maybe 10 at best! LOL. :)

Ok, I'm gonna end this here because I am just plain tired! LOL. Haven't had any sort of caffeine yet, and it's already after 10 am! I've got to get in gear!

Happy reading, y'all! ;)

Thursday, January 21, 2010

I hope to see you there!

Alrighty, y'all. It's Friday and I'm not going to blog until Monday, because...

I will be at this weekend's GRAND OPENING!!!!!

Get to meet & chat with authors, discover new books & more! It all starts this weekend! "Meet" all the incredible VHP authors! Come join the fun! :) There will be prizes, fun & interesting conversations and more!

"From Friday morning until Sunday night, we'll spend the weekend getting to know Vanilla Heart Publishing Authors and their terrific books! Prizes, contests, games, loopy chat, and all kinds of fun!"

It starts today (Friday, 1/22) and goes through Sunday 1/24

Hope to see you there!!! :)

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Why Unbreakable Hostage is the Golden Child

Alright, I'll admit it. I'm a nerd. Actually, I'm an Uber nerd! I can't sleep. I am too ridiculously excited about seeing Unbreakable Hostage in print.

I think it's time I explain why I'm so high on myself about this book.

As you all know by now, fiction wasn't really my thing. I've been a non-fiction writer since the age of 14. That's a LONG time to stick to simply one genre, but that's the way it was for me.

I've been quite open about my astonishment that VHP would publish Loving Her, mainly because I still view it as a work in progress. I've gotten tremendously wonderful feedback from people who have read the book & I'm proud of that.

Unbreakable Hostage, though, is my rare pearl.

I vividly remember talking on the phone with my publisher. I had just sent her the original version of Imperfect and I asked her what she thought I should undertake as my next endeavor. She told me she thought I should write a suspense novel. I gibed her. Me? Hell no! As I've stated in previous blogs, VHP has a phenomenal collection of suspense writers - all of whom are superior to me in every which way.

I think it's important to note something here. Imperfect is a tragedy, there's no debating that. It was tough because it was my first full-length novel, but it was easy for me to relay that story. It's direct. It's not gripping or intense like a good suspense novel or movie. It's intense, don't get me wrong. It's intensity is different than something that would have you at the edge of your seat, though. I'm also a really direct person. I'm a NYer & Philadelphian. I'm a city girl. I cut to the chase. I do not beat around any bushes. I don't have time for that. All of my writing reflects my thought process and speech patterns: it's direct. Good, bad or indifferent, I don't know. I'm just stating facts. So, you can imagine that as a direct person, the idea of creating diversions and twists and turns was extremely difficult for me. I don't think that way, so how am I supposed to write that way?

I didn't think I'd have anything decent. I honestly did not. I took on the challenge and I wrote. As you know, music was key in helping me to create this story. I spent hours upon hours upon hours writing and polishing this story. When I was finished, I was quite proud that I actually accomplished it! If nothing else, I could say that I had challenged myself and I was successful. I didn't give up - I saw this project through to completion.

The real shock was at how well it was received by my publisher! Again, I didn't think it was of that calibur, but she loved it! Who am I to argue when it works in my favor? LOL. I titled it, word counted it and submitted it. Soon thereafter we had cover art, and I was good to go! :)

Yes, I'll admit that Unbreakable Hostage is my golden child. Don't get me wrong. Like any parent, I love all of my creations - and each one is loved differently since every piece is different. This one has to stand out, though. This was a tremendous challenge, and I more than accomplished my goal. I'm proud. It may not be the greatest piece of literature ever written, but it's a milestone for me and I'm happy! :) Isn't that what it's all about any way: my happiness? LOL. Just kidding! Seriously, though, this book has made me feel like a true writer - an accomplished writer.

A chance to "meet" me, other VHP authors & win cool stuff!

Hello hello! :)

Today I'm going to blog about all of my exciting news! Why? Because I'm an egomaniac like that! :)

I just got word that Unbreakable Hostage will be going to print around the first of February! I am SO excited to this book to come to fruition! :)

In other exciting news, my phenomenal publisher, Vanilla Heart Publishing will be hosting a Grand Opening of our Yahoo Readers Group! The Grand Opening will begin THIS Friday (1/22) and go through Sunday (1/22). Myself, along with several other Vanilla Heart authors will be there to talk with you, share book excerpts and more! There will be games and prizes! You can win free e-book copies of Unbreakable Hostage, Loving Her and SO much more! This is going to be an absolute blast! I am excited to be a part of it & I really hope to see you all there throughout the weekend!

Take care & happy reading, y'all! :) It's time for me to go jump up & down from all this excitement! :)

Monday, January 18, 2010

A tribute to my homeboy

Hello, internet world. Today, I need to pay homage to my homeboy, Willy. Sometimes I call him Bill. Sometimes I just call him! ;) LOL. Just kidding! In all seriousness, I'm talking about the one and only William Shakespeare.

Now don't go rolling your eyes or sighing heavily. I know that some equate him to torture, but in actuality, Willy rocks! :)

On my facebook status, I quote him a lot. He's amazing with words. And if you took more than a nano-second to read it, it would, in fact, make sense! Gasp!

Anyhoo, I think that in order to show you just how cool my dude is, I am going to show you some of the phrases he coined that we still use today. Ha! Take that cynical people who say Shakespeare is out of touch with modern times! :)

We'll start off with an easy one. "Be not afraid of greatness: some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon 'em." This quote is from Twelfth Night. That's right folks. Not FDR or Patton or anyone else. This one came from Willy. Mad props to my main man! ;)

This next one is from one of my personal favorites: Othello. Ever hear someone say that it'll either make 'em or brake 'em? Wanna know where that came from? Check this out: "It makes us or it mars us." Seem WAY too familiar? It should! That's W. S. 2, World 0!

Ok, on to number three. This one is often confused as being coined by Dickens, but it is not. It's from Bill's play, Richard the Third. "Now is the winter of our discontent..." Surprised? You're not the only one, I'm sure. ;)

Have you ever heard someone say, "something smells fishy in Denmark?" Chances are, you have. I know I have. I never did quite understand, but I've also never been to Denmark so why would I get it? LOL. Check this out: "Something is rotten in the state of Denmark." Marcellus says this in Hamelt. Food for thought. ;)

Another favorite coined a tremendously famous phrase. "All that glisters is not gold." This saying is from The Merchant of Venice. Pretty cool, huh? ;)

"The course of true love never did run smooth;..." I'm sure we've all heard this one quite a few times. It's from A Midsummer Night's Dream.

I have OFTEN said that there is a method to my madness. In most cases, that's true. Though I'd like to take credit for that phrasem the real credit goes to William. Check out this quote from Hamlet: "Though this be madness, yet there is method in't."

When people feel that the world is in their hands; that they can have anything they want, they'll often say that the world is their oyster. That may be true. What's also true is that that phrase can be found in The Merry Wives of Windsor. Look at what Pistol says: "...the world's mine oyster,..." Crazy, huh?

We all know that people can become green with envy. Sometimes jealousy or envy are referred to as the green eyed monster. Where did that come from? Quite possibly the one and only Shakespeare! "O, beware, my lord, of jealousy; It is the green-ey'd monster, which doth mock The meat it feeds on." Iago says that in Othello.

Have you ever been REALLY excited about something? Ever wait for something with "bated breath?" Take a look at a quote from Shylock from The Merchant of Venice: "...With bated breath and whisp'ring humbleness,..." What's interesting is that here, they're actually talking about whispering. We've turned that into great anticipation. Interesting how words and phrases change meanings over time.

We've all cracked or heard someone crack a joke about lawyers. We've heard people say that they're crooks or whatever have you. Ever hear someone say that we should kill all the lawyers & that will make for a better world? Whether or not that is true, Shakespeare suggested that in Henry the Sixth. "The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers." Good old Dick says that in that play. Funny, huh? I guess some opinions never change! :)

Polonius says in Act I of Hamlet, "Neither a borrower nor a lender be,..." I've heard this umpteen million times. We all know how mucky waters can become when dealing with lending or borrowing from someone else, don't we?

Othello once said, "O farewell,
Farewell the neighing steed, and the shrill trump,
The spirit-stirring drum, th' ear-piercing fife;
The royal banner, and all quality,
Pride, pomp, and circumstance of glorious war!
And O you mortal engines, whose rude throats
Th' immortal Jove's dread clamors counterfeit,
Farewell! Othello's occupation's gone."

I am going to borrow the summation from for this one.

"If there were one speech that revealed Othello's "tragic flaw," this would be it. The noble Moor, who has led a life of astounding exploits and military glory, has ultimately staked his self-image and peace of mind on his marriage to a Venetian woman of privilege. When the villain Iago craftily persuades Othello that his wife has been unfaithful—a highly improbable event—the general bids farewell not just to marital bliss, but to his livelihood ("occupation"). No longer, he cries, can he experience "all quality,/ Pride, pomp, and circumstance of glorious war!"

Othello obviously isn't talking about his high school graduation. "Pomp and circumstance" (and "quality" and "pride") are the glories and ceremonies of warfare. In war's splendid rituals, Othello has forged his identity. Although we often use "pomp and circumstance" negatively, to denote affectation and overwrought exhibitionism, the Renaissance would have been more generous: pomp and circumstance were considered inherent, positive duties of the exalted classes."

Pretty cool, eh?

In "The Scottish Play," Willy writes: "If it were done, when 'tis done, then 'twere well
It were done quickly. If th' assassination
Could trammel up the consequence, and catch
With his surcease, success: that but this blow
Might be the be-all and the end-all—here,
But here, upon this bank and shoal of time,
We'd jump the life to come."

Once again, e-notes comes up with a great explanation. "We use "the be-all and the end-all" in two rather different ways, neither of which pays much respect to Macbeth's intention. On one hand, the be-all and the end-all is something superlative in its category—a paragon or an extreme. On the other hand, the be-all and the end-all is an all-consuming project or passion—an idée fixe. Both uses, which meet somewhere in the vicinity of "the last word in the matter," pick up on the literal meaning of Macbeth's words while slighting the context. Macbeth speaks of an action, not a person or thing; he wonders if that action will be all that is required and end all that he must go through to be king. We refer to what is all it can possibly be and ends all competition, or to something that overrides all the normal limits. Macbeth would like his deed to be limited, while we admire a nearly unlimited excellence, or a passion without bounds." (Sorry about borrowing these explanations, but the little one is becoming impatient with me while I try to type this!)

There are COUNTLESS more quotes that have weaved themselves into the fabric of our culture. Personally, I think it's fantastic! We are carrying on history and heritage. As a writer, I could only hope to be quoted once, let alone an infinite number of times!

So folks, I hope this made Shakespeare slightly less intimidating, and perhaps even understandable. :) Enjoy his works. I think that without literary greats like Shakespeare, we as writers, would be lost.

Laundry is NOT a spectator sport!

Good morning, world! We will not be discussing writing, my books or anything literary today. We will return to your regularly scheduled programming tomorrow.

Today will be a recap of yesterday's adventure.

Yesterday started out WONDERFULLY. The Mrs. made an incredible Sunday breakfast for me. We dorked around on Farmville (also on Petville for me). We had a nice, relaxing morning. It was great.

Then it was time for us to do laundry.

The morning had been speeding by and we could no longer avoid our responsibilities. So, we loaded up the truck and went over to the laundromat. Mind you, we've been there umpteen million times. We've read there, we've talked there, hell we even wrestled there one time (we were alone & clearly very bored! LOL). The place was actually fairly busy. There were people there for a change! Ok, I thought to myself. No biggie. Just do our thing & make sure that we're not in anyone's way & vice versa. WRONG!!!! We did our thing & we kept to ourselves (we watched Frida on a portable DVD player). However, despite the fact that there was absolutely NO nudity, no indecent behavior or anything of that nature, we were the spectacle there.

There was a woman who came in solely to wash her clothes. She gawked at us.

There was a woman who came in solely to dry her clothes. She, too, gawked at us.

There was an elderly couple who did nothing but watch us intently.

There was one woman who came across rather "conservative," shall we say. I swear, that woman was trying to throw razor blades out of her eyes in order to kill us! Sheesh! She didn't blink & there was an incredible expression of discontent on her face. She was not only annoying, but she was scary!

Holy crap, Batman! Seriously? Seriously seriously? We're doing our laundry. The Man Show had more offensive scenes that two women doing laundry & watching a movie in the interim! Mind you, we didn't call each other, "sweetie," "honey," babe," "schmoopie" or anything else. Our conversations were extremely light and again little to no PDA. Sorry, we're just not exhibitionists. Go elsewhere for that, please.

It bothered me. It really did. I'm a city girl through and through. I'm used to people minding their own business. I'm used to people with so much metal in their faces you can't even see their eyes being the nicest folks you'll ever meet! I'm not a starer. Even when driving, I do not gawk at cars that have been pulled over or accidents. I don't have time for that. So not my personality. I just want to live my life and my chores in peace. Is that too much to ask? Apparently that is for the folks around here.

Anyhoo, despite my aggravation, we went home & quickly changed to go see a good friend's husband play at a local eatery. That was actually fun.

I was more than awkward at first since it was mainly geriatric folks & it was ALL country! LOL. Yeah, Hispanic city girl stood out like a sore thumb! ;)

The uncomfortable feeling dissipated rather quickly & soon I was having a blast watching these old folks dance their little hearts away! :) LOL. There was one couple in particular that were just GREAT to watch. The woman was short and cute. She bounced with every step and was a combination of Irish Step dancer and Square dancer. She had so much energy and pep! It was great! Her partner (who I'm going to assume was her husband) was pretty good, but when he got his gal in his arms he twirled her around like an old man on speed! It was great! They were cute, they were fun. They were clearly having a great time. Just watching them made my afternoon! LOL.

It was a bit of a rough night with the little miss last night. She didn't want to sleep. Just when we thought she was asleep we'd look up & there she was either watching us or walking around or what have you. Finally, we just had her come and stay with us. Neither one of us could take the interruptions any more. However, the little one ended up in between us.

Normally I wouldn't mind. However, this three year old can box better than Mohammed Ali, and she's asleep!

I was punched and kicked countless times! LOL. I kept asking her to move closer to her mother because not only was I her punching bag, but I was also losing room on the bed! LOL. This is a Cal King sized bed, folks. It's HUGE. And who takes up 2/3 of it? The three year old! LOL.

I'm quite tired today, as is the little miss. I'm gonna keep it as a quiet & relaxed day. We have one errand we have to do today, but other than that I think we both need to recover! LOL.

Tomorrow I shall return to my using rants about all things literary. Sometimes it's just good to take a break (from that). ;)