Friday, August 24, 2007

Milestones, Heat Waves, and Morning Musings

Summer really plays Hell with blogging. Thank God the school vacation part of it is finally over, even if the heat is worse than ever. Here in the Heart of Dixie, we're in our fourth week of 100+ heat index days, and I am REALLY looking forward to seeing the mercury drop below 90. It's so hot that our dogs don't even bother pretending that they're monitoring my bird feeders and keeping the squirrels at bay the way they usually do every time I go outside. (ONLY when I go outside. The rest of the time they let the squirrels have the run of the yard until I step out the back door, then they take off chasing them and come back panting proudly, as if to say, "See? We're on duty for you! Can we have a treat now??"

Consequently, I like to sit outside on the patio with my coffee in the morning before the heat gets unbearable and watch the birds. I love watching them (especially the hummingbirds), but I also love the peace I feel sitting out there with just the dogs, the not-really-very-wild life, and my thoughts for company. Lately, I find myself thinking a lot about when my kids were small, and I guess that's because my son TJ just started a new job that frequently takes him out of state, and my oldest daughter Tia started college this week. I really have only one hatchling left in the nest (Treasure), and she's already begun pestering me about getting a job, even though she won't be 14 until October.

My fondest memories are of the times when the kids and I were home alone together and we'd get out the old camcorder (the kind that recorded on full-sized VHS tapes and weighed 15 pounds!) I'd turn on the radio to our favorite oldies station and let the kids dance and have fun: precociously comedic 9-year-old TJ mugging for the camera, 5-year-old Tia dancing in front of him with her stuffed Dalmatians (Penny and Patchy) to steal some camera time, and squatty-body 1-year-old Treasure riding her rocking horse (her "fuh-fuh" as she called it--don't ask me why!) in time to the music when she wasn't toddling between things she wasn't allowed to touch.

My very favorite one is of TJ and Tia at ages 7 and 3 telling their favorite bedtime stories for the camera. TJ told "The Three Little Pigs" (with multiple adlibs of course) and Tia was supposed to tell "Little Red Riding Hood." She says she needs me to help her get started, and it goes like this:

MAMA (my alter ego): "Once upon a time, there was a little girl named Little Red Riding Hood."
TIA: "And where was she going?"
MAMA: "Tia, you know where she was going. You've heard this story a thousand times."
TIA: "I can't remember. Just tell me where was she going."
MAMA(sighing): "Okay. She was going to her grandmother's house."
TIA: "And what did she got in her hand?"
MAMA: "Tia! Are you going to tell this story or not?"
TJ(rolling his eyes impatiently): "Mama, this is just like when Barney says the Preamble to the Constitution on the Andy Griffith Show!"

One of these days, I'm going to write a book of anecdotes about my kids. I'm sure it will be a best seller and send all three of them into therapy.

Oh, well. If the former is true, I can pay for the latter.

~Stay true to yourself, and your dreams will come true.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Blogging for Thinkers

My favorite flyboy, Aston West, graciously nominated Blue Attitude for a Thinking Blogger Award. While this is an honor in any case, it touches my little blue heart even more because this flyboy has so obviously thunk a few thinks himself.

In accordance with the rules, here are my nominations for 5 more cogitators:

Maya Reynolds Maya can always be counted on for lots of info and lots of laughs!

Janet's Jargon Janet Elaine Smith is a savvy lady who still knows how to have fun!

Hellatias Writing Lee Mills will possibly make you either mad or crazy, but you'll have to think in the process!

Jaycee's Rants Another outrageous lady with a brain to go with her brawn!

BookEnds LLC Agent Jessica Faust can always be counted on for great information on the publishing business and generally entertaining posts.

Check out these blogs, folks. You won't be disappointed!

~Stay true to yourself, and your dreams will come true!

Monday, April 16, 2007

Notoriety 101

I’m sure many of you are just as sick as I am of being bombarded with the endless stream of articles, reports, and hourly updates on whatever “news” story has sent the media into its latest frenzy. Well, it’s even more frustrating to watch for we starving-author types who would simply like a little modest publicity for our books. Since I’ve wisely given up on some of my more impractical and/or illegal promotional ideas (see previous blog entry “Support Groups Needed”) I decided to take lessons from the experts in the publicity game and play by their rules, so here goes. If these are the things that send the media into orgasmia, then I’m about to really rock their worlds!

1) Don Imus’s racist/sexist remark: This one is easy to top. Here’s one of my favorites—not only do I agree that white men can't jump, I also think they really suck on the balance beam and the uneven bars! Yeah, I said it!

2) The furor over who’s the daddy of Anna Nicole’s baby: Paternity debates are a dime a dozen, but I’ve got a real mystery! I’m not 100% sure I’m the real mother of my oldest daughter! My doctor forgot to set up the mirror during the delivery, so I didn’t actually see her birth. She also doesn’t look anything like me, yet she bears an uncanny resemblance to my three step-daughters. Coincidence? I think not.

3) Nude pictures surfacing of American Idol contestants: Not only have I had nude pictures taken of me, I posed for them willingly! My mother took my picture in my grandmother’s shower when I was two years old, and I was wearing nothing but a shower cap and a big smile. And if the Internet had been around back then, I’m absolutely positive my mama would have posted that picture online everywhere she could. She sure showed it to enough relatives!

4) Steroid use in Major League Baseball: Both my Avon lady and my Mary Kay rep can testify that I regularly purchase every single product available that firms and smoothes the skin and reduces the appearance of cellulite. Yes, that’s what I’m saying. My thighs are chemically enhanced!

5) Britney Spears going without underwear: Big deal! Because I have the most beautiful, model-quality feet in the world, I never wear socks once the temperature goes above 50 degrees. And I also have absolutely no qualms about letting the paparazzi photograph my bare tootsies to their heart’s content!

6) Over-hyped authors who write plagiarized books: I can list for you right now at least three dozen words from my second book that I also used in my first book--multiple times! I even italicized them if I felt like it. And if Mr. Webster gets wind of my books, I'm in BIG trouble!

7) Severe drug addiction: Oh, yes. I most assuredly have this. Just ask the Folgers people if I haven’t e-mailed them with bribes, pleas, threats, and propositions, trying to get them to sell me cases of their Straight Up Café Latte, since they—for some unknown, ungodly reason—decided to stop selling it in Florida and Alabama. Consequently, I periodically must drive to Pascagoula, Mississippi, to buy it from my hookup (Jerry Lee’s Grocery Store) and then transport my stash across state lines!

8) High-profile madams on trial: So I had to give up on the idea of staging my son’s kidnapping by a crazed fan, but I want to state unequivocally now that I will gladly rent him out to any young woman aged 18-24 who gets me a reputable agent or a six-figure book deal for my latest book—either one, I’m not picky. Yep, I’m willing to whore out my firstborn to further my writing career. How much more dedicated could a writer be?

Okay, guys. There's plenty of dirt for you. Let the feeding frenzy begin!

~Stay true to yourself, and your dreams will come true!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

A Joyce Two-fer!

Recently, I met another Joyce on a wonderful writers' forum I belong to that's officially named "Jay's Writers World" but we like to call "The Playhouse." Joyce A. Anthony is the author of a very special book entitled STORM, and she graciously agreed to stop by here on her first whirlwind blog tour. I've read STORM myself, and it's truly one of the most uplifting and inspiring books ever written. Here's a blurb about this incredible book.

What do a prostitute, an abused child, a disillusioned minister, a Vietnam vet, and a homosexual have in common? These and many others find their lives changed when they meet Storm and his companion, an amethyst-eyed dog named Maggie. As you follow Storm on his journey to discover his true identity, you will meet many of society’s forgotten people. You will laugh, cry, and get angry—whatever the emotion, you will feel it deeply.
When Storm realizes who he is and why he is here, the world is completely changed, and not one soul remains untouched. Upon closing the covers of this book, you will see the world around you in a far different light and find yourself wondering—is it really fiction?

Now let's hear from the author herself!

Joyce S. -- Which did you come up with first--the idea for STORM's plot, or the character of Storm himself?

Joyce A. -- Storm was my first concept. I started this book with him and the general ending in mind--nothing else. He and I literally travelled together through the writing of this.

Joyce S. -- Do you work from an outline, or are you a "pantser"?
Joyce A. -- I don't outline. I have tried, but I never follow it, so it is a waste of time for me. I find my characters have their own minds, so I give them free rein to do as they wish. It makes for some interesting twists and turns!

Joyce S. -- Your writing is very lyrical. Do you also write poetry?
Joyce A. -- I don't write poetry exactly, more of what I call "moments"--brief descriptions of a moment in time. These have been called poetry, however, so I guess it is a matter of how you define the genre.

Joyce S. -- What books or writers influenced you the most in your own writing?
Joyce A. -- Rod Serling and Richard Bach are the two authors I feel influenced me the most. They both challenge their readers to think and grow. I have never closed a piece of work by either of these authors and failed to continue thinking on it--questioning. I hope I have been able to create that same feeling with STORM.

Joyce S. -- What are you working on next?
Joyce A. -- My next book is a non-fiction work entitled SPIRIT OF THE STALLION. It is the account of the trials and eventual triumph of a bipolar child.

Joyce S. -- Thank you so much for stopping by, Joyce. We Joyces definitely must stick together!

NOTE: STORM is available at and currently discounted at com/Storm- Joyce-Anthony/ dp/1932993746/ ref=sr_11_ 1/104-6431922- 6428714?ie= UTF8&qid=1173578116&sr=11-1 A portion of the royalties for STORM go to StopItNow, an organization dedicated to the prevention of child abuse.

~Stay true to yourself, and your dreams will come true!

Saturday, February 24, 2007

American Author

I had never watched “American Idol” until last year when I began watching it with my youngest daughter because it gave us something to talk about. (She’s in middle school. Need I say more?) I didn’t really expect to like it, but I completely fell in love with the show, although I can’t bear to watch it before it progresses to the live broadcasts where all the contestants can actually sing. However, seeing some of the clips from the early audition rounds made me wonder what it would be like if there were a similar show for writers.

Think about it. All the best books on writing (and all the most popular editor and agent blogs) tell writers that their first lines absolutely MUST hook the reader. What better way to test your first line than auditioning it before a panel of judges? Let’s say . . . Anna Genoese, Stephen King, and Miss Snark. You can bet I’d make damn sure I didn’t have any passive voice or clichés or general dullness in my opening line before I read it in front of that trio! (The announcer should be Michael Bublé, for eye candy!)

Then, after making it through the first-line round, the contestants would read their first paragraphs the next week, with the survivors reading their first pages the following week. When there were only two contestants remaining, they would read their entire first chapters for the finale, and viewers would vote to choose the winner of the publishing contract.

Yeah, okay. I know a show like this isn’t likely, but it’s a good exercise for writers to see if their openings need work, and it would be a fun game for critique groups to play.

Here’s mine: Jess always woke a second before she could complete the castration—curses, foiled again.

Well, Steve-O probably wouldn't like it, but maybe the ladies would vote me through.

~Stay true to yourself, and your dreams will come true!