Tuesday, October 31, 2006
I THOUGHT I WAS GETTING BETTER
I've been working on it, I really have! I've made myself face my greatest fear, reading about it, looking at pictures, insisting I was getting better. In case you haven't figured it out, I'm terrified of spiders. That's right, my name is Colleen and I'm an aracnaphobic.
I knew I needed to do something about it when I let my one year old and three year old kill a big wolf spider for me with butter knives, chopping the thing to mush in the corner back about 1976. What if it had been a black widow (not in Indiana) or a brown recluse? Here I was cowering in the corner letting my CHILDREN protect me. I'm ashamed to admit it. So I started working on it. But no amount of information made a spider anything other than a bloodsucking horror. Still, I've been able to kill them (small ones) and thought I was making progress.
Then I was faced with a test tonight. Did I rush to protect my darling husband of 35 years (our anniversary is the 30th) with weapons raised and guns blasting?
Um no. One of those fuzzy black horrors with the red dot on its back (the kind that plopped onto by bed when I was a teenager and LEAPED at me if you're reading this, Mother) was on Dave's shirt. I screamed, cowered back, barely able to utter, "There's a spider on your shirt!" Dave slapped at it with his hand and knocked it to the floor. Dead, I was relieved to see.
If I could have gotten out of the car while it was moving at 60 miles an hour, I would have. If it had been on me, I would have wrecked the van for sure.
So no, my belief that I've gotten over my phobia is all a sham. I've deceived myself. It's a shocking turn of events. I'm going to have to work on it harder.
But if you hear a scream, you'll know I expired in the working out of this problem. And no, Brandilyn, I haven't read Web of Lies yet. My heart might not be able to take it. But it might be good therapy, hmm?
posted at 9:47 AM
Sunday, October 29, 2006
I AM WOMAN, HEAR ME ROAR
My favorite TV show comes on Friday nights, which also happens to be our "family night". Last week I was still in mourning from missing it the previous week when I realized we had plans for the upcoming Friday night as well. I determined I was going to do something I haven't done in years (and years, and years). I was going to tape that baby.
So I pull out our ancient VCR, and I'm talking OLD. We've had this thing at least a decade, probably longer. I'm not even sure it will work with our new TV. I'm technologically challenged, the instruction manual is long gone, but low and behold, we still have the remote control! I go to the store and ask what cords I need to hook this thing up with. Turns out, it's only two cable cords, so I'm thinking there's hope.
I get home and hook it up to the spare TV. It works! Amazing. I'm so proud of myself. Then I realize we'll be gone all night on Friday and the tape only lasts two hours. I'm going to have to set the timer and the clock. I dilly dally awhile and finally figure it out. It's set, and I think it might actually tape when it's supposed to. The timer light is on and everything. I threaten my kids within an inch of their lives not to mess with the TV. I leave the room and come back later. The timer light is off. I can't even get the VCR on. Then I realized I had plugged it into the outlet that's controlled by the light switch, and I had turned off the light.
So I replug the VCR, reprogram the clock, and re-set the timer. I know what I'm doing now. We leave for the night and come back late. First thing I do is check the VCR. Behold, I have taped a program! Houston, we have lift-off! Saturday I lock myself in the room and watch my show in peace. And next week, if we need to leave on Friday night, it's okay. I have this whole VCR thing figured out.www.DeniseHunterBooks.com
posted at 9:56 PM
Friday, October 27, 2006
REAL TIME AGAIN!!!!
You laugh about my big knife, but I was mad enough to take it to that stupid law that has us changing times. But this weekend we go back to REAL time! Can you hear my joy? We'll go to bed when Hoosiers normally go to bed and get up when we're supposed to, not when some politician tells us to. To read a really good post about how DST should be studied because the energy savings are very doubtful, read this:
If they'd do a study today to see if it really did something instead of of using one from more than thirty years ago when the world was very different, I might believe it. But we run a/c all day long in our offices now. One reason Arizona doesn't change is because it costs MORE because of running a/c more. That's likely the case elsewhere.
Seriously, my body never did adjust to this weird time they had us on. I couldn't get sleepy at 10:00 because my body said it was only 9:00. I've been trying to hit the sheets way too early for me and my subconscious was rebelling. But no more! In fact, I may even change my clocks back tonight. Get a jump on it.
Shh, don't tell Diann but it's another good reason to move to Arizona. Arizona and Hawaii are the only sane states left in the U.S.
DST haters unite! What I'd like to know is if things work better with being an hour earlier, why don't they just change the time and be done with it? I don't understand.
Colleen, ready to chop up that law.
posted at 7:00 PM
Thursday, October 26, 2006
JOB REQUIREMENTS: BRAIN CELLS NECESSARY!
I am losing my mind. Now, you might think it wasn't all that solid and wrinkly to begin with, but I mean, the synapses are not firing. I have written and rewritten "Split Ends" (my next book) and I'm telling you, I can't figure it out. Something is wrong. Something is missing, but the thing is, I need brain time to discover it -- and that is something I'm woefully short on.
I drive. A lot. Now, you might think that would be excellent thinking time, but with four kids in the car, it's nothing less than absolute chaos. In fact, yesterday my kids were fighting over a sock. Yes, you heard me right. One sock was "too small" so he was verbally-beating on my younger son to trade socks with him. As I was involved in the war, I sort of rolled/California-stopped through a stop sign. And got a ticket. My kids were horrified, and the first thing out of their mouths, was, "Sorry Mom. We're sorry Mom!" And I didn't have time for my coffee, yeah, they better be sorry!
Normally when I write, I tend to live with my character, but right now, there is no room for her! She has been evicted in lieu of driving, grocery shopping, errands, doctor's appts for kids, laundry, packing lunches, dinner, cleaning up dinner, homework, bedtime and then, starting all over again. The difference for me this year is that my husband is working at a start-up (think LOTS of brain cells for that!), and now I have FOUR kids with homework and responsibilities instead of just three and extra hours when my daughter was in kindergarten. I'm not complaining, I LOVE it here, but it's a lot of work! So if you see my character, would you please tell her to get her bum back here?
posted at 11:58 AM
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
ROMANCE OR SUSPENSE?
I've been a quandary lately trying to figure out exactly what I'm supposed to be writing. You all know I like to kill people in my books. I can't explain it, but it gives me a feeling of control in some sick way. LOL But women, including me, love to read about relationship. Love, romance, personal problems, all the fun stuff. And I always have that in my books. But what is the right blend?
More suspense, more romance? What is it about a book that keeps you turning the pages? When you read Jane Eyre, was it her relationship with Rochester or who on earth that creature was in the attic? The book I'm writing now, Abomination, has a serial killer in it. It also has romance and some other problems scattered through. The balance is always hard. So give me your opinion. Why do you read a romantic suspense book? What part is your favorite?
posted at 10:46 AM
Tuesday, October 24, 2006
LOVE IS IN THE AIR
You've seen the other girl's props, well, here's mine. Not a shoe, a butcher knife, or even a box of chocolates (but only because that one was already taken--and for the record, we split the chocolates).
A red rose, the symbol of love. Yes, I'm a romantic at heart. Nothing is better than a well-written romantic novel, complete with a Happily Ever After. Nicholas Sparks recently, well, sparked some conversation about the romance genre. He said he writes in the "love story genre" not in the romance genre. Some people distinguish the difference strictly based on whether or not the story has a happy ending, but to me it's more than that.
I'm not sure I can define it, but there's a difference between a Nicholas Sparks book and a Silhouette Romance. Better writing? Sure, that's part of it (although admitedly subjective). I'm particularly interested because I'm now writing in the "love story genre" for Thomas Nelson. Genres, it seems, shift faster than a Nantucket sand bar. We haven't yet clearly defined chick lit and here comes another genre. What do you think? Is there a difference between the romance genre and the love story genre? How would you define it?
posted at 9:49 AM
Monday, October 23, 2006
How good of a listener are you? Come on, I mean, really?
Consider this. You go to a restaurant with a friend. You’re having this wonderful meal of, oh, I don’t know, lasagna, breadsticks, salad, and of course without a doubt, chocolate cheesecake. (It’s a daydream—no calorie limit, okay?)
Your friend might be sharing bits of information about the weather or discussing how good the lasagna is, but suddenly you find yourself “in the zone”. You know what I’m talking about. It’s where all the noise around you starts to fade and suddenly your writerly antenna is on the prowl. Picture teensy UFO flitting from table to table in search of interesting conversation.
At one table a wife tells how her toddler slurped water from the toilet, but thankfully it was clean. Okie-dokie then.
Antenna moves on. Here a teenager is like, all excited, because she like, met this guy . . . .
At another table women discuss the latest shoes (I think Kristin was leading that discussion).
Then you strike gold! Fourth table down on the right side of the room, a man says to his wife, “It’s as though he had to find out he was dying to learn how to live.”
And suddenly, four bites into your lasagna and one breadstick later, you’re off and running. Your friend’s lips are moving, but you don’t hear a thing, because by now you’re onto the second plot point of your next book. It’s not something you’ve planned, but there it is.
Been there, done that? Tell us about it. Where did your latest plot spark come from? The grocery? A restaurant? Movie? Joke? Passing comment?
Stories are all around us. Be on the lookout today. You just might find a book waiting to happen . . . .
posted at 8:33 AM
Thursday, October 19, 2006
I'M BORED...so I'm going to rant. Okay, regarding child molestation and our senators? Our senators have NOTHING on the news media. Hello, do I need it spelled out on the news that the accused Senator swam naked with a priest, but did not have sex? Is that NEWS? And how is that NOT more child abuse, when my kids ask me in the car, "What was that about?" It's the lead story, it's not like I had any warning it was coming!!
What is with the world that we need these kind of details! It makes me long for the days of, "But I didn't inhale!" THAT I can explain to a child. THIS? And quite frankly, I live in one of the most liberal parts of the country, now, they're going to act shocked? Sheesh, aren't they campaigning for this kind of thing the rest of the year?
And lest you think I'm bi-partisan, I could have done without the details of Monica Lewinski's blue Gap dress as well. Ick. I listen to the news, I need a shower!
posted at 3:42 PM
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
I've corrupted my mother. Yep, sad story, isn't it? The corruption I'm refering to is the one to mochas. For years she didn't understand why I loved espresso drinks. Now she's always been a huge coffee drinker, but didn't get my passion for espresso. I would turn up my nose at her Folgers so we were at an impasse.
Then it all changed. She had a heart attack and we had her trapped in the hospital. They were bringing her this weak decaf stuff that had been brewed two days ago and warmed up. (I'm kidding but it tasted like it.) My sweet daughter-in-law and I brought her peppermint mochas from Starbucks. At least one a day.
I credit the mochas with still having my mother around. They gave her a new lease on life. Now she's addicted though, poor thing. She sends my dad out every day for one. They may end up in the poor house, but she's got a smile on her face and pink in her cheeks!
But hey, I'm just continuing on the tradition. Kristin got ME hooked on mochas. Denise gave me my first DeBrand mocha truffle years ago. I'm just carrying on the tradition. But you know that's what we do when we love something, no matter if it's truffles, MacBooks, espresso--or Jesus. Who we are and what we love just flows on out. We're not REALLY trying to corrupt anyone. We're sharing things that have made a difference in our lives.
That's my story and I'm sticking to it.
posted at 7:13 AM
Tuesday, October 17, 2006
No matter how much you enjoy what you do, there are days when you muddle through your work. Writing is no different.
One of my favorite things to combat the writers' blahs is the storyboard. I got the idea from Deb Raney and this is my first storyboard--for Surrender Bay coming out in Oct. '07. It has photos of my characters, the setting (Nantucket), anything that makes me feel like I'm "there", inside the story, inside the lives of my characters. It's a little beat up--my boys shot it up with nerf darts at one point, which didn't make me too happy (my characters weren't crazy about being target practice either).
Whenever I feel stuck, I look at my storyboard. Whenever I need a good metaphor or simile, I look at my storyboard. Whenever I start craving chocolate--well, okay it has its limitations, but it's still very helpful in the inspiration department. So, writer or not, what inspires you?www.denisehunterbooks.com
posted at 8:43 AM
Monday, October 16, 2006
Okay, I’m starting to scare myself.
It’s like this. My husband and I had to go to church Friday night for a choir event. He was running late, so we both drove to a pharmacy near the church to pick up some medicine for me (I have a cold), and then we were going to meet at a fast food place to grab a bite to eat before choir.
As we leave the pharmacy, my husband turns to me. “So do you want to go to McDonald’s, Kentucky Fried Chicken or Taco Bell?” (They’re all located close together.)
“How about Taco Bell?”
“Okay, see you there.”
We get in our cars. I drive off first, pull into the parking lot, go inside the restaurant and wait in line. A few minutes pass, and hubby's still not there. I’m thinking, okay, he’s sidetracked, probably messing with the car radio or something. My cell phone rings.
“You change your mind?”
“Don’t you want to eat at Taco Bell?”
“Um, yeah. Where are you?”
“Taco Bell. Where are you?”
I glance up at the menu and realize that I came within a refried bean of asking Colonel Sanders for a burrito.
My husband is still laughing about it. I'm not.
To be honest, I think it’s Colleen with that whole knife trying to get my chocolates thing. I’m losing sleep at night, I tell you.
posted at 10:00 AM
Saturday, October 14, 2006
Just say no!!
There was a day when I was ignorant. When I didn't know that a pair of $20 shoes were different from a pair of $200 shoes. Those days are gone. I have been seduced by supple leather, well-engineered heels and dang, just gorgeous shoes!! If you do not know the difference, I'm begging you, DO NOT FIND OUT!!!
You won't be able to have "lots of shoes" because you'd rather have three pairs of good ones and you will not be able to pick up Oprah magazine without lots of covetous groans. Don't do it, people!
Innocently enough, my mother, the most practical of women, dropped off the new "O" magazine. An innocent and kind gesture -- yet she had no idea that Coach has new boots out -- or Donald Pliner has animal print wedges!!! It's shameful what this does for me. All my neighbors don't even wear shoes in their house, so do I need this kind of temptation? I'm thinking not. But above, I give you exhibit A. Please note that Donald Pliner shoes are like buttah! They feel as good as they look -- they're like wearing Keds only HOT HOT HOT! So I'm here to warn you. Hear me now and believe me later. Do NOT try on good shoes, but check out those Cole Haan denim pumps I've got, are they great or what? And they're classic, they will last forever -- try and wear out a Cole Haan -- you just can't do it!
Oh, and don't even get me started on handbags!
posted at 12:05 PM
Thursday, October 12, 2006
She calls this normal people. I give you the facts!! kristin
posted at 1:55 PM
In case you haven’t noticed, we’ve got new pictures! Is there anything that’s normally more miserable than getting your picture taken? Other than clothes shopping when you don’t fit in the size you think you do anymore. But other than that, pictures are generally MISERABLE.
We had a blast that day though, thanks to our friendship and our photographer Jodie Westfall. Okay, Jodie had to referee our fight over the truffles, but other than that it was good. But it really showed me a new side to my buddies. For one thing, I found out Di really didn’t trust me. She kept freaking out about me waving a butcher knife around (it was my prop). I kept telling her I was being careful, but she didn’t seem to believe me.
And Denise kept coming up with these unusual ideas for poses. Who would have thought she was so artistic? She’s a DRUMMER, for petes sake! It’s those quiet ones you have to watch. Then there was Kristin. She didn’t like the yellow background Jodie had us stand against. And she kept taking off her shoe and looking at it. What’s up with that?
It’s hard to be the only normal one in the group. Sad isn’t it?
But back to the pictures. We're getting our blog professionally designed and I can't wait for you all to see what is coming soon!
posted at 8:06 AM
Wednesday, October 11, 2006
How many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop?
Well, who cares? What I want to know is how many false starts does it take to get the center of a plot? I want to know because I'm on, like, my 200th false start and I'd like to know how many more I have to go.
I'm not a novice after all. I've plotted every novel I've written (13 now), and I've always settled on a story idea pretty easily. Yeah, it takes work to flesh it out, add those layers, and put a pretty shine on the idea. My critique partners make the work easy.
But this time, for some reason, I can't seem to settle on an idea. Just when I think I've got the Right One I go to bed and wake up and have second thoughts. I've never been so wishy-washy. My partners have put in so much time on this story (which I have yet to start writing) that their names are going to have to be on the cover. And just when they think I've settled on a plot, out goes an email. "Uh, girls, we're back to scratch."
I've never pushed them to the limits like this, but they're not blocking my emails and calls yet, so I figure we're good. And I THINK I've settled on a plot idea. It was idea 192 out of the 200. Still needs fleshing out and all those layers, but I think it's going to work. Although idea 178 was pretty good too . . . .
posted at 9:56 AM
Sunday, October 08, 2006
My best friend and I totally love to go to restaurants and just eavesdrop on other conversations. We know each other so well, we don't have much to say to each other, but boy, can we have fun with OTHER people's conversations. The way it works is we sit in a booth and listen to the people behind us, then the other narrates the visual. Oh I know, it's sick, but it is hilarious because I love to make up stories about what's really happening and how their background is so much more dramatic than it appears.
Another girlfriend and I were in Seattle, and these guys were sitting across from us. One was military-looking, dressed in khakis, married, upstanding citizen-like. The other was artsy, worn-out canvas tennis shoes, self-painted T-shirt. (This was a fancy restaurant). So my friend goes, "So what's their story?" Oh let me at it. They're childhood friends. Guy #1 is out of the military and college, now working at Microsoft and preparing to start a family. Guy #2 is in town for the music festival going on, trying to make it as a musician and basically your starving artist. Guy #1 will pick up the tab (though we don't wait to see). I did make my friend take their picture under the ruse of the view though I think sharing it could get me into trouble.
Anyway, if you play these sick games in a restaurant, you too can be a writer -- or at least entertained through your meal. But it explains why I'm perfectly content to be in a restaurant alone, which Colleen thinks is weird. If this doesn't prove I'm weird, hey, I don't know what kind of proof you need.
P.S. Any soccer moms out there? What's the worst thing you heard on the field yesterday? There's this one overzealous dad, whose kid is a hot dog. Can't play team soccer with a hot dog. Anyway, the dad is YELLING like these kids are professionals but not what normal coach-y dads yell, "Get in position! Spread out!" No, he thinks the bunch-ball is fine if his kid is forward, and he yells "Get it to XX!" (his son) and my 6-year old daughter goes, "That guy is weird." Out of the mouth of babes.
posted at 12:21 PM
Thursday, October 05, 2006
Okay, it just doesn’t get any better than this. See the picture. That is a perk that comes with my job. May I never retire . . . .
Tuesday night I spoke to a ladies book club in Georgia (via telephone speaker). This club knows how to do it right, let me tell you. First of all, they dubbed the evening “Death by Chocolate.” They brought chocolate desserts to the event, and even set up a chocolate fountain (wish I could have gone there in person, doggone it!). And get this, the UPS man showed up at my door with a huge box from this group. What was inside? You guessed it, a huge basketful of chocolates and coffee!!! Now I ask you, does it get any better than that?
I have no idea why chocolate and coffee always finds their way into my books, but they do. I think it’s because chocolate spells party for me. Coffee equals energy. Put the two together, and we’re talking a fun time! That’s what I want my readers to have when they read my books!
The down side to all this is that I can’t lose weight. I mean, I put chocolate on the page, and I gain five pounds. I could write about brussel sprouts, but that would just be wrong.
Now don't misunderstand. I'm not like those teachers who teach solely for the three months off in the summer (though we can't blame them, right?). I don't write for the chocolate. But hey, if it comes with the territory, who am I to complain?
So if you’re thinking of writing as a profession, remember every job has its ups (free chocolate) and downs (forget the diet), but the pros far outweigh (pardon the pun) the cons, as far as I’m concerned. Course, I could change my mind when I hit 500 pounds!
posted at 8:17 AM
Wednesday, October 04, 2006
This is Diann, Denise, me and Lynne Ford at the WBCL radio station. The girls threatened my life if things didn't go well at the interview this morning, but I knew our wonderful Lynne would make sure they were at ease. But just in case, I went fully loaded with caffeine--ready to rescue my chicks if necessary.
I got there first. When Di came in, she had one of those looks. You know the one I mean--like a cat that's been scared to death and just might claw your face off if you so much as touch it. Denise breezed in last wearing a smile I knew was fake. "It's going to be fun," I promised them again. They narrowed their eyes at me and gave me a look that would have shut up a lesser woman.
When they saw the size of the mic, their eyes got even bigger if possible. Then we saw what Lynne had by each of our mics--a DeBrand truffle.I knew I loved that woman. We'd brought her some truffles as well so we were ALL in a good mood. We were ready to dish. Lynne fit our group like she was a missing piece.
Then it got ugly. Lynne asked us each to tell something about the others that people might not know. Denise said, "Be kind." I was. I told about her being a girly girl in a male household. I could have said she alphabatizes her spices but I was nice. I told about Diann's wonderful voice. But was Denise nice back? N-O-O-O. She said I was "strong-willed." She's still bitter about that middle aged argument where you all agreed with me. I think I'm hurt.
As we walked out, the girls were raving about how much fun it was. I preened. Okay, it probably sickened them, but after listening to them whine about how I'd gotten them into a live interview, I deserved it. I have to drag those girls kicking and screaming sometimes, but it's for their own good. If they'd only remember when they next need to grow!
If you'd like to listen to the interview, go to www.wbcl.org. Click on Mid Morning then click on Weekly Schedule. Look for Tuesday and you'll see the link to click to listen. If we sound like driveling idiots, please don't tell us!
posted at 8:58 AM
Tuesday, October 03, 2006
Kristin took this photo at the ACFW conference. The girls were brainstorming in Rachel Hauck's incredible suite and I returned from an appointment and plunked down in the nearest chair. You can't tell from the photo, but um--my feet didn't reach the floor. Despite the two inch heels. Okay, three inch. The girls thought that was so amusing. Out came the cameras. Kristin's, Rachel's, Colleen's . . . what's a girl to do?
Oh, ha, ha. Denise is a shorty. She looks like a little girl in that chair. Isn't that cute? Let's take a picture. Never mind that my 5'2 (and a half inch) self has to hem every pair of pants she buys. Sometimes I think they make women's jeans with Gabrielle Reece in mind. I'm pretty sure my seamstress saves the material she cuts off and makes another pair of jeans from them.
To make matters worse, Kevin is 6'4". I'm sorry, tall women, I know it was unfair of me to take him. But I'm paying for it. In neck pain every time I kiss him, in humiliation every time we have portraits done. Hey, have you ever been told to stand on a stool? Happens every time. Why can't they make him get on his knees, that's what I'd like to know.
I can't see over people's heads at concerts, plays, and movies. Chairs, car seats, and sofas, shaped for taller people, leave me positioned so I have a great view of my belly button. No longer worth looking at, I might add. But that's a whole other blog.
posted at 3:12 AM
Monday, October 02, 2006
I got my copies of Calm Cool & Adjusted
, so anyone who wants a signed copy, leave a comment. The first ten comments will get a copy. Thanks. Kristin
posted at 12:53 PM