Monday, July 26, 2010

My First Story

Once upon a time, there was a budding author named Kenzie. Her fifth grade student teacher put on a record (yes, showing my age here; shut up and keep reading!) and told the class to write a story about whatever pops into their heads. Kenzie, having just seen the movie Logan's Run the week before, heard the mysterious strains of the classical piece and decided to write a sci-fi story about what the future would look like. Eerily enough, some of the descriptions resembled the futuristic world of Logan, as seen through her ten-year-old eyes, and as she discovered twenty years later, completely misunderstood the entire plot of that movie! She probably did the same with Billy Jack, but I digress...Anyway, in that story, she hadn't learned much of how to format a story, except for indenting the first paragraph. Quotes came later, but were still not given a paragraph of their own. "How does this relate to the blog topic," you ask? This is an example of what my first story looked like, without the horrendous handwriting. So yes, I am now smarter than that fifth grader because I knew NOTHING about the intricacies of putting together a manuscript or even relationships. Romance was Barbie and Ken and happy princesses finding their Prince Charming and living happily ever after. Oh, and that is how I finished all of my stories back then....And they lived happily ever after.

Monday, July 19, 2010

You Call This A Vacation???

My ideal dream vacation has varied over the years. First it was anyplace with an amusement park and water slides. Then it was anywhere with a pool, beach, and good nightclubs.

I have two dream vacations. One involves travel; the other does not.

I'd love to travel to Hawaii, Greece, Italy, France, England, Scotland, Ireland, The Netherlands, and Sweden.

And then there's my current 'dream vacation':
Kicking everyone out of the house.

Yes, you read that correctly. For the past several years, traveling with my kids leaves my exhausted. And since my oldest pair is now driving (one leaves for college next month and the other will officially get her license in January), my ideal Spring Break is when the hubby's off to work and my three kids disappear to Grandma's.

Peace and quiet.

I can sleep late; blare MY music; watch any TV shows without having to hear complaints; eat when and whatever I want; stay on the computer as long as I want.

And sometimes I feel as if Spring Break doesn't last long enough. Why couldn't my kids go to Grandma's the entire month of June? Or all summer?

"'d miss your kids after two weeks. Trust me."

Sigh. You're probably right. But sometimes I want to lock myself in a motel room for several weeks when the words are flowing! Why does the family not get this and leave me alone until I'm finished?

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Answer...and Doing the Happy Dance!

Okay; Mia was close. Here's the answer...and the actual conversation highlighted in bold.

“Crap. I’ve got to go in a few minutes.”

He tightened his grip slightly. “I could just keep you here the rest of the night.”

She shook her head. “How about I start strongly hinting for them to sleep over at friends’ houses next weekend?”

“Works for me.” He kissed her ear, then patted her butt. “Okay, Miss Horny and Pressed for Time…you know, that would make a great line in a movie.”

Tammy yawned and sat up. “Maybe in a porno,” she scoffed. “Where did you toss my clothes?”

“The same place you tossed mine.”

(Comment was made before my marriage; just wanted to clarify in case anyone was worried!)

Happy Dance:)

Received this in Monday's inbox:

Good morning Kenzie,

I have no idea why this manuscript was rejected but the publisher and I
agree. We would love to publish this piece for you.

I will be sending you a formal acceptance and contract later this morning
or this afternoon.

Whoo hoo! My new publisher will be XOXO Publishing and I'm excited to be finally getting my first 'baby' sent out into the big bad world.

And it must be my week for good news, because yesterday I received another email from my temperamental friend, apologizing for flying off the handle at me two weeks ago, and could I meet her for coffee? Unfortunately, I was too busy yesterday, and asked about either today or Thursday.

"I'm leaving for Hartford, Connecticut tomorrow and will be gone until Sunday. I'll email you next week."

Once again, patience has paid off!!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Soul Mates

I'm a believer in soul mates. Ever look a someone and 'just know' you're going to be best friends? Call me crazy, but just look at my current BFF and I. Twenty-six years later, it doesn't matter if we've not seen each other since yesterday or three years; we pick up the phone or I go to her house and we pick up right where we left off. No awkward moments.

Same with another good friend of mine. I hadn't seen or spoken to him in five years, and yet the way we acted, you'd have thought we'd seen each other last week.

Did I marry my soul mate? Unfortunately, no. But he exists in the form of a Good Friend, and he doesn't mind me writing him into nearly every story.

In Marc's case from All She Ever Wanted, there's this interaction:

Marc lathered his hands and smeared them on her chocolate-streaked breasts.
“Believe it, baby,” he murmured. “Earlier you said I’m all you ever wanted? Well
sweetheart, all I ever wanted was you beside me, day and night.”

“Daytime’s going to be a little rough,” she reminded him. “You in the
boardroom and me in my kitchen.”

“That’s okay. I’ll wake up beside you….” His fingers coaxed her nipples into
firm points. “And go to sleep with you at night.” He lovingly soaped her belly and
rinsed her off. “And it’s always been my secret fantasy to fuck you on the
conference table.”

“The conference—wouldn’t that be awfully hard?” She took the soap he
offered, lathering her own hands.

“We’ll smuggle in some blankets or something.” Marc lost all rational thought
as her hands trailed down his front, encircling his cock.

Amber rinsed her hands and turned him in the direction of the water. She
moved in front of him again and sank to her knees, taking his fresh member into
her mouth.

Marc closed his eyes and braced himself against the shower stall. Wow—if this
was what married life with Amber had to offer, he was sorry he’d not put up more
of a fight three years earlier.

We talked fantasies one day, and he revealed a desire to have some fun in his office. I wrote this scene and sent it to him; he emailed me back and said I'd given him an idea for when his girlfriend was in town! Later, he informed me Monday morning meetings would never again be the same...

And in Teacher's Pet, this scene was spawned from something he suggested after not seeing his g/f for several weeks while he was traveling. Can you guess the phrase?

She tugged at his sweatshirt, wanting to run her hands up his hairy chest and to feel his rippling muscles. He worked it over his head, looking briefly surprised before she threw off her own sweatshirt and pressed his naked torso to hers. He groaned and lifted her up, carrying her to the bedroom and leaving a trail of clothing behind.

“What brought this on?” he asked briefly between kisses as she hurriedly shed her underwear and peeled his athletic pants to his ankles.

“I’m horny and pressed for time. And it’s all your fault,” she scolded, sinking to her knees to take his massive length in her mouth.

These are just two examples. But one of my favorite themes has always been the reunion story; the one in which soul mates find each other after being apart because of Fate, Timing, or Interference from Outside Sources.

What's your take? Do they exist or not?

Monday, July 5, 2010

Adding Flavor To Stories

When I think of quirky characters, the cast from M*A*S*H comes to mind. Radar always knew what the Colonel was going to say. Hawkeye and his mystery martinis and schemes. Frank's electric socks and his pursuit of Hot Lips. Klinger and his itch for a Section 8 discharge. Charles Winchester the Third.

Any story has its main characters, but often it is the secondary ones which enrich the story or backdrop. Lumier and Cogsworth from Beauty and The Beast (or even Chip). Scuttle from Little Mermaid. Fargo in Eureka.

One of my favorite shows was Gilmore Girls. Sean Gunn (above) played the town oddball, Kirk. At first I found him extremely annoying, but then would tune in just to see what hairball scheme he'd concocted.

And the show Are You Being Served? OMG! We'd tune in just to see what color hair Mrs. Slocum had!

I don't know if I've given my characters any particular quirks; I may have to add some. But the bottom line is this: Make your characters memorable, not just cookie cutter Barbie and Ken. Readers will appreciate it.