Golden Heart Interview with Trish Milburn

One of the 2006 finalists is getting interviewed for the newspaper, so Trish and I thought it would be fun to do our own interviews. Go to her blog to read mine!


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1) What did you do when you got the news?

I was on the road headed for Atlanta and had stopped at a rest stop just over the Georgia state line. I was actually in the bathroom about to wash my hands when I got the first call. The second came as I was driving down the interstate, and I managed to knock the hands-free earpiece to my cell phone out of my ear while trying to answer. I’m going, “Hang on, whoever you are!” Luckily, she didn’t hang up.

2) Who was the first person you called/e-mailed/told in person?

Maureen Hardegree. She’s one of my Noodler buddies and is also president of Georgia Romance Writers. She’d called me earlier to see if I’d finaled because she was going out to buy roses for all the chapter members who’d finaled. I’d previously told her that no, I hadn’t, so I called her back and asked, “So, you bought those roses yet?”

3) How did your family react? (I’ve heard of children who said something like, “Gee mom, that’s great. What’s for dinner?”)

My husband was happy for me. My sister said, “Cool!”

4) Why did you enter this manuscript?

Both finaling manuscripts were complete at the deadline. ☺ Both were new entries for me, and I was hopeful that finaling would give them an extra little push toward possibly being bought.

5) To what do you owe your success? (copious amounts of chocolate, etc.)

Chocolate’s good, but I’d have to say hard work, perseverance even when it was really hard to keep going, and a very supportive husband.

6) In addition to practicing your Golden Heart acceptance speech, do you practice accepting any other major awards? (e.g.: An Oscar? A Grammy? A Nobel?)

I have to admit to fantasizing about the Oscar speech. I’m a big movie lover and would like to be an extra in a movie someday, preferably a big western.

7) In event you win, can we expect an exuberant, life-affirming acceptance speech (a la Roberto Benini’s Life is Beautiful speech), a tearful, endearing acceptance speech (a la Julia Robert’s Erin Brokovich speech) or a boring, politically-motivated speech (a la Micheal Moore accepting anything)?

Well, since I’ve actually done one of these and made people cry, I’d say the Julia Roberts type. It’s just so important to me to thank the people who support me in my writing, day in and day out, friends that I wouldn’t even have if not for writing.

8) If on Golden Heart night you could wear any Oscar dress that’s been seen on the red carpet, which one would it be?

The black-and-white vintage Valentino Julia Roberts wore when she won the Best Actress Oscar for Erin Brockavich. To see it: You can see it here.

9) If you could be escorted by a famous hunk to the Golden Heart award ceremony, who would it be?

Brad Pitt. Yes, I know he’s a bit on the outs because of the whole Jennifer-Angelina thing, but did you SEE him in Mr. and Mrs. Smith?

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10) Is there a negative side to finaling?

The fact that there are so many talented writers out there, many of them friends, who didn’t. The day the calls go out to finalists is a mixture of elation (if you final) and sadness (for all the great writers who didn’t).

Revising, revising, revising

I did take a break to watch Lost last night, and watched Bones over my shoulder....but I've got nothing to blog about. So enjoy these!

"Stewardesses" is the longest word typed with only the left hand and "lollipop" with your right.

It's impossible to sneeze with your eyes open.

Maine is the only state whose name is just one syllable. (I'll bet you're going to check this out.)

No word in the English language rhymes with month, orange, silver, or purple.

"Dreamt" is the only English word that ends in the letters "mt".   

Our eyes are always the same size from birth, but our nose and ears never stop growing.

The words 'racecar,' 'kayak' and 'level' are the same whether they are read left to right or right to left (palindromes).

There are only four words in the English language which end in "dous": tremendous, horrendous, stupendous, and hazardous

There are two words in the English language that have all five vowels in order: "abstemious" and "facetious."

TYPEWRITER is the longest word that can be made using the letters only on one row of the keyboard.

All 50 states are listed across the top of the Lincoln Memorial on the back of the $5 bill

A dime has 118 ridges around the edge.

A cat has 32 muscles in each ear.

A crocodile cannot stick out its tongue.

A dragonfly has a life span of 24 hours.

A goldfish has a memory span of three seconds.  Heyyy. who called me a goldfish???

 A "jiffy" is an actual unit of time for 1/100th of a second.

 A shark is the only fish that can blink with both eyes.

A snail can sleep for three years. 

Al Capone's business card said he was a used furniture dealer.

 Almonds are a member of the peach family.

An ostrich's eye is bigger than its brain.

Babies are born without kneecaps. They don't appear until the child reaches 2 to 6 years of age.

 Butterflies taste with their feet.

 Cats have over one hundred vocal sounds. Dogs only have about 10.

February 1865 is the only month in recorded history not to have a full moon.

 In the last 4,000 years, no new animals have been domesticated.

 If the population of  China walked past you, in single file, the line would never end because of the rate of reproduction.

If you are an average American, in your whole life, you will spend an average of 6 months waiting at red lights.

Leonardo Da Vinci invented the scissors.

On a Canadian two dollar bill, the flag flying over the Parliament building is an American flag.

Peanuts are one of the ingredients of dynamite!

Rubber bands last longer when refrigerated.

The average person's left hand does 56% of the typing.

The cruise liner, QE2, moves only six inches for each gallon of diesel that it burns.

The microwave was invented after a researcher walked by a radar tube and a chocolate bar melted in his pocket.

The winter of 1932 was so cold that Niagara Falls froze completely solid.

There are 293 ways to make change for a dollar.

There are more chickens than people in the world. (Not after that sale at HEB)

There's no Betty Rubble in the Flintstones Chewables Vitamins.
          
Tigers have striped skin, not just striped fur.

Winston Churchill was born in a ladies' room during a dance.

Women blink nearly twice as much as men.

Your stomach has to produce a new layer of mucus every two weeks; otherwise it will digest itself.

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Revisions and Breakthrough

SO as you know I'm revising Hot Shot again. Six years, folks. I started it in the summer of 2000, when the CO fires were so bad. I've written more stuff in between, but have come back to it at the urging of editors and now my agent. Some things about it make it not too bad - I know the characters really well. Other things slip away, like all the research I did. I'll read through it and think, "How do I know that?" Or if a CP tells me to go into more detail about something, I'll know I KNEW it, but I've forgotten and I don't know where to find it (maybe I should start making footnotes or something, but I don't remember how to do THAT either.) Other problems are that, since I've worked on it so long, I can't see it in a different way. It's hard to change things because in my head it's always been that way. I've been using a lot of cold readers this time.

This latest round is changing the heroine's motivation to make it less category. This advice was given to me on March 17. It took me almost as week to figure out how to change it (I mean, it's been the same motivation for six years.)

I've done 100 pages of revisions in 2 days, and all I can think is that I'm ruining the book. I'm not making it better. All this new stuff is stuck willy-nilly in my story.

So last night, exhausted at 9:30, I crawled into bed and started thinking. A couple of years back, my friend Karen went to a workshop where they were talking about motivation and you have to keep asking yourself WHY to get to the character's motivation.

So I started doing that last night, and wow, do I like the results.

Peyton is on the fire to show she's a committed reporter.

WHY?

She's never been committed to a job before, and her husband was so committed to his job that he died for it.

WHY has she never been committed?

When things got tough in a job, she just quit.

WHY?

She's never been good at anything, and her parents were good at everything. Her mother is a surgeon, her dad is a dr (I've been working on this story for 6 years and never thought to think about what her parents did. They will probably never show up in the story, and I may make one mention of her mother the surgeon, but it's good to know!)

EDITED TO ADD: OMG, DO YOU REALIZE WHAT THIS IS???? PARENTAL APPROVAL!!!!! DANG, I DON'T LOVE IT NEARLY AS MUCH AS I DID THIS MORNING.

Soooo, when Gabe pokes at her about being a reporter, he's poking at her own doubts about herself.

See? (If that really sucks, don't tell me. I'm happy.)


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HAPPY HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my buddy JoAnn!!

Network Vs. Cable

We hardly ever watch cable anymore. Time was, it was TNT, TBS, USA, all these other networks to fill in for what WASN'T on network TV. We always have had cable, since we were married. But now the Big Four have gotten so good, with such quality programming, I think we could live without cable (except Sci Fi - I might end up divorced if I tried to get rid of Sci Fi).

Sunday night used to be a no-TV night for me. THANKS, Grey's Anatomy.

Monday it's 24. OMG, did you see it last night? Do you believe Audrey?

Tuesday - when I'm not writing it's American Idol. Or DVDs.

Wednesday - I LOVE Wednesdays! Bones, Lost, Invasion to a lesser extent. I want to see Heist, too!

Thursday - Earl and Office.

Friday - nothing, usually.

Saturday - nothing.

Hey, you'd think I'd be getting more writing done, huh?

What do you watch? Could you live without cable?

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Ideas

Where do you get them and what do you do with them? I mean, when you can't get to them right away, but they're calling you.

I mostly get my ideas from dreams. That's where Surface came from, and my first book, and my "scary" book, a kind of a futuristic. Also my spy girl book that I will probably never get to write.

I get some from the news. That's where Hot Shot, Vanished, Heart of a Knight and Second Chances came from.

I get some from TV. My Antarctica book (saw something on the travel channel) and DLB (what happened to Jack Bauer after he faked his death) came from TV.

I have other ideas that are from movies, that I may eventually get to write when I escape revision hell. Others that are just what-if, like a type of job I think would be interesting to write.

Some, like the spy girl book, call to me. And writing on it is kind of a reward. If only I didn't need sleep....

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Public Service Announcement

The following are crappy movies with hunky guys. Do not waste your time or energy (or like I did, reward yourself after a hard day of writing) with any of these movies. (The pictures don’t match the movie because, well, I like GOOD pictures.)


1) Solaris with George Clooney. What the HELL was that movie about? Single handedly killed my crush.

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2) The Musketeer. Singular. Alex from Grey’s Anatomy…with a mullet. Like that wasn’t bad enough. Just bad, bad, bad.

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3) Shooters, The Cherry Orchard and Timeline with Gerry. He was in Shooters like, ten minutes and it was very…intense. The Cherry Orchard he was just goofy, and Timeline, well, the whole movie was running and hiding and getting caught, repeat. (That said, I do OWN the movie because he was just too cute.)

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4) Swordfish with Hugh Jackman. Again, WHAT was that movie about? And he was so sweaty and icky.

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5) Nick of Time with Johnny Depp. There’s a reason he’s not an action hero.

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6) Chain Reaction with Keanu. Or the one where he’s a serial killer. Actually, pretty much just like him in Matrix, Speed and Replacements.

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7) Some dumb Sci Fi movie called Sabertooth or something with Josh Holloway. Holy crapfest, Batman!

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What movies can you add?

Movie quotes

I'm a teacher, I can't help myself. I make tests.

Name the movie each quote came from.


1) “That’s some bad hat, Harry.” YAY, MICHELE GOT IT !!! JAWS!

2) “Are they heavy?”
“Yeah.”
“Then they’re expensive. Put them back.” CANDICE GOT THIS ONE - JURASSIC PARK!

3) “I coulda been at a barbecue!” LINDA GOT IT!!!! INDEPENDENCE DAY!!! ONE OF MY FAVORITE MOVIES!!

4) “I seriously think you should rethink the length of your sideburns.” BONNIE GOT THIS ONE - BRIDGET JONES

5) “There is a huge space between us and it keeps filling up with all the things we don’t say to each other.” Here’s another from the same movie. “Same old, same old. People need killin’.” MICHELE GOT THIS ONE - MR. AND MRS. SMITH

6) “I take a vitamin every day. It’s called a steak.” (This is a favorite quote around here.) MAYBE I'M THE ONLY ONE WHO'S SEEN THIS ONE - KICKING AND SCREAMING WITH WILL FARRELL.

7) “We die free or we die trying.”
“Are those the only choices?”
Another from the same movie: “I saw my whole life flash before my eyes…it was BORING!” YES! CHICKEN RUN! GOOD JOB, APRIL!

8) “I'm scared of everything. I'm scared of what I saw. I'm scared of what I did, of who I am. And most of all... I'm scared of walking out of this room and never feeling the rest of my whole life, the way I feel when I'm with you.” MARIANNE GOT THIS ONE - DIRTY DANCING

9) “Where do these stairs go?”
“They go up.” CANDICE GOT THIS ONE - GHOSTBUSTERS

10) “Today I saw a slave become more powerful than the emperor of Rome.” MARIANNE GOT THIS ONE TOO -GLADIATOR

11) “You got to fire your big gun. Did it meet your expectations?”
“Overrated.” MICHELE GOT THIS ONE - LAKE PLACID. ONE OF MY FAVORITE GUILTY PLEASURES.

12) “There’s no crying in baseball!” MAIRANNE IS ON A ROLL - THIS ONE IS A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN

13) “Do you recognize him?”
“No, but he was young and vigorous. He was very vigorous, father.” MARIANNE GOT THIS ONE - THE MASK OF ZORRO

14) “Throughout human history, we have been dependent on machines to survive. Fate, it seems, is not without a sense of irony.” YES!!! MATRIX!!! YAY, MICHELE!

15) "Gentlemen, congratulations. You're everything we've come to expect from years of government training." KRIS!!! GOT THIS ONE - MEN IN BLACK!

16) “It must be some life, seeing all those different places.”
“You should know... you've been writing from them for years.” MICHELE GOT THIS ONE - DEAR FRANKIE

17) “You’re laughing at me.”
“I'm laughing at the fact I used to find you charming.”
“I am charming.” MICHELE GOT THIS ONE, TOO, TOMB RAIDER 2!

18) “What's in this can?”
“That's for your breath. You could use it. Squirt some in your mouth.”
“Yeah, well that's mace, isn't it?” TRACY GOT THIS ONE - OUT OF SIGHT!

19) “Got any beer?”
“This is a school.”
“So that’s a no?” YES!!! CANDICE GOT THIS ONE - X MEN 2, CONVERSATION BETWEEN WOLVERINE AND BOBBY IN THE KITCHEN

20) “You don’t have to walk me home.”
“You block the wind.” MARIANNE GOT THIS ONE, WHICH I THOUGHT WAS PRETTY OBSCURE - WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING

This is a clue to one of them!

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Congratulations!!!

Oh, my gosh, I am SO EXCITED! The Wet Noodle Posse is having a great finalling year in the RWA Rita and Golden Heart Awards!

We have eight finalists in the two awards, with eleven books (three of the Noodlers are double finalists). And here they are (drum roll):



2006 RITA for Best First Book Finalists


Show Her The Money by Stephanie Feagan (0373513542) Silhouette Books - Natashya Wilson, editor


Worth Every Risk by Dianna Love Snell (0-373-27426-2) Silhouette Books - Allison Lyons, editor



2006 RITA for Best Long Contemporary Romance Finalists

Worth Every Risk by Dianna Love Snell (0-373-27426-2) Silhouette Books - Allison Lyons, editor



2006 RITA for Best Regency Romance Finalists

A Reputable Rake by Diane Gaston (0263843912) Harlequin Mills & Boon Limited - Linda Fildew, editor



2006 RITA for Best Traditional Romance Finalists


Smart Boys & Fast Girls by Stephie Davis (843953985) Dorchester Publishing - Kate Seaver, editor


Who Needs Boys? by Stephie Davis (843953977) Dorchester Publishing - Kate Seaver, editor




2006 Golden Heart for Best Contemporary Single Title Romance Manuscript Finalists

Don’t Look Back by Mary Fechter



2006 Golden Heart for Best Paranormal Romance Manuscript Finalists

By the Book by Jennifer Smith



2006 Golden Heart for Best Romantic Suspense Manuscript Finalists

Fanning the Flames by Trish Milburn



2006 Golden Heart for Best Novel With Strong Romantic Elements Manuscript Finalists

Telling Lies by Esri Albritten

2006 Golden Heart for Best Young Adult Romance Manuscript Finalists

The Wishing Tree by Trish Milburn

Some of my non-Noodler friends finalled, too. Good friend Chris Fletcher finalled in Romantic Elements.

Two former SARAs, Julie Ortolon and Jen Holling are Rita finalists, one in ST and the other in paranormal.

Tawny Weber and Shane Bolks finalled with me in 2004 and finalled again, Tawny in the GH and Shane in the Rita!

And one of my favorite authors, Virginia Kantra finalled – that girl is consistent!

Don't Look Back Finalled in the Golden Heart!!!!

Golden Heart Finalists

Let's Fantasize about OTHER Things

I woke up this morning to find my tax refund check was deposited (in the nick of time, I might add - I got paid BEFORE Spring Break and won't get paid again till the end of the month) and that my electric bill was the cheapest it's been since we moved into this house.

Yay.

So keeping in the money theme, let's talk about advances. Not how much you'll get, but what you'll do with it. I know one friend bought a beautiful chaise lounge kinda thing so she can sit in it and do her revisions.

I will admit, part of my advance will go to something practical, like getting the house painted (I really REALLY hope I sell soon, because it needs it.) And probably to pay for the conference. And I promised my son I'd buy him a tube amp for being such a good sport. And my dh needs a new laptop. But what do I want, to signify the accomplishment? (And will there be anything left??)

Hm.

You'd think I'd have thought this through a little more ;)

Okay, I know. I want my patio redone. I know, it SOUNDS like home improvement, but if I had my patio redone, I'd get a limestone rock wall built around it, just high enough to sit on. I'd get a spot for the grill that wasn't unsightly. And I'd get the little flower bed on the end contained a little better. Then I could sit out there and enjoy it and that would be a good reward, right?

What will you do with your advance?

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Good luck to everyone waiting to hear today!!!!

More on sexual tension and writing series

I was thinking this morning that the more a hero has to interact in society, the fewer base sexual thoughts his characters seems to have. He's had to subvert them to function. And the more a hero is on the fringe of society, the more animalistic his thoughts. Which may be why vampires et al are so popular in erotica - they haven't had to conform to society, so their thoughts are much more sexual in nature.

So, at this point I’m so sick of Hot Shot I never want to read it again. I certainly wouldn’t want to write a series based on the same characters or setting. (okay, if Emily called tomorrow and said someone would buy Hot Shot and a sequel, but that was the only deal, I might be able to force myself) But once I’m done with a story/setting/character, I’m ready to move on (sometimes BEFORE I’m done with the story/setting/character.) I have no interest in revisiting secondary characters. I guess I just don’t make them that compelling. And frankly, I have a hard enough time finding plot for ONE setting. Which is a shame considering the amount of research I do.

I know several writers who LOVE writing series, tying everything all together, but I’m not one. I don’t think I could come up with anything I could love for two or more books. Except maybe the archaeology book. I found so many different interesting places where archaeology could be a main factor.

I'd also be worried that I couldn't make the characters consistent, especially if I wrote other books between book one and book two.

So what about you? Series interest you? Or not so much?

*** This post was written by a writer stuck in revision hell since October 2005. All rights to change her mind at a later date are reserved.

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Will this help keep your mind off what tomorrow is?

Pubs Vs Unpubs

Two things inspired me to write this blog. One was reading about a writer feeling bad about feeling envious of a friend who just sold. Another was reading an email of another writer talking about how hard it is to be a published author.

I’m thinking these two situations can create a pub vs. unpub split. Not that it’s a rivalry, but I think there are differences that can’t be understood by the person on the other side.

The first situation I mentioned was actually one that I’ve been concerned about. I worry that when I sell, I will go off the wall, and I don’t want to inadvertently make another unpub feel bad by my enthusiasm. I’ve felt jealous at times, and so I might feel the need to dampen my enthusiasm out of concern for others. And I don’t feel that’s altogether fair, if you know what I mean. So I can kind of see a tendency of the newly published gravitating toward other published authors, who have been where they are and will probably be less likely to be jealous.

The other incident also made me think that pubbed writers stick together because really, unpubs don’t WANT to hear about the bad side of being published. And even if we do want to know, we don’t want to believe it’s THAT bad. But I know this writer, I’ve known her for a long time. I know if she says it’s rough, it is.

But after these two incidents, I can see why published writers tend to band together and distance themselves, even a little, from the unpubs.

Here’s George

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But THIS guy has been in my dreams the past couple of nights.

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Yes, Alex from Grey’s Anatomy. Why? Why? Why?

Writing Sexual Tension

Writing sexual tension between the hero and heroine has been a challenge for me lately, and I think part of the problem is, dare I say it, I’m a bit old fashioned. Don’t get me wrong, my characters get along really REALLY well. But I have trouble with the lead in. I just don’t want my hero to be thinking about THAT all the time.

I know, I’ve heard, guys do think about it all the time. Maybe so. I live with two men, I have two brothers, this could be true. If it is, I DON’T WANT TO KNOW ABOUT IT. My dad told me this is true. MY DAD – yes, I’m scarred. Okay, admire her body, but for heavens sake, think about something else, too.

Del is the most sexual hero I’ve written, I think. He thinks Liv is hot, but he holds himself in check because, well, for one, they’re in the middle of the jungle and for another, she has a rough past and he is a rough guy and feels she deserves better. Doesn’t stop him from wanting her, but that he restrains himself makes him heroic to me. Did I mention I love Del?

I’ve read too many books where the sexual tension feels forced. Where you get the feeling the author was told, “You need to make it sexier.” And it just doesn’t ring true. Okay, maybe it is TRUE, but it doesn’t feel romantic. And more than knowing my hero lusts after my heroine, I want to know he loves her and respects her, too. How do you find a balance?

Double your pleasure today ;)

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No, not THAT! I’m also blogging over GH mania over at Wet Noodle Posse today. Come stress with me.

Writing Mentors

Do you have a writing mentor, someone you can turn to with questions of writing, of publishing? One of the most helpful people in that regard, for me and several SARAs, has been Delores Fossen, multi-published with HQ Intrigue. When I joined SARA, she was going through what I’m going through now, the rejections, the revisions, the frustration. But now she’s had maybe a dozen books published and is extremely generous with her time and knowledge.

Several of the Wet Noodle Posse are the same. Published authors willing to read for each other, and the unpubs, sharing information, even passing on recommendations to agents.

Do you have a mentor, or a group you can turn to for help? Where do you go?

You’ll probably be seeing a lot of Clooney pics – these revisions are kicking my butt.

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Bringing It Up a Notch

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Soooo, I’m revising Hot Shot because it’s been rejected for being too category. So I’m digging deeper into my heroine’s motivation to make her conflict…more.

Bringing it up a notch – it’s what I’ve been doing since I signed with my agent. First with Hot Shot, making the ending as exciting as the beginning (I have a tendency to have two halves to a book). Then with DLB, making it sexier, more conflicted.

I know Donald Maass is famous for talking about bringing your book to the next level. I suppose I should go check out his book?

With Hot Shot, what I essentially did was rewrite the back half. With DLB, the way I’m doing it is going through scene by scene, line by line, to dig as deep as I can with each sentence. It’s exhausting, and I have to remind myself to stop when I get too tired or I won’t do the book justice.

Once I have the new ideas in place for Hot Shot, I’m going to do the same. It’s hard. As well as you think you know your characters, sometimes you don’t. And sometimes you know them too well and you realize your reader may not know why the characters are doing what they’re doing.

It looks like this will be the year of revisions – Beneath the Surface after this, then Vanished. All of which need to be tilled and mined for the best story I can tell.

How do you bring your writing to the next level?

Cops and Firefighters and Soldiers, Oh, My!

So I’m going back into revisions for Hot Shot again – the beginning this time, and till I’m done, you get to look at George Clooney, my model for Gabe.

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I watched Good Night and Good Luck and didn’t get the big deal. Yeah, GC and Robert Downey Jr. and Jeff Daniels and Frank Langella were in it, but I didn’t get the big suspense.

Last week I may have revealed a little too much of myself to the teachers at lunch. One of the teachers is married to a cop, and she was talking about how when they’d go dancing before they were married, she’d feel his gun under his shirt and it would make her feel safe.

I said it would make me hot.

I love writing cops and firefighters and soldiers. Big, strong guys, trained within an inch of their lives to take care of themselves, to protect others. I love writing guys who are able to take charge, take over. I have a scene in DLB where the heroine watches the hero fire an automatic weapon and it’s like her hero, the man who’s saved her life, has come back to life before her eyes. She doesn’t find it sexy, per se, but reassuring.

In Where There’s Smoke, the heroine falls more in love with the hero when she sees him in paramedic mode, taking charge to save a child’s life.

In Second Chances (yes, most used title ever), it’s the contrast between the take-charge FBI agent who can also be gentle with a victim that softens the heroine’s heart.

So what does that say about me, that I like these take-charge guys? Well, I can hazard a guess. But I also have a feeling I wouldn’t like them as much in person as I like them on the page.

Books in the news

Yesterday the dh was watching the morning news and two stories featuring books came on.

The first was the lawsuit against Dan Brown, author of The Da Vinci Code. Have you heard about this? He's on trial in England because the authors of a 1982 nonn-fiction book called Holy Blood, Holy Grail, said he got his ideas from their book. He used other books as well, but I think his mistake was mentioning this in the context of his book. If the authors of Holy Blood, Holy Grail win, what will that mean for research for writers? Right now it's expected to go either way.

The second was the outrageous book deal televangelist Joel Osteen got for his book. $13 million, is what the CBS morning news reported! Clinton didn't get that much, nor did the Pope. What Osteen did was take a smaller advance (only $1 or $2 mil, not much) and he'll get 50% royalties! Yeow! Can you imagine?

I've got to take the dh to work - hopefully I wake up before I have to drive home. I look forward to hearing your take on these stories.

More new Gerry pics!

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Elizabeth tagged me....again

Elizabeth tagged me with this one.

Four movies you would watch over and over:
Pirates
The Mummy
Two Weeks Notice
Phantom

Four places you have lived:
Clinton, OK
Sunnyvale, CA
San Antonio, TX (that’s it!)

Four TV shows you love to watch (Gosh, only 4? Harsh)
Lost
Grey's Anatomy
24
My Name is Earl

Four places you have been on vacation:
NY
Grand Canyon
MN
FL

Four websites you visit daily:
eHQ
Wet Noodle Posse blog
Trish’s blog
Paperbackswap.com

Four of your favorite foods: (depends on what time of day you ask)
Hamburgers
Chocolate
Stuffed jalapenos
Fried mushrooms

Four places you would rather be right now:
In bed
Grand Canyon
On a warm beach with no people for a long way off
In a cabin in the mountains

Four friends you are tagging that you think will respond:
Trish
Kris (even though we’ve done this)
Paula
Tracy


New Gerry pictures!!!!

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TBR Challenge - Historical

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Title: A Study in Scandal

Author: Robyn Dehart

Year published: 2006

Why did you get this book? The author is a dear friend, and I remember when she came up with this idea!

Do you like the cover? Meh. I didn't picture Colin and Amelia that way at all.

Did you enjoy the book? Yes! It was light and fun, and Amelia and Colin were great, so opposite of each other, but drawing out the best in each other. It was really sexy, too!

Was the author new to you and would you read something by this author again? Not new to me - I read her first book, Courting Claudia. And you bet I can't wait for the rest of this series!

Are you keeping it or passing it on? Keeping it so I can reread it once I have the whole series!

Small Towns

Okay, yesterday was just terrible. I worried all day about the mammogram, which wasn’t bad as I expected, and I was there and home within 45 minutes, then got an email from my agent that all the first round editors have rejected Hot Shot. Then my dh came home and said the Land Cruiser, my baby, was acting up and he thinks he’s blown a head gasket.

Now, in our marriage, we’ve replaced at least 3 engines. You would think he would learn. So I stopped my writing time to finish the taxes, which took another hour.

It started later, and he thinks now it may only be a water pump, but DAMN.

So today is another day. I visit the hematologist today and that may be it. Oh, and the grocery store. You know, Spring Break, hungry teenager.

ANYWAY, what I wanted to blog about today is small towns, and why they’re such popular settings in romance novels.

On the way back from Houston, we drove through a number of small towns that made me wonder why people live there, so far away from the conveniences I’m used to. I want to let you know I’m not dissing this – I’m just trying to work it through from my perspective as a city girl. (Okay, suburb girl)

Some people, I imagine, are born there and don’t leave. Why not, I wonder. Are they satisfied? Afraid of change? My mind goes into overdrive trying to characterize these people.

Others move there, I’m sure. Why? Looking for the simple life?

What jobs do they have, especially in the towns so far off the beaten track?

What is the community like? If the high school is small, what are your options for finding your true love? Do the ones who leave to go to college come back? What do they do for entertainment? Do they know everybody?

I really want to write a small town story again, just so I can work this out for myself.

I deserve this.

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Connections

When I went to the Emily luncheon this weekend, I was sure I'd know someone, because I'm so connected to the internet, through eHQ, my loops and now this blog. Sure enough, I knew two people!

I was blog surfing yesterday and I saw a comment on one blog I visit from someone on another blog I visit. And I wondered, am I the connection? Would these people know each other if not for me? Do you ever wonder that?

Today is boob-smushing day, but first, breakfast with Mom. Hopefully we can go to a flower nursery, too. Even though my geraniums are beautiful, I want more flowers.

Yes, I will regret this in the heat of summer when I have to water them every day.

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A Favor

I've told you about mmy cousin's sick little girl. I'd like to pass on a request from my cousin, if you are so inclined.

I have a favor to ask of everyone. Michelle loves getting mail. I would like to combine her love of mail with a geography lesson. I would love to have everyone send her a postcard and on the back write your name (first name only is fine) and where you are from. I am going to buy a large map I can put on the wall and mark where she gets postcards from. Feel free to pass this request on to others you think would be interested. Please send them to:
Michelle Koopman
Ronald McDonald House
8948 Watertown Plank Road
Wauwatosa, WI 53226

Huh?

HASH(0x8c89bfc)
You are Christine Daae from Phantom of the

Opera
. Your life is turbulent, confusing

and sometimes frightening, but you can always

find comfort in music.


What romantic heroine are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

The Emily

You guys, what a fabulous decision I made to go to the Emily luncheon. First of all, the WHRWA is WONDERFUL! The ladies are such a wonderful welcoming bunch!! If I lived closer, I'd join in a heartbeat! No fewer than 10 people went out of their way to welcome me. I met Sarah , who I know from eHQ, Tera Lyn Childs from the 2004 GH class, and my new idol, Colleen Thompson . Everyone made me right at home, down to the Diet Coke with Lime. The business meeting gave me some ideas to bring back to SARA, and the first talk by PJ Mellor about being an overnight success in 10 years hit close to home. Then we had lunch - Italian food - then the awards.

I've only ever been to the GH waiting to hear my name, so this was another new experience (you know, besides going to a meeting where you know NO ONE). She read out all the other titles in my category, and then there were two - mine and another book called Don't Look Back. Mine came in second. I got a really cool certificate, too!

Then Colleen gave her talk about Fulfilling the Promise by writing a powerful ending. Great talk! She finished about 30 minutes before I told the dh to pick me up, I helped Sarah put away tables and we yakked and yakked with JoAnne, the president (who I want to be when I grow up), until the guys came to get me. Then we headed to Rainforest Cafe, our tradition on Houston trips. Got home around 8 last night. It was so worth it.

We're in reruns in the Gerry pictures. How about calling it, The Best of the Best?

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POST 400!!

Spring Break is a matter of hours away! I love Spring Break, it’s like a cool preview of summer. This week I’m going to:

Go to Houston for the Emily luncheon

Take 3 online classes for inservice credit

Get my first mammogram

Go to hematologist

Lunch with some writer friends

SARA meeting

Write as much as I can

Breakfast with Mom

Clean house good enough to last till summer

Nap and read!

I was packing for the Emily last night, going between my winter closet and spring closet to find an outfit where everything matched. My shoes look so dilapidated, and I can’t find any I like. I usually stick with black, brown and white, but I have a really cute pair of beaded thongs that go with absolutely NOTHING. Everything else is so casual, except for a pair of sandals I bought when my son was 5 – 9 years ago. I think the heels are a little clunkier than stylish. BAH!!!

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Sexy voices

I think voices are one of the sexiest attributes in a man. So sexy, in fact, that I just kept listing and listing so I decided to classify.

Accents

Lord help me, I love accents. The cadence, the unexpected emphasis on different syllables.

I love Oded Fehr’s voice, the accent and the deep voice. I could listen to him read anything.

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Gerard Butler – the way he talks out of the front of his mouth and rolls those rs.

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Matthew McFayden Image hosting by Photobucket and Clive Owen Image hosting by Photobucket – lovely accent, and that deep, rich, sonorous tone.

Colin Firth – the way he clips his words, rapid, confident.
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Hugh Grant – also clipped, but playful and wicked.

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Southern accents like Matthew McConaughey Image hosting by Photobucket and Sawyer, Image hosting by Photobucket the slow rolling of it, the twang, the hint that they know a secret about you and will keep it for a price. The dimples don’t hurt, either.

Bedroom voices

You know, the ones you wouldn’t mind hearing from across a bed. Any of the above apply, but I’m adding Chris Noth Image hosting by Photobucket and George Clooney. Image hosting by Photobucket Can you just imagine the rumble of their voices in the dark? They have the kind of voices you can hear across a room, recognize, turn and meet their eyes, and then….

Ahem.

Intelligent voices

Okay, weird, I know, but some men have voices that can convince me of anything. Jeff Goldblum is one. Image hosting by Photobucket Remember the scene in Jurassic Park where he’s putting the drop of water on Laura Dern’s hand? Those smart words in that growly voice….

Gary Sinise is another. Image hosting by Photobucket I know, I know, he has the southern thing going, but smart words come out in that slow way.

Ed Harris.

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Sam Shepherd.

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Playful

You know, when he's teasing you just a little bit. Like Josh Duhamel. Image hosting by Photobucket

Or David Boreanaz. Image hosting by Photobucket

Fathers and Sons

Keifer and Donald Sutherland. Sandpapery voices, deep, can be scary and reassuring. I may end up writing a Keifer character someday.

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Charlie and Martin Sheen. Distinguished, deep and distinguishable.

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There are some voices I don’t like. Paul Walker is very attractive, but his voice turns me off. Too high, too California. Image hosting by Photobucket I don’t like Eddie Cibrian’s voice, either. Image hosting by Photobucket Not quite deep enough. The dimples and the shoulders make up for it, though.

Whose voice gets under your skin?

Goodreads

M.J. Fredrick's books on Goodreads
Breaking DaylightBreaking Daylight
ratings: 11 (avg rating 3.33)

Beneath the SurfaceBeneath the Surface
ratings: 11 (avg rating 4.00)

Hot ShotHot Shot (Samhain)
reviews: 2
ratings: 10 (avg rating 4.00)

Where There's SmokeWhere There's Smoke
ratings: 6 (avg rating 4.00)

Good Reads

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MJFredrick
I'm a mom, a wife, a teacher and a writer. I have five cats and a dog to keep me company. I love bookstores and libraries and Netflix - movies are my greatest weakness.
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