Sunday, July 31, 2011

Relaxing Weekend

I'm enjoying a very relaxing weekend with Alice, watching movies, reading, talking, and catching up on the phone with friends. On Friday night we saw Cowboys and Aliens at the Grand Lake Theatre with Richard and Lisa, Rhonda and Biff, Rossana and Daniel, Ari and Jake, and a couple of Ari's friends. The movie was cheesy fun. Last night, Alice and I took Sharon and Austin to dinner, then they saw Cowboys and Aliens and we saw Crazy Stupid Love. The second half of the film was surprisingly good and contained a few nice twists that I hadn't expected. There were also some funny lines and situations, a rarity these days from a romantic comedy. Steve Carell has never been better.

I'm 150 pages into A Discovery of Witches. I'm not a big vampire romance reader, and also don't care for books written with the best of intentions but aren't anywhere near the the kind of quality craftsmanship that comes from the best fiction writers out there. The scenes feel too long and laborious for me, but it's a quick read and the characters are interesting, even though one of them is a witch and the other a vampire. The book's been optioned by Warner Bros. So Deborah and Sam are doing something right.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Writing: The Dark Side

I have a dark side to my personality that I lock in a cage most of the time. Under lock and key, I’m a reasonable, even-tempered person. When the dark side is let loose, I can be an insufferable, cold-hearted brute intent on devaluing, lecturing, and criticizing anyone and anything that to me seems ridiculous, incompetent, stupid, or wrong. This aspect of my personality has been with me all my life, and will always be with me. It’s partly due to growing up with a larger-than-life drinking narcissist father and fully engaged codependent mother. What I’ve learned over time is how to control and manage this crazy, “adult child” part of who I am. On the racquetball court, the cage is unlocked and the dark side helps me score points and keep the intensity up. When I’m writing, the dark side can toss off arguments, fights, and chaotic exchanges with ease. The key is to keep this dark side from undermining and sabotaging one’s self-esteem. When I read Richard Yates’s biography A Tragic Honesty, I couldn’t help but see the consequence of a great writer who was completely beholden to his dark side. Those demons were on him from the beginning and there was nothing he could do about it. It’s amazing he was able to write at all, and with such insight, too. Alcoholism is such an sneaky, insidious, brutal disease.


I woke up at 5 and made it to my spinning class at 6. This was my first moment of exercise in over a month. My body thanked me for the workout and surprisingly I'm in no pain. I downloaded a workout app on my iPad and iPhone called Workout Trainer. It includes lots of videos and workout routines for specific parts of the body. I plan to work on my midsection, which has been carrying surrounded by an innertube all year. It's gross! Gotta get that body back to where it used to be!

Can't wait for the racquetball camp in two weeks. I hope I'm signed up. I haven't received a receipt or heard anything yet.

With the first book of Julia Milan in pretty good shape, my thoughts are now on book 2. The history scenes will take place between December 1940 and April 1941. Julia's grandfather, Howard Milan, will be a major character. So will Jonas, only he'll be five years older and just as passionate about his feelings as he was at the podium.

Anne and her family will be the focus of book 2. I don't know the story yet, but I'm working on it. Back home, Julia's other grandparents, Katrina and Marv from Florida, will make their appearance. I've had readers ask why Mara's so mean to Julia. When they meet Katrina, they'll wonder why she wasn't meaner. Katrina would have made an outstanding Lady Macbeth had she ever entertained thoughts of seeing Marv as king. There's a reason why they called her hurricane Kat long before the real thing that hit New Orleans. I can't wait to write those scenes.

I have so many things to read, watch, email, set up and accomplish. The list never ends.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Rewrite Complete...for the moment

I finished an extensive revision of Julia Milan yesterday. For the past month that's all I did before and after work (and sometimes during!). I feel as if I've just been released from prison. Now I can read and watch movies again.

I like this draft of the book. There aren't as many untidy, incomplete scenes. Chapters 6 and 7 also feel like they're part of the actual novel instead of musical side journeys and chase scenes. I particularly like the Julia/Miss Morgan moments. The ending is also satisfying, as least for me. We'll see what others think. I sent the draft off to Sam last night.

This week I'm on no schedule. I'm ready to have a little fun!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Finals Match with Steve

Steve got me in the tie breaker, 3-15, 15-5, 9-11. We both played well, but he was truly incredible last night, making few mistakes and playing smart racquetball. As much as I wanted to win, I'm delighted that he has a few months of being the champ until I take it away from him next winter. My body is super sore today. I must have dove 10 times. Crazy!