Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Teaser Tuesday

Well, I'm gonna tease again!

This takes place while Aly and her younger sister Caitlin are visiting Andrew and Tanner on tour.  They are checking out the stage when Andrew notices how happy Aly is.

“Well, I was going to tell you later, but, I got into Northwestern and the program!”  Her voice shook with excitement.  “Architectural Engineering and Design: here I come!” 

“I’m so happy for you,” he said.  He kissed her forehead and gave her a huge hug.  Andrew still had his arms around her when Aly spotted Jacob off to the side of the stage.  

Aly stood still and watched him walk towards them.  All of her preparation for this moment failed.  He looked in her direction and caught her eyes over Andrew’s shoulder.  Aly inhaled deeply, she’d forgotten the little details of his face and how handsome he really was.  Andrew let go of her and held her at arms length to look at her, noting her instant tension. 

His brow furrowed.  “Are you okay?” he asked.  

“Of course,” Aly said.  She stepped back out of his grasp and cleared her throat to regain her composure.  The last time she saw Jacob he left her standing on the beach in tears. He smiled at her now but she noticed the smile never reached his eyes.  Jacob hugged Caitlin warmly and then greeted Aly by awkwardly hugging her with one arm and a pat to her back with one hand.  The kind of half-hug a guy would give a buddy.

“I’m glad you could come.  It’s good to see you.” Jacob said.  His voice was tight, not the deep rich voice she remembered.

“Jacob, it’s good to see you too.” 

He fidgeted with the lanyard around his neck then looked back to the side of the stage.  A tall blonde joined them.  She stood next to Jacob and put a hand on his shoulder.  He looked anxiously from her to Aly and back.  Aly almost laughed at seeing Jacob so uncharacteristically flustered, but the sick feeling in her stomach kept her silent.  Jacob said, “I want you to meet someone.  This is my girlfriend Eryn.”

     “Hi Eryn. It’s nice to meet you.” Eryn daintily shook the hand that Aly offered.  

     Eryn stood formally with perfect posture.  “I’ve heard a tremendous amount about you.  Andrew speaks of practically nothing else and now I understand why,” She said with an unnaturally exact cadence. “Have you been to one of their concerts before?  It is truly wonderful.”

     “No, I haven’t.  We’re excited,” Aly responded, putting an arm around Caitlin.

     “You must be Caitlin, Tanner’s girlfriend,” Eryn said.  She extended her hand to Caitlin.

Caitlin immediately blushed. “I’m his friend,” she corrected.  Her voice was barely audible. “It’s nice to meet you.”

Thursday, January 14, 2010

The one where I go on about Nick Jonas...

This is semi-related to my writing so I'm going to just go with it.

I am an emotional person, by that I mean that I get that overwhelming pressure in my chest, making it hard to breathe, heart racing, tears flooding into total bawl baby moments often.  A great book where I have lost myself deep in the tangle of characters, a movie that transcends format, a song that moves me, for goodness sakes, I've lost my shit over commercials before.  Rarely - but it happens.

Nothing moves my soul quite like live music.  Something happens in the presence of hundreds/thousands of other people - listening to live music.  The energy, the emotion, the comradarie, being able to actually feel the music.  Singing along with a huge crowd of people just does something to me.  Watching someone share their creation - is powerful to me.

Last night I took my oldest daughter to see Nick Jonas and the Administration down in Boston (yes, on a school night - hey it was what she wanted to do instead of a birthday party).  I'm an admitted Jonas Brothers fan - I think they have a fun, catchy vibe and the fact that they play their own instruments and write their own music holds a lot of weight with me - so I wasn't dreading the show. 

I have heard a couple of the songs from NJatA, his first release Who I Am  (and I cry at the video - just sayings all) is pretty good.  I love the lyrics to Rose Garden... and Olive and an Arrow is also pretty good.   I'd read some reviews which were mostly positive, and talked about Nick's funkier, older sound.  Hmmm, the kid is 17 - just how old can he sound?  I know he had some good stuff backing him (3 of the New Power Generation band... and bassist John Fields) so that was a good sign.

I was wholly unprepared for what I walked into.  I've seen the Jonas Brothers in concert - so the hordes of screaming girls didn't phase me.  What I was surprised by was the boy on stage.  His voice was the strongest I have ever heard it.  I have pretty much listened to every Jonas Brothers song recorded (7:05 is my favorite... followed by Can't Have You, if you were wondering) and Nick's voice was decent - but nothing special - and a lot of the time it sounds like he's straining too hard.  Last night his voice was strong, in tune, and I found myself digging it about 2 songs in. 

His band is nothing short of amazing - a tremendous choice on his part - but Nick himself was the main attraction.  The songs, including two re-manufactured Jonas Brothers songs (2 more were also smashed up in a cover mash up) were darker, dirtier, funkier, and just more... well MORE. 

I've often marveled at what it must be like to be a teenager who plays their own music in front of 30,000 screaming fans, singing your words back to you.   Something about dreams coming true, yadda yadda yadda.  Last night I saw a kid (an old soul for sure but a kid nonetheless) on a stage in front 3,000 fans.  He looked out at the crowd, sometimes in amazement, as they sang along to songs that haven't even been released yet.  His eyes searched the crowd, and there was something in his eyes that just said, "wow."  

He was equal parts show-man, funny guy, humble, ridiculous (jumping on top of a piano at one point to jam out).  My favorite part of the show was when he sang a song that he wrote last week (and recorded the day before at John's Fields apartment in Boston!!) called Stay.  I've seen the other youtube videos, so I'm aware that some of his moves are a bit repetitive (some would say rehearsed) but it really moved me.  The song itself is great really, but watching him perform it - you could easily see how much the song meant to him and in turn it was even more moving.  (In a creepy side note - if you watch this video (which is not mine) check out how he rocks the microphone stand at about 1:30). 

It was fun, and my daughter was beside herself.  As much as I loved the music (and I did) - the best part for me was watching my daughter.  She is normally a very reserved kind of girl, quiet and although I think deep down she likes being the center of attention, she is a bit shy about getting that to happen.  She is NOT the screaming, squealing type of fan-girl - that's just not her way. So - back to my favorite part - during Rose Garden, a song my daughter absolutely loves, I looked over at her and she had tears streaming down her face (she's just like her momma - a crier) and she was just quietly singing along.  Then in an uncharacteristic move - she throws her hands over head and I smile.  Then I see that her hands are in the I LOVE YOU sign.  This is when my tears fall.

Thanks Nick.  Good luck.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


I have five minutes left of Tuesday - so I thought I'd participate with a super small snip...

As they walked into the restaurant Jeana tugged on Aly’s hand. Her smile had grown into full-blown gloating. “You can’t escape them now, it’s fate!” She whispered.

Aly sighed. She knew that to some degree Jeana was right. No matter what she did, in just a minute she’d be sitting across the table from four obnoxiously beautiful guys. She felt her skin crawl at the thought. She pulled her hand away and walked faster, putting distance between her and Jeana. She called back to Jeana over her shoulder, “I don’t believe in fate.”

Saturday, January 9, 2010

I get by with a little help from my friends...

I'm a cheerleader.  I love to share my excitement about something that moves me, something that grabs me.  If you did it and it's awesome, I want you to know it.  I think everyone needs a cheerleader.  The real shock is that I'm not an exception.

I'm not new to writing but to talking about writing.  One of the things that has changed the most over the last four months is that I now actually like talking about my writing.  I like talking about other people's writing.  I like talking about what other people think of other peoples writing.

What I hadn't ever experienced was people talking about MY writing.  To me.
I used to think writing was a solitary process.  Very solitary.  To a certain degree it is, but even before you reach the "rah rah team of an agent/editor/publisher/adoring fans/crazyfangirls" level, having people support you is incredibly important.

As a closeted writer, a year ago only a few well chosen people knew that I wrote.  Only one of those people ever read anything I wrote.

Now, with the inspiration and not so gentle guidance of a wonderful group of writers - I share my writing readily.  I have even let some people read my writing.  Some would say I might 'overshare' my writing a tad.

It's amazing.  Not just the support of another writer (or twenty) but having others read my work has rapidly improved my writing.  I have instant feedback on whether something works or something is authentic to a character.  Obviously I love the supportive comments, squees of joy and happy thoughts and I've been known to pour (hell is this pour or pore?) over them and mainline them like crack (do people mainline crack? hmmm something to ponder)  - but what I've learned is that where I grow is from the critique.

When something doesn't work for a reader, I want to know why.  I LIKE knowing that something I wrote didn't work.  Why?  Because it helps build my own internal editor.  I often ignore the little voice in my head, (not that one... but THAT one... no no no, not the one whispering over there... THAT ONE! geez!) that small grumble that tells me something is off.  Because I wrote it, pored my heart into it, breathed life into it - I might be just a little too close to it at times to be objective.  Yet, as this process goes on and more and more comments come back I realize I knew where the problem was all along. 

I'm grateful I de-lurked and I appreciate the group of writers that have shoved down on the bench to make room for the new guy.  It's an amazing place where I can be in the game - and on the sidelines cheering at the same time.  Which is just about perfect for me.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Something in the Way She Moves...

A non-writing friend asked me what inspires my stories, or inspires me to write.

(I admit, I felt all AUTHOR for a moment and could imagine myself being asked this while standing in front of a group of fans at a reading.  Please forgive me my momentary plunge into fantasy!)

My answer came quickly; music, photos, great books, dreams and watching people interact.

She smiled and looked at me with humor in her eyes - a look I know well now.  I get a little, ummm, excited sometimes when I get going and it's highly amusing to some of my friends that, after never talking about it - I can't stop talking about it.  (That's what I chose to believe at least).

Music - although music inspires me WHEN I'm writing, it's often not the inspiration on what to write about.  It absolutely sets the mood and gets my mind in the right place. You can check out my playlists for NORMAL and BITE ME on the sidebar of their homepages.  This is music that I either write to or reminds me of my story - something that makes me want to write.

Photos - This is kind of a big one for me.  I love photography.  Something about how people see the same world so differently becomes clear in a photograph. My parents used to laugh when I used to take my oldest daughter to have her photo taken every month as a baby, because I fancy myself an amateur photographer and she was already the most photographed baby  - ever.  To me though, having her photo taken by another photographer allowed me to see her in a different way. 

This is probably the main reason that I do castings for my books.  Sometimes it is an actual celebrity in my head, sometime it's just how they look in one particular picture or a look they have on their face that makes me think of that character.  However.  I find a lot of inspiration from photography - settings, houses (UNTITLED actually has a whole architecturally rendered floorplan of the MC's house), faces, smiles - even the mood of a photo. 

For instance:  This photo of Joe Jonas and Demi Lovato, it's just freaking fantastic.  I believe that it is photoshopped (I do not take credit for it) and I don't know where it came from otherwise I'd give that person a big ole shout out.  This photo has inspired many a new scene in NORMAL. 

The rest is fairly self explanatory - seeing how people interact, listening to their speech... all inspire scenes and moods in my books.

The single most important one though - are my dreams.  Almost every single one of my SNIs started out as a vivid, movie-like dream.  Something that grabbed me and didn't let go.