Friday, June 29, 2007

Artist: Louis Comfort Tiffany

According to Wikipedia, Louis Comfort Tiffany (1848-1933) was the son of Charles Lewis Tiffany, founder of Tiffany and Company (as in Breakfast at Tiffany's.) He used opalescent glass in a variety of colors and textures to create a unique style of stained glass. This can be contrasted with the method of painting in glass paint or enamels on colorless glass that had been the dominant method of creating stained glass for several hundred years in Europe. Use of the colored glass itself to create stained glass pictures was motivated by the ideals of the Arts and Crafts movement and its leader William Morris in England.

I adore the Arts and Crafts movement. If you've heard of the Mission style, that's Arts and Crafts. Often on Extreme Makeover House Edition they incorporate a Mission style to their projects.

Here are some beautiful examples of Tiffany's work.

Parakeets and Goldfish Bowl (1893)

Landscape with Hollyhocks
Autumn Landscape(1923-24)

I'm out of town until the Fourth and may or may not be blogging. If I don't, you'll know why.


Thursday, June 28, 2007

Word Play #1

Thursday Thirteen was too tedious to keep up with, so I am retiring that from my blog. Now, every Wednesday I'll post ten words to which you can respond to with the first thing that comes to mind. I got this meme from Unconscious Mutterings if you're interested. She posts new lists every Sunday.

"Rules are, there are no rules." There are no right or wrong answers. Don't limit yourself to one word responses; just write everything that pops into your head.

Riding ::
Actress ::
Flowers ::
Making ::
Robot ::
Enjoy ::
Identify ::
22 ::
Busy ::
Forward ::

My Responses
Riding :: horses
Actress :: Catherine Zeta Jones
Flowers :: making love
Making :: cookies
Robot :: eyes
Enjoy :: yourself
Identify :: yourself
22 :: weeks
Busy :: as a bee
Forward :: in time

This was my first attempt at this and I think I'll have to cover the rest of the list as I concentrate on one word at a time because my eyes picked up on the upcoming words and influenced my responses. This was fun, though and not very time consuming at all, which I really LOVE.


Wednesday, June 27, 2007

A Portrait of You

Try this site out. At the top is a statement. Choose an image and click on it. At the end you get a cool and interesting profile of yourself.


Monday, June 25, 2007

The Book Thief

I am about two thirds done with the book, The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. I'm enthralled. The book jacket reads:

It's just a small story, really, about, among other things: a girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist fighter, and quite a lot of thievery.

Narrated by death, Markus Zusak's groundbreaking new novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a young foster girl living outside of Munich in Nazi Germany. Liesel scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she discovers something she can't resist--books. Soon she is stealing books from Nazi book burnings, the mayor's wife's library, wherever they are to be found.

With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, Liesel learns to read and share her stolen books with her neighbors during the bombing raids, as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement.

I can't recommend this book highly enough. The fact that Death is the narrator is so intriguing and as a character, he (it?) has such a wry wit. And he's so sneaky about inserting irresistible bits of information about what's coming up in the story. It's maddening, but gripping at the same time. Several times have I been struck by the beauty of his simple sentences. I just spent fifteen minutes looking for this one that stuck out in my mind, but I couldn't find it. He was describing a Hitler Youth and said something like the pimples gathered in peer groups on his face. Isn't that fantastic?

I am so afraid I'm going to bawl like a baby when I get to the end. I have no idea whether things will end happily or not. Unfortunately, Death told me about the impending demise of one of my favorite characters, so I'm preparing for that scene. It's going to be heartwrenching. I just don't know who else is going to die.

Anyway, Read This Book.


Friday, June 22, 2007

Artist: Guiseppe Archimboldo (1527-1593)

I think you could call these works by Guiseppe Archimboldo the original "I Spy" paintings. I think it's fun to look at these while squinting, especially this first one. This is "Spring" the first in a seasonal series. I really adore her clothing. She's almost pretty when you squint.
This is "Summer." This fellow looks as if he's got braces. I'm not sure if you can see it here, but the artist's name appears on the collar of the shirt and the date he painted the picture is on the shoulder.
As you might imagine, this one is called "Autumn." I wish so much that I could see these in person, because I bet I'm missing so many cool details. This is my favorite of the four, maybe because I like fall, and this guy is just cute in a grandfatherly kind of way.
Finally we have "Winter." This guy isn't made up of as many different objects and looks slightly creepy to me. But I do dig the gnarled wood skin.

Have a terrific weekend! Hope you enjoyed the art.


Thursday, June 21, 2007

Thursday 13: The Power of Words

Thirteen Hot Words

I have a list of erotic words that I sometimes refer to when I'm writing a steamy scene. Here are 13 of my favorites.


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Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Laptop Bling

RWA Conference is in three weeks. I've gone on a spending spree. I bought this nifty skin to decorate my laptop. Ain't it cool??? What I really love is that there's a sticker to decorate the inside of the computer, too. Most other companies only offer something for the lid, which I almost never see. If you're interested, I got this from Garskin.

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Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Zero Chance

It's official as of yesterday. I have no stories being considered at Woman's World magazine. Johnene's rejection of my latest came in the mail. I knew a few moments of frustration, because I thought this was one of my good ones, but oh,well.

Now I need to get off my butt and write some more stories for them. Like I've told my writing students, you can't get published if you don't have a story out there. Besides, I enjoy that Monday through Saturday USPS hope, but with no stories submitted, I can expect only the usual bills, junk, etc.


Monday, June 18, 2007

Story: The Birthday Wish

What follows is an analysis of a Woman's World story with suggestions/observations for people who want to sell stories to WW, peppered with some personal opinion, too. :)

Story: "The Birthday Wish" by Christine Pedersen from the June 26, 2007 issue.

Tagline: Kate decided that reaching the big 4-0 might not be so bad, after all...

I loved this story! I can still feel the chills on my neck. The premise was perfect. I've turned 40 and we've all experienced the embarrassment of being sung to by waiters. (I've even had to wear a rubber geisha wig while being serenaded!)

I first smiled when Kate's best friend said, "You're turning 40, not 80."

My first pleasant surprise was when I found out the man had the same birthday as Kate. I had expected him to have known her from somewhere else. She had a mini black moment when the man gets up to leave with his friends, but it's brief, because, of course, he goes to her table.

Surprise number two - he is turning forty, too. Cute! Then they have a darling conversation determining that she's thirty-nine for a couple more hours.

Surprise number three - he doesn't wait until later to call her. He asks her to dinner that night. And when he says, "I won't ask the waiter to sing to us," I melted. What a cutie-pie.

This was the best WW story I've read in a long time.

Best Part: My heart started a slow, crazy pounding while I held his gaze. That's a pretty steamy moment for a Woman's World story.

In My Humble Opinion: The transition from Act 1 to Act 2 in the fourth paragraph was a bit abrupt.

Grade: A+


Friday, June 15, 2007

Artist: Hyunah Kim

This painting is called Tree of Life. The artist, Hyunah Kim, said she wanted to create the Garden of Eden.

I love the palette of colors. Of course, I love the swirls and curving shapes. I'm seeing lemons, instead of perhaps the evil apple, and this whole composition feels very feminine to me.

Look at it for a while and discover different parts. My eye keeps being drawn to the bottom, slightly left of center. I'm not sure why. Perhaps because that's where most of the swirls are.


Thursday, June 14, 2007

Thursday 13: Crafty Me!

Thirteen Hobbies I've Had or Dabbled In
1. Decoupage - Once upon a time my mother was into this and I tried my hand at it too. I was only 7 or 8, so I wasn't too good at it.
2. Crewel - I finished several Dimension's kits which are no doubt turning yellow in my mother's garage somewhere.
3. Stamp Collecting - Oh, I was so into this when I was around 13. I spent hours floating the stamps off their bits of paper and finding where they went in my international stamp album.
4. Counted Cross Stitch - I still enjoy doing this. I have about a dozen pieces that even got matted and framed, but the decor of our house isn't so country anymore, so they languish in my closet.
5. Knitting - I am not very good at knitting anything but square shaped things, like afghans and scarves.
6. Crocheting - I rock at crocheting and am in the middle of making a large grey pineapple afghan.
7. Basketweaving - A friend of mine taught this to kids afterschool and I was her helper. While I helped, I wove my very own basket! It was pretty easy, actually.
8. Cake Decorating - A neighbor was very adept at this and she taught me some of the very basics. This came in handy with two kids in the house. The fire engine cake with the dalmatian in the window was so tempting my son nabbed a fingerful of frosting before the party!
9. Scrapbooking - This is my number one hobby. Been doing it for about 14 years. I do it about once a month with girlfriends at the homeowner's association clubhouse. We scrap from about 4 p.m. until we drop, sometimes in the wee hours of the morning.
10. Playing Piano - I hope this qualifies as a hobby. I learned to play when I was a little girl, and once in a while, I enjoy plunking out some tunes. I can sight read VERY VERY easy music.
11. Calligraphy - This started out as a hobby but became a little side business when I was a late teen. In those pre-computer days people had their wedding envelopes and place cards done by calligraphers. I charged a buck an envelope and made some nice money. I took classes in college and can do many alphabets. It's a handy skill.
12. Beading - There was a period of about a year when I went nuts making those elastic bracelets. I spent a buncha money on Austrian crystal beads and sold some of my wares at craft fairs. I still have a ton of beads in my garage. I should sell the lot on eBay.
13. Rock Painting - I bought a book that showed how to paint rocks to look like tiny little buildings. I had so much fun painting miniature thatched roof cottages, barns, A-frame Alpine homes, stores like you'd find on Main Street USA at Disneyland. My son joined in and made a haunted house. My mother took it up too and made a store for every member of the family.
13a. Silk Flower Fairies - I have another book and all the materials to make fairies out of wooden balls, silk flower petals, acorn caps and felt. They are so adorable! But I haven't managed to carve the time out of my writing to sit down and make any.

Do you have any hobbies?

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!
The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. If you participate, leave your blog link by clicking on the white box above. It’s easy, and fun! Update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well!


Wednesday, June 13, 2007

8 Little Things

I've been tagged by Dawn Halliday to list 8 little known facts about me. I read hers and she cheated! I don't think those facts are little known, because I knew some of them from her website/blog. Anyway, here are my factoids.

1. I have a beauty mark on the second toe of my right foot.
2. I sunbathed topless in Greece in my wild youth.
3. I once stole a Barbie from a friend. When I was caught, my parents made me apologize and return it to her in front of her parents.
4. I owned a pet rock in the seventies. It's name was Fred.
5. I didn't know what bagels were until I was in fifth grade.
6. I had a giant crush on my fifth grade teacher, Mr. Reed, but I suspect now that he was gay.
7. At my mother's urging I boldly entered Johnny Carson's limo and asked him for his autograph when I was four.
8. I sometimes cheat on my diet with Tommy's chili fries.

I tag Lucie Simone, Keira Ramsay, TJ Bennett, Darragha Foster, and Robin Rotham.


Tuesday, June 12, 2007

One Word

I saw this on Eden Bradley's blog and thought it seemed interesting. Feel free to swipe it. I liked the idea that it was one word answers.

2. RELATIONSHIP?: challenging
3. YOUR HAIR?: uncooperative
4. WORK?: harried
5. YOUR SISTER?: angel
9. YOUR DREAM CAR?: Mercedes
10. THE ROOM YOU’RE IN?: dining room
11. YOUR SHOES?: comfy
12. YOUR FEARS?: negligible
15. WHAT ARE YOU NOT GOOD AT?: cooking
16. MUFFIN?: Yum
17. ONE OF YOUR WISH LIST ITEMS?: burr grinder
18. WHERE YOU GREW UP? Los Angeles
20. WHAT ARE YOU WEARING?: t-shirt
22. YOUR PET?: crab
23. YOUR COMPUTER?: indispensable
24. YOUR LIFE?: happy
25. YOUR MOOD?: content
26. MISSING?: respect
28. YOUR CAR?: Pilot
29. YOUR KITCHEN?: upgradable!
30. YOUR SUMMER?: hot
34. SCHOOL?: valuable
35. LOVE?: ideal


Monday, June 11, 2007

Story: New Beginnings

What follows is an analysis of a Woman's World story with suggestions/observations for people who want to sell stories to WW, peppered with some personal opinion, too. :)

Story: "New Beginnings" by Linda S. Reilly from the June 12, 2007 issue.

Tagline: All the signs pointed to success and happiness ahead for Dawn...

The moment I saw this was by Linda S. Reilly, I expected good things. She's a writer who produces consistently good stories.

In "Act 1," we see Dawn is a hair stylist cutting her son's friends' hair for free. In comes the very shy Tim. He grabs my heart at once with his vulnerability.

"Act 2" establishes the backstory/history of Dawn - that she's divorced with a deadbeat ex, who's struggling to start her new home salon.

In "Act 3," we meet the hero, Nate. I really like that little appetizer of a line, "Barker. Why did that name sound familiar?" That piques my curiosity. Another line I liked was "My heart swelled with pride for my son." And close on the heels of that was, "He nodded sympathetically, his green-eyed gaze awakening something inside me." Ah, there's the romance building in a very small increment, the only way you can do it in a Woman's World story.

Then, Reilly smacks me with a twist I didn't see coming. Tim's dad is Dawn's sign maker. Nicely done! That's a connection between a hero and heroine that I haven't seen before in WW. Next, Nate asks Dawn to come to dinner very casually, without angst. This gives the story a realistic quality, like it might really happen to someone like this. And finally, Reilly wraps it all up with the Aunt's witty quip which neatly ties in to the title of the story.

Best Part: The whole story was solidly good as a whole.

In My Humble Opinion: "I'm sorry I alarmed you." Err, I can't hear someone actually saying that. "Sorry I scared you" would have sounded more natural.

Grade: A


Friday, June 08, 2007

Women in Art

This is the most amazing thing. If you are an art lover, you'll especially like it. It's a chronological tour of women's portraits. It runs a little long, but if you're like me, you won't be able to tear yourself away.

(On the left is a close up section of one of my favorite paintings in the whole world, The Birth of Venus by Alessandro Botticelli.)


Thursday, June 07, 2007

Thursday 13: Last But Not Least

Thirteen Last Lines from the Chapters of All In, my Ellora's Cave novella (in final edits)

I posted the first lines from Losing It a while ago, and it was somewhat interesting. When I consequently looked at the last lines, I realized that they were inherently more compelling. So, on the off chance that you might enjoy reading the last lines from All In, here they are.

1. But it wasn’t him. It was just another order.

2. Fuck it, he thought and leaned in and kissed her.

3. And wasn’t that pretty fucking politically incorrect?

4. When she arched back and christened the tip of his cock with her wet heat, he took that as a yes.

5. Mariah laughed again as he pulled her close and collected half a day’s worth.

6. Just like she was going to, damn it.

7. And then he decided that maybe he didn’t want to be careful.

8. “I think my number one fan deserves some dinner.”

9. Even though he was still deeply embedded inside her, he couldn’t help but feel she had closed him out somehow, and damned if that didn’t bother him.

10. “Kiddo, love is worth the risk.”

11. "So, if you say some kind of pixie voo doo brought us together, then I gotta believe you.”

12. He’d found his Mrs. Freeze.

13. “That is so not funny,” she muttered.

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!
The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. If you participate, leave your blog link by clicking on the white box above. It’s easy, and fun! Update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well!


Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Haiku: Tendonitis Rip Off?

Got an elbow brace
A Velcro and plastic thing
Bill...a hundred bucks!

Note: This device IS helping with the pain, but I still can't see charging that much money for it.


Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Fill in the Blank 2

Fill in the Blanks is a new semi-regular feature on my blog. Just cut and paste your answers into the comments. :) Come on, it'll be fun!

1. Martinis are ___.
2. I think ___ and ___ would be great in a movie together.
3. At the age of ___, I ___.

My answers:
1. Martinis are yummy when you add that apple stuff to 'em.

2. I think Reese Witherspoon and Matt Damon would be great in a movie together.

3. At the age of 18, I joined a sorority.


Monday, June 04, 2007

Story: Sixteen Again

Story: "Sixteen Again" by Kate Willoughby from the June 5, 2007 issue.

Tagline: It had been many years since Carl and Diana had dated, but seeing her again was like drinking from the fountain of youth.

What follows is an analysis of a Woman's World story with suggestions/observations for people who want to sell stories to WW, peppered with some personal opinion, too. :)

I wrote this story, but I'm going to review it anyway!

The story starts out setting up the situation and introducing the characters. In this case we meet father and son first as they wait in line for ice cream at the mom and pop parlor celebrating its centennial. We get a feeling for the two men and their easy-going relationship. We also find out that Carl, the dad, is interested in the owner of the ice cream parlor. I (hopefully) build the suspense, such as it is in a WW story, by making the men decide to come back later.

When they do return, we meet the heroine, Diana. We get a little backstory and discover that Carl's son and Diana's daughter are a couple. Surprise! :) The story ends with Carl and Diana making a date to go rowing on the lake at a future time, with the last line of the story tying in with the title.

Best Part: "I heard you turned a hundred, but you don't look a day over thirty." Heh heh. I like this line when Carl speaks to Diana, but refers simultaneously to her ice cream parlor and her.

In My Humble Opinion:
There's a bit of a rough spot after the mention of the cologne where Carl says, "She's in there." The story would have benefitted from the use of her name rather than the pronoun.