Friday, May 30, 2008

Artist: Paul-Emile Becat

I was introduced to this artist by fellow erotic romance author, Evie Byrne, who also happens to be an art historian. Very cool! Here's her blog, Erotika Revue.

Here is a short bio from The Erotica Bibliophile:

Paul-Emile Bécat was born February 2nd, 1885 in Paris. He was an accomplished printmaker, painter and extremely prolific illustrator. Bécat studied at l’École des Beaux-Arts in Paris under Flammeng and Ferrier. He received the Prix de Rome, the médaille d’argent at the Salon des Artistes Français where he also was a member, and the Prix de Robert de Rougé. Becat died in 1960.

I really love this image. It's so provocative. It sort of reminds me of my Liquid Silver novella, Hostile Takeover, but with the characters in period clothing. I'm only supposing that the woman is a bride, because she seems so reticent. In my search for images by Becat, I found that he also illustrated a deck of cards, which I immediately coveted, but the images weren't nearly as sexual, and the website only displayed five of the face cards. His images are so charmingly historic that it's strange to think that this artist was alive only two years before I was born. Anyway, enjoy your weekend.


Thursday, May 29, 2008

Thursday 3: D!!!

Pet Peeve Thursday 3 this week. I hate it when people say the following:

1. ice tea
2. whip cream
3. barbecue chicken

When it's supposed to be

1. iced tea
2. whipped cream
3. barbecued chicken

I think it would be nice if there was a way to eliminate pet peeves. I don't like being annoyed. At least, I don't THINK I like being annoyed. Perhaps we get some strange psychological reward from being irritated, because there are people who live in a constant state of irritation. I like to think I'm not one of them, but it's hard to look at yourself objectively.

Any verbal misspeaks that make you grit your teeth?


Wednesday, May 28, 2008

I'm It

I've been tagged. :) I kinda like being tagged. It makes me feel like I'm in the In-Crowd, but it's more likely that my crowd just likes memes.

Anyway this meme is called the 1-2-3 tag:

Here are the rules:
1. Pick up the nearest book.
2. Open to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the next three sentences.
5. Tag five people and post a comment to the person who tagged you once you’ve posted your three sentences.

I picked up The Lady and the Unicorn, by Tracy Chevalier. She wrote Girl with a Pearl Earring, which I really enjoyed. Both books are fictional books that revolve around a work of art. This time it's about six unicorn tapestries. Here's a picture of one of them.

And here are the sentences:

"Christine and I need to discuss it," Georges said. "I'll give you my answer tomorrow."

"Good," Jacques said. He picked up the knife and cut himself a large wedge. "You give me the girl and you'll get your blue. And don't try to go to other woad dyers--they know me better than they know you."

Jacques is a woad dyer in Brussels who wants to marry Georges' daughter, Alienor. Alienor can't really hope for much better than the dyer who smells like sheep's pee because she's blind. I really worried about Alienor. She is a wonderful character. I really enjoyed this book.

Oh, I forgot to tag more victi--er, bloggers. I tag: Evie Byrne, Loribelle, TJ Bennett, Chloe Devlin, and Keira Ramsay


Tuesday, May 27, 2008

A Decade of Memories

I've tried keeping journals before throughout my life. I've never succeeded. Until now. As of this month, I've written in my journal every day (missing only about 5 days) for an entire year! How did I do it? It really wasn't that hard!

The secret is the Ten Year Journal. Don't freak out about the title because the thing is, the TYJ only requires four lines per day. Four lines! Who can't carve out the time to write four lines about your day? I keep it by my bed and jot down stuff before I hit the hay. It's so easy.

If you have more than four lines of junk that happened, you have a multitude of carry-over pages at the back. Also, it's great because now that I'm on my second year of journaling, every day I can see what I was doing the year before. The four lines I'm filling currently are directly below last year's four lines.

I can't recommend this journal enough. It's perfect for people who want to journal but were always intimidated by the WHOLE BLANK PAGE per day set up. Buy the Ten Year Journal here.


Monday, May 26, 2008

Remembering the Soldiers

Today my blog is dedicated to all of America's fallen soldiers. God bless them. I'm deeply grateful for their sacrifice.

Words to Taps

(Note: there are no "official" words to Taps. Below are the most popular.)

Day is done,
gone the sun,
From the hills,
from the lake,
From the skies.
All is well,
safely rest,
God is nigh.

Go to sleep,
peaceful sleep,
May the soldier
or sailor,
God keep.
On the land
or the deep,
Safe in sleep.

Love, good night,
Must thou go,
When the day,
And the night
Need thee so?
All is well.
Speedeth all
To their rest.

Fades the light;
And afar
Goeth day,
And the stars
Shineth bright,
Fare thee well;
Day has gone,
Night is on.

Thanks and praise,
For our days,
'Neath the sun,
'Neath the stars,
'Neath the sky,
As we go,
This we know,
God is nigh.


Friday, May 23, 2008

Artist: Devorah Sperber

Prepare to be amazed. Devorah Sperber makes art out of spools of thread!!! Check it out.

From her site: "After Monet (Water Lilies)" is a site-specific installation, constructed from *41,920 spools of thread, which coalesce into the image of Monet's "Water Lilies" (collection of the Museum of Modern Art, NYC) when seen reflected in nine hemispherical mirrors mounted on the opposing curved wall.

Devorah Sperber selected an impressionist work by Monet as a subject matter for the sophisticated and complimentary color palette, as well as for the reference of modern day pixels (thread spools) to pointillism.

Experiential Component: Viewers first perceive the spools of thread as a random arrangement of colorful cylinders, getting only a hint of the inherent imagery from the entrances to the lobby.

It is only after people walk towards the center of the lobby that the thread spools are visible in nine hemispherical mirrors, revealing the subtle imagery of Monet's Water Lilies. This shift in perception functions as a dramatic mechanism to present the idea that there is no one truth or reality, emphasizing subjective reality vs. an absolute truth.

Here is a close up of the spools.

Here's a view of the whole fantastic thing.

So, was that not mindboggling? Who knew thread could be transformed like that? To see more works of art made out of thread, like Da Vinci's The Last Supper, go to Sperber's site. Have a terrific weekend.


Thursday, May 22, 2008

Thursday 3: Fast Pass to Fun

There's a popular meme called Thursday 13 in which every Thursday you make a list of thirteen things. I did this for a few months, but I don't have time for thirteen! So, I whittled it down to Thursday 3.

I love Disneyland. Good thing that I live only about an hour away from it. This Thursday I'm listing my three favorite attractions from when I was little.

1. Storybook Land Canal Boats
- I loved this ride, even if I couldn't look that giant whale in the eye. When I got older I wanted to be one of the gals who sat on the front of the boat and lead the tour. I was always amazed at the teensy tiny gardens.

2. It's a Small World
- I love to sing (though not all love to hear me sing.) Luckily the music is so loud in this ride, I can belt out the tune to my heart's content. When I was little I think I just loved seeing all the different countries represented. If there had been dolls made of the IASW people, I would have tried to collect them all. I always also tried to identify the different languages that the hello/goodbye signs displayed.

3. Carousel of Progress - I remember liking this attraction a lot. I vaguely remember a light up model of a city of tomorrow and being amazed. It's surprising that that entire building still rotates smoothly after so many decades. Go here to see a video of the show.


Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Low Humor

In my family we have this silly game we play once in a while, usually in the car. (I have two sons, so forgive me my lapse into potty humor. The only females in my house other than me are the two hamsters.) The game is to take the title of a book, movie, or TV show and substitute one of the words with "fart." The trick is you have to choose a title that is still recognizable, even with one of the words replaced with "fart". For instance, you can't take "Heroes," and say, "Farts." That isn't funny. Neither is "Fart Movie," for "Bee Movie."

Here are some of our favorites:

Harry Potter and the Fart of the Phoenix

Fart Silent, Fart Deep

The Postman Always Farts Twice

Horton Hears a Fart

Rachael Ray's 30-Minute Farts

Can you think of some funny ones?


Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Ah-choo! Popcorn

OMG! This is the most awesome snack. Buttery Salt and Cracked Pepper Popcorn by Orville Redenbacher. It comes in mini-bags and it kicks ass! Try it. You won't be sorry.


Monday, May 19, 2008

Story: Hello Again

What follows is an analysis of a Woman's World story with suggestions and observations for people who want to sell stories to WW, peppered with some personal opinion, too. :) If you truly want to get the most from this weekly blog feature, it's best to have your own copy of the story to refer to. (And no, I don't get a kickback for pimping the magazine here!)

Story: Hello Again by Diane Crawford from the May 5, 2008 issue.

Tagline: Megan wondered if her teenage crush was going to flower into an all-grown-up romance

In A Nutshell: Megan attends a retirement party for her favorite high school teacher, Mrs. Jordan, and her husband, Coach Jordan. There, she sees Greg, the boy she had a crush on, but he's all grown up now. He confesses he had a crush on her all those years ago and asks her out.

Teaching Points: Crawford is an old hand at WW, very skilled at crafting better than average stories for them, and this one is no exception. She does a great job of slipping the backstory into their dialogue.

She also pulls our hero and heroine apart briefly when Greg is pulled away for a photo op, and then has Megan reminisce, giving us more background. We experience a brief moment of happiness when Greg confesses he had a crush on her back then, then some anxiety when it appears that Greg is expected to bring his old prom date to a dinner party at her own brother's house, no less! But at the end he asks Megan to go instead. Yay!

Woman's World Standbys: Old Flames

In My Humble Opinion: I wasn't crazy about the title.


Friday, May 16, 2008

Artist: Cheryl & Wayne Renshaw

If you've never been to a street painting festival, you really should try to get to one. There's one going on in Santa Barbara on May 27 - 29. They don't really paint the street. They draw on it with pastels. Then, after a day or so, they wash away the pictures!! It's so tragic that the beauty is erased so soon after it was created. Still, it's worth it to watch the art being done.

Here is a painting done by Lord Frederic Leighton. I adore this painting. I love the translucent fabric of her gown.

And here are some photos of Cheryl and Wayne Renshaw in action. Check out the huge scale of their work.

And here is the finished product. Are you awed? You should be. I've done some street paintings, too, but much smaller and less ambitious. It's great fun. Here's one of mine.


Thursday, May 15, 2008

Thursday 3: Men From My Past

For this week's Thursday 3, I bring you back to my childhood once again. Like most young girls, I became fixated in various male celebrites. (Well, I still sorta do. Don't ask me about Jude, or Daniel C., or Clive.)

Donny Osmond was the first object of my obsession. I bought every album he made. I joined the Osmond Brothers Fan Club (I still have the official documents to prove it), declared that purple was also my favorite color, and rejoiced in the fact that our birthdays were within three weeks of each other's. This particular album cover often fell victim to my lips as I practiced kissing. Should the opportunity ever have arisen where Donny was within a kissing radius, I wanted to be ready. I must have crooned "Puppy Love" a gazillion times while swaying wistfully in my living room, clutching the album cover to my flat chest. Oh, how my mother must have laughed.

I also lusted after the indomitable Captain James Tiberius Kirk. I was always quite excited when, in the course of going where no man had gone before, his shirt got ripped or was completely removed. I always hated his many female conquests, those bitches. For heaven's sake, my body was a place where no man had gone before. Why couldn't he ravish me?

Finally, when I was thirteen, I discovered that we lived less than a mile from where Clark Gable once lived. I hence read Gone With the Wind and saw the movie guessed it...fell in love. I read several Clark Gable biographies. If I could have rented movies, I would have, but it was in the days before there was even Beta video recording. (Yeah, I'm old.) My love for him was even more tragic because the man was dead. Alas.

So, spill. Who'd you pine for?


Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Free vs. Fee

Question: Why can you get free internet at cheap hotels like Super 8, but at fancy places, like the Hyatt, you have to pay a fee? I just don't understand how that works.

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Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Grammatical Mental Block

I consider myself to be a smart girl. However, I have quite a few mental blocks that I can't seem to overcome. For example, I can't seem to understand the complexities of lay vs. lie. Sometimes, I'm so flummoxed that I just choose a completely different verb and avoid all the confusion. Sometimes, though, it's The Right Word and I have to try to figure out which permutation to use.

In the hope that I'm not the only doofus out there with this grammar syndrome, I'm posting this fabulous webpage that does a great job of explaining which word is correct for your situation. I hope it comes in handy for you.

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Monday, May 12, 2008

Story: The Purrfect Job

What follows is an analysis of a Woman's World story with suggestions and observations for people who want to sell stories to WW, peppered with some personal opinion, too. :) If you truly want to get the most from this weekly blog feature, it's best to have your own copy of the story to refer to. (And no, I don't get a kickback for pimping the magazine here!)

Story: The Purrfect Job by Tamara Shaffer from the April 28, 2008 issue

Tagline: Mary was not what you'd call the retiring type. As it turned out, neither was Roger...

In A Nutshell: An "energetic" grandma (widow) works as a cat-sitter. At the house of one of her clients, she meets a widower who works as a landscaper. When she is ready to leave, she finds her car battery is dead, and the guy has jumper cables. They make a date for Saturday night.

Teaching Points: This story had an unusual structure that, I have to admit, confused me a little. Mary is telling the story of how she meets Roger in past tense, but at the end, we switch to first person present and find out that Mary is currently playing Scrabble with her friend and was relating the story to her.

There was also, a climactic moment when Bertha, the friend, was on the edge of her seat. I think even in these short 800 words stories it's a good idea to insert a moment of tension for the reader.

Woman's World Standbys: A widow and a widower. Cats. Car trouble.

In My Humble Opinion: Mary can't be that good a Scrabble player if she has to concentrate on making the word "quiz." That's like the first word that comes to mind when you've got Q and Z. Also, at the end "They cheered," and I thought Mary was only playing Scrabble with Bertha.


Friday, May 09, 2008

Artist: Gustav Klimt and Candace Bahouth

This Friday I'm introducing you to an artist to be -- You! Well, kind of.

Gustav Klimt (1862-1918) was an amazing artist from the Vienna Secession movement. He was well known for his renderings of the female body and sometimes accused of being too erotic in his work. As a writer of erotic romance, I know how he felt! This is perhaps the most famous of his paintings, The Kiss (1907-1908). He meant this work to celebrate the attraction between the sexes. Yay, Klimt!

This is The Maiden (1912-13). I'm not sure why there are so many other women in the painting. Perhaps the central figure is still technically a maiden because she's a lesbian. I just guessing here. Because check out this next painting.

This is Water Serpents I (1904-07), and it looks like girl-girl love to me. Not that there's anything wrong with that. (<--Echoes of Seinfeld.) I think Klimt's work is uniquely beautiful and decorative. I love the stylized motifs and patterns in his work, and I'm not the only one.

Another artist, much more contemporary, named Candace Bahouth designed some gorgeous needlepoint canvases, inspired by Klimt. So, if you like to stitch and you like Klimt's work, you can make your own work of art. Click here to check out all the canvases. They're not cheap, but look at the breathtaking pillows you'll end up with!


Thursday, May 08, 2008

Thursday 3: The Wheels on the Bus

There's a popular meme called Thursday 13 in which every Thursday you make a list of thirteen things. I did this for a few months, but I don't have time for thirteen! So, I whittled it down to Thursday 3.

Here are three memorable school field trips I took.

1. The best field trip I remember taking was in fifth grade when we went fossil hunting. We rode the bus and parked on the side of the road somewhere near Topanga Canyon. We were to bring a container for our fossils and a hammer. There,embedded in the side of the mountain,were fossilized shells. It was so cool to make like an archaeologist. I don't know whatever happened to the fossils I had. They probably got lost in the move fifty miles away to Orange County we made that summer.

2. In my freshman year in high school my English teacher arranged for us attend a theatrical play at the Ahmanson Theatre. I was a theatre virgin back then. I can't remember exactly what we saw, but I think it was something by Neil Simon. I loved it. It was 1978. I remember wearing a below the knee plaid skirt, a cowl neck sweater and probably some Wallaby type shoes, maybe even Cherokee platforms. Quite a far cry from what high school freshmen are wearing now.

3. When I taught school one of the best field trips we took was to the place in Arleta where they train guide dogs for the blind. It was super interesting to learn about seeing eye dogs. One time they came TO our school with a dog, and we teachers were blindfolded and led by a dog through an obstacle course. THAT was ubercool.

Care to share a field trip you remember?


Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Wet Man Haiku: Ryan Philippe

My sexy wet pants
cling to my manly 'nads, yet
are a bitch to take off.


Tuesday, May 06, 2008

A Funny Bone

I took a workshop about writing funny from the very funny author, Brenda Scott Royce (Monkey Love and Monkey Star.) She said that the "K" sound is funny. I took her word for it, not really getting that. But today, I finally DID get it.

I had to write a line of dialogue that included an ear bone. I had three choices: the stapes, the malleus, or the incus. And OMG, incus was way funnier!

Here's the snippet.

"We’re talking about the future. Adam’s future," Davina said.

“Which, to reiterate, will not end in marriage," said Lazslo. "Nothing personal against this Paige person, but my client feels strongly about this.”

“But love—”

“Isn’t something Adam is looking for here, not with this human woman. If she was a shapeshifter, that would be one thing, but she’s not. So, we want a clause stipulating that this is a temporal wish, twenty-four hours only. After that you’re out of the picture, Davina. No fairy mumbo-jumbo to push them down the aisle.”

Davina wrinkled her nose.

“No matter how good their numbers look,” Laszlo added.

“You’re killing me, Laszlo. Don’t you have one romantic bone in your body?”

"As a matter of fact, I do," Lazslo said a little stiffly. “My incus is romantic.”

“Your…?” Davina blinked. “Your incus?”

“It’s a very small bone in my ear.”

“You’re making that up.”

“Am not.”

CONCLUSION: Incus = a funny bone. Stapes and malleus = not funny bones


Monday, May 05, 2008

Story: Circle of Love

What follows is an analysis of a Woman's World story with suggestions and observations for people who want to sell stories to WW, peppered with some personal opinion, too. :) If you truly want to get the most from this weekly blog feature, it's best to have your own copy of the story to refer to. (And no, I don't get a kickback for pimping the magazine here!)

Story: Circle of Love by Tina Radcliffe

Tagline: Katie could hardly believe her good fortune: a fiance and a new baby sister--all in one day!

In A Nutshell: Katie's 43 year old mom is a newlywed and announces she's pregnant. Their OB is retiring but his grandson, Timothy, is taking over the practice. Katie and Timothy fall in love and get engaged.

Teaching Points: In this story we see Radcliffe use the technique of connecting the title in with the concluding sentences. It's a simple and effective way to tighten up that ending with a bow.

This story is a little different from the majority of WW stories in that it encompasses about nine months AND it goes from first meet to actual engagement, two things that are tough to pull off.

Woman's World Standbys: An accidental run-in, a missed opportunity to meet someone.

In My Humble Opinion:

I found the transitions between scenes were abrupt, but with the new 800 word limit, I sympathize with Radcliffe.


Friday, May 02, 2008

Phone Art!

Oh, man, I think I may have to get this. The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, has this thing where you can download wallpaper to your cell phone. You can choose just one work of art or subscribe and get a bunch every month.

Here's one in particular that I like. Cupid and Psyche, by Adolphe Braun.

I also like Collection du Chat Noir (Collection of the Chat Noir)
by Théophile-Alexandre Steinlen (right).

There are plenty of other works available. Just thought I'd share! Have a great weekend.

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Thursday, May 01, 2008

Thursday 3: The Shinwa

Last month, I decided to write a Quickie for Ellora's Cave's Gemstone series. I like the challenge of proposed themes. It brings out the creativity in me because I always want to make mine stand out from the others in some way. The trouble was there was a very tight deadline for Topaz stories - May 1.

I wasn't sure I could write 10-15K in less than a month. I'm an extremely slow writer, usually. However, I'm proud to say that I did it! THE TOPAZ TRIAD is a paranormal menage story that I am submitting to my editor, Mary Altman, today. (This is the reason I've neglected this blog for the last week and a half.)

Here's a blurb-type thing.

In order to conceive a child, the Shinwa people must form triads—two males and one female. Kai, Joran, and Hana are one such triad, but sadly after fourteen years, Hana appears to be barren. Desperate, they consult a long-forgotten text and devise a treatment that relies on the dubious powers of a topaz and a rigorous sexual regimen that will severely test the men’s endurance and self-control. Although there’s no guarantee that it will work, they have no choice but to try it, because if Hana goes much longer without conceiving, she faces a lingering death.

I had a lot of fun creating a different world. This week I'm listing three things unique to the Japanese-influenced world of the Shinwa people.

1. Conception can only be achieved by two males and one female.

2. Periods for Shinwa women are kinda different. When they're young, they fall into a deep sleep. (Actually, that sounds kind of nice in comparison.) But as they get older, if they fail to conceive a child, the sleep becomes like hibernation and the amount of time they're under gets longer and longer.

3. One of the signs that a Shinwa woman is pregnant is a significant darkening of the nipples.

So, now the waiting begins. I know the Topaz stories must be published in November, so it won't be too long before I find out, and in the meantime, I have edits to complete on A WOLF AT HER DOOR. Happy Thursday!

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