Bonnie's excuse of the week

Monday, March 30, 2009

Oh. Mah. Gawd. I think this is the best excuse ever!

"I forgot all about it."
Blame it on multitasking, my addition to Diet Coke or my love of watching Ice Road Truckers (even the repeated episodes), but I completely forgot to find an excuse to stop writing.

And you're probably thinking, "Cry me a river, blondie."

Seriously though, I got so caught up in my words, some other stuff didn't get done. Of course, I can't really think of what those tasks are off the top of my head, but I'm sure they'll come to me eventually. Like when I run out of clean socks or groceries.

Now if only I could do this all the time. No, not go without food or clean socks, but be able to relax enough to let the words come out and take over.

Some authors talk about their characters taking over and allowing their authors to simply type what they are doing. And I used to think those writers were smoking something funny. Characters talking to you? Yeah, right.

But I've found that the more I get to know my characters, the more I know what they're going to say... or how they're going to react when the chocolate fountain falls over. Sob!

It's not that they're talking to me, per se, but it could be interpreted that they are. And this is what makes me forget to file the bills, delete emails and see if I have anything to donate to the local food drive.

This is when I must do a shout-out to my DH, because without him, our home would fall apart, socks would never be clean and we'd be out of milk for our tea. Over the years, he has learned to recognize when I'm in "the zone" (he's got scars) and stays fah, fah, away.

Zaphod still gently reminds me if I have been ignoring him, but then races down the stairs to hide from the crazy woman at the computer. Smart kitten.

How about you? How easy is it for you to get into "the zone"?


posted by Bonnie Staring at 11:41 PM 1 comments

Blogged down

Thursday, March 26, 2009

I hate to say it, but I'm feeling blogged down lately.

And it appears I'm not the only one out there. Maybe it's because I'm finally getting some solid work on the WIP and the gazillion other writing projects on my plate. Or I could just not have much to say that doesn't sound like I'm getting all cranky over nothing.

Oh, but I do have something to go on and on about: the kitten.

Zaphod is totally enjoying the arrival of spring. When he's not at the window, following the activities of birds or those evil squirrels, he's at the front door, waiting to be put into his harness.

Yes, Zaphod has fully accepted the harness and doesn't struggle too much when we put it on him. Perhaps that's because he gets to go for walkies and explore all over our front yard, driveway, backyard, the neighbour's yard (she has a nice patio) and try to squeeze in the gap under our front steps.

And he does it all while looking terribly handsome.

It appears that Zaphod's main goal when he gets outside is to cover himself with bits. This is easily accomplished by lying down near broken sidewalk paths or gravel and rolling a bit. He's very good at it.

He also practices his poses in case Tyra Banks drops by when she's casting for America's Next Top Housecat. Look at those eyes! He's waay fierce.

And, of course, all this rolling, hunting and posing does leave a poor kitten exhausted.

Can't wait until we get the hammock set up in the backyard this summer -- I know one member of this household who'll get plenty of use out of it!

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posted by Bonnie Staring at 11:51 PM 4 comments

It's all Edward's fault

Monday, March 23, 2009

Okay. So I pre-ordered Twilight to get the extra-cool 3-disc version and the added bonus of an official film cell. Which thankfully features Edward and not Charlie, Bella's dad.

I wasn't going to watch it, but I just had to see the 22-minute interview with Stephanie Meyer.

And that's when I watched, transfixed, when she admitted she "kind of fell into writing" and didn't really plan on pursuing it until her sister insisted Stephanie's story should get published.

Oh. Mah. Gawd. Could you imagine if Twilight sat there under Stephanie's bed or tucked away in a cupboard? Not only would I have a big hunk of time back to do other things (since I've read three of the four books in the series and have now seen the film three times), but, more importantly, I wouldn't know Edward Cullen. And the thought makes me shudder.

There's just something about tortured souls that makes me happy. Go figure.

Now the DH is very happy to finally understand what the whole Twilight madness is about. Yeah, it was a real shocker when he declined on joining me and the gals to see the film in the theatre. While he describes it as an "angsty chick flick," he does admit he enjoyed it, despite my ongoing commentary and long, drawn-out sighs.

Zaphod, however, left during the baseball game.

So instead of spending the entire weekend writing, I got 12 pages done. It wasn't even half of what I aimed for, but it's better than nothing.

I'll do better tomorrow... as long as I unplug the DVD player. LOL

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posted by Bonnie Staring at 12:30 AM 1 comments

Bonnie's excuse of the week

Sunday, March 15, 2009

It's been a wild week, with a blissful rest stop at the spa on Thursday. (Don't hate me because I'm so relaxed, it was a gift certificate!) But all this chillaxing helped me discover what I'm currently battling against:

"Fear of the slumpy middle"
We've all had this happen with one thing or another. A new project or shiny new idea starts with such promise and enthusiasm, we joyfully put pen to paper or apples in the apple peeler/corer/slicer/dicer or head to the paint store.

In other words, we get swept away. Any snide remarks from our inner critics are drowned out by the oohs, ahhs and squeals as we delight in the brilliance of the words, aromas or wall colours. We don't mind fumbling along, because it's all so new and groovy.

Then we hit the middle.

It's the part of the project when the motivating oomph of beginning is long forgotten and the white light at the end of the tunnel hasn't shown up on the radar yet. For some, it's a dark and scary place; for others, it's when the evil "whatever" strikes -- making us think that other ideas, recipes or rooms to decorate would be so much better than the pile of drec we're working on right now.

It's the slumpy part of the process that places us all into two groups: those who love to start and those who are determined enough to finish.

It's fine to be a member of both groups, but if you're only going to buy one team t-shirt, be sure to sign up for the team that gets to the finish line.

I'm sure you've read a book, tasted a recipe or walked into t a room that didn't quite meet your expectations. Overall, it's fine, but there's something about it that sags a little. Too much description in the part where the heroine is picking out what to wear on her first date with the hero, too few strawberries in the feildberry pie or a coffee table that overwhelms the overall balance of the living room.

It's not a big thing, but it's enough to make you keep on shopping.

That's where I'm a t right now in my WIP: the dreaded slumpy middle. Of course, my middle will not be slumpy; every scene will have a purpose with no extraneous babble about zombie-loving flamenco dancers or gratuitous chocolate fountains.

Le sigh. At least, that's what I'm trying not to do. :)

How about you? How do you keep things fresh at the middle of a project?

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posted by Bonnie Staring at 5:51 PM 2 comments

Delusions and Misfortune

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Two things happened in recent weeks that have me thinking about karma, life and something other than Bob Marley songs. Thank goodness.

The first was JD Fortune, formerly of INXS, suddenly coming out of the woodwork and claiming that he was back to living in his car -- just like he did before the whole Rockstar: INXS thing got started.


So you record an album and go on a worldwide tour with one of the most fantabulous bands in the world... and then become a homeless Canadian again?
Dude, what happened?

Read what he told the Winnipeg Sun, after he appeared on ET Canada and reported that INXS gave him the big kiss-off at the Hong Kong airport. He's now retracted that statement.

Then I started thinking about what he was like on Rockstar: INXS.

A total diva. Couldn't work with his team on a team project and ended up stealing the spotlight (which resulted in the song Pretty Vegas). Thought he was better than everyone else. Didn't bother rehearsing. Changed the rules when they didn't suit him...

Perfect frontman material, or so we all thought.

I mean, the guy was awesome to see in concert, even though he wasn't Michael. Le sigh.

Let's hope he saves his royalties from his solo project, which is releasing soon. ;)

As for item #2, it all started innocently enough when someone posted a comment on an eloop (I know, I shouldn't read them) about how despondent she was over some rejection letters she'd received.

I totally felt her pain and could see that she was just entering the "submitting to agents and editors" part of the novel-writing journey.

Luckily there are a lot of fabulous, giving writers out there, who flooded the forum with encouraging words and nifty ideas of what to do with rejection letters. I won't repeat any of them here, but I really liked one involving freezer bags. LOL

Then one member came on board to eloquently proclaim how agents and editors aren't interested in supporting new authors (how encouraging!) and, once people get their first book published, they don't even have to work hard at it any more since people will buy their next books anyway.

I'm totally paraphrasing here, and may have even misunderstood what the person was trying to say, yet this is how I interpreted it and it made me kind of mad.

Well, really mad.

Why? Because I know some published authors -- and they work EVEN HARDER once they get their first book published. So I don't know who this Negative Nelly's been reading, or hanging with, because she's got it seriously wrong.

And I would hope the initial poster, who got her first rejections, realizes that that's not the way it is. Because if I had read something like that when I got my first-ever form-letter rejection, which confirmed my worst fears that everything I wrote was absolute crap and not even worthy of another look, it might have made me even angrier than I am now. ;)

And if I got the pessimistic poster's words wrong, my apologies. Still, I feel the need to vent because there may be some people out there who think everything is all sunshine and chocolate fountains once you get that first novel published.

Sure, chocolate fountains may be involved, but there's always stormy weather. Right JD?

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posted by Bonnie Staring at 11:56 PM 4 comments

No song title no cry

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Two weekends ago I had a fabulous Saturday night, even without Edward proposing to me. And now I can't get a Bob Marley song out of my head -- the cover band that performed it that night made me a Bob Marley believer all over again.

But as each day passes, I'm finding it harder and harder to remember how the song I enjoyed so much went. Rasta zombies ate mah brainz.

I even searched through my LPs, because I know I had a Bob Marley album. Once I lent it to a friend and he returned it to me with peanut butter on it.

Jah, he was peanut-butter-and-jammin', mon.

Then I remembered that I sold the album at a yard sale a decade ago. It seems that I now wish I had kept the dozen or so I sold, which totally goes against my decluttering way of being.

So I sought a Positive Vibration and went over to YouTube to see if I could find the song that way.

Three hours later and I was beginning to feel like I was Waiting in Vain.

Or like Burnin' and Lootin'.

And I wasn't about to go and claim I Shot the Sheriff...

I know, kill me now. ;)

So I broke down and cashed in an Amazon gift certificate and bought Bob Marley and the Wailers GOLD, a two-disc CD containing 34 ganga-grooving tracks.

Yeah, even though I should be saving my money and not spending it on a whim. Even if it has a really good beat and I can listen to it while I'm on the treadmill. I mean, that's what Duran Duran and Madonna are for. ;)

The DH thought I was more nuts than usual. "Do you remember any of the lyrics?"

"Something about music and everyone being happy," I replied.

Yeah, like that would narrow things down. ;)

Well, the CDs arrived today. Squee! Or rasta-squee!

So instead of working on the WIP, I popped the first disc into the player and started jammin' through the tracks. What I didn't realize is that with every song I listened to, the memory of the one I was trying to find grew fainter and fainter, like a soft dreadlocked echo over the waters of my mind.

The kitten was not impressed. Zaphod staged an Exodus from my office, seeking the safe haven of the basement, where the ska-inspiring beats couldn't reach him.

I'd miss him, but I had a song to find.

And then the wildest thing happened: I found the track!

But it wasn't the same.

The cover band had performed Trenchtown Rock, but at about twice the speed, making it a more workout-worthy tune. Sure, I was delighted to finally know what the heck the song was called, and how the lyrics described how everyone was listening to music and getting happy, but it wasn't fast enough for me to sweat to. Sob!

And I still had 25 songs left to listen to on the CDs, which wasn't a bad thing, as I recognized most of them. Even Zaphod came back, looking more relaxed than before.

Then I found it. It was the perfect move-your-butt-because-you-can't-help-yourself track.

Iron, Lion, Zion. And it was the last track on the second CD!


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posted by Bonnie Staring at 5:32 PM 0 comments

Bonnie's excuse of the week

Sunday, March 8, 2009

The words are still flowing, but I want to make sure they're the right ones. Le sigh.

And this insight brings me right to this week's excuse:

"If only someone would validate my work for me."
Oh yes, my friends. From time to time I lose my grip on reality and can only believe what other people have to say about my work. And sometimes, they don't like it.

I know, can you believe it? ;)

Whether from a beta reader, critique group member, agent or contest judge, their word is gold. Mine is Silly Putty with a hunk of comic strip stuck to it. And no matter how much I try to stretch and shape my own opinion so I can hear it better. it just shrinks back as soon as someone else says they don't like something I've done.

As my published friends say, "Just wait 'til you get Amazon reviews."

It's crazy, I know. And I'm not the only creative person out there who suffers from this. Heck, even those uncreative types do, too. If a hairdresser gives me a nasty haircut, all it takes is one of her associates to say, "Wow, your hair looks great!" and I'll forget how much I hate it until I get home and see it in the mirror.

So what's a woman planning on putting her words out there for all to see, mock and critique to do?

Suck it up.

Seriously, there's no other way. If I can't take the heat, I should close up shop. But I can take the heat -- I even picked up some SPF 4000 sunblock, just in case.

If I waited around for everyone to like what I did, I'd never get anywhere. LOL

So how do you deal with other people's opinions?

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posted by Bonnie Staring at 11:49 PM 3 comments

Edward's proposal

Thursday, March 5, 2009

I must preface this post by stating that I am a happily married woman. And I am still happily married to my first-and-only husband.

Now let's get to the good stuff.

It all started with my girlfriend Geri's win-win situation. Like me, she enters a lot of contests. Unlike me, she wins a bunch of them. ;) So when she won four tickets to radio station Q107's Million Days of Summer Party, she generously invited me and two other contesting colleagues.

We were uber-excited because they would be giving away FIVE trips to the Dominican Republic during the event, which also featured bands covering Beach Boys, Bob Marley and hard-core summer tuneage.

Then, to make it even more of a fun night, Geri also had a gift certificate for dinner for four at a nice restaurant. Nice, meaning wear something better than sweats. Nice, meaning make a reservation. Oh yeah, she won that gift certificate, too. Le sigh.

So we all met at the chic restaurant and couldn't get over how skinny and barely clothed some of the waitresses were.

"I don't think I'm gonna be able to eat with all that skin showing," Geri said.

And I couldn't blame her. Even though the interior of the place was dark, all the fake-and-bake tanned arms, legs, chests and backs were a little unnerving.

Then Edward appeared to take our order. Okay, his name wasn't Edward, it was Will. And he bore a striking resemblance to Robert Pattinson, who plays Edward Cullen in Twilight.

As soon as he left the table, Geri said, "Gee, I thought with the movie he wouldn't need to keep on waiting tables."

We enjoyed a lovely meal, giggling like schoolgirls whenever he made a comment or refilled our water glasses. Yeah, it was like being 16 all over again. Too bad I was old enough to be his mother and outweighed him by 40 pounds. On a good day. ;)

After we ordered desserts and coffee, Edward, er, Will, announced that we still had oodles of room left on our gift certificate.

"You can order whatever you like," he said with a flirtatious smile.

"Like tequila shots?" I asked.

"Oh my God, I can't believe you said that. It was just what I was about to say. No one ever says that, we must be soul mates. Will you marry me?"

I kid you not, that's how it went down. Our waiter, Will, suddenly became Will You Marry Me, looking all pale and glowing in the dim interior of the restaurant.

I might have said yes. And then asked if we could take his picture.

"Because you always take photos of the guys who propose to you, right?" he replied. "You must have tons of them."

At that point, I suspected he might have taken it a bit too far to increase his tip. After a few more jokes and laughs, he ran away. You could hear the wheels burn against the pavement as he peeled away.

Too bad. It would have been nice to have a picture for my album.

The radio station party was a total blast, but no one there proposed. LOL

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posted by Bonnie Staring at 4:47 PM 2 comments

Bonnie lashes out

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Okay, if you've been reading my blog long enough, you know that I'll do just about anything to get something for free.

Well, the folks at Matchstick thought I was enough of a fashionista to be part of a group to try the new Lancome Double Extend Beauty Tubes Mascara. You know, the mascara that adds extended tubes to the end of your lashes so they look really, really long?

You know I had to try it, since I am one of the many people born every day with barely there lashes. Please note Exhibit A to see what I mean:

Seriously, my nickname in high school should have been No Lash Girl. Even Korby Banner, the makeup artist on Style By Jury, told me to not even bother curling my lashes.

"Sweetie, with lashes like that, all you can really do is pray," he said as he tweezed my brows during a makeup session.

So I just had to try Lancome's Double Extend Beauty Tubes Mascara. Of course, I was afraid it might work too well and prevent me from wearing my glasses because my lashes would be too darn long. Hey, it's good to fear success sometimes people. ;)

Of course, this is where I should have totally glammed myself up for the after shot, but I wanted you to SEE my lashes. Yes, it is possible. If you don't have long lashes, you can simply put them on:

Not only can I have the long lashes I've always wanted, the mascara stays in place and doesn't land in your lap while laughing too hard (which could happen with an inferior-quality product that shall remain nameless).

But what does all this have to do with you? Well, how about a coupon to save $5 off your very own tube?

Forgive me for getting all tubular, but this was a really fun product to try -- and have in my beauty arsenal for occasions that call for luscious lashes!

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posted by Bonnie Staring at 11:46 PM 5 comments

Bonnie's excuse of the week

Monday, March 2, 2009

The writing is still going well, so hopefully I haven't jinxed myself by bragging about it here. It's been a productive week and the weather is still wintry. So it's only a partial boo hoo.

Here's what's been getting in my way this week:

I don't know if it was because it was a short month or everyone suddenly thought it would be a great time to promote themselves, but my inbox has been jammed with a lot of stuff.

And, in some cases, it was a lot of stuff from the same people. Grr.

I'm all for tooting your own horn and getting word out about new products, services or whatever it is that you do, but emails are truly a case where, in my opinion, less is more.

How much is too much? It probably depends on the individual. For me, unless you're offering me information that's updated frequently, I don't want to hear from you more than once a month. In fact, even if you have updated stuff, group it all together for your next newsletter instead of sending me little bits every week.

Let me miss you. Please.

Sure, I could simply unsubscribe, but then I might miss out on something, like the reason I subscribed to your mailing list in the first place. ;)

That takes me to the murky waters of lists. Sometimes I'm on a mailing list simply because I contacted the emailer for another reason. As a writer, I could have been doing research for an article, or asking if I could quote the person for my expose on the high cost of pork rinds. Does that mean I want to receive your ongoing mutters about yourself? Probably not.

Now I know I'm ranting to the choir, but what do you feel is appropriate promotional contact? Once a quarter? Once a month? When is it too much?

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posted by Bonnie Staring at 11:43 AM 0 comments