Cover weigh in–Revenge of the Cheerleaders

After hours of sifting through unusable cheerleader pics (Cheerleader pictures only come in two forms peppy and seductive) the amazing Ruth Nickle has come up with this cover for Revenge of the Cheerleaders revengeofthecheerleadersebook. What do you think? Any tweaks you’d suggest? I’m including a smaller image too, because it will show up small on Amazon.revengeofthecheerleaders

Lessons learned from the Wright Brothers.

the wright brothers' planeI’m listening to the book The Wright Brothers by David McCullough. I have to admit that I’ve developed an odd across-time crush on Wilbur. Okay, maybe crush isn’t the right word. I just want to hang out with him. He was not only brilliant, he had such impeccable character. And he was a good writer. It’s probably for the best that time travel isn’t possible. I would be some annoying fan girl trying to win his approval.

Anyway, that’s not the point of this post. The point is that I’d never realized before how hard it was for Orville and Wilbur to invent the airplane. I won’t relate all of their trials, but one year at Kitty Hawk they were deluged by swarms of mosquitoes so thick they had to wrap up  in blankets in the sweltering heat. They alternated between sweating and being eaten alive for a couple of days.

See, if  it were up to me, dreams of the airplane would have died right there. I don’t do swarms of hungry mosquitoes.

In the first years after they’d invented the airplane, the government ignored their attempts to sell it and the press accused them of lying about it. They ran into wall after wall for a long time.

I don’t know why this surprises me. I guess I figured that for some people success is easy. But easy success seems more often to be the exception than the rule. For most of us, we’ve got to face the metaphorical mosquitoes.

The problem with being a clean writer

While writing How I Met Your Brother, I wrote a scene where the main character and her ex-best friend have a confrontation. In it, the ex-best friend is furious and she calls the main character a name. Due to her rage, it’s a bad name.

I wrote this post on facebook:

Moral dilemma. I’m writing an adult book instead of my usual YA–although I’m sure a lot of teen readers will read the book. I have one character angrily call someone a backstabbing whore. Is whore too strong of a word? I have so many mothers tell me that they hand my books to their twelve year old daughters without reading them first because they trust me. I’m honored, but at the same time, sometimes that sort of trust is hard to live up to. Bad characters say bad things. On the other hand, authors don’t have to put those words in their readers minds. I’m wondering if whore should be on that list. Thoughts?

I got a lot of comments ranging from, “I think it’s fine. Kids hear much worse at school.” to “You’re going to burn in someplace hot.”

Okay, I made up that last comment.  Here’s a real one: Why are you having a character call another character such names? I don’t know your work, but this is a major turnoff for me. Too vitriolic.

I understand  people who want clean books. I don’t swear myself, so really, I get it. I’m always telling would-be authors to avoid swearing if at all possible. Swearing limits your audience. Some people won’t read books with swearing, but no one has ever written me to say that my books could have used more cursing.

I guess I was just wondering if people considered the word ‘whore’ in the same category as swearing. Apparently many people do.

But this whole thing highlights one of the major difficulties for clean writers. Many people in the world don’t have our values. Villains especially don’t have our values. In some books, I write about characters who kill other people. I don’t condone that behavior. I’m not encouraging it. Just like I’m not encouraging anyone to call someone a backstabbing whore. If we wrote stories and pretended that everyone had our values, our stories would ring false. Plus they’d be very boring. Everyone would try to get along.

But then again, where does one draw the line of acceptability? As authors, we bend reality by the very nature of writing. We don’t write scenes where people go to the bathroom, pick their nose or flatulent. Those details aren’t needed and no one wants to read them. Do we need to put in swearing to be authentic?

Also, I can write about killing someone, and I haven’t really become a murderer. But if I swear in a book, I’ve really done it. Which is why I don’t swear in books. Well, that, and my children would never let me live it down. But is name calling the same? Where does one draw that line? Is skank acceptable but  whore isn’t? Why do we have stronger reactions to some words than we do to other words that mean the same thing?

At this point you may be wondering if I decided to use the word in question or not. So here’s the truth.

Today while writing, I realized the plot needed some changes, and I cut the scene.Yep. Turns out I didn’t need to open that can of worms on Facebook at all.

So, carry on internet folks, carry on. All is well.

 

Signing at B-fest at the Goodyear Barnes and Noble June 11

Hey AZ friends,

I’ll be at the Goodyear B&N with Adrienne Quintana and Cody Wagner signing and participating in other shenanigans, June 11 at 2:00.

What shenanigans you ask? I’m not sure. The website says there will be games. It also mentions something about a spelling showdown going on at the same time. I’m hoping I will in no way be involved in the spelling showdown, as I’m pretty sure it would be a short and embarrassing showdown. The website also says we will answer questions. I feel much safer about that activity, unless your questions are about spelling. Then you’re out of luck.

Slayers three update

Eldest daughter got me this dragon for Christmas to use as writing inspiration. Perhaps that is why the dragon seems a lot nicer in Slayers: Playing With Fire. Isn’t this little beastie just sooo cute? Anyway, the novel is at the copy editors now. I’m hoping to have the book available as an ebook sometime in June.dragon

Bad souvenirs

I don’t know who came up with the tradition of buying souvenirs for family members. (Probably someone who didn’t get to go on a trip, and said, “I’ll forgive you for not taking me, but you’ll have to buy me a T-shirt and decorative mug.” Anyway, when I went on a Mediterranean cruise last month, I had five offspring to shop for. Five.

At first I thought, “No problem. I can shop. I’ve been doing it my whole life.” But it was harder than I thought, and that was because there were so very many bad souvenirs around. It was hard to find any good ones.

Case in point: Rome and Greece. What does the cradle of civilization have to offer? greek shopShops full of  little pale naked statues. Also scowling heads of long dead senators. I’m talking entire store walls. There must be a thriving industry somewhere of sweatshops turning out miniature armless statues and busts of angry men. I mean, I appreciate history as much as the next person–but whose decor matches with these? I’m thinking of all my friends’ houses, and nope, I can’t picture one of these fitting in anywhere.

If your taste runs to the racy, you can also find some interesting fresco reproductions involving acts that would get you arrested in real life.Stock up on those.

Also popular in Turkey and neighboring countries: evil eye jewelry.evil eye jewlery cropped It’s not just a fashion  statement, it’s multiple evil eyes, ready to ward off bad luck, or just, you know, creep you out.

For young history buffs, this looks like a great book . . .of course the content might be very different depending on what day they chose to depict. (Run, children, run!)pompeii book

Then we went to Venice, hands down one of the most beautiful cities in the world (even though I watched Casino Royale, that Bond movie where a building in Venice sinks into the water and I kept having panicky flashbacks of that scene.) Who wouldn’t love to receive one of these beauties? cat puppetWhat says: Wish you could be here better than a cat puppet dressed in Renaissance clothes? And I saw these in more than one store.

I consider myself an eccentric cat lady, and even I shook my head and said, “No. Just no.”

I was despairing of ever finding anything that was classy for my children, and then we went to the Vatican. Problem solved. Who doesn’t want Pope memorabilia?pope stuff

Or Pope dishes! pope dishes cropped(Really, I’m sure the Pope is a lovely man, but real people shouldn’t have their faces on plates–not Elvis or Scarlett O’hara or the Pope.)

This was perhaps my favorite, though. priest calendarA calendar of hot priests. I was so tempted to buy it. I bet Mr. October is divine.

(Why no, I’ve never worried about being struck down by lightning. Why do you ask?)

 

Last but not least, here is a souvenir that I actually did buy: a Pompeii t-shirt, because I’d run out of clothes and washing them on the cruise ship was way overpriced. pompeii shirtThis man may seem to be screaming in horror as he sees a Volcano destroy his city. I mean, that’s totally what I thought was happening in this picture.

But no, this is actually an image of a statue that they found in Pompeii, which means that this horrified screaming guy was actually just foreshadowing that the Pompeii-istas really should have paid attention to. And now it is my t-shirt. Ah, how I love travel.

 

Booksigning in Provo, Sat May 7

Hey Utah peeps, I’m teaching at the LDStorymakers conference which means that I”ll be at the mega-signing on Saturday, May 7 at 5:00

We’ll be at the Utah Valley Convention Center in Provo, Utah (next to the Provo Marriott).

I would love to see you there! Seriously, stop by and say hi.

See you there!

What would your statue look like?

I’ve been out of the country for the last two weeks. (But if you’re a burglar looking to break into my house, you’re out of luck. I left my children, all of whom are well armed and in a bad mood since they didn’t get to come. Just saying.) Anyway, I’ve seen a lot of statues. If you donated a lot of money to the church in Dublin, they put a statue of you in the cathedral. Ditto for citizens of Ephesus–except your statue was along the road. It’s made me wonder what my statue would look like, had I lived back then and been rich.

I like this guy’s shoes. I mean, he was clearly not only rich, he had style. cropped statue 1 small

This guy must have been one of those philosopher types who was busy thinking great thoughts, or he was a bird watcher, one of the two.cropped statue 3 small

 

 

 

 

I’m not sure whether this next guy is calling someone specific to repentance or maybe just hailing a cab–see, those are the sorts of things the little plaques should tell you.cropped statue 2 small

Here is a statue of one of the vestal virgins in Rome. Not only did they get their own house, they got their own statue too. Which would have been cool. I guess having five children would have prevented me from having a statue at this place . . .cropped statue 5 small

 

 

 

 

 

The last statue is the one I most relate to. Yeah, this is probably what my statue would look like.cropped statue 4 small

You find inspiration everywhere

Here in Ireland getting my writing battery recharged. It’s so nice to laugh and commiserate. I’m surprised how many writing reminders I’ve seen here.

Always good advice. (Dublina tower)

mind your head

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Okay universe, I know, I know, I need to work on Slayers . . . (Christ Church)

dragon slayer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Work is always the great reality . . . (The Writer’s museum, Dublin Ireland)

 

work is the great reality

Why my house will never be chic

I appreciate a well decorated house. I really do. But here’s what happens when I try home improvements.aaa

  1. I consider that my wooden kitchen chairs are fifteen years old and I’m even older, so it would be awesome if I bought some comfortable chair cushions.
  2. I search five different internet sites that sell cushions. I find some that are darling, but would require I repaint the house and buy new curtains, and possibly new painting too. Sadly, I dismiss those cushions.
  3. I find some that might work, but I’m not too sure. Maybe they’re too casual.
  4. I consider that buying new cushions would cost about three hundred dollars. Sheesh. For that price, I probably could just find cushioned chairs on Craigslist.
  5. I go to Craigslist and do indeed find some cushioned dining room chairs, but would they match? How would I know if they’re comfortable? I would have to drive an hour to see them and then it would be awkward if I didn’t buy them . . .
  6. I decide that maybe I just need new chairs.
  7. I look online at a couple of furniture stores and find some I like but they’re 150.00 each. (Uncushioned) Do I want to spend 900.00 for new chairs?
  8. I consider repainting my chairs.
  9. I go to youtube and watch videos about chalk painting. Do I have the time for this? I have lots of books to write. And what if they didn’t turn out cute?
  10. And I still have to buy seat cushions to make them softer.
  11. I decide that this is all too overwhelming, so instead I hope a decorating fairy–or one of those nice people on remodeling shows–will magically stop by my house and fix my problems.
  12. Until then I have a tacky regular pillow on my kitchen chair.

Repeat for just about any home improvement item