New project, a new spin on Fifty Shades of Grey recapping

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There are tons of straight recaps of Fifty Shades (each word is a link to a different recap).  There’s even one by a longtime member of the BDSM lifestyle covering what is wrong and right regarding the depiction of BDSM in the books (it’s not in E.L. James’ favor).  Something I haven’t seen before, which isn’t to say it doesn’t exist, is a “real time” pseudo-recap through Ana’s perspective in a journal format.  It’s one thing to read the timeline and think, “Wow, that looks fast,” and another to read a daily “journal entry” going over each day in the book, to get a feel for how fast things really happened.  

 

I went back and forth between using the calendar days, or moving the dates to the correct day of the week and just having it be a few days off.  May 9th is Friday this year, but was a Monday in book-time.  I haven’t yet decided if I’ll start this on May 12th, and re-date that as the first day, with a quick not each time to an explanatory post to why the dates are three days off, or just keep with the calendar dates, and post on different days of the week.  I’m leaning toward the former because I want readers to get a feel for the time, and you’ll feel a Monday more on a Monday than on a Friday.

 

Since Ana obviously didn’t get out of bed most nights, we’ll just pretend there there is some magic that allowed her to write her log in her brain at the end of each day or, when appropriate, the next morning. 

 

Check back on May 9th, or follow this blog to read along.

Blog Ring of POWER!

How cool is this?!  I’m the feature of a Blog Ring of Power!!

You can read part one at E.M. LaBronte’s blog, in this post.  About yours truly.

Second part of on Sandra Almazan’s blog, in this post.  About my writing life.

Continue on over to Vicki Lemp Weavil’s blog, to this post.  About the creative process.

Then head on to Terri Bruce’s blog, to this post.  About my current work.

Wrapping up is T.W. Fendley, in this post!  Words of Wisdom.

 

Thank you so very much, ladies!  And an extra special thank-you to E.M. LaBronte for surprising me with this in February!!

Today is the day!

Sacred Honor CoverSacred Honor is now available!

Never could Juliette St. Claire have guessed that her future would involve the hard work, glitz, and glamour, of an indie-film actress-turned-Hollywood starlet. Challenges presented by a new relationship with a co-star force her to abandon her comfort zone professionally and personally.

As her twenty-first birthday quickly approaches, an unexpected invitation from an old love quickly propels her back into the danger she thought she’d never again experience. Juliette quickly learns she must choose: her own happiness, or her family’s safety.

Intensely captivating and seductively romantic, Sacred Honor is the empowering continuance of Sacred Blood that will keep you on the edge of your seat challenging perceptions of sacrifice.

 

I wrote the first draft for this book back in 2012, November to be exact, but spent much of the next year editing Sacred Blood.  After releasing Sacred Blood in December 2013, I decided to push our a release date for Sacred Honor before it was finished.  Since dates are oddly important to me, I picked today since it is not only a weekend, but is the date closest to a dear friend’s birth AND is lucky number 13.  I anticipate the release of Sacred Heart to be September 27.

In other news, Sacred Blood is now available in print!  Only a limited number are available from this print run.

 

An interview and update

Interesting interview! I may be biased. :)

Interview with Author Alys B. Cohen

All my spare time, and even time that isn’t really spare, is going to editing Sacred Honor.  The release is less than a month away.  The cover and blurb are finished.  The editing and layout is not.  I have no idea how some authors punch out a book a month.  Yes, I do know authors who release that often, though not at the top of my reading list yet.  I asked one of them, and she dodged my question about how she could write AND edit 100,000 words every single month.

Well, I can’t.  I can write a draft that fast, but will turn around and spent 250 hours or more revising and editing, on top of running a successful small businesses and household duties.  This may explain why I’m sick as a dog right now.  

Back to work!  From my bed.  I haven’t managed to leave it since laying down to go to bed.

More loss of rights for women

You know, I write the books I do hoping to empower women not to take bull from jerks, and while I like to think there’s a chance at least one more woman could find courage, when our lawmakers are against us, I don’t know what to do. Our politicians who should be protecting our rights are the ones standing by and enabling the violation of our bodies. So we need to teach our daughters to start carrying knives and mace to fight off those who are empowered by the government to assault them?

The latest anti-woman news out of the US, on the heels of a Massachusetts high court deciding yesterday that sneaking up-skirt pictures is legal (thankfully rushed to the legislature, which immediately overturned the ruling and banned up-skirting, and is set for the governor to sign),  that women in the military who are raped are often afraid to speak up because of retaliation will continue to be deprived of justice. There’s a growing problem of women in the military having to give sexual favors in exchange for documents and other things necessary to do their jobs, on top of outright forceful rape.

Military commanders remain in charge of deciding which cases are prosecuted at all, and how. What happens if the rapist is a good buddy of a commander? What happens then the commanders are raping women? Today’s vote was on a bill that would have removed these decisions outside the chain of command to the Judge Advocate General, but instead it was struck down. This is like a crooked cop deciding which cases to have taken to trials instead of prosecutors and judges having any say.

So our women soldiers still can’t get justice because they, like us civilian women, have rights that are subpar to the rights of men.

For an idea of just how accepted military rape is, try not to have a heart attack over this quote from Virginia State Sen. Richard “Dick” Black when he defended rape as a natural and predictable part of human nature:

“Think of yourself at 25. Wouldn’t you love to have a group of 19-year-old girls under your control, day in, day out?”

Thank you, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) for your attempts at standing up for our military women who already put their lives on the line, and whose biggest threat is from our own government.  Thank you for sponsoring this bill, and for fighting so hard for it.  This photo, taken following defeat, shows us how much this meant to you, and how disappointed you are that our senators let us down.  Those of us with any measure of decent sense are right there with you.

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Sen. Gillibrand (D-NY) taking a pause during speaking at a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington following the bill’s defeat. Photo:Charles Dharapak/AP

Sacred Honor has a release date

Yes!  April 13th.  It’s not finished yet, but having a date means no excuses!  I have two hours scheduled every single day for work, though this is by no means the only time I’ll be burning the midnight oil.  I have a cover to photograph and work on, a blurb to do, editing and more editing…  I have the ISBNs, the easiest part of this.  

On April 13th, I will be hosting an online launch party and cover reveal.  On April 14th, I will be on a blog tour.  I’m nervous for April 26th since I’ll be having a radio interview.  My only comfort is having a semi-pro recording setup in the office.

This is, by no means, all I’ve got on my plate.  I’ve got clients to deal with for my business, some more volunteer work (I’m at about 100 hours for the year, and am on track to beat last year), and am planning ahead for a benefit gala in May.  

And then…editing for Sacred Heart!

Since I began writing…

…I’ve become a more critical reader.  Years ago I read Nora Robert’s Dream Trilogy: Daring to Dream, Holding the Dream, and Finding the Dream.  These books take place in Monterey, California, a place very dear to me.  I’m from coastal California, and have lived as close as a block from the beach.  More than just that drew me to these books.  I loved the three different stories for each of the main ladies, the way the books were progressive for the time (though stated as “freedom of sexual preference,” the point is the same, and this wasn’t common in anything mainstream), the characters having goals despite having wealth, and so on.

Last week I decided I wanted to re-read them.  What an eye-opening experience this was!  I’m not quite certain these books would have landed a deal today, though who would have expected certainotherbooks to land deals. I still love the stories in the Dream trilogy, but can’t say I’m a fan of the style.  

Among other issues, her use of omniscient narration is jerky.  One moment we’re in the head of one character learning information that, if withheld from us as it is from the focal character, could have added tension.  Yes, we learn things that the characters involved don’t know, and often.  There’s no notice when the head we are in will change.

In addition, she tells far more than she shows.  This is probably what bugs me the most.  Telling rather than showing is needed sometimes, and can be used to pass time, but this shouldn’t be the bulk of the non-action.  She does a beautiful job describing the scenery and the waves crashing on the cliffs.  The shortfall here is when describing the feelings and actions of people. 

I’m presuming that this is a result of having nine books published in the same eleven-month span of time between the first and last books of this trilogy.  Since her first published book, she’s had another out approximately every six weeks.  I don’t see how very much editing can happen in that time.  

These are things that wouldn’t have bothered me so much before I started writing.  Since I wasn’t making any genuine attempt to do better, what place did I have to be overly critical?  However, now that I am writing seriously, it reinforces to me the importance of showing.  Showing is like a seasoning in a pie you’d notice if it was gone, but might not be able to put your finger on it.

Right now Sacred Honor is in editing.  I will be more aware of areas that tell, and will be editing those to show more.

I must be out of my mind

Editing two books.

Trying to promote Sacred Blood.

Writing a serial spitefic and typing in promotion.

Writing two book analyses.

Running a business.

Family duties.

Volunteering for a local theater and a national ballet company.

Activism in support of local teachers.

Trying to keep everything else straight.

This sums up my life in a nutshell.  This blog and my Facebook pages are what fall off my priority-list first.  I can often be found with my iPad mini and a stylus editing something while waiting for an appointment.  When cooking dinner, my computer is usually on the counter so I can type while waiting to stir something.  While cleaning up or taking care of business, I’ll have an audio book on so I can listen to something I’m supposed to critique.  The voice recorder on my phone gets heavy use dictating the neck chapter in that spite fic.  Updating Twitter usually happens while I’m “taking care of business” or while walking the dogs as they take care of theirs.

I have a cook book with French mararon recipes I want to try, and the ground almonds to do it.  I’ve got ballet classes I keep meaning to rejoin since exercise is good for me and I love ballet.  I…uh…well, pretty much everything else I already do.  The peril to enjoying and doing so many things is a severe shortage of time.  Thank goodness I don’t care to sleep a lot.

Back to work I go, with a blog update, a real one instead of 3:40-am ramble thoughts, to finish and post tomorrow night.

Gravity (spoilers)

A couple days ago I saw this movie.  A film carried entirely by two characters who are trapped in space after their shuttle is destroyed and they must face their mortality and impending death.  A small cast means each member has a tougher job. The premise sounds fantastic, and I’m a fan of Sandra Bullock and George Clooney, so was really looking forward to this.

I was floored in my disappointment.  The special effects were fantastic.  I could believe they were really in space only as far as the effects.  Weightlessness, droplets of water, and how pens and other objects moved are a testament to the skill of the special effects and CGI department.  Unfortunately the positives stop there.  Bring in the stereotyping of the weak woman and the big, tough man.

Now I am a fan of both George Cloony and Sandra Bullock, and the idea of a movie carried entirely by a cast of two people about a couple astronauts on a destroyed space station who are drifting further into the abyss and must learn to accept impending death has all the makings of a touching movie that makes you think. Instead the station was destroyed, the big, tough man dies voluntarily to let the whiny woman have a chance at life, and she hallucinates help from him while she gets back to earth. No real reflection on life and death, not much acting, poor script, and how the hell did this movie get ten Oscar nominations?

I don’t feel anything for these characters. Most of the acting takes place in space suits, leaving their faces and voices to get their emotions across, and these are just plain dull roles. George’s character is the smart, tough man not afraid of death, and he goes into it willingly to give Sandra’s character a chance to live. She’s not believable as an astronaut because she panics very easily, cries at the drop of a pin, is emotionally unstable (her entire character revolved around mourning for her daughter and hasn’t come to terms with it), admitted to failing certain parts of astronaut training…. Basically the man is the strong woman, and the woman is weak. I don’t think I’ve ever seen stereotypical gender roles so perfectly displayed in a movie, even in the classics.

For crying out loud, she only got out of a tough spot and survived because she hallucinated George telling her what to do, and the problem with this is he, her hallucination, told her something she didn’t know. So it’s not like the hallucination reminded her of something she forgot!! Frankly that’s like Bella’s hallucinations of Edward telling her what to do when facing danger she didn’t know existed. Hallucinations don’t work that way! Yet they couldn’t make Sandra’s character figure it out. Nope. Deus ex machina with a hallucination of the man giving her new information to save her ass.

Yeah, I just can’t let go of how she only survived because the man sacrificed himself and then came back in a hallucination to tell her what to do because she, an astronaut, failed a part of training and so didn’t know the work-around he told her.  I know her character is a mission specialist in space for the only time.  However there is no skill so special that NASA couldn’t find a person with both that skill and the intelligence to pass training.  If she was so brilliant that no one else alive had that skill, she would have passed.  Instead we were given a stupid character.  This movie would have been improved if she had figured out how to save her own life.  No, hallucinating a dead guy bak to life to tell you what you didn’t already know doesn’t count.  Think of Gusteau telling Remy, “How should I know? I am only a figment of your imagination,” when Remy wanted his hallucination to figure out a problem.

There was no sadness for George’s death, and I don’t feel relieved that Sandra lived. It would have been a better movie if she had suddenly died. Let you think she’ll live, then the sudden jarring impact of death and a black screen. Instead we were “treated” to a not-subtle bit of imagery of her floating in another space station she found in a way very reminiscent of an unborn baby in the womb, complete with a flesh-colored cord behind her obviously meant to be the umbilical cord. Rebirth, you know she’s going to have a new start, a second life, and that she’ll live. Frankly this was framed so obviously that it felt amateurish. It also completely killed off any tiny bits of tension there could have been because we knew she was going to live. No question. Halfway through, and the ending was foreshadowed too strongly.

Oh yeah, and no problems with decompression. She landed back on earth in water, got out of the module and her suit, swam to short, kissed the sand, and started walking off. The end. Yeah…it doesn’t work that way.

The special effects were the only good point to this film. The acting was subpar, the script was pointless. You could nix every single word and just have the music and sound effects and have a stronger movie.

But what really gets to me is how weak Sandra’s character was.  Couldn’t they have given her calmness and smarts?  Or maybe have had her die and George’s character live?  Or break the mold altogether and have two women astronauts so that we have a strong one to counter the weak one?

I know I’m in the minority for not thinking this movie is the most amazing ever, but given the weak plot, non-development of characters, other impracticalities and impossibilities, and the utter misogyny with the portrayal of these characters, I absolutely hated this movie.

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