Tuesday, June 28, 2005

At the YMCA

No, I'm not one of the Village People. However, I was looking at my schedule for July. With swim lessons, we will be at the Y at least four days out of every week. They already know us there. LOL boy are they REALLY going to know us.

I have Sins of the Night by Sherrilyn Kenyon. *snoopy dances* I'm excited about this one. Ended up at two bookstores looking for the free Darkhunter booklets that were released to certain bookstores with Sins. I salute Barnes and Noble, who had them. I'll let you know what I think though with Miss Sherrilyn, it's almost a certain bet I'll like it.

Speaking of Sherrilyn Kenyon, there is an article with her in July's RWR (the publication of the RWA). OMG she can write so prolifically. She's written as much as a 100 pages in a day. I'm such a slow writer so that puts me in even more awe of her than I was already. Here's her web site, if by some chance you aren't familiar with her: www.sherrilynkenyon.com.

Remember a few weeks ago, I raved about a book and an author, I'd just read, Lori Armstrong and her novel, "Blood Ties." Mary Stella has done a wonderful interview with her in her blog. http://starfabu.bravejournal.com/ I'm looking so forward to her second book!

May the bookstores have Dark-Hunter books

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Rah Rah Cis Boom Bah

I'm a cheerleader.

LOL no, I'm not still in high school. Shock of shockers, I was a brain in high school.

I write at a fanfiction loop. And my main personality, who's a tad like me on the surface, used to welcome every new character to the loop, cheers when other characters have good things happen in their roleplay life, and writes to tell people when I enjoy reading their posts. I've been known to pull out virtual poms poms in IM or in mail to encourage people.

Now I find myself on author loops. And I find, I'm not a lot different there. When people get reviews, they post their covers, they post a great excerpt for me to read...well, I write them. I cheer for them.

I'm more professional as my authorly self, I don't give out cookies nor do I go the pom pom route, but I have been known to Snoopy dance. Can't get away from that and who would want to? *grins*

So on some level, beyond high school life, I'm a cheerleader.

I know it probably annoys some people. I did worry a lot about it at first when I started being the author persona. But it's a facet of my personality, I'm finding that I like. I like congratulating people and cheering on their successes. I hope that it makes people smile, and if I can do that, well, I've had a good day too.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

No story before its time

My oldest went under the water for the first time. It's a big deal, we spent last summer pushing for lessons and to go under, which didn't work at all. Now she did this on her own, her decision and she is eager for lessons. I'm amazed and so darn proud of her.

Stories can be like that. Sometimes you can't write them before their time or rush them into being. They do things at their own pace. And once they mature enough to write them, the bounty is plentiful.

I had gotten the preliminary idea for Conduit several years ago. But it wasn't ready to be written. I started it but never got into writing. Now? It speaks to me daily whether I'm actively writing it or not. I have pages of notes on ideas of where it is going. Definitely a story that's ready to be told.


LOL I wrote about Phil Vassar the other day, my latest musical obsession. I was quite surprised to see him on a Prilosec commercial the other night. I'm thinking I really didn't want to know he suffered from heartburn. *sigh* But he still could sing the encyclopedia to his piano playing, and I'd love it.


I joined the Fantasy Futuristic & Paranormal chapter of the RWA (http://www.romance-ffp.com/). I love it already. Talking about things that go bump in the night is such a great pastime. I've read Paranormal for years so makes a lot of sense I'm drawn to writing it.

And I'm still sort of awed when I see a name I know. Oooh Sherrilyn Kenyon is in the same chapter as me. Susan Kearney posted something. I'm the same way every time I see Angela Knight's name at anything. Get a shiver up my spine.

May there be nothing but dust under your bed *grins*

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Small things...They mean so much

I was thinking more about characterization with Alicia Rasley's workshop and about Casablanca.

And I realized sometimes it's the little moments that add insight and depth to your characters.

In Casablanca, Captain Renault tells Rick there will be an arrest at his bar. Rick realizes who will be arrested and there is a moment of hesitation. That hesitation tells us a lot about his character, even more so than his later line, "I stick my neck out for nobody." There are lots more scenes like that add depth to Rick, which aren't "big" moments.

One great movie that tells you a lot about its characters in a small amount of time using little moments is "Aliens." Now before you laugh, it does. There is a squadron of soldiers. They aren't in the film too long (you can imagine why in a film like "Aliens"). So they have to be defined by dialogue and small actions. Hicks is one the of the characters who has a lot shown about him in little pieces. In one scene that if you blink you miss it, they are all looking at a control panel. The little girl, Newt, is too short to see and is jumping up and down to try and get a peek. Without a word, he picks her up and sits her on the side where she can see. Nothing is said about it. But man does that speak volumes about his character without hitting you over the head with it.

Stephan King is a master at defining characters in small amounts of time, but using little things. In "The Stand" in a scene near the opening, he has Stu Redman reach up and cut the power to the gasoline pumps just before a car crashes into them. He's the only one who thinks to do it and he says nothing, just reaches up and does it. What a character defining moment. But in the grand scheme of the whole book, it's a small scene.

I think as I work on my work in progress, I'm going to look for little moments where I can add depth to my characters.


Today I'm putting out my first official newsletter. I feel so official. And I'm running my first official contest *g*. To be entered in the contest, join my newsletter at: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/mechele_armstrong. Must be over 18 to join the group and win. This month's prize, a box of Crayon themed treasures.

May the crayons have sharp tips

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Greetings from the land of edits

I'm knee deep in edits for my editor (I still get goosebumps saying that by the way). First stage, round 1, wasn't too bad. First stage, round 2 is going to hurt. But I know it's for the greater good of making the book stronger. So I'll be rolling up my sleeves later today and digging in.

I have found my new musical obssession. The previous one had been Paul Thorn (very talented musically and a great sense of humor). The other day, I was looking at my XM radio. It has it where you can set it to notify you whenever a particular song comes on. I realized four songs I'd set were by the same person. LOL so I went ahead and bought two of his albums.

Phil Vassar is a Virginian *g*, who writes a lot of his own music and plays the piano. I think he could put the phone book to music and I'd listen. Love his voice. www.philvassar.com

May the muses have chocolate

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Tag, you're it!

Mary Stella tagged me *gaspy face*. LOL

So the instructions for this tag are:

First, take #1 off this list, then add yourself as #5. You need to add the links to the other people's blogs, too.

1. Jax: http://jaxadora.blogspot.com

2. undefinablequalities.blogspot.com: http://undefinablequalities.blogspot.com/undefinablequalities.blogspot.com

3. L.K. Campbell: http://www.lkcampbell.bravejournal.com

4. Mary Stella: http://www.starfabu.bravejournal.com

5. Me: http://mechelearmstrong.blogspot.com

...and then you choose unsuspecting victims...

1. Suzanne: http://www.suzannemcminn.com/blog/

5 Things I Miss From My Childhood

1. My parents and my brother

2. Getting home from school, doing my homework at the dinner table, and telling my Mom about my day while she made supper. The important part wasn't the homework or the dinner but that we talked as she cooked. Something so usual, but was a vital part of my daily routine and a real bonding for Mother and daughter.

3. Riding bikes on the roads and going walking in the woods around our house with my Dad. My Dad worked a lot, never took vacations, and had to drive an hour to and from work so time was limited. A lot of my memories of him from early childhood center around those two activities. When I was five, we went over to the lake across from our house, walking in the woods. It was frozen over so we "ice skated." Well, I stepped on thin ice and fell in. Dad knew it was going to break when he reached for me, but it didn't and he fished me out. I hadn't made a noise. He asked why I didn't call out. I told him "because I knew you'd save me."

4. Going to my grandparent's. Nanny and Papa lived on a small farm. Loved the fields of veggies, the cows and pigs when they had them, chickens, and the horse farm next door where I often sat in the woods and watched the horses through the fence. My grandmother had album after album of pictures and noteworthy things about her children, their children, and everyone in the family. Loved to go back in her room, take them out of her cedar chest and look at them. Also, she had romance novels, LOL, which I would go read. The entire family would often get together on Sundays there. Could be loads of people and tons of fun.

5. The dogs we had. Big George was a big burly German Sheppard mix who was a frightening dog, but always let me do anything to him, even ride him. Goofy, who *I* didn't name, the solid black dog who could jump straight up in the air and once tracked a...cow with my brother LOL.

May the muses run free

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Round Up The Usual Suspects

Well, we've gone from Spring to Summer at warp speed as usual here. Cold and rainy one week, hot as blazes the next. School is out for kidlets after this coming week so writing time shall be interesting to arrange. And if it stays this hot, I'm thinking we will be going to the pool every day.

I'm on a couple of loops now with Angela Knight, who I have decided is a goddess. Great writer and a great lady. http://www.angelasknights.com/

Virginia Romance Writer's meeting was yesterday and Alicia Rasley was the speaker. Learned a lot and have to love a lady who uses Casablanca to illustrate a lot of her points on characterization. www.rasley.com

I realized again how much I love the movie, "Casablanca." The dialogue is so engaging and witty. And Rick *dreamy sigh*, is such a finely drawn hero. Everybody comes to Rick's. The story is an amazingly timeless tale even if you don't pick up on the allegory of the United States and WWII. I'm thinking I need to watch it again and soon.

May the muses have fans

Thursday, June 09, 2005

My characters are bossy

They are always telling me what to do and to write them NOW.

I've been thought of as odd the way I talk about my characters. At RT this year, Laurell K Hamilton talked about her characters in the same way I do. They live with me, in my head. Some of them come fully developed, personality in tow. Recently, I've had a character reveal herself in pieces. But they talk to me, breath as I write them, and tell me how and what to write.

I did have to laugh. I posted recently on using language that suits your characters. And how I had to get past my own discomfort of using certain words that the character would use. The character who's revealing herself in bits and pieces, informed me two days ago, she'd not going to curse. It's her decision, and she's pretty adamant about it. It does suit her. Just ironic after posting in here about using language of your characters that I now have one who will use no bad language.

I have one character who I'm very in tune with. I wrote a page in ten minutes with him recently and it's so easy. He spills from me onto the page.

I love getting my character's stories out. And really I wouldn't have my head any other way. Though it is frustrating to be in the grocery store line and have a character telling you his life story, and you can't write it yet. And they get rather fretted with you too.

May the muses be in full gear

Monday, June 06, 2005

First Crush

School is winding down, and my oldest has had her first crush this Spring. It's been neat watching it develop and brought back some memories.

*sigh* yes, the first crush on the older (4th grade) bad boy who rode my bus and had to sit by the lowly kindergartener in assigned bus seating. Course mine was unrequited. LOL I don't think I talked to him beyond two words.

It's so exciting, so nerve-wracking at the same time. Does he, doesn't he? will he, won't he? Will he say hello? Will he look at me? A roller coaster ride for sure.

So I wondered, when was your first crush? Who on (doesn't have to be a name, just general)? What happened with it?

Friday, June 03, 2005

A smattering of thoughts

The contract has come back to me, signed by Loose Id. My editor (*beams* at saying this) hopes to start edits this weekend.

Oddly enough, I'm looking forward to getting started on editing. Don't get me wrong, I know at first there will be the "They want to do what to my baby!??" reaction. There always is, everytime I get back critiques from a critique parther. It's a knee jerk, gut kind of thing.

But then I calm down and look at the edits in the grand scheme, and usually I see the wisdom in them. As long as they are well put, and don't feel like criticism, then I'm open to suggestion. I want my work to be the best it can be. And I know that my editor (*beams again*) wants the same thing.

It's going to be quite a journey toward publishing, and I'm enjoying the ride. I can't help but be excited about every step, and I'll probably be sharing my excitement here.


I just finished "Blood Ties" by Lori Armstrong (www.loriarmstrong.com). I recommend it highly. It is such a good book. The writing from the very first sentence is fresh and crisp in its descriptions. The heroine, while fallible, is kick butt. There is chemistry between her and a friend that made ME shiver when he touched her. I wrote her to tell her how very good I thought it was and how much I enjoyed it.

I realized something doing it. How often do I read something and let the author know that I liked it? I know some authors hear these things a lot. But I still need to from me, even if I think they've heard it a 100 times.


A group is trying to start a chapter of Erotic Romance writers affiliated with RWA. It's a great group, and I've learned tons.

If you are a member of RWA and write Erotic Romance, go join.


Right now there is a storm brewing about graphical standards within RWA. I hope the interpretation I'm getting is wrong. I'll reserve judgment until I hear and learn more.

But if you are a member of RWA? Even if you can't make the meeting in Reno, find someone you trust to send in and vote your proxy. The only way an organization can hear anyone's voice is if you vote it.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

They got it!

I've been smiling since this afternoon when I was notified that Loose Id did in fact receive my contract back. So the ball starts rolling now.

I'm so excited. It's starting to feel real. They really want to publish MY book. It's going to happen. *snoopy dances* They really want to publish MY book.

I hope June is a good month this year. Today, I have to say, was good. It was great. I'm going to be a published author!

May the muses be kind and have chocolate