Wednesday, January 30, 2013


Not so long ago, photography was an art form. A select few members of our species took pictures of special events or occasions of the select few members of any species who deserved that attention on that special event or occasion. Now-a-days, anyone and his monkey snaps pics of anything and his monkey and uploads it instantly for the world to see in our era's many and varied forms of virtual bonhomie. While I'm all for cataloguing meaningful moments and events of my life, I fail to understand the need to take pics of what amounts to uninteresting-to-everyone-but-the-picture-taker crap and putting it up for all to see. Now, I'm not saying that I am free of said sin...just that I compartmentalize who I show what crap to. I wonder why some members of our species do not get how easy it is to do that. Its really rather simple to restrict family pics for family members, baby shower pics to baby shower attendees and so on. I understand, I do, that we live in an age where everything is broadcasted and nothing is secret but come humble. Do not hang your ass out the window for all to see because believe me no one will appreciate it the way you'd meant them to. You'll only make their eyes bleed and their mouths yap.

With that in mind, certain restaurants in NYC have started banning/restraining the use of cameras in their restaurants so that patrons can enjoy a meal flash and disruption free. They also offer pics of your meal with your checks, in case you are one of those members of the species that love to virtually share your meal with utterly disinterested and virtual strangers. And I believe the restaurants would also allow one group pic taken at the beginning or end of the meal and thats it.
Hm. Lesson learned? Over do things and get slapped down by sanctions. 

What do you think about the whole "lets document every second of my life" syndrome?

Monday, January 21, 2013


Where do novel ideas come from?

During a lecture at Yale, Stephen King said that if you read enough, there’s this magic moment which might come to you if you are meant to be a writer. It’s the moment when you put down some book and say: “This really sucks . . . I can do better than this . . . And this guy got published.” 

That pretty much sums up my magic moment. For as long as I can remember, I have always read and read and read...and spun stories (and no thats not a euphemism for pathological liar, although there were times I have spun really fab lies as well and I believe no one has caught me on those yet). So I read voraciously, mostly fiction and more often than not happy stories, and a few years ago I was enthralled by this book from its very first sentence.

I had everything a woman could want…
My husband, James. The house on the lake. Our perfect life. And then Alex came to visit. The first time I saw my husband’s best friend, I didn’t like him. Didn’t like how James changed when he was around, didn’t like how his penetrating eyes followed me everywhere. But that didn’t stop me from wanting him. And, surprisingly, James didn’t seem to mind.
It was meant to be fun. Something the three of us shared for those hot summer weeks Alex stayed with us. Nobody was supposed to fall in or out of love. I didn’t need another man, not even one who oozed sex like honey and knew all the secrets I didn’t know, the secrets my husband hadn’t shared. After all, we had a perfect life. And I loved my husband.
But I wasn’t the only one.

This book gripped my attention wholly and not only because it was one of the first erotic romances that I'd begun to read (EL James doesn't hold a candle to Megan Hart, IMHO). I totally believed that I knew how it was going to end, right at the beginning. Its a romance, right? Romances have happy endings, right? I was so wrong. The end of this book destroyed me. I couldn't stop thinking about it or talking about it. I just wouldn't accept why Hart would be so heartless. And that was my magic moment. Or rather, my magic scenario for you see I didn't just think about this book, I dreamed about it and visualized it. Dangerously, I might add. Once, I was driving down my town's main road, it was winter and it had just snowed and there I was driving along a stark wintry road with copious mountains of snow on either side of me and the trees bare and pretty when for a moment (or was it two or three or four...?) I didn't see the wintry road but a beach and clear blue waters of a lake and woman in a red day dress turning to look at me. I was...I don't know what I was (I still don't) when I realized that I'd flashed a scene from that book. I went home, called a friend and spilled my quivering guts out. At the end of that furious rant, I said offhandedly, that if I ever...ever wrote a book, this was one book I would rewrite and give it my end. That was the only way I'd get any kind of closure with it.
Of course, I did not actually get around to writing any kind of book until my mother sort of bullied me into doing more with my life than I was doing at that point. When I did become a writer and eventually a published writer, I always had my magic moment at the back of my head. I knew I had to write that story and end it my way. And so I am. I'll be starting my fourth novel in February (kind of fitting as thats when I'd had that scary flashy moment while driving) and Tempted is going to be its inspiration.

Magic moments aren't limited to writers obviously. Whats your magic moment? I'd love to know.

Saturday, January 12, 2013


What's the fictional plot?

For a newbie writer (which I'm hoping I no longer am) that question daunted the hell out of me. I wanted to sound tres cool and say, "Well, the plot of my story is something like what Captain Kirk pulls off in Star Trek or Achilles in the Iliad or Frodo in LOTR etc." 
And so I did for a while. I would expound and explain and even dramatically demonstrate my plot (though I did draw the line at illustrating it). Anyway, I would literally give a verbal thesis on my "very special" plot, telling the hapless listener everything from HOW my "very special" hero got embroiled in his "very special" mess and WHY the "very special" hero got embroiled in the "very special" mess and WHAT he did to resolve said mess. That was, after all, the answer to "What's the fictional plot?" right?
It took me a while to realize that every story I wrote and verbalized basically had the same plot: the protagonist's journey through life. 
Any story ever written, be it fictional or not, has this common element. There's a Hero. He has a problem. And we get to know him as he tries to solve that problem. Whether he solves it or not doesn't matter so much as what he learns from solving it, how he grows as a character. (The plot arc.)
So, in my journey as an author, what I've learned, people, is that "What's the fictional plot?" is really a simple question or rather several simple questions in guise of one big, scary one:
WHO is my hero/heroine?
WHAT happens to him/her?
WHY does it happen to him/her?
HOW does he/she resolve it.

And that's really the beginning, middle and end of any story.

Thursday, January 10, 2013


For this be the fortieth year of my reign. Thus I bring to thee words of inspiration from mine favorite quiller.

Anne Hathaway's House in Stratford Upon Avon.

When forty winters shall besiege thy brow, 
And dig deep trenches in thy beauty's field,
Thy youth's proud livery, so gazed on now, 
Will be a tatter'd weed, of small worth held: 
Then being ask'd where all thy beauty lies, 
Where all the treasure of thy lusty days, 
To say, within thine own deep-sunken eyes, 
Were an all-eating shame and thriftless praise.
How much more praise deserved thy beauty's use, 
If thou couldst answer 'This fair child of mine 
Shall sum my count and make my old excuse,' 
Proving his beauty by succession thine! 
    This were to be new made when thou art old, 
    And see thy blood warm when thou feel'st it cold.

This sonnet was written in praise of a friend of Will's and as encouragement to the friend to procreate. The only way to live forever, Will believed.