Scribblings and Musings

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Suspension of “Dis”-Belief

I will be the first to admit, I haven’t had anything published … traditional, INDIE or even “self-published”; unless you count my blogs. So I don’t consider myself a “real writer”, though my college instructors would argue that point, because anyone who creates a written work is a writer.

HOWEVER …. that isn’t what this blog is about, but sort of a “disclaimer”.

From what I have read, seen, and learned there are several guidelines to writing.

I think one of the rules of writing should be “continuity”. With that said, how can a successful writer of a book series (such as say John Sandford–“Prey” novels; Debbie Macomber and her “numerous” series), movie franchise or even a TV series expect continued success without continuity?

It has been the lack of continuity (written and visual) that has led to the decline of a series.

While I will admit that in the land of “fiction” there are certain creative licenses you can take to make the story, movie, or episode engaging and entertaining for the audience; when you start re-writing a history that you established (and not that long ago — less than 1 year), that takes the “suspension of belief” to a whole new level. It becomes almost “soap-operish”. I know, that isn’t a real word, but I will be honest and admit, that is the best I could come up with. It’s like those soap operas where the kid is born this year, and 2 years later, they’re adults with children.

There are certain cases where that level of story-telling should not be employed, explored or even thought.

To be honest, I enjoy “constructive criticism” — that is the type where someone says “hey, this is wrong — here is my suggestion to correct it or better it”. Constructive criticism lets a writer know that what they are writing is sub-par, but there is hope for it. I am open for that.

And, I can even ignore the “shifts” in certain things (such as James Bond going from Sean Connery, George Lazenby, Sean Connery to Roger Moore, etc) as long as there is a sound and sufficient reason (actor too old for role, no longer interested … ).

BUT, to alter an important aspect of an established character’s past (without  a complete “re-boot”) in a credible TV series, that is where I draw a line.

For example, in NCIS, we take the character of Anthony “Tony” DiNozzo, Jr (the first DiNozzo we were introduced to) …

In Season 1’s “One Shot, One Kill”, we learned Tony dated his “high school music teacher”. In Season 8’s “Baltimore”, we learn more about “Wendy” and that Tony had proposed to her.

For those who own the DVDs, I would go to approximately 11:58 when Danny shows Tony the fortune cookie. Danny mentions that Tony asking “his high school music teacher out” was brave, and Tony stated it was Wendy who asked him out.

About 14 minutes later (again, on the DVD version) at 25:08 Danny recovered the ring that fell out of Tony’s pocket and Tony states he asked Wendy, she said yes, but he had to take the ring back for re-sizing (too small).

So, let’s go with the established “canon”:

1. Wendy WAS at one point in her life Tony’s “high school music teacher” (that can cover grades 9-12)

2. Wendy had to be older than Tony (depending on what grade he was in, would determine the exact age difference)

3. Wendy asked Tony out, Tony subsequently asked Wendy to marry him

4. After joining NCIS Tony and Wendy did not get together

With the news breaking that Wendy is going to be on NCIS (perhaps a potentially re-occurring role), we find out she is now an investigative journalist and apparently closer to Tony’s age (at least in looks). In real life, the actual actress is 2.5 years younger than Weatherly.

Now, we already established that this is the “Wendy” who was the music teacher. So, how does a music teacher go from teaching music to being an investigative journalist?

I will explore that by saying she switched careers due to the widespread dissolution of the music programs in schools.

HOWEVER …

That doesn’t settle the age difference . As a teacher (and not knowing what grade DiNozzo was in when she was his teacher), she would have to be at least 22 when she taught school, if not say around 26. It would depend on the state she taught in, their requirements and how soon she started her “education”.

Let’s use this example:

DiNozzo 9th Grade (14-15)/Wendy (22; brand new teacher) (This is assuming he didn’t repeat a grade, and didn’t advance either). That is 7-8 years difference “minimum”. If she was his teacher in his senior year–12th grade (17-18) she would be a MINIMUM of 4-5 years older.

So, the actress who is set to assume the role of “Wendy” would have to portray a character at least 4-8 years older than DiNozzo, as most high school teachers need a bachelor’s (4-year) degree to teach. That would put her in her mid 40’s and in some cases likely too old to have “little DiNozzos” (which is something Tony has expressed on countless occasions), unless the writers want to re-write that as well … again, anything is possible at this point.

While I don’t presume to tell writers of the #1 show in America how to do their jobs, there is only so much reality that they can ask us to suspend to believe a story. This is a series about a real agency after all. While the actors are just acting as though they are agents in this agency, this is where some shows start to go down hill–too much suspension of belief.

How the writers intend to tackle those issues remains to be seen, and I will remain open to the episode that airs. But, I am not the only one who seems perplexed by all this. Some people have taken to TV Guide’s article to voice their thoughts about it (some have expressed the fact she was 10-15 years older than him, so I might have further research to do).

I wanted to voice my concerns in a blog so readers could understand how I put everything together. Also, my thought was too long and complex for a comment box. As of right now, I am on word #1040-1041.

While I am a late-comer to NCIS, I did a lot of research. I had been watching it on USA since 2008-2009, and began watching the season 7 episodes online in May 2010. In June 2010, I purchased seasons 1-6 on DVD and literally watched EVERY single episode. When I learned there were two episodes of JAG that introduced the “team”, I purchased JAG season 8 and watched Ice Queen & Meltdown (have seen those 3x each, so far).

In August 2010, I got season 7 on DVD and was thoroughly acquainted by the time the 8th season aired. So I have seen EVERY single episode anywhere from 2 to 3x, perhaps more. In that respect, I know the series from the beginning episodes to the most current one.

While I can appreciate the writers efforts to put Tony in touch with his past, there needs to be a certain “realism” to it. Casting someone younger and who looks about the same age (of a former student) to play an OLDER role … that is a bit of a stretch of the imagination. If they are making Wendy near the same age, they will lose credibility and viewers. And, if the writers are not careful about the “job switch” and making it believable, that too will cause credibility issues. I don’t want that for NCIS. They have done an amazing job of gaining viewers and growing with the times to start losing the credibility they have so rightfully earned.

I’ve had a lot of favorite shows go downhill after a shorter period of time. NCIS is not only #1 every week, but replaced M*A*S*H as America’s #1 favorite series. I would honestly hate for it to lose its standings because of a slip … because once those slips start, they tend to snowball out of control.

Those are just my 1300+ words worth of thoughts 😉

For reference, here is the link to the article: http://www.tvguide.com/News/NCIS-Perrey-Reeves-1041349.aspx

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New Year’s Resolutions

Sorry I haven’t posted an update in a while, it seems the holidays — from Thanksgiving forward came up too fast for me. Add in school and being sick to the chaos … it was, well, a chaotic 6 weeks. I did have an 8 day break from school, however that was not nearly enough. I almost forgot how nice it was to have breaks in between classes.

Overall, I did enjoy the Christmas holiday.

Among some of the Christmas gifts I got were the Rory’s Story Cubes and Rory’s Story Cubes–Actions, and I can’t wait to try them out with a few new ideas I have swirling about. Ok, that is an understatement. I have no less than 40-50 active projects, which I need to sort out. Of course all that takes time, and sadly I don’t “have all the time in the world”. There are only 24 hours in the day and I need to work within those hours as much as possible.

As far as my novel, I haven’t written on “Finding Faith” since winning NaNoWriMo at the end of November, however that is another one of my New Year’s resolutions–to finish and publish it.  It’s hard to focus on one project at a time when the others want some attention too. So, I am trying to spend January reorganizing my hours and time to suit my writer’s mind and get some work in on ALL the projects I have open. I will also have to fit crocheting, reading and some “movie” watching into the schedule as well. Believe it or not, crocheting while watching a movie helps develop my mind and the creativity. Reading as a similar affect as well. By reading a book, I can see how other authors put their words and stories together and have a “frame” to outline my own stories by.

This is going to be a long, tedious and likely time-consuming process, but I am hoping it will be well worth it. I know there are some things I likely won’t have time for, and some I will have to give up entirely.  I might not be able to blog as much as I have been, and I might have to limit tweeting … but I have come to appreciate my “gift” and I am tired of making excuses as to why I can’t get something done. Also, after spending the New Year watching some movies I hadn’t taken time to appreciate when I was younger, and love them now as an adult, I have been “inspired” to write more.

And yes, my photography is still an essential part of my life, as well as my writing. There are stories everywhere, I just need to take the time to tell them 🙂

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In Leah’s Wake — Review

Announcing the In Leah’s Wake Social Media Whirlwind Tour!

As part of this special promotional extravaganza sponsored by Novel Publicity, the price of the In Leah’s Wake eBook edition has dropped to just 99 cents this week.

What’s more, by purchasing this fantastic book at an incredibly low price, you can enter to win many awesome prizes, including Amazon gift cards of up to $500 in amount and 5 autographed copies of the book. Be sure to enter before the end of the day on Friday, December 16th, so you don’t miss out.

 

To Win the Prizes

  1. Purchase your copy of In Leah’s Wake for just 99 cents on Amazon or Barnes & Noble
  2. Fill-out the form on Novel Publicity to enter for the prizes
  3. Visit today’s featured event; you may win an autographed copy of the book or a $50 gift card!
  4. BONUS: If you leave a comment on this blog post, you have another chance at $100!

 

…And I can win too!

Over 100 bloggers are participating in this gigantic event, and there are plenty of prizes for us too. The blogger who receives the most votes in the traffic-breaker poll will win a $100 gift card as well. So when you visit Novel Publicity’s site to fill-out the contest entry form, don’t forget to say that I referred you, so I can get a point in the poll.

 

The Featured Events include:

Monday, Radio Interview with Novel Publicity! We’re kicking-off on the Novel Publicity Free Advice blog. We interviewed Terri on our radio show Sunday night and have embedded the full podcast and blogged about its highlights. Give it a listen and then leave a comment on the blog post. This is a great chance to get to know more about this inspiring and friendly author. One commenter will win an autographed copy of In Leah’s Wake. Don’t forget to enter for the other contest prizes while you’re over there!

Tuesday, Twitter sharing contest! A tweet is tiny, only 140 characters. But on Tuesday, it could win you $50. Send the following tweet across the twittersphere, and you just may win a $50 Amazon gift card. An autographed copy of In Leah’s Wake is also up for grabs. The winner will be announced Wednesday morning. Here’s the tweet: In Leah’s Wake has taken the publishing world by storm. Get the book for just 99 cents http://ow.ly/7ywpZ #whirlwind

Wednesday, Google+ sharing contest! Yup, there’s yet another awesome opportunity to win a $50 Amazon gift card, and this time it just takes a single click! Visit Google+ and share Emlyn Chand’s most recent post (you’ll see the In Leah’s Wake book cover included with it). On Thursday morning, one lucky sharer will be $50 richer. An autographed copy of In Leah’s Wake is also up for grabs. Three chances to win! How about that?

Thursday, Facebook sharing contest! Stop by Novel Publicity’s Facebook page and share their latest post (you’ll see the In Leah’s Wake book cover included with it). It’s ridiculously easy to win! On Friday morning, one lucky sharer will be $50 richer. An autographed copy of In Leah’s Wake is also up for grabs.

Friday, special contest on the author’s site! Win a $500 Amazon gift card, simply by leaving a comment on Terri’s most recent blog post. Yup, you read that correctly—$500! How easy is that? An autographed copy of In Leah’s Wake is also up for grabs.

Remember, it’s all about the books!

Terri Giuliano LongAbout In Leah’ Wake: The Tyler family had the perfect life – until sixteen-year-old Leah decided she didn’t want to be perfect anymore. While her parents fight to save their daughter from destroying her brilliant future, Leah’s younger sister, Justine, must cope with the damage her out-of-control sibling leaves in her wake. What happens when love just isn’t enough? Get it on Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

About the Author: Terri Giuliano Long grew up in the company of stories both of her own making and as written by others. Books offer her a zest for life’s highs and comfort in its lows. She’s all-too-happy to share this love with others as a novelist and a writing teacher at Boston College. She was grateful and thrilled beyond words when her award-winning debut literary novel, In Leah’s Wake, hit the Barnes and Noble and Amazon bestseller lists in August. She owes a lot of wonderful people – big time! – for any success she’s enjoyed! Visit her on her website, Twitter, Facebook, or GoodReads.

 

What’s the Story, Morning Glory?

The Importance of Music and how it Inspired In Leah’s Wake

 

Although I find it too distracting to listen to music while I write, inspiration for my stories often arises from music. While I was writing In Leah’s Wake, songs brought me into the emotional state necessary to write difficult scenes. Songs set a mood, which helped me envision places, and songs helped me to identify and shape the book’s themes.

The novel opens with Zoe and Will listening to the Van Morrison song “Tupelo Honey,” a sweet love song that gives their relationship context by suggesting happier, better days. “Showdown at Big Sky,” which Will puts on the stereo next, foreshadows the problems on the horizon, and “Face in the Crowd” speaks to the profound loneliness Will feels as he waits up for Leah that night, imaging all the unthinkable horrors that might have befallen his daughter.

Later in the book, the song “Don’t Cry For Me Argentina,” from Evita, gave me a glimpse into Zoe’s fractured emotional state—remorse compelled by abiding love—as she drives home, wondering what to expect next from her rebellious teenage daughter: “I still need your love after all that I’ve done . . . I love you and I hope you love me . . .” “Stardog Champion” from Stardog Champion by Mother Love Bone, suggests power, so appropriate to the post-fight euphoria felt by Todd and Lupo after a showdown with Will.

Often, songs transport me to a place. Listening to Miles Davis one evening brought me, in my mind, to the coffeehouse Zoe visits with the policeman, Jerry Johnson. Music also helps me to clarify themes. One night, on our way home from dinner, my husband, Dave, played the Bruce Springsteen album Greetings From Asbury Park. The song “Growin’ Up” struck a nerve and I insisted on listening to it over and over. I saw Leah, a good kid, just trying to grow up and make her way in the world.

I heard “Champagne Super Nova,” from the Oasis CD What’s the Story? Morning Glory, when I stepped out of the shower one morning. Our house was wired for sound and Dave was playing the new CD he’d just bought. As with “Growin’ Up,” I insisted that he replay the song, and then replay it again. The pivotal scene, where Justine asks Leah for a cigarette and Leah allows her little sister to smoke, blossomed as I listened to the music.

As I wrote, music came to play a defining role in the book, and I would often search for the right music after writing a scene. The Liszt piano solo “Hungarian Rhapsodies” mirrors Zoe’s frenzied mind as she drives home from her motivational workshop, the day after Leah shows up drunk at 3:00 a.m., after a wild party. The same happened with “Paranoid Android,” from Okay Computer by Radiohead, “I’m On Fire,” from the Bruce Springsteen album Born in the USA, “Stardog Champion,” from Stardog Champion by Mother Love Bone, “I Loves You Porgy” from Porgy and Bess, and “Misguided Angel,” from The Trinity Session by the Cowboy Junkies.

Without music, In Leah’s Wake would be a very different – and for me, the writer, much less compelling book.

For those of you who, like me, find inspiration in music, here’s the soundtrack. Enjoy!

Soundtrack from In Leah’s Wake

 

Growin’ Up,” Greetings From Asbury Park, NJ, Bruce Springsteen, Sony Records, 1972

Tupelo Honey,” Tupelo Honey, Van Morrison, Polydor/Pgd, 1971

“Showdown At Big Sky,” Robbie Robertson, Robbie Robertson, Universal Int’l, 1987

A Face In The Crowd,” Full Moon Fever, Tom Petty , MCA, 1989

“John Barleycorn,” John Barleycorn Must Die, Traffic, Island Records, 1970

Not A Pretty Girl,” Not a Pretty Girl, Ani DiFranco, Righteous Babe, 1995

Hungarian Rhapsodies, Franz Liszt, Leslie Howard solo piano, Hyperion, 1999

Testify,” The Battle of Los Angeles, Rage Against The Machine, Sony Records, 1999

Don’t Cry for Me Argentina,” Evita (Music From The Motion Picture), Madonna, Warner Bros./WEA, 1996

“The Ride of the Valkyries,” Wagner Without Words, Conducted by George Szell, Performed by the Cleveland Orchestra, Sony Records, 1991

Chase The Blues Away,” Morning Glory: The Tim Buckley Anthology, Tim Buckley, Elektra/ WEZ, 1966

Champagne Supernova,” (What’s the Story) Morning Glory?, Oasis, Sony, 1995

The Candy Shop,” The Massacre, Fifty Cent, Aftermath, 2005

Vital Transformation,” Inner Mounting Flame, The Mahavishnu Orchestra Jazz, Sony 1971

Strawberry Fields Forever,” Magical Mystery Tour, The Beatles, Capitol Records, 1967

Mozart Violin Concerto No. 5,” Mozart: The Five Violin Concertos by Itzhak Perlman violin, Weiner Philharmoniker and James Levine, Deutsche Grammophon, 1995

Surrey With The Fringe on Top,” Steamin, Mile Davis, Prestige, 1956

Come As You Are,” Nevermind, Nirvana, Geffen Records, 1991

Paranoid Android,” Okay Computer, Radiohead, Capitol Records, 1997

I’m On Fire,” Born in The USA, Bruce Springsteen, Sony, 1984

“Stardog Champion,” Stardog Champion, Mother Love Bone, Mercury/Universal, 1992

“I Loves You, Porgy,” The Melody At Night With You, Keith Jarrett, EMC Records, 1900

“Hasta Siempre, Witchi-Tai-To, Jan Garbarek and Bobo Stenson Quartet, EMC, 1973 Records

As The Years Go Passing By,” Born Under a Bad Sign, Albert King, Stax, 1967

“Misguided Angel,” The Trinity Session, Cowboy Junkies, RCA Records, 1988

“Davidian,” Burn My Eyes, Machine Head, Roadrunner Records, 1994

“Here I Am, Lord,” Wonder, Love, and Praise, Daniel Schutte, New Dawn Music, 1981

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Stay Tuned … Blog Tour

As part of this special promotional extravaganza sponsored by Novel Publicity, the price of the Stay Tuned eBook edition has dropped to just 99 cents this week.

What’s more, by purchasing this fantastic book at an incredibly low price, you can enter to win many awesome prizes, including lots of Amazon gift cards (up to $100 in amount) and 5 autographed copies of the book. Be sure to enter before the end of the day on Friday, December 2nd, so you don’t miss out.

 

To Win the Prizes:

1. Purchase your copy of Stay Tuned for just 99 cents on Amazon or Barnes & Noble (You’ll need it for the big contest on Friday)

2. Fill-out the form on Novel Publicity to enter for the prizes

3. Visit today’s featured event; you may win an autographed copy of the book or a $50 gift card!

 

…And I can win too!

Over 100 bloggers are participating in this gigantic event, and there are plenty of prizes for us too. The blogger who receives the most votes in the traffic-breaker poll will win a $100 gift card as well. So when you visit Novel Publicity’s site to fill-out the contest entry form, don’t forget to say that I referred you, so I can get a point in the poll.

 

The Featured Events include:

Monday, Radio Interview with Novel Publicity! We’re kicking-off on the Novel Publicity Free Advice blog. We interviewed Lauren on our radio show Sunday night and have embedded the full podcast and blogged about its highlights. Give it a listen and then leave a comment on the blog post. This is a great chance to get to know more about this fun and bubbly author. One commenter will win an autographed copy of Stay Tuned. Don’t forget to enter for the other contest prizes while you’re over there!

Tuesday, Twitter sharing contest! A tweet is tiny, only 140 characters. But on Tuesday, it could win you $50. Send the following tweet across the twittersphere, and you just may win a $50 Amazon gift card. An autographed copy of Stay Tuned is also up for grabs. The winners will be announced Wednesday morning. Here’s the tweet: Take a break from the holiday frenzy, and read Stay Tuned. It’s fast, fun, and reduced to just 99 cents! http://ow.ly/7zA1e #whirlwind

Wednesday, Google+ sharing contest! Yup, there’s yet another awesome opportunity to win a $50 Amazon gift card, and this time it just takes a single click! Visit Google+ and share Emlyn Chand’s most recent post (you’ll see the Stay Tuned book cover included with it). On Thursday morning, one lucky sharer will be $50 richer. An autographed copy of Stay Tuned is also up for grabs. Two chances to win with just one click! How about that?

Thursday, Facebook sharing contest! Stop by Novel Publicity’s Facebook page and share their latest post (you’ll see the Stay Tuned book cover included with it). It’s ridiculously easy to win! On Friday morning, one lucky sharer will be $50 richer. An autographed copy of Stay Tuned is also up for grabs.

Friday, special contest on the author’s site! Are you ready for some more fun? Take a picture of yourself with your copy of Stay Tuned either in paperback or on an eReading device, tag Lauren Clark’s Facebook page, and you can enter to win one of three Amazon gift cards! A $100 prize will go to the most creative photo, $50 to the best BFF photo, and $50 to the photo with the most people in it. An autographed copy of Stay Tuned is also up for grabs. If you need help learning how to tag a photo, you can visit Lauren’s Facebook page for detailed instructions.

 

Remember, it’s all about the books!

About Stay Tuned: What happens when a #1 news team becomes the top story instead of reporting it? For TV producer Melissa Moore, crisis management comes with the job. From employee disputes to her high-maintenance boss, there’s not much she hasn’t seen or can’t handle. But no one—including Melissa—expects a fistfight during the ten o’clock news. When sexy-but-crazy Alyssa Andrews lands a punch on her co-anchor’s face, Melissa jumps on set to help. She’s determined that WSGA’s reputation won’t be destroyed on her watch. Both anchors are fired and Melissa agrees to fill in—but not before polishing her look from haircut to heels. While the new Melissa wows WSGA viewers, her personal life starts fraying at the edges. Melissa’s husband is away more than he’s home, leaving cryptic Post-it notes in his wake. Her mother’s antics spiral out of control at the nursing home and a stalker decides Melissa is her next target. What happens next? Stay Tuned to find out… Get it on Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

About the Author: Lauren Clark has been a voracious reader since the age of four and would rather be stranded at the library than on a desert island. In her former life, she worked as an anchor and producer for CBS affiliates in Upstate New York and Alabama. Lauren adores her family, yoga, her new Electra bike, and flavored coffee. She lives near the Florida Gulf Coast. Visit her on her website, Twitter, Facebook, or GoodReads.

 

Now please enjoy this sneak peek of Stay Tuned

 

Chapter 1

Alyssa Andrews was missing.

Gone, vanished, MIA with just minutes to airtime.

“Melissa, where is she?” Our news director, Joe, shot a harried look in my direction. After dealing with a broken studio camera, spotty satellite reception, and last-minute script changes, his nerves were fried to a crisp.

“She’ll be here,” I promised, knowing my confidence was a front. Alyssa, one of WSGA-TV’s main news anchors, was a constant source of angst in my already-stressful job.

She was young, talented, gorgeous…and chronically late.

This lack of punctuality was a problem, especially when WSGA ran a show at exactly six and ten o’clock every night. Not a moment later.

WSGA was Macon, Georgia’s number one news station and had been for two years running. If we wanted to keep it that way, timing was everything. Every second mattered.

I produced both evening shows, which meant—among a dozen other tasks—organizing the day’s stories, writing copy, and checking video. Each segment had to run seamlessly between three-minute commercial breaks.

Deep breath, Melissa. Send up a little prayer. She’ll show up.

The red numbers on the clock continued to march forward.

Another deep breath. Everything’s in place. Alyssa just needs to walk in and get on set…

“Tighten up on camera one.” Joe peppered the room with demands. “Mic check, now, not yesterday.”

Tim Donaldson, Alyssa’s co-anchor, obliged, counting backwards from the number five.

Joe’s thick fingers punched buttons on the massive keyboard in front of him. “Bring up the live shot.”

Still, no Alyssa.

Joe raked a huge hand through his long gray hair. “Five minutes!” he growled, with a glare into his empty coffee cup.

At this point, it was Joe’s show to run. He was in charge. I shuffled my scripts. “How about I call her?”

“She’s an adult,” he grumbled. “You shouldn’t have to.”

Joe expected nothing less than perfection. He was experienced, hard working, and a stickler for detail. Alyssa’s nonchalance made him crazy.

Which, at 9:55:36 on a Friday night, gave him the patience of a gnat. On crack.

This was particularly dangerous for an unsuspecting new employee, all of twenty years old and pimple-faced, who crept up behind us.

Joe ignored him at first, barking an order to me instead. “Fine, fine. Melissa, tell Princess A. she’s needed in the studio.”

On autopilot, I punched her extension, eyes focused on the row of monitors above my head in case she decided to appear.

While the phone rang, the new kid rocked on his heels nervously. I flashed a smile and shook my head gently in his direction, hoping he’d get the hint.

Not now.

Nope. The kid stood there, coughed lightly, and waited for one of us to turn around.

“What?” Joe finally snapped.

The force of the word made the kid’s body jerk back. Jaw open, unable to speak, his face turned crimson.

Joe waited about a second for the kid to talk, and then leaned back over the control panel. He pressed at switches, clearly annoyed. The kid looked sick. Joe rolled his eyes. My anxiety level cranked up ten notches.

9:58:09. Less than two minutes.

Wait…a flash of an ivory suit and blond hair.

“There she is,” I interrupted the tension with a cool nod toward the monitors.

Front and center, Alyssa sauntered into the studio, lips puckered, blowing her shell-pink nail polish dry. She slid into her seat next to Tim, and gave him a playful pat on the shoulder.

Joe muttered something I couldn’t repeat.

I stifled a loud sigh of relief and glanced around the room. The new guy was the only one in the building unimpressed with Alyssa’s arrival. With a shaking hand, he reached out and tapped Joe’s burly shoulder.

“Mr. Joe, there’s a problem with one of the machines—”

Joe’s back stiffened. He turned a millimeter in the kid’s direction and exploded. “Get your butt back there. Get one of the engineers. Fix it. Call someone.”

I caught the now-completely mortified kid’s eye, and motioned for him to come toward me. Grabbing the nearest piece of paper, I jotted down the engineer’s extension and held it at arm’s length with a kind smile. Poor guy. Lots to learn.

With a grateful look, the new kid plucked the scrap from my fingers and darted away.

Time to get started.

I settled in, gripped my pen hard, and looked up.

Okay. Alyssa’s collar was turned under. Minor detail, but sure to garner at least five viewer complaints. You wouldn’t believe what people called in about.

I leaned toward the microphone to let Alyssa know.

“Dare you not to tell her,” Joe muttered. It wasn’t a secret that the guys would willingly let Alyssa go on air with underwear on her head. She hadn’t made friends. Or tried to.

Tim, her co-anchor and current boyfriend, didn’t count.

“Just part of those darn producer duties, Joe. You know that.” I flashed him a smile and pressed the button to talk. “Alyssa, fix your collar.”

Her mouth parted into an O. Alyssa frowned, glanced down, and straightened the pale edge. Just in time.

Like a well-directed movie, the WSGA-TV opening video flashed across monitor one. Macon, Georgia’s skyline filled the screen.

My body tingled with a familiar rush of excitement. It happened every time we went on air. The cameras and lights, the beat of the music, the thrill of live television.

Here we go.

Seconds later, Alyssa and Tim appeared under the lights, their bright anchor smiles pasted on.

“Good evening, I’m Alyssa Andrews.

“And I’m Tim Donaldson.”

And on it went, without a blip, for the first ten minutes. I started breathing again after the third break.

Stanley and Sunshine, the weather cat, were ready for the five-day forecast, check.

Commercial break, check.

Sports, check. I didn’t worry about that three-minute slot. Plenty to talk about, visual stories; the anchors could get away with jokes and ad-libbing. Viewers loved it.

We rounded out the show with an inspirational kicker about a local scholarship winner, a kid first in his family to go to college. He’d won forty thousand dollars and was going to Georgia Tech to study astrophysics.

The show wrapped with a standard goodnight, credits, and a wide shot of the WSGA set.

The second the master control operator switched to break, Alyssa flounced off the set in silicone fashion. She barked into her jewel-encrusted cell phone about her min-pin puppy’s cancelled spa appointment and stomped out of the studio, teetering precariously in four-inch heels.

Yikes!

I climbed the flight of stairs back to the newsroom, relieved the night was almost over.

The phones started to ring five seconds later.

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NaNoWriMo 2011 Winner!!

Today has been the best day of my life. I didn’t think I would get here to be honest. There were times I was behind in writing this wonderful story, which needs some SERIOUS work, even at the half-way mark, lol. But, I met the goal of getting to 50,000 words in one month. I can now breathe a sigh of relief, and fully concentrate on my last week of Criminal Law as well as my writing, and be relaxed.

There was a lot of stuff I had to give up to make it happen. It wasn’t easy. I lost a lot of sleep, missed a few meals (quite literally), I gave up fun stuff (Pogo, I sometimes miss you, Farmville I hardly miss and Island Paradise is no Jamaica), and I hardly left my computer. Sometimes when I needed a break, I would crochet, then write, then crochet, then write some more. I also read at night before going to bed (well, the nights I could sleep).

In the end, to meet the goal and realize I have a legitimate shot of being a writer was all the encouragement I needed … well, it helped to have my mom cheering me on, as well as family and friends (yes, those of you on Twitter, Google + and Facebook are my friends). Reading all your tweets, messages, and comments was encouraging and inspiring.

To those people I am following: I follow you because you inspire me. You help me learn, grow and breach boundaries I wouldn’t have the courage to do.

To those people who follow me: I don’t know what I did to earn you as a follower. I hope you enjoy reading my tweets (good or bad). I thank you for being a part of my life, and allowing me to be a part of yours if even in a small way.

I’m sure everyone though I was nuts for doing this. To tell you all the truth, I thought I was nuts for doing it 😛 but I have to say it was worth it.

The next step is finishing the story, editing, revising and editing … then …. publishing. I might be a few months away from that. Does that mean I can resume those endless nights of playing games? Not at all! 😛 I’d rather be writing 🙂 (or crocheting or reading).

So, now a new goal in me life — finish the story.

‎”Count it all joy when you fall into trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.” James 1:2

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Less Than 10K To Go …

Well, here it is  …. 4 more days left and I am less than 10,000 words to go (counting down to less than 6k actually, was up in the 5 digits when I started this blog).

Being sick over Thanksgiving night and Friday morning did not help at all. Sleeping most of Friday away also hindered me. But, it also gave me the drive to make this happen. I didn’t sacrifice most of October to prep and worry, just to miss out.

I am making a special effort to get through this goal, while also trying to write a paper for my Criminal Law class. Thankfully, I am in week 4, and only have three more assignments left. And, I have managed a nearly perfect grade. Currently I have a 98% with all assignments graded.

My story is now coming along better than it was. I am in Chapter 7, which could be a halfway point. Now, my “antagonist” has shown up and clearly this is going to be a great story to tell. I’m in the downward slide, despite the fact the story isn’t even finished. It’s hitting the goal that counts as winning.

Now, I need to get ready for my acceptance speech, champion’s dinner, and that big check …. wait, there is no check right? 😦 darn …

Well, I will be meeting a goal. So here I come checkered flag!

(Let’s hope it’s not a green-white-checkered dash to victory lane)

😉

 

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Two-Thirds …

I haven’t been very good at updating this blog (or my others). I apologize for that.

I will say studying Criminal Law, attempting to write a novel (in a month’s time), having a life (well, keeping up with family and friends on Facebook as well as Twitter; which I love), trying to read a book, crochet and sleeping is challenging. There are only 24 hours in a day, and we sleep 1/3 (or should) of them away. With hobbies, housework, and errands, time gets away from me. If it were possible, I’d love to “borrow” time to get everything done.

While I am one of the lucky students enrolled in online classes, there is a certain amount of participation required.  Here is an example of what I need to do during each week (or module as they are called):

You must participate in, at a minimum, one academic-related activity on two separate days of a week to meet positive attendance for the week. An academic-related activity is defined as: A post, a journal entry, a Dropbox submission, or a completed My Lab activity. 

Not to mention I have to write and do research for one paper per week, and respond to two classmates on the “discussion” board.

I should spend about 45-90 hours of the 5 weeks studying, reading, researching and preparing assignments “outside” of class. While that translates to 3 hours per day, that is a minimum. So, there is a LOT of work there. I’m learning to manage, and of course there are some concessions I HAVE to make. It’s been tedious, but so rewarding to see the grades and progress I am making in my class.

But, that isn’t why I am writing this blog…it’s about my “novel”.

So, you’re wondering…how is my novel going?

It’s going 🙂 (better than I thought, not as well as I like).

I am just starting day 21, with 9 more to go. I should be at 35,000 words, but I am currently at 31,259. That puts me three days behind. Not to worry though, I have a few days to spend catching up. I might even get ahead as well, something I have been HOPING to do.  Since the holidays are coming up and my school has extended the due date by 2 days for one assignment, I would like to get the story to the 50k word mark. That is only 18,741 words to write, or type. I figure if I give my self all day Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday to write, there is no reason I can’t make this happen.

There is an interesting part though… I am not even at the half-way point for the story. When I was outlining this in October, I thought I didn’t have enough material for a novel, now I think I have too much. Sometimes I have wondered what I got myself into. But, I am no quitter. Sometimes I think I’ve forgotten how to quit–which is a good thing.

I wouldn’t change it for the world though. It’s been rough on my nerves, but I’ve been given a wonderful blessing, I won’t say I regret signing up for it…because I don’t. Now, if you don’t hear from me again, it’s likely I have climbed back into the story and I won’t give up until I hit 50,000 words. Then I have another 6 months to finish, edit, revise, edit and publish it.

I hope you all have a Happy Thanksgiving.  I certainly have a lot to be thankful for this year 🙂

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Almost a Week …

It’s been about a week since I started this project. I got ahead, then way behind, then I got ahead. Thankfully as of this post, I am ahead. It’s taken some time and I’ve had to neglect a few things. But what I have neglected doesn’t really matter.

I am so grateful to have this opportunity. I feel truly blessed. Seeing my progress and what I am accomplishing is worth every emotion I have been feeling. The best feeling is “pride”. How could I not have a little pride in myself? I am doing something I have ALWAYS wanted to do. Seeing these stats makes me want to keep going, keep pushing and reach the goal:

Your Average Per Day: 1,946

Words Written Today: 1,403

Target Word Count: 50,000

Target Average Words Per Day: 1,667

Total Words Written: 11,678

Words Remaining: 38,322

Current Day:  6

Days Remaining: 25

At This Rate You Will Finish On: November 25, 2011

Words Per Day To Finish On Time: 1,533

While it might not seem that much to someone else, it means the world to me. If I can make this goal, my next step will be editing…then publishing…then?? Who knows? 🙂

Right now, I am over 1/5th of the way to the goal.

Another part of keeping that said goal is sleeping, and being on a sleep schedule. So far, it’s working. Not to mention, I have been reading one of the “Prey” novels which helps relax my mind and get my own creativity going.

Week 1 has had ups, downs and ups. Am hoping week 2 will be a little bit better 🙂

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Day 4 …

It’s just barely day 4 of NaNoWriMo and for some reason I feel behind, even though I’m actually on par.

I’ve written one full chapter and over 5700 words. This is not near where I want to be, but sadly I have been distracted. As one “friend” put it when I complained I only had 4000 words, she said “that is 4000 more than what you had”.  I guess she’s right 🙂

With my current word count of 5762, divided over three days that puts me at over 1920 words per day. At that rate I will complete the goal 4 days ahead of schedule. Of course my goal is sooner. That won’t mean the novel is finished. Far from it indeed. It just means I will have made the goal.

On the other hand, I also need to focus on my school work. So I will be spending the weekend writing and working on the stuff for school. That means I’ll be extra busy. I’m almost tempted to set both laptops up side by side and work like that, though it seems overkill, lol 😀 … I do want to succeed though.

I know I need to sedate the inner perfectionist, editor and critic. They are slowing me down. There is so much I want to say and I am watching how I saw it. I am also trying not to ramble and be perfect. There is simply no time for that, so I will need to be more vigilant and patient with myself.

I think I am winning the battle though.

For now, I need some sleep. As always, after a refreshing night’s rest, I’ll be able to tackle the day 🙂

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It Begins….

It has begun!

Yes, today is the first day of my “Introduction to Criminal Law” class as well as National Novel Writing Month.

That means for the next 29 days, I will be like a ghost, lol. So far, as of this blog, I have my first assignment done, as well as the story outline completely done. I’ve also written the first 454 words of my story. I am hoping to get as much done as I can.

Trying to put it together is a little difficult at this point. I am treading somewhere I haven’t been.

I also have a paper (11/3) and PowerPoint presentation (11/7) due as well.

I know I signed on for this, so I have no one to blame but myself. However, if I am not as social as I usually am, you’ll all know why.

I can tell you that my novel “Finding Faith“,  is based LOOSELY on a journey I went through in August after the death of my aunt. Though I only wish the events that happen in the story would have happened in real life (well, a few of them anyway), that incredible  journey led me to where I am, and I hope I can eventually share it with all of you. In the few short days I spent in 29 Palms, California, I  found an inner peace I needed, and the courage to take this remarkable step.

A step that I hope will lead me to write more, and perhaps make a career out of it.

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