Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The holiday season

I am a big fan of holidays. I can tend to get a little ... TOO into them. Right now, we're in what I like to call the Holiday Corridor: Halloween--Election Day--Thanksgiving--Christmas--New Year. It's 100-plus days of non-stop fun!

(Oh, you don't celebrate Election Day? That's sad.)

This year, I may try to incorporate NaNoWriMo into the Holiday Corridor, because who doesn't want to create some new holiday traditions? (I imagine NaNoWriMo celebrations will have to involve a lot of jogging, to sort of combat ... all the side effects of NaNoWriMo.)

Jack Skellington heads from the Salt Lake Farmer's Market -- I should have bought one, but my Halloween decoration game is already a wee bit ... excessive.
What are you favorite holiday traditions?

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Platonic

So today on Twitter I read an article about HOMELAND (spoilers for everyone who isn't caught up!) (which also includes me! I can never resist an article about something I like and am CONSTANTLY spoiling myself!) and it prompted a need to discuss something that is near and dear to my heart.

Platonic friendships between men and women (and boys and girls).

People love to 'ship (gag) their favorite couples, I get it. I mean, I DEFINITELY wanted Leslie Knope to end up with Ben Wyatt, you'd have to be heartless not to.

But I really wish people would stop ruining great examples of male-female friendships just because every story MUST include some romance. Why can't some stories simply NOT be romantic? Or why can't you introduce another character to fill the role of Love Interest, and watch as platonic friend (gasp!) does not get jealous. Because friends generally do not get jealous when their friends find someone they care for romantically.*

In my current W.I.P. (oh hey Pitch Wars, looking forward to the showcase!), I have four girls who have all been good friends with the same boy for years. Two of those girls end up (doomed or not, intentionally or not) in romantic entanglements with that boy. The other two girls NEVER EVEN CONSIDER IT. It is never even addressed.

Why? Because they're just friends. And that is how friendship works.

So can we get a shout out for a few of our favorite platonic pop culture friendships? Thank you!









In case it isn't clear, YES I REJECT ANY NOTION THAT THESE CHARACTER SHOULD HOOK UP. Their friendships are rare little flowers that need protection! Looking at you, Vampire Diaries...




* Distressed by a changing dynamic? Sure. Annoyed by less Friend Time? You got it. Wistful about their own romantic prospects? SURE! But the friendship isn't a true platonic friendship if someone is secretly harboring romantic feelings of their own. That is not how friendship works.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

awesome

Is there any better feeling than realizing you're too old for some nonsense?

I've always been a people-pleaser by nature. Not only do I want people to like me, but I REALLY want people in positions of (perceived or real) authority to realize I am following their rules. Because of that, I've always been a good employee. A good volunteer. A good team-player.

I still am that way, deep down, but I think the best part of getting older is realizing who REALLY has the authority. Most of the time, it's actually me.

A few months ago, I agreed to be part of a volunteer organization. I was super excited about the opportunity and the ways that my particular skills could help the organization grow and improve. But over the past few months, it has become increasingly obvious that another person within the organization has a WILDLY different view of how things should be going.

At first I laid out my rationale for what I wanted to do. And then I tried to just do my own thing and not worry about what the other person thought. But it became obvious that neither tactic was getting me anywhere. And all that stuff I was excited to do a few months ago? I didn't want to do any of it if I couldn't support how it was being done.

22 year old me would have stuck it out, desperate to please all the people.

25 year old me would have a little more respect for her own needs and would have tried harder to advocate for alternative options.

But 30 year old me?

She quit. Because life is too short to butt heads with other people. And it feels grand, friends.

Book that is awesome: ALIAS HOOK by Lisa Jensen

Songs that are awesome: "Habits" by Tove Lo and "American Kids" by Kenny Chesney.

I recommend looking into those things.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

SUMMER IN NEW YORK

No, I'm not going on vacation. (Besides, isn't Labor Day the unofficial end of summer?) I'm helping with the blog tour for SUMMER IN NEW YORK, an anthology of short stories by some writers that I really adore.



About SUMMER IN NEW YORK:

In USA Today bestselling author Janette Rallison’s delightful novella, JOB HAZARDS, Lydia Robinson is posing as a prostitute. Undercover of course. Lydia’s job as a police officer hasn’t reeled in her prince charming yet. That is, until Harrison Aldridge, old high school flame, pulls up to the corner to rescue the fallen damsel. Lydia can’t exactly give Harrison the truth without blowing her cover, and it takes a series of mishaps and another whole set of misunderstandings before Lydia will even consider letting Harrison back into her life.

In Heather B. Moore’s enchanting novella, A TASTE OF SUN, Winona Grant embarks on a summer-long visit to NYC to house-sit for her great-aunt after a nasty break-up with her boyfriend Paul. But when her aunt commissions neighbor Steve Monti to tour Winona around, they strike a deal. Winona has too many deadlines to play tourist, and Steve is looking for a distraction from his looming gallery opening. So Steve goes on the tours by himself, and Winona reports back to her aunt as if she’d gone too. The longer this happens, the more Winona wants to change her mind. Seeing the city with Steve might be the perfect solution to forgetting about Paul.

In Luisa Perkins’s sweet romance novella, DULCE DE LECHE, Marisol is desperate for another nanny job after being unfairly fired from her previous position. She has only two more semesters of college, but she’s too proud to ask her wealthy parents for financial help. When her potential new employer, a single father working long hours as an anesthesiologist, decides she’s too young and pretty to hire, she practically begs him for the job. Darius finally agrees, and as he watches her work miracles with his Asperger’s son, he realizes there is much more to Marisol than he first believed.

In TAKE A CHANCE, a captivating story by Sarah M. Eden, Miguel Santos has a stopover in New York. When the announcement of delayed flights comes over the PA system, Miguel is looking at spending several hours at the airport. Determined to get comfortable for the long wait, he’s surprised when he spies a familiar face amongst the stranded passengers: Jane Schoonenburg, the last person he expected to see. Three months have passed since he asked Jane to marry him—three months of misery. And now he knows that he must talk to her, if only to find out why she broke his heart.

Annette Lyon’s entrancing novella, FIRSTS AND LASTS, begins with Dani’s last week in New York. She’s failed in her dreams to catch a break as an actress and is now ready to return home and dust herself off. As she visits the places on her final to-see list, she meets Mark, another New York City transplant with big dreams. Except Mark hasn’t given up on his. As they spend the day together, Dani realizes that even though she hasn’t hit the “big time” she might be living her dream after all. Only problem: she has a one-way ticket back home.

In Lisa Mangum’s whimsically titled story: &, Lucy is riding a wave of success at having found a bestselling novel in the slush pile at an exclusive New York publishing house. If only her personal life was storybook perfect as well. Her relationship with Devon is on the rocks, and even though she's been put in charge of the house while her boss is gone on business, Lucy isn't sure she's up to the task. It will take a chance encounter with a handsome wordsmith to help Lucy claim the courage that has always been a part of her heart.
 
***

And now, an excerpt from SUMMER IN NEW YORK:


Job Hazards
Janette Rallison

Chapter One

Fighting crime wasn’t supposed to involve wearing a leopard-print miniskirt, a silky halter top, and stiletto heels. Not once while Lydia Robinson was in the police academy a year ago had she envisioned that the job would land her on a seedy New York street posing as a hooker. But as Lieutenant Miner had told her a week ago after he called her into his office, “You’re a natural.”

A natural hooker? “Is that supposed to be a compliment?” she asked.

He held up his hands to stop her protest and nodded at the glass window of his office. Outside, two other female officers were talking about a case. Officer Loomis was fifty-two and had more wrinkles than a pile of forgotten laundry. Officer Dustin was seven months pregnant. “I just meant,” Lieutenant Miner said, “that you’re the best one in the department for the sting.”

So now Lydia stood on a dimly lit corner next to a row of bars and strip clubs. She wore so much makeup that she looked like she was part of a Broadway play. Her usually long, brown hair had been curled, teased and poofed. It was magazine-girl, notice-me hair. Half-a-bottle-of-hairspray hair.

 ***

Doesn't that sound fun? You can buy it here, here, or here. Let me know if you like it!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

HELP MEEEEE

This is the biggest favor I have ever asked you guys (even bigger than the time I asked you to "like me" on Facebook, and may we all pretend that never happened, ok?)

I read this book in junior high (possibly elementary school) and I LOVED it. So much. I read it and re-read it. It was probably the first paranormal book I ever read, and to-date, it was probably the best.

And believe it or not, I cannot remember the title, author, or names of any of the characters. IT WAS A LONG TIME AGO.

I periodically wish I could remember the name of this book so I could re-read it and see if it lives up to the hype of my memory. I've tried, and failed, so many times.

But I remember almost all of the plot. So in an effort to hunt down this much-beloved book, I am going to tell you ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING I can remember about it, and hopefully someone in InternetLand can help me out, ok?

The book starts in a small town or village in the 1800s (possibly the later half of the 1800s). The town is being attacked by werewolves (though, I don't think they were referred to as werewolves). The main character, a girl of about 13, realizes that her beloved older brother is one of the werewolves when he takes down the herbs over his window that were intended to protect the family. She tries to warn her father. The brother is ultimately killed by the villagers.

When her father realizes the girl saw the signs of the brother being a werewolf, he decides she should be trained (in what? never specified). Her mother objects to this plan. An aunt and uncle come to debate the matter. (The uncle has a really strange name.) They decide that the girl will stay at home with her parents and learn basics like herbology and healing for a few more years. There's a lot of lovely discussion about flowers and minerals and sketching things into books.

A few years go by. The Heroine develops a crush on Boy 1 (who the reader recognizes as unsuitable husband material, even though Heroine does not). A new family moves to town with a beautiful daughter who is always ill. Boy 1 drops Heroine like a hot potato for the new girl. At a town dance of some kind, the heroine realizes the daughter is a vampire and Boy 1 is under her thrall, though Boy 1 just accuses her of being jealous. Heroine, father, uncle, and Boy 2 (shyer, older, and clearly a better catch than Boy 1, though Heroine doesn't realize it yet) go to kill the vampire. Her "parents" (really grandchildren or great-nieces and nephews) are terrified and relieved, as they've been forced to help her for decades. Boy 1 does not recognize the solid that Heroine did for him and totally blows her off for reasons like emasculation or something.

Mother is super angry that the family members allowed daughter to go vampire hunting in defiance of the mother's orders. At this point, the aunt (?? Pretty sure it was an aunt) comes to take Heroine off to do more training elsewhere to resolve the family conflict. Boy 2 does something really thoughtful like carving a chest for all of Heroine's healing magic herbs.

Aunt and Heroine hear of a town that used to be called Cloudcatcher. (How I remember the name of this town and none of the names of the characters is BEYOND ME.) The town currently has a much creepier name, as the town is haunted by a malevolent ghost. It's always dark and depressing and the sun never shines on the town. Aunt and Heroine do some investigating. The mayor's daughter is behaving in a very questionable manner. She apparently has a beau her father disapproves of. The beau has been away, mysteriously, though the mayor's daughter is convinced he shall return.

Aunt and Heroine do more investigating. Apparently the ghost is an unwanted baby (either aborted or left out to die by some desperate teenage girl in the town after her boyfriend abandoned her). Aunt and Heroine do an exorcism which just pisses off the ghost baby more. They then discover the mayor's daughter is PREGNANT (which is a direct echo of the situation that created ghost baby). When the mayor's daughter's boyfriend returns and proposes to the mayor's daughter, the ghost baby is either appeased or weakened so it is successfully exorcised. The sun comes out, the town goes back to being called Cloudcatcher. There is some reference to Boy 2 either planning to come for a visit or sending a gift to the heroine, and the book ends.

Final details:

In the mid-1990s, it had a black and white paperback cover of what might have been a cabin. Or a forest. Or a mountain. I'm hazy.

A THOUSAND INTERNET HUGS TO ANYONE WHO CAN FIGURE THIS OUT!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

crazy names

Hello, my name is RuthAnne, and I am addicted to giving my characters crazy names.

Many people have talked to me about this, over the years. My sister. My friend Diego. Mostly just those two, actually. If other people were concerned, they kept their thoughts to themselves.

And now that Diego is offering his thoughts on my manuscript before Pitch Wars, the topic has come up again.

(To be honest, I think my list of crazy names is sort of whimsically perfect, particularly given it's set in Utah. I mean, you've heard some of our names, right? But I might end up changing a few of them, just to be on the safe side.)

What is the craziest name you have ever read in a book? Is there ever a moment where you think, "No...no, this is not working for me"?