Sunday, November 28, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Here in the States, we just celebrated Thanksgiving. It has now become my favorite holiday. In fact, I feel like it’s the under-dog of holidays. Poor Thanksgiving kind of gets lost between Halloween and Christmas. (And don’t even get me started on the Christmas decorations out in October! Oy!)

I love Thanksgiving because I go to my parents’ house and stuff myself silly with my mom’s awesome cooking. I don’t have to write out 100 Thanksgiving cards, buy Thanksgiving presents, or go to Thanksgiving parties with people I only see once a year and really don’t like. It’s one day—granted with a lot of cooking and cleaning involved, but no one is waking me up at 4:00 am to see if the Thanksgiving turkey left anything for them by the chimney.

I also like that Thanksgiving includes a long weekend to sit home and revel in the turkey coma I’ve put myself in on Thursday. Ahh, bliss.

Soon enough, I’ll have to write out Christmas cards, go to ridiculous office parties where I don’t remember anyone’s name, and have to shop until my credit card weeps or melts. But for this weekend, I’m just going to relax and enjoy the holiday. The Thanksgiving Holiday weekend, that is.

Here is wishing you all much to be thankful for this year and the years to come.


Monday, November 22, 2010

Genre Jumping

I'm a creature of habit but recently my writing has been taking me in an entirely new direction. I read primarily romance novels with the occasional segway into some longtime favorites. For the most part what I write has directly followed what I've been reading. But lately I feel myself drawn to genre's I have never been a huge fan of. Perhaps it's because many 'romance novels' now link into so many other markets. Yes romance is still the focus, but they venture into fantasy, crime, mystery, sex and perhaps in the case of some series, horror. Or perhaps I'm just getting back to my 'roots' so to speak. I never started out as a huge fan of romance, in fact my younger teenage self held it in much disdain. My first love was crime in the shape of Dick Francis novels and a little horror/suspense from Dean Koontz, nothing too gruesome but the creepier the better.

Lately I find the people in my head taking me into unexplored writing territory and instead of trying to wrestle them back into submission I've decided to shrug my shoulders and let them lead. "You want to go into this abandoned building with blood dripping from the walls? Ok, but when we meet a big scary monster you have to protect me." I've found that I either need to do it that way or we just won't be writing anything today.

So tell me, do you know of any authors who genre skip successfully? Have you followed them when they have? Have you done it yourself? Tell me your stories.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Oh, what a week!

I had knee surgery this past Wednesday – you gotta love modern medicine. I got to the hospital at 10:00 am, fifteen minutes before my call time (what can I say, I was anxious) and did the pre-op paperwork. It’s same-day surgery and I’ve brought a book to read because I can see by the scheduling board that he’s already done four procedures this morning and has two in the queue, neither one of them me yet.

But after only a few minutes, my name is called and I’m in my little cubicle changing my clothes (don’t you just love hospital gowns?), getting my IV, answering the same questions for the second time today and the fourth time this week. No, I’m not wearing any jewelry (my husband will put my wedding ring back on me later in a small ceremony we always do when, for whatever reason, the band has to come off). Yes, I was born on January 19, 1957 (Fifty-three is a good age to have this kind of thing done, by the way. You’re old enough to appreciate the few days enforced rest and young enough for it to be only a few days enforced rest). No, I don’t smoke, drink to excess or take any illegal drugs. Yet. Wait till after the surgery and then give me something GOOOOD!

My husband joins me and now the wait really begins. I’m told my anesthesiologist is cute, but when I see him he’s dressed in his blues and I can’t see much of him. He’s kind and, since he apparently is the same guy that gave me my drugs for my other knee last April, he’s figuring to give me the same cocktail this time. Only he says he’s going to up the local and reduce the overall knock-out drug so I can be on my way home quicker. Judging by the assembly line feel of the line of curtained cubicles, I’m not surprised.

He leaves and my husband and I are waiting again. The doctor himself has yet to make his appearance. Don’t get me wrong. I’ve been in this cubicle now for only about 40 minutes since the start. And there were two people in line ahead of me for this particular surgeon. But it is while we’re waiting for him that I get to hear the best line of the day.

The woman behind the curtain to my right is apparently going to have a tonsillectomy. This doesn’t worry me. If they get us mixed up her doc’s going to take one look down my throat and know he’s got the wrong patient. My tonsils were taken out when I was six. Back then it was a three-day hospital stay. Today, it’s same-day service. Wow.

Anyway, apparently the woman gave birth two weeks prior and is breastfeeding. Not currently, she left the baby home (thank goodness!). But her anesthesiologist questions her about the drugs he’d planned to use. She says…get ready for it…, “You can use whatever you want. I’m not going to feed him from my breast, I’m going to pump it first.”

Honey, I want to tell her, milk is milk, whether you feed it to him from a bottle or from your boob. That baby’s going to get whatever drugs you get.

My doc came in shortly thereafter, followed quickly by my drug contact. I kissed my husband and they wheeled me out. The anesthesiologist (that word is way too long to keep spelling out) paused the gurney long enough to shoot a syringe of something into my IV. The operating room was a short jaunt down the hall and by the time I got there, I saw they had two of everything inside, including two of my own doctor.

That was it for me. I woke up as they were putting me back in my cubicle. I ate a couple of saltines as the fuzziness at the edges of my vision cleared, had a glass of ginger ale and within another 40 minutes was in the wheelchair being shown the door. Total time at hospital? Two and a half hours. Told you – assembly-line surgery!

But the doc is good (he did my other knee last April). He scraped out 45 years worth of accumulated arthritis and discovered that, somewhere along the line, I’d ripped the meniscus a little so he smoothed that out, too. No big deal for him to deal with. It’s the convalescence afterward that takes the time.

No bending the knee, no squatting, no kneeling of any sort. No pressure on the knee although walking is encouraged (shuffling is more like it at the moment. I walk like I’m 90 now so I can walk like I’m 30 in six weeks). No driving, no biking, no roller skating, no skiing and no skateboarding. Drat! I was going to show off my ollie this weekend! (not!)

So I’m somewhat housebound for a while. My plan is to use the time to write (did you know that the Quickie Love in the Afternoon was conceived, written AND edited in the weeks after my last knee surgery? Nothing like enforced housebound-itis to get those creative juices flowing!). This time around I hope to finish a full-length that I’ve been working on for the last year. I’d set it aside when I couldn’t get the main characters to cooperate and wrote two short works instead (Love in the Afternoon was one, my Naughty Nooner Remembered Love is the other. Have you picked that one up yet? Why not? It’s free!).

But the characters for this current wip are talking again and I’ve written several thousand words in the past two weeks. I’m currently about half-done with the first draft and hope to have it totally done by the end of the month. Keep your fingers crossed!

So that’s been my week! Turn those lemons into lemonade and, as always,

Play safe!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


(cross-posted from Diary of a Sex Diva)

Over the past few days I've had a lot of conversations about labels. There are so many kinds of labels. There's the washing instructions that tell me not to dryclean my clothes. (Silly people. As if I needed to be TOLD not to waste my money). Then there's the label on my pillow that is illegal to remove. (Can you hear the RRRRIIIIPPPing sound as I take those instructions to heart?). Then there's those cruel sizing labels on my jeans. Labels that try to convince me my waist has expanded, when I KNOW that to be a lie. There are warning and instruction labels. All of which provide us with essential, valuable information. But no...none of these are the labels that my conversations have revolved around.

It all started with an acquaintance at work very earnestly asking my opinion on some relationship labels. Seeing someone vs. dating someone. Friendship with benefits vs. buddies... or even "Fuck buddies." Despite the fact that I have been out of the dating circuit for...well...actually I never really WAS in the dating circuit, she was adamant that I'm one "in the know" and I should have some ideas on the subject. Never one to NOT have ideas, I had to concur with that evaluation...and I shared my thoughts with her...such as they were.

Actually, the definitions that we came up with aren't really all that important. But what I did find fascinating was the realization that what these labels are....the function they really all about another nasty word: EXPECTATIONS. Good or not...positive or not...each of these labels conjures up a set of expectations for each of the parties involved. Everything from how many times a week do I call or text this person? To how many times a week do we fuck? To whether or not you're allowed to "see" or "date" other people. The trick, of course, is to make sure that these sets of expectations match. That one person's definition of "dating" and all it entails is essentialy the same as their partner's definition. Because if those two definitions differ, hence the expectations differ, you're in for a shit load of trouble.

So, in this way, labels can be a very dangerous thing. I mean who among us wants to get tagged with labels like "nerd" or "blonde" or "slut." Labels tend to lead to assumptions about people and we like to attach all the characteristics that go along with a particular label to the person or, of course, relationship, in question. and assumptions are almost always a bad idea. In relationships, more so than any other facet of life, communication and clarity of expectations is paramount for any relationship to continue successfully.

Now I had a friend at one time who was very big on keeping our friendship casual. He wanted a friendship with, and I quote, "No expectations." I basically told him that this notion was BULLSHIT. There is no such thing as a friendship or any relationship for that matter, with NO expectations. Even the idea of having no an expectation! Whether it's the expectation that you call that person all the time or that you never call them... Whether it's the expectation that you get together for coffee once a month, or the simple expectation that you pick up the phone when the other person calls.... Insignificant or not, each of these are expectations. And when expectations are not met it always, always leads to conflict, often heartache. And possibly the use of automatic weapons. Essentially, a relationship without not a relationship.

So, having said that I would put it to you that labels, while generally unavoidable and somewhat dangerous, are also a necessary evil, and perhaps we should see them as a good starting point. Personally, I'm in favour of taking on my labels and, rather than denying the images that they illicit...working towards changing them.

Think of the word "gay" for example. Thirty years ago that word brought up very different images and reactions than it does today. At least for a significant portion of the population. It took a lot of work on the part of the gay community to change that, and I'm really not sure that simply avoiding the use of the term i.e. the label, would have gotten them there any sooner. What abour words like Muslim, atheist, bisexual, submissive, masochistic. How about fuck vs. sex vs. making love? Sodomy vs. anal sex? The list of labels, and the list of characteristics and perceptions that we attach to these labels is endless.

I guess my ultimate point is to use labels cautiously, always be clear on what that label means, be open to new ideas and new definitions, and always, always be clear on the expectations that go along with them.
Relevant or not, I just have to end with this line that I heard in a movie this week:

Why do women fake orgasms?

Because men fake foreplay.
Maybe they should've defined foreplay a little more clearly!!