Monday, November 28, 2011

Profound Thinking About Poetry

This is an amazing TED Talk by performance poet, Sarah Kay. The first poem she recites is "If I had a daughter". It is powerful alone, but the entire talk is worth a listen. Poetry is not my first love, but I connect with the souls of other writers who are here in this world emptying themselves on a regular basis to share something of value with the rest of us. These are the artists of the present and the future.

Seth Godin has decided to publish Kay's poetry. I'm going to buy it. Ms. Kay has a new fan in me.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Learning The Love Code

Recently, I managed to finally find a bike helmet that was my size, on sale, and with a Snell safety rating high enough to satisfy Bruce. Then I climbed on the back of his bike and we took off. It was my first bike ride in twenty or more years and was both scary and exhilarating. I felt like Jessica in Carved In Stone going for her first ride with Will.

For those of who have never ridden, a unique thing about riding a motorcycle is that you can't talk to each other in most normal bike helmets. At first I thought not being able to talk was going to be a problem since I was the one on the back and completely out of the driving control loop, but then something very interesting happened in the first few minutes of the ride.

We developed a physical code, or in other words, a way to talk without talking.

Sitting behind Bruce, I learned to squeeze my knees on his hips to indicate my readiness for him to accelerate. My thumbs were hooked in handles on his jacket made for hanging on and I could squeeze his sides as well with my fingertips. Thirty minutes into the ride, we were having whole conversations with him pointing out scenes of interest and me squeezing to show him I understood. Then when we stopped at crossroads, he would reach back and pat my knee to indicate when we would be taking off again.

I could literally have ridden all day, not speaking in words. (I also quickly realized I could also easily retire my "thigh master" if I rode often enough as well, but that's another story.)

Anyway, our physical only communication made me realize that people in love who are truly intimate also use codes. They seem to be as unique as the couple is, though there are some generalities. People who have been married over ten years, and who really get along, talk more with their gazes than they do with mouths. Sometimes in fact the gazes say one thing, while the mouth is saying another. If you are paying attention, you can practically see the sarcasm floating in the air above their heads. They can have arguments, show amusement, or indicate a willingness for other more interesting physical activities with nothing more than the right "look" in their eyes.

I think I do that in my books, especially with the older couples. There is a scene in Created In Fire where Michael and Carrie are fighting about frozen yogurt bars and Shane is demanding to know what's up in the debate. Will and Jessica look at each other, have immediate and full comprehension, and have to turn their backs on the younger people in the room so their physical expressions don't give away their understanding. Well, that and Will was embarrassed a bit, as usual. The older couple is quiet for a long time during the fight until Jessica breaks the silent communication between them by teasing Will.

So in a way, talking in words can actually interfere with the code. Maybe that's what goes wrong in some relationships. Maybe it's just better at times to enjoy not talking, skip the sarcasm, and squeeze your knees when you're ready to accelerate.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Edin Road Radio Interview

In this interview I read Chapter 2 of Captured In Ink (Book Three of the Art of Love series) and talk with Jesse Coffey about the rest of my work. Warning: Southern Accent.

Listen to internet radio with EdinRoad on Blog Talk Radio

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Never Too Late Series Now In Print (update w/photo)

It has taken me several months, but finally the Never Too Late Series is available in print. I can't adequately describe the feeling of holding a physical copy of a book in my hands. Seeing the books in print was another one of those moments of my author journey that literally stopped my heart momentarily just before making it take off racing again.

I made the print as large as I could and tried to use a font that is rounded and easy to read. Basically, I wanted my older readers to not have to pull out their strongest reading glasses just to see the content. I chose a standard size of 5.5" x 8.5" which was the size of most of the trade paperbacks in my own collection of tomes. It also seemed to me to be the most common size of trade paperbacks at my local independent bookseller, Joseph-Beth.

It was important to me to keep the ebook covers, so I waited a bit for the print cover artist to have time in her queue for me. I have to brag because it was such a good call on my part and yet another decision I feel lucky about having made as an Indie author. So kudos to Amanda Kelsey at Razzle Dazzle Design for helping me extend Dara England's wonderful work on the ebook covers into print versions.

But if you are a reader, you're probably not really interested in the details of my choices or how happy I am at holding my work in my hand with my name on it. No, you just want to know where the books are being sold and how to order them. I sincerely thank all my readers for asking about print copies for month and months, and for being patient.

The books will be on sale at sometime in next 5-7 days. They are available for sale now at the Create Space ebook store at the following links.  The cost per book is $13.99.  I think you will be pleased with how the books turned out in print. They are literally the ebooks brought to 3D life.

Buy Dating A Cougar

Buy Dating Dr. Notorious

Buy Dating A Saint

Buy Dating A Metro Man

Friday, November 4, 2011

A Reluctant Baby Boomer's Last Stand

Did you ever peel the labels off cans of food for a practical joke? No? Maybe my mind works differently than most people's. Labels are useful as a way to identify and classify things, but they can certainly cause limitations when you apply them to yourself, others, or your characters in a story. Even the good ones can draw a box around a person's definition that is very hard to escape.

"Baby Boomer" is a label I picked up and started using to define myself when I turned fifty. Up to that point I was just grumpily dealing with being "over 45". Someone gave me the book Boomer Babes: A Woman's Guide to the New Middle Ages. After reading it, I started to think of myself as someone who could simply choose not to be old, or at least not to be old in the same typical way as other women I knew. I decided that being labelled a "Boomer Babe" might be a pretty good thing.

Then I did research.

I am a huge fan of the Urban Dictionary for many reasons. One is that I sometimes teach Intro to Linguistics and find the idea of average people defining new words and terms to be fascinating. Though I do believe that the very proper Samuel Johnson, who is typically credited with creating the first dictionary, is looking down on English speakers now and shuddering over the corruption of his life's work. I know I shudder over what I learn sometimes, including the fact that there really is such a thing as "too much information".

This happened when I looked up "Baby Boomers" in the Urban Dictionary. Submissions from people I'm old enough to have given birth to are full of blame for what they feel my generation has not done well. The vitriol in the contributions made me start thinking hard about that "Baby Boomer" label, because I'd gone from my perception of it as the "free-spirited older woman" contextual meaning to the "generation that caused all the problems in the world" one .

Writers well know that words have power and that a great deal of that resides in the images created in a reader's mind about the word's meaning. "Meanings" hit the brain as instanteously as the words are read.

For example, can a "rape survivor" ever have great sex again? I tackled that subject in Carved In Stone in a slightly different way. My 47 year old heroine lectures the 53 year old hero and tells him that after thirty years of therapy, she is doing just fine. She tells him that he is the one with the problem because my hero turns down intimacy with the heroine because of the label in his head, not anything genuinely true about her. It is about Jessica's struggle to shed a label in this case and I can tell you after thirty years the frustration level is high.

Many writers use labels with contextual definitions to set up a character precisely for the purpose of putting them through the change later. If the character is labelled and described as a "nice guy" or a "good woman", a reader typically picks up the book knowing full well that the label is going to be ripped away at some point in the story.

Maybe the labels we choose in real life function the same for us. At some point in the story of our lives, they'll be ripped away. Then we're like those cans of food in my practical joke, uniform on the outside, but quite different on the inside. If all the cans in the pantry look the same, there's really only one method of discovery.

My mother was mad at me for a very, very long time.


If you haven't read it yet and are interested, Carved In Stone is on sale during the month of November for .99 cents.

Here are several links to where it can be purchased and downloaded (Kobo hasn't adjusted the price yet, but it should happen soon):

Amazon, Smashwords, Barnes and Noble, Apple (via iBooks), Sony, Kobo