Thursday, January 29, 2009

Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?

I was going through my stack of "Writer's Digest" magazines and in the Dec. 2008 issue I read an article on pacing which included a reference to "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?" It's a short story by Joyce Carol Oates, one that I hadn't read in years. I wanted to read it again but decided to watch the movie adaptation first, "Smooth talk" which came out in 1986.

I remember the movie for Laura Dern's excellent performance as Connie, the angst filled teenager. Treat Williams played Arnold Friend, the smooth talking seducer. The original story was set in the 1950's and the film takes place in eighties.

Oates based her story on serial killer Charles Schmid, also known as "The Pied Piper of Tucson," a man who seduced and murdered teenage girls. The smooth talking, manipulative and menacing predator knows just how to persuade Connie, the young, beautiful and rebellious teen who is having problems with her family. It's a story with so many facets and Connie's unexpected heroism at the end will stick in your mind.

Watch the film for Laura Dern's performance, read the original story for all the many layers and facets.

You can find it on line at:

Friday, January 23, 2009

E-books versus Paper

I thought about adding the Kindle to my Christmas wish list last year but I never did. The urge to try it out just wasn't strong enough despite all the advantages being touted. They say it's lighter than a paperback, 10.3 ounces, it will download a book in a minute and it looks like a real book. It would make traveling easier, I usually cart around at least six or seven books, not to mention the magazines and papers.

I love new gadgets and toys, why doesn't this one spark my interest? Maybe I've just been a reader too long. I love the feel of a book in my hands, the various sizes and shapes, the heft of each tome. The covers fascinate me, as do the pages and fonts. Because I've done some writing I know the work that goes into each story and I believe each one deserves the individuality of its own carefully crafted volume.

Electronic books are here to stay and I welcome them. They're great in their own way, easier to search through if you're doing research. Less expensive too, once you buy the reader. Many writers wouldn't be published without them. E-Publishers will take on new writers that a mainstream publisher won't.

I'm just not ready. Maybe next Christmas...

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

An Historic Day

I ended my stay at the beach with lots of football. Both my teams lost, first the Eagles, then the Ravens, but we had lots of fun watching them lose.

Now I feel like I'm in a time warp. After driving three hours from Camp Swampy South, through the snow, I arrived home and it was Christmas all over again. I haven't been home since New Year's Eve and most of the decorations are still up - and probably will be for a few more days.

I have two weeks worth of mail to go through. Mostly bills, but there are books to be read and reviewed - can't wait to dig into those. And of course today is Barack Obama's inauguration as U.S. President and I'm watching along with everyone else in the country.

So everything else is on hold, even my writing, as I watch history being made.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow

Yesterday was a glorious day here at Camp Swampy South, temperatures in the forties, sun and little wind.

I sent out two short stories and felt very pleased with myself. It takes me quite awhile to edit my work; I'm forever tweaking and fine-tuning. So as I emailed the second one I decided to reward myself with some shopping and a walk on the beach.

I went to my favorite stores, number one being the Hallmark store which sells a gazillion magazines and books. The last thing I need is more books; of the six I brought with me I've only finished two. But I was entitled to a reward so I settled for magazines and the local papers.

The walk was just what I needed, chilly but invigorating. There is nothing like walking along the sand, feeling the sea air on your face and chatting with the sea gulls.

I'm so glad I took advantage of it yesterday because today is gray and although I don't mind a gray ocean, I take it as a sign I should be writing. It's never a good idea to procrastinate after submitting something. If you stop it's that much harder to get started again.

So here I am back at the computer and looking out the sliders at a very achromatic seascape.

I posted a new picture because the weather report says: "The sun will come out, tomorrow, bet your bottom dollar that tomorrow there'll be sun."

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Sunrise at the Beach

I woke around 7:25 AM and the sun was coming up. It was gorgeous and I watched for awhile before falling back to sleep. When I woke again it was 9 AM and sunny, just a beautiful morning - perfect for taking a walk along the beach.

I should have gone right out. Instead I made coffee and checked email. Big mistake. The sun is now hidden behind gray clouds and I can hear the wind blowing - sometimes at 40 mph.

So I will write instead. I did quite well yesterday, edited three chapters of my first draft which is finally finished. Maybe it will calm down later and I'll venture outside...

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Out With The Old ...

A Cup of Comfort has launched a new website, forum and blog. The site looks fantastic and you can read about how the series was born.

Paula Munier, then senior editor at Adams Media, developed the concept -
"Anthologies of slice-of-life stories about the extraordinary experiences of ordinary people—the kind of personal stories that people who care about one another share with one another over a warm cup of soothing beverage." Veteran writer and editor Colleen Sell was chosen as the Cup of Comfort anthologist and the first book was published in October 2001 - "A Cup of Comfort: Stories that Warm Your Heart, Lift Your Spirit, and Enrich Your Life."

Read more here:

Cup of Comfort

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy 2009

I can't believe it's 2009. Where did the year go?

We intended to welcome the new year in at the beach with a quiet dinner, a bottle of wine and Dick Clark. Well you know how that goes ... the best laid plans, yada, yada, yada.

I got in at 4 pm yesterday, the winds were blowing at 40 mph and the elevator was kaput. We're on the fourth floor. So I shlepped my laptop up the stairs while trying not to get blown away. The first thing I did was turn the heat up. When the thermostat didn't move after one hour I called hubby. He tells me to be patient, it takes a long time to heat up the condo.

Well to make a long story short, he arrived at 7 pm. I was on the sofa, in my coat and gloves, and the thermostat still read 59. Then I'm not looking so crazy. After making a few calls we spent New Year's Eve with the elevator repair man and the guy fixing the heater. Not exactly romantic but after polishing off the wine who cared, besides we had heat again.

So I'm settling in for some R & R - riting and more riting.

Oh and btw a lucky winner in Plano Texas is getting a copy of "A Cup of Comfort for Divorced Women."

Happy New Year one and all!!