TT: Let there be light
Wednesday, April 30, 2008, 10:29 PM

I'm nuts about shoes, books, chocolate, coffee...and lamps. I luh-huuuuve sparkly light. It's amazing what they can do with a little metal and plastic and glass these days, you know?

And so I give you lamps. Chandeliers. Wall sconces. Funky, psychedelic, and smacking of ambiance; totally a product of the creator's imagination.

My favorite is the flicker floor lamp (the second photo). I grew up with this lamp. It was passed on to my mom by someone, and now it's mine. It's a pain to dust, but totally worth the time.

I love the green disc chandelier. I took a photo of it from the side, and then directly underneath. Pretty fricken cool.











































































































































































This is it for me. Don't forget to turn the lights out tonight...

10 Did the Unhingey Jiggy Engage in Unhingenosity
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What now?
Sunday, April 27, 2008, 2:26 PM

I'm a monkey-bark laughing action doll. Come see.


10 Did the Unhingey Jiggy Engage in Unhingenosity
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Dang, are you there, God?
Thursday, April 24, 2008, 9:26 PM

* I've noticed that my story characters are always saying oh God. I wonder what this means?
If Thou don't repent soon, thou be damned. And stop bothering-ith Me. Every time thou think or write oh, God, it's an infringement on My tyme.

* Why is the warning May cause drowsiness printed on sleeping pill bottles?
Thou dost not often operate at full brain capacity.


* The lid on my jug of milk is stuck. It wont friggen budge. I tore off the lip, just like you're supposed to in the real world, and had a bowl of Cherrios. A day later I tried to unscrew the lid on the jug and all it did was spin. I tried popping the lid off, sawing it off with a steak knife, and threatening it with blue lingo. I can't get it off.
The milk be tainted. Drink it and thou shalt regret it, sinner.


* I wonder if it's somehow noteworthy that I've had two TVs die in the last six months. Maybe it's another sign from You?
Watching television is a lazy sin. Thou shalt be sharing thou's talent with others. Only in a MUCH less sinful way.


* http://speedtest.10-fast-fingers.com/
I type 74 words a minute while less-than-sober.
Thou hath no idea, sinner, until thou have had to chisle thou's message in stone.


* Almost every day on my way home, I see the elderly lady with the cane. Small step, cane klunk. Small step, cane clunk. For every one step I take, she takes three. She wears a scarf around her head like I remember my Grandma doing when it rained in the seventies, no matter how hot it is. There's just something about this elderly lady that worries me. I always have a smile for her, but she rarely raises her head to meet my eyes.
She is thou's Guardian Angel on borrowed tyme. I don't know why We botherith.


* Why couldn't I just have been born a genius?
Thou barely made slug status last century, sinner.

* Sometimes my kitchen faucet goes drip, drip, drip and I have to stop whatever it is I'm doing to make it stop. It doesn't happen all the time--not even most of the time. So what makes it happen at all?
'Tis the locusts or the faucet drip. Repent now, sinner.

* I often wonder if I can force myself to be optimistic--to see the good side of something scary, sad or personally inciteful. And if I manage to project this image, would I feel as weak as I perceive the eternal optimists to be?
Thou must find thou's own answers. Don't involve Me.


* I cannot tell the difference between a Puffs kleenex or a Kleenex kleenex.
Thou talents lie in other areas.


7 Did the Unhingey Jiggy Engage in Unhingenosity
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Do you work here?
Tuesday, April 22, 2008, 6:19 PM

I've been without a TV for a while now after my second one died, and I'm going through withdrawal, so I came home and Googled Best Buy. What I found was a youtube link showing a group of 80 people known as Improv Everywhere parading around a New York Best Buy store while wearing employee attire colors--just people off the street dressed in blue shirts and khaki pants.

Can you imagine that many blue shirts at your local Best Buy? Eighty extra blue shirts in addition to the store's own blue shirts?

What if you went up to one of the blue shirts and started to ask a question, then realized halfway through that there was no yellow badge of identification on their shirt? (What if you didn't notice?) Said one of the store's customers:

“Everyone in this [bleepy-bleep] store is wearing a blue shirt and nobody knows a thing!”




It's even better if you check out the blog entry FIRST and then watch the youtube video. Me? I saw the video, laughed, read the blog entry, watched the video again and laughed all over again.

Funny as hell. I loved it!

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7 Did the Unhingey Jiggy Engage in Unhingenosity
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Photo Flash: Rounds
Sunday, April 20, 2008, 5:35 PM

Once a week, the girls at Writer's Retreat come up with a short story known as a flash based only on a photo.

~*~*~*~

Title: Rounds
Wordcount: 525

Hellfire rose in Shannon’s belly as slowly, sensuously, Dev moved his hands under the bottom of her shirt. Goosebumps followed the path of his fingers, all the way up to her breasts, which suddenly felt too big for her bra. A strangled sound came from her throat when he touched her. She forgot the discomfort of sitting on the ground, the feeling of rough bark against her back. Nobody told her being touched like this was—

“Let me,” he whispered, his breath soft against her ear.

Oh, God.

She’d had a crush on him since the sixth grade, ever since he’d snapped the strap of her training bra. In the seventh grade, she’d admired his jeans, so tight he had to unzip them to sit down. When they were sophomores, he’d chucked her under the chin and told her she baked muffins like rocks and she’d wasted an entire day hating him and crying about it.

Let me stop loving him, she'd prayed to God. Please. I’ll do anything, even stop masturbating.

Love from a distance hurt. The childish obsession with him had morphed from fun to anguish. Enough was enough, wasn’t it?

The movie Kill Bill was an inspiration. Life as she’d known it before had been set on its ear and kicked to the cosmos. In an all Hell-breaking-loose situation, she wanted Uma Thurman’s certainty of spirit, strength and courage. Prowess with the sword couldn’t hurt, either. So she began taking private lessons in Kendo, learning the art of the sword. Over the years--ichi, ni, san--her body grew lean and tight.

Two weeks ago, almost five years after she thought she'd forgotten him, Shannon had beaten Dev in her first Kendo competition. The two of them had been dry-throated at facing each other across the floor; the world of Kendo was small outside of Japan, although the sport had grown since Kill Bill's success. It had been a toss up on who was more surprised to see who.

And weird how life turned out, she thought.

Now, Dev’s lips touching feather-soft at the corner of her mouth brought a lump to her throat. Crazy to think that winning that competition would finally catch his attention. Was she dreaming?

Slowly, as if he savored the contact, Dev began kissing his way across her lips and she felt her mouth quiver. His fingers shifted against her chin, the tip of his thumb massaging her lower lip in a soft, downward motion. She felt the palm of his hand at her neck and the tips of his fingers played across her heated cheek. His hand moved up to cup the base of her head, a gentle yet firm affirmation that she was his.

Her mouth parted in an excited gasp, and his tongue slipped between her lips, his mouth demanding. Growling, she shoved at him, and he forced his tongue inside her mouth again, over and over in a mimic of sex. Not wanting to be dominated, she stiffened and bit his tongue. He withdrew, but only far enough to bite her bottom lip in retaliation.

She wasn’t going to win this round.

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14 Did the Unhingey Jiggy Engage in Unhingenosity
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Muse
Tuesday, April 15, 2008, 3:30 PM

For the Flash Fiction Carnival, a 693-word story using the elements: earth, air, water, fire (spirit).

Muse

Sensation came slowly, beginning in a curl of warmth at Marikita’s feet that tickled. She inhaled, feeling the passage of air inside her body and out. A strand of her hair loosened and blew across her face and her breathing quickened in reaction. The warmth came with more force now, racing upwards and inside, shocking in its intensity because there was nothing before it. If she could, she might have pushed it away. What was happening?


It's time, Marikita. Your turn.

For some reason, the voice gentled Mari’s fright to wary curiosity. Were her questions not going to be ignored this time? Was she really going to feel what it was like to be human?

Her left ankle broke free of restraint in burst of aqua sparks, a moment that would surely have caught the attention of watchers. In a place where movement was nonexistent, there was nothing now to hold her motionless. Her arm stretched outward in a rainbow of color. Midnight, indigo, violet, magenta. She named them as they streaked outwards, dropping silver stars in their wake that went plink, plink, plink as they hit the ground and floated back up to her.

Catch me, they said. Catch me if you can.

She tried and fell outside of her world into a new one. Gasping her first cry of pain at the sting of her cheek against rough cement, she pushed herself up on arms that trembled and squinted her eyes under the bright intensity of Helios.

The sun. The star around which the earth revolves, she thought. Information was everywhere, she just had to think about it—

Marikita brought the palm of her hand against the hurt cheek. Pain was new. Feeling how gritty the dirt was from the ground was new.

As she stood on her bare feet, she lifted her chin and spun in a circle with arms out flung. She could feel. She was here. Alive.

The air smelled like rain. No, wait. The ground was wet. So this was what it smelled like after a rain in early spring: loamy, earthy, baked warmth. Little droplets of moisture on the wind dropped onto her tongue. She asked for more and sprinkles became heavy dollops that wet the top of her head. One hit her forehead between her eyebrows. She laughed and straightened, crossing her eyes to watch it roll down her nose to the tip, where she caught the drop with her tongue as it fell.

No rules applied here. It was like being suspended in time, but no one else was here. She frowned, then thought of Ram. A gust of wind stirred the long white skirt against the back of her legs. Her hair, also white, blinded her until she turned into the wind.

Ram stood in front of her, looking perplexed at being called in such a way. His eyes, the color of fire when angry, met hers. His confusion dissolved and the wind lessened, then stopped. He reached for her, knowing just as she did that this was their chance to be together. His fingertips against her skin familiarized her with the feeling of warmth again. A different kind of warmth, one that made Ram look as surprised as she felt.

His hands lowered to the sides of her waist before he picked her up and brought her body against his. Mari wrapped her legs around his waist and he slowly bent his face to hers. He had a beautiful mouth, wide and tilting up slightly at the corners. She divided her attention between his eyes and his mouth, her impatience.

His lips were soft and hesitant against hers, but the glow of their fierce attraction and the means to finally act upon it was real. A gift. She broke the kiss, but kept her hand against his face.

“We have all the time in the world for this one time,” she said.

~*~*~*~

She turns and smiles at me before she disappears with Ram against the glow. I stare at the screen and laugh a little, but I don't know why I'm surprised. Marikita's still with me. She always has been. I just have to know how to listen to her.

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18 Did the Unhingey Jiggy Engage in Unhingenosity
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My imagination
Saturday, April 12, 2008, 12:16 PM

I've been tagged by Kaige over at Impulsive Hearts. I usually cave and become the tag-ee because the guilt, oh the guilt. It killith me if I don't-ith. Besides, Kaige is a good egg and I'm learning a lot by reading her website. So thanks, Kaige. I hope you win big bucks this weekend in Vegas.

Hah! Eden is tagging me and Morgan is hinting to tag me. Beat 'cha! Here are your answers, goils.

~*~*~*~

You’re feeling: Chapped-lippy--my lips hurt--and anxited (anxious+excited) to attack the writing projects I have this weekend. A photo-flash, an elements flash, and a rough and dirty synopsis of my WIP. (Poor Diana.)

To your left: Jokers to the left of me, clowns to the right of me...okay, no. There's a wall there with one of my nifty red curtain panels.

On your mind: Xanadu, black and white photos, the thought of a second cup of coffee

Last meal included: Prime rib peppercorn sandwich from Quiznos. Um, um, um, tasty.

You sometimes find it hard to: Enjoy who I am and not wish I was like someone else.

The weather: In L.A., it's always sunny. The sky is a gorgeous blue and I haven't seen a cloud anywhere. But dang, we went from wonderful spring temps in the mid-70s to the mid-80's yesterday and today it's supposed to be almost 90. That's too dang hot, dang it, dang it.

Something you have a collection of: Photos of feet; La Femme Nikita CDs and DVDs; the corny-but lovable Chicken Soup for the Soul books. Hey, I'm a sap and proudith of it.

A smell that cheers you up: Chocolate chip cookies in the oven

A smell that can ruin your mood: Someone's bad breath

How long since you last shaved: Two days ago (but I Nair my legs, it's great)

The current state of your hair: Just a-hanging

The largest item on your desk/workspace (not computer): My stack of reference books on martial arts, mind manipulation and writerly tips for when I get stuck--I love Monica Wood's Description

Your skill with chopsticks: Non-existent--I use the training wheels or a fork

Which section do you head for first in a bookstore: Romance, of course, then I mosey on over to the thrillers and general fiction

Something you’re craving: Cheese, crusty bread that's soft in the middle

Your general thoughts on the presidential race: I'm hoping for Obama

How many times have you been hospitalized this year: Zero and hopefully it stays that way

Favorite place to go for a quiet moment: My wee studio apartment, but I wish it was the beach (it's too far away and always packed with people)

You’ve always secretly thought you’d be a good: Life counselor and motivator--I'm not always so good with myself, not always my own best friend when I need to be--but I think I'd be able to listen to someone else and help in that regard.

Something that freaks you out a little: Thong panties (butt floss as DiAnne would say), bellybutton lint, dead fish

Something you’ve eaten too much of lately: Bread (but I loves it, I loves it, help me)

You have never: Run a marathon--don't wanna, either

You never want to: Same as Kaige--get up early in the morning--I'm no birdy, I'm a night owl

The five people I’m tagging: Alice, DiAnne, Ian, Liz and Zivanka. Hup to it.

~*~*~*~

Something long overdue:

My wildly goofy gratitude to Gwen, Katherine and Noony, who chose my digs for an Excellent Blog Awardith. Group hug! And I monominate you right backith, too.

19 Did the Unhingey Jiggy Engage in Unhingenosity
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A good place to kill someone
Monday, April 07, 2008, 8:45 PM

For my birthday celebration, I want to go here.

It's something different, and we should all get to experience something different on our birthday. (Click the graphic and go see what it's about.)

When I told an online writer friend about this place, she said, "It'd be a good place to kill someone."

So now I really have to go because yeah, it would be a freakingly cool place to off somebody. But first I have to get a feel for the atmosphere.

Everything is research.

Note to self: Bring a pair of night vision goggles

Disclaimer to others: I'm a writer. I'm not advocating murder at Opaque or any other dark dining restaurant, pinky swear.

23 Did the Unhingey Jiggy Engage in Unhingenosity
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Romance that thrives in dark places
Sunday, April 06, 2008, 4:40 PM

On April 7, 2008, boot camp, aka The Mentorshop Program, begins for 30 writing mentees, compliments of Romance Divas.
I’ll be one of the mentees.

Diana Castilleja (pronounced kah-stee-yeh-ha), a multi-award winning writer of romantic suspense, contemporary suspense, fantasy and paranormal suspense, is going to be my mentor.

Since 2004, she’s written over 15 novels. That’s over three books a year. I figure if anyone can help me overcome my afraid-to-write-itous, it’s going to be this southern belle of Texas.

She also has great hair.

What follows is an interview with my mentor, whose first published romantic suspense, Ice Cream In The Snow, drove her over the ice cream counter to the dark side.

Yeah, I know. Who'da thunk?

And now, on with the show.

Romance that thrives in dark places

-> First things first. I need to know how evil you really are. Please take the How Evil Are You test.

28.8% evil.

Very funny! Although, how I can be accidentally anything is an interesting problem.

-> What, besides wanting to give back to the community that’s given so much to you, made you want to mentor a fledgling writer?
It's more than just giving back to the community. I was told a lot of wrong information in the very beginning and as I found the right people to talk to, learned the right information. I'd like to have my mentee avoid those first errors, or just learn from mine. They were pretty classic.
-> How classic?
I've stretched myself out too thin on many occasions. I've been on the inside with a publisher, more heavily involved and it was too much for me. I stopped writing. I stopped being just an author. You have to have limits. The limits change and grow as you do, but you can't press at them and expect things to not break.
-> How many drafts did you write of Ice Cream In The Snow before it was picked up?
Ice Cream had about four serious revisions to it, with mild tinkers in between. It was the first book I attacked a crit group with and they helped me get through it quite well. It didn't appeal to the agent market at the time because it was contemporary and rather short for single title. I didn't know about the category market at the time, and the lack of sex in it also created problems. But it fit really well in the e-publishing market.
-> How many months or years passed from the time you first subbed Ice Cream to the critique group before it was picked up by Forbidden Publications?
From the time the critique group was working and done on Ice Cream, to being contracted by Forbidden Publications, was no more than six months, as close as I can remember.
-> Would you say your first publication experience was a great opportunity, or a learning opportunity?
They would have to be both. I learned so much from my first publisher. Editing, training my eyes to pick up mistakes, marketing. I've also accepted that there's some work that is great for e-publishing and some that should be tried with New York first. It's a constantly evolving process.
-> Would you give an example of something that should be tried with a New York house, as opposed to an e-publisher?
Length is an issue, because shorter (less than 15,000) won't be picked up by New York. Over 15K-50K would be good for an anthology. It's not cost effective to do short. For New York, many prefer a recognizable formula: guy meets girl, guy loses girl, guy gets girl back. Alpha males are preferred to beta males in New York, where in e-publishing the range is wide open for the story, not the formula.
-> You are a co-founder of Sweeter Romantic Notions, a group that promotes the non-erotic writer. Is this because you see a trend of an erotic prerequisite in the romance genre?

Sweeter Romantic Notions, or SRN, was created because when I first published I really felt like I was the Lone Ranger when it came to non-erotic writing. This was before The Wild Rose Press, and a few others that have since created a viable and lucrative market for non-erotic writing. I write from no-sex sweet to strong sensual without the graphicness that can be found in erotic writing. A lot of readers don't know that non-erotic writing, especially quality writing, can even be found. SRN has filled that need for both authors and readers.
-> What do you feel your strengths as a writer are? Weaknesses?
My strengths? I apparently have really good, three-dimensional characters. Several of my readers have pointed this out. I love good description, feeling the emotion, the environment is important to me.
-> This is wonderful news for me, as your mentee.
My weaknesses? I have to admit to that too, huh? I have a horrible internal editor. I have a wonderful muse. They don't work well together. My editor is exceedingly critical of everything I write. Too much, too little, have you used that word this chapter?

It's endless. It takes real work to push him out of the room.
-> Name the first book that redefined the world as you knew it.
I would say probably Bambi was one of the first books that meant something to me. I was probably seven or so. I still have that book. I've read a lot over the years, but it's hard to pinpoint just one that had that great of an impact on me.
-> What's the worst advice about writing that you've ever received? (Bonus: When did you realize the advice sucked?)
I wouldn't say it's been the worst advice, but very probably the worst suggestion I ever received. Do not follow the lure blindly, to make a fast track to be published in print. I've been asked to join with at least two maybe four, different publishers because it was the "thing to do". My gut told me otherwise.

With one I knew I was right when they went out of business, another when I read their contract and found things I would not accept.
-> Now offset that with the best advice you’ve received.
Read. Read the style and genre books you want to write. Read craft books to learn the basics. Read for fun, read to learn, to study, to analyze. A writer who doesn't read can grow stagnate.
-> You've won more than a couple of awards for your writing. Which one means the most to you and why?
There's nothing like being labeled a Recommended Read. Even if it's the only time for that story, or from the reviewer/reader. Someone liked it so much that they gave it their highest honor at the moment. It really means a lot to me when someone "gets" my story, or that something I've written or done has touched them. It's an incredible feeling.
~*~*~*~

Diana's vampire series novels will be published in book form by Tease Publications. Book one, The Eternal Kiss, is scheduled for release the summer of 2008.

A wee peek, because it's too charming not to share:
“Centuries? There's that word again. Just how old are you?” Her hands pushed on his hard chest, trying to keep perspective. To keep space. It was impossible to think when he was holding her so tight.

“I did the math once. I believe this year, I would be four hundred and eighty-six. Give or take a few months.”

“Oh boy,” she breathed. “You are so robbing the cradle with me.”

15 Did the Unhingey Jiggy Engage in Unhingenosity
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Thursday Thirteen: PINK
Wednesday, April 02, 2008, 9:10 PM

I meant to do this last Thursday and forgot. Life and all, you know.

Since this week's version of TT is a bit risky, I'm not promoting it at the usual sites. I'm just going to share it here for your viewing pleasure.

We'll start at the top and move clockwise into a swirl...until we come to the hammer, which will conclude our visit of all things pink in this house.

1. My pink tool case. (Thanks, Becky!)

2. Britney Spears' FANTASY perfume (yeah, I can hardly believe this one myself, but I was seduced by the sweet smell and the pretty bottle).

3. If you have a great imagination and a libido, who says you need a man? Compliments of The Pleasure Chest. Yes, it vibrates.

4. Pink-handled scissors. I would never. No, never. But it made for a great photo.

5. Would you believe it's an ice tray from Kinkos? Water comes out of it in frozen sticks. One has to be careful not to get it up the nose.

6. Pliers. I never use 'em.

7. Like an Exacto knife, only skinnier, and with a pink handle.

8. Hot pink glass vase from Oogie Dearest. I've had it for almost ten years. There's nothing inside of it--the glass is just crinkly-looking.

9. My pink sneaker shoe necklace (it's around the neck of the vase). I also have one in purple. Click on the photo to see it better.

10. The Pretty In Pink VHS movie. I've had this forever, too. I've been told I am the female version of Duckie. Besides, I love Andrew McCarthy, James Spader, and Molly Ringwald.

11. Screw driver. Phelps? Phillips? Stewart? Who cares.

12. Ditto. See above.

13. My hamma! My pink hamma of looooove. It's small, compact and pahhhnk. I use it to break through the ice in my prehistoric ding-dang freezer.

Um hmmmm.

28 Did the Unhingey Jiggy Engage in Unhingenosity
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