Fictional Crushes

I think innocent crushes are natural for most people, but for a romantic like me they are abundant.  In this celebrity and media crazed world it’s practically impossible not to crush on the beautiful people we see every day.  That sexy smirk of Robert Downey Jr. or the crystal blue eyes of Bradley Cooper or Jake Gyllenhaal or Zac Efron (can you tell I got carried away on Google Images of blue-eyed celebrities??).

However, the crushes I want to talk about aren’t on the screen, but between the pages.  While these men might be gorgeous, it isn’t their looks that make our hearts beat double-time.  It’s how they fall utterly and irrecoverably in love with their heroine.  It’s how they try to protect their own heart, but give it freely in the end.  It’s all the little moments their heroine doesn’t see and the few they do. After I read a book I usually have this moment where I sigh and just bask in everything I’ve just read.  Sometimes it even takes me a day or two to move away from the world I’d just immersed myself in, but this time I fell so hard for a hero that even a year later I can still think of him and get a goofy grin on my lips.  I’m talking about the Young Adult novels in the Summer Series by Jenny Han – The Summer I Turned Pretty, It’s Not Summer Without You, We’ll Always Have Summer.  And all I can say is…Conrad!!!!  *insert sigh and dreamy expression here*

Before he even physically appeared on the page I was in love with him.  When Belly said she wanted to make him hers, I was hooked (which is work of a talented author) and I wasn’t going to stop reading until I knew what was going to happen.  I read all three books in less than two days.  There were several things throughout the three books that just made me fall more and more in love with him.  I don’t want to be spoilery so I’ll just say if you haven’t read this series, do it!  They are great summer beach reads and I just might have to reread them on my upcoming beach vacation.  Or maybe I’ll just have to read them now…le sigh.

Happy Reading!





A Case of the Bright Shinys

I was shocked to discover that I hadn’t posted an entry here in two months.

Where the hell have I been?

April and May proved extremely busy in my personal life then I went straight into a vacation in June.  Now I’m back and things have slowed, but back to my question:   Where have I been?  In my own head, mostly.

New stories have popped in and shown off their bright, shiny newness effectively luring me away from the WIP that will never end.  Their story lines are brilliant and sexy.  The hero is lost and brooding.  The heroine is kick-ass and witty.  The allure to abandon current story was overwhelming, but I resisted.  I’ve escaped their clutches for now and I’m happily (yes, happily!) working on my WIP.  My case of the bright shinys was apparently just what my little romantic heart needed to refuel.  I can feel the light at the end of the tunnel now and it’s about damn time!


What is that number, you ask?

That is the number of words I’ve written on my current WIP (that is the documented number, the actual number is probably well over 200,000).  No, I don’t have one huge novel.  I don’t even have a complete novel.  That is the number of words I’ve written over the last 2 years and 7 months on many, many versions of the same story.  The amount is equivalent to two novels.  So, I’ve written two whole books just get to the half way point of what should be my final version of this story.

One one hand it utterly depresses me that I’ve written so much on one (incomplete) story.  On the other hand, during those 2 years and 7 months I went through an emotional pregnancy then the birth and baby stages of my son who turns two this month.  I’m actually pretty impressed I got so much done with all that going on.  But the fact still is, I should be done by now.  I’m giving myself one month to get it done.  One month!  No excuses!  My poor characters deserve their happy ending!

What’s on my Kindle…

I’ve organized my Kindle by creating the romance categories/folders: Historicals, Contemporaries, and Novellas.  While on vacation, I read contemporary romance novel and after I was finished I went to add the book to my Contemporary folder and noticed I only had 4 novels in it.  That didn’t seem right, surely I’d read more contemporary novels than that in the few years I’ve had my e-reader (and actually I probably did, but when I got my Kindle Touch over Christmas I did delete some books off the device).  So, I flipped over to the Historical folder and I had over twenty books there.  It was a bit of a surprise to find how many the historicals outnumbered the contemporaries.  Last year, I kept a spreadsheet of all the books I’d read and today I went back to my list and marked the genre of every book.  Out of the 59 books I read in 2011 there were: 40 historicals, 14 contemporaries and 5 eroticas.  It seems I’m quite the heavy historical reader right now.  That wasn’t always the case.  I know if you were to look at my bookcase, (which sadly is gone and all my books are in boxes until I can find the space to properly display them again) I believe you would find more contemporary romances than anything else.  So, I wonder what has changed?

Is it because I write contemporary and like the escape of historicals?  Is it because historicals have gotten hotter than they used to be (I tend to like my romance with a good amount of spice)?  Or are historicals more accessible or prevalent in e-format?  Or am I just seeking them out more?  I think the answer is a mixture of all those things. 

While some historicals (especially Regencies) can all blend together at times, I think it is just nice to escape into another world, another time, for a little while.  I believe the societal rules of those times not only provide a jumping point for conflict, but (for me) it is fascinating to see how the characters live within in those rules and, especially, how they break them.  I have more thoughts on that, but I’ll save that for another post.

What’s more prevalent on your bookshelf or e-reader?  Do the genres of your e-books vary from your paperbacks?

Vacation Decompress

Most go on vacation to decompress, but I have come to learn that a vacation with small children is far from relaxing.  It’s actually much more work. 

We went to the happiest place on Earth, Walt Disney World.  We have The Girl who is five and The Boy who is almost 2.  Normally, I wouldn’t dare a WDW vacation with a child so young, but we have family in Florida which makes the trip easier.  The Girl loved Magic Kingdom as she is a big princess fan.  The Boy enjoyed it about as much as a child his age would.  There’s one thing you should know about my children, falling asleep in strollers have never been their thing.  The Boy didn’t even like sitting in the stroller so he moved from one set of arms to another – all 25 pounds of him.  By the last day of our vacation, we were thoroughly tired of playing pass the baby.  Despite the challenges, we did have a wonderful time and I can’t wait to visit again.

For a romantic like me, Disney World is like the mothership calling me home.  It’s the place where dreams come true and it’s full of happily ever afters.  How coud I not get completely caught up in the magic that is Disney?  So, naturally, I’d hoped I would come back from the vacation with extra inspiration and motivation.  Alas, no.  After such a long writing break and the craziness that is traveling with children, I feel more disconnected from my story than ever.  I know I just need to get back into the swing of things, but first I must decompress from my vacation.

A Bit of Randomness

I told myself that I would work harder at blogging every week and here it is, 18 days since my last post.  So, here’s a bit of what’s been happening in my world.

I’ve been exercising almost every day.  I love Wii Zumba, but I’m fairly certain I look like a complete idiot while doing it.

While Champagne and I love each other, we really don’t mix well.  It is something I’ve known since 1999, but conveniently forget whenever I’m in the presence of the intoxicating bubbly.  I will endeavor to remember from now on.

My mother visited and not only did I get a date night with my hubby, but I got two dates with my computer and some much needed writing time.  I also had a lunch date with my mother then we sat in the third row and watched the awesomeness that is Wicked.  If you haven’t seen this play then you must find a way to do so.  It’s funny and touching and just plain amazing.

I’m kicking ass on my revisions.  I’ve had a particularly good day today.  I’m so pumped I hope to get in some more writing before the day is done.

That’s it for the high points (and low, ahem, evil Champagne) from the last 18 days.  Until next time…

Step Away From the Book

It takes a lot for me to put down a book before I’ve finished it.  The writing has to be beyond bad or a character has to seriously piss me off.  Being an eternal optimist, I will hang onto a story I’m not particularly enjoying and hope that it’ll get better (which it never does).  But it gets worse than that.  Many romance novels these days are part of a series which is where side characters from one book will get their own book and romance.  Yes, I will buy the next book in a series even if I didn’t like the first book just out of sheer curiosity of the next character’s story.  I have a problem.

Last year I bought a free or .99 book on my Kindle and I wasn’t particularly fond of the characters, but the premise of the next book sounded promising (plus there was a small story arc that was being continued) so I bought it.  It was worse than the first book.  The characters and story weren’t nearly as interesting as the back cover blurb made it sound.  By then though there was a side character in the books that truly intrigued me.  He was, of course, the dark mysterious, brooding type that I just love in my romance heroes, but his story was the last in the series.  So what did I do?  I bought the third book just so I could get to the fourth (yes, I have to read a series in order.  I’m OCD like that).  Third book wasn’t interesting at all to me as the characters didn’t appeal, but my brooding hero became even more intriguing.  So, I finally got to his book and…yeah, it fell flat just like the previous books (though I believe I liked that one the best).  In the end, I willingly spent money on books I knew I wouldn’t like just so I could see how all the characters got their happily ever after.  I’m such a sucker. 

And I’m doing it again.

I recently read a book that had me feeling absolutely nothing.  I wasn’t able to really care for the characters.  I didn’t feel the attraction at all and this is all because the author was telling instead of showing which kept me from truly engaging with the characters.  But I’d bought the second book in the series when I’d bought the first so I went ahead and read it.  The connection was not there at all, but there were story elements in both books that interested me and a story thread that continues to the third and final book.  I know I will not like that book.  I know it will be a waste of money.  But, damn it, I’m curious as to how the story will play out.  My optimistic side is clinging to that curiosity, telling me it might be better this time.  It’s oh so tempting to find out.  But, no!  I won’t do it.  Courtney, step away from the book!

Awkward and slow, but promising

After a night of interrupted sleep, I woke an hour later than I’d planned and rushed to get out the door for my date with my netbook.  I have to say it was an awkward start. 

After I had my much-needed Americano in hand and my netbook was fired up from its month’s sleep, we just stared at each other blankly.  I had no idea where to begin.  I couldn’t even remember how I’d left things.  My whole story seemed to blank from my mind.  But after a few wasted moments, I took in a deep breath and start thinking on all the tweaks I wanted to make from my month break and my story came slowly back to me (it probably didn’t hurt that the caffeine started to kick in too). 

After making a few notes my friend and fellow writer, Shellee Roberts, showed up and provided a welcome distraction from my date.  We spent almost an hour talking of much more interesting things than my story, like her current work in progress and The Vampire Diaries.  Eventually, I got back to my neglected date and started to write.  I got in one little scene reflecting the changes I wanted to make.  It wasn’t much progress, but it was something.  As I sat there wondering what to tackle next, a light bulb came on.  I figured out the perfect tweak for my story and it made so much sense that I wondered why I hadn’t thought of it sooner.  I’m really excited about this change even if I’m not looking forward to the revisions that need to be made to accommodate it. 

Overall, I think my date went well and was much as I expected it to be – a slow, but promising start back into the groove of writing.  Tomorrow I begin a writing challenge with some fellow writers that will give me just the push and support I need to get through these new changes.

I have a date

Tomorrow morning I have a very exciting date planned at a nearby coffee shop.  It’s with my netbook.  That might not sound very exciting to most, but my netbook and I have been on a break since the end of November and it is time for us to get reacquainted.  

In October and November of last year, I spent many a hour at coffee shops with my netbook writing away to get my manuscript prepared to enter RWA‘s Golden Heart contest.  As soon as the contest was in the mail, my netbook and I parted ways for a much needed break.  With December and all its craziness behind me, it is time to get back into the groove of writing.  Stay tuned to hear how our date went.


Being Better

It’s the start of a new year and I suppose this entry should be all about my goals and resolutions.  I have those.  They are pretty much the same as they always are.  So, this year, instead of making a list of all I’d like to accomplish I’m just going to say I plan to be better.  A better me.  A better wife, mother and writer.  A better friend, daughter and sister.  Just plain better.

I suppose this might seem more daunting than a few specific goals, but I’m just not seeing it that way.  There are always things I want to improve on and this year I’m determined to touch upon them all.   I’m actually very excited about 2012 and when I envision the end of the year I see myself happy with my accomplishments.  I guess you could say that I’m pretty determined to be better. :)