Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Release Your Inner Simpson

This is mine. Yeah, I know. She looks better than I do in real life. But she doesn't get to drive the T-Bird, now does she?

I will admit that I was never a fan of "The Simpsons." When it first started, I had a young child who was struggling in school. I didn't think "Underachiever and proud of it," was an anthem we needed in our home.

But don't have a cow, man!

It was a while before I actually watched the show. When I did, Bart was caught stealing a video game from the local discount store. He was so full of remorse and so frightened by the consequences, that it really was a good message for any kids watching.

Then, too, there's Hank Azaria. I loved him as Nat the Dogwalker on "Mad About You," and he was superb in "The Birdcage." I think he does roughly four thousand different characters on "The Simpsons."

I also love Julie Kavner from her tenure as Rhoda's little sister. I vividly remember an episode in which Rhoda was lamenting that sex and love are not the same thing. Brenda (the character) put her hands over her ears and said, "No! Don't tell me that!" I was at a similar place in my life at the time.

Then there's Yeardley Smith. First off, you gotta love her name. I first noticed her on a short-lived sitcom called "Herman's Head." And she's wonderful as Greg's secretary Marlene on "Dharma and Greg."

So despite my initial reluctance, I have to admit the show is good. The characters are rich and exciting. They certainly outlasted Tracy Ullman.

To create your own Simpsons avatar, visit the movie website.

And don't have a cow.


Friday, July 27, 2007


How did it get to be Friday again so soon? I swear the older I get, the faster time flies. If time even exists at all, what with this Garden Gate Time Portal story I'm writing now. I'm fascinated with how many references to time have come up since I started this. She has Jet Lag. It's afternoon in England when the staff in her New York office are just coming in for the morning. When she sleeps off her Jet Lag, she isn't sure what time it is when she wakes.

Time keeps popping up everywhere. And that's a good thing. Drive that theme home. Yesterday, after spending way too much...well...TIME researching the legal drinking age, I had Star reaching into her wallet to show her ID to the barmaid when...Holy Excellent Adventure, Batman!...she can't do that! She can't show a barmaid in 1962 an ID that shows her birth as 1977!!!

At least I managed to fit it neatly into the plot. Our hero's not stupid. It was just a matter of TIME before he figured out something was really "different" about this girl from America.

Oh, great. Now I have that song from Disney Channel's High School Musical 2 in my head. "What Time Is It?" I think I need to dig out Mick and the Boys because, as we all know, "Time Is on My Side."

What I'm listening to: British Invasion - 36 All Time Greatest Hits
What I'm Reading: KISS ME DEADLY by Susan Kearney

Have a great day!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

A Room with a View

I've been in the office for about two weeks now. My production output seems to me to be higher. I don't know whether that has to do with the surroundings or how much I love the time travel story I'm writing now. Maybe a little of both.

When I was younger and lived in apartments, I was always struck by how quiet it was if I should happen to be home on a week day. Nothing happened until the school buses started arriving mid afternoon. Not so quiet here in the suburbs.

From my vantage point, I can see three full driveways and a couple of partials. At least once a day, a vehicle pulls into one of these for the sole purpose of turning around. I find this odd because my street is a circle. If you just keep going you'll get there anyway.

Much of the traffic passes on foot. There are a handful of young mothers pushing strollers, a half dozen men who jog, but the biggest demographic is the middle-aged woman walking. Some of them go in pairs, some solo. The solo ones usually have music plugged into their ears. I also know which dog walkers pick up and which leave it in my yard. Duly noted.

By far the most interesting group is the working teams. We have yard crews, pool guys, plumbers, cable guys, telephone installers, and dry cleaners. The people next door are having their kitchen remodeled. I wonder whether they know their guy doesn't arrive until at least eleven o'clock. I hope they aren't paying him by the day.

What occurs to me is how easy it would be for a crook to blend into the crowd of strangers passing by and steal someone blind. Maybe I've read too many Bernie the Burglar books (No! There can never be too many! Just in case LB is reading this.) but it seems to me all you would have to do is put on a pair of coveralls, get yourself a nondescript panel truck, and back up into someone's driveway. The only obstacle is getting inside, and we all know Bernie would consider that the easy part of the job.

Well, just in case some criminal mind has already thought of this, my neighbors need not fear. I'm on the job, day in and day out - as long as the blinds don't get stuck in the closed position again.

Have a great day!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Unstuck in Time

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That describes Billy Pilgrim in Kurt Vonnegut's SLAUGHTERHOUSE FIVE. Vonnegut was a great writer, and we'll miss him profoundly. I don't by any means seek to compare my work to literature of his level. But I'm seriously unstuck in time right now.

I thought this little time-travel ditty would be something I knocked out in a couple of days. Turns out, there are an awful lot of things to consider when you move someone back and forth through time. First off, what's the transition like? It can't be easy, or people would be doing it right and left all day long. Wouldn't they?

So I made it kind of physically harrowing, getting worse each time she makes the leap. Now that I have her "over there" again, I'm thinking of leaving her there for a good while. It's just too stressful to go back and forth.

Then there are the changes. If one little teeny tiny thing is different, you have to consider how that impacts other things going forward. (Or backward for that matter). The Butterfly Effect comes into serious play here. You can't have actions without reactions. And consequences.

And if you did go back in time, would you tell the people you see there that you're from the future? If you did, would they believe you? How would you prove it?

So many things to think about. Meanwhile...time keeps on ticking, ticking, ticking...into the future. (Steve Miller Band, "Fly Like an Eagle")

Have a great day!

Monday, July 23, 2007

One More Post about Harry

And then we'll get on with life Post-Harry. How will we cope with nothing to look forward to? I guess we'll have to start over with Book One and go through it again.

There won't be any specific spoilers here, so if you haven't read yet, don't worry. I'm only going to speak in general terms, but there might be a thing or two you don't want to know yet. Nothing major - like who does or doesn't die.

First of all, the party at the bookstore Friday night: I was not the oldest person there by far. I was one of the few who didn't have a child with me, however. The highlight for me occurred at around 11:30. After much announcement of "Go to your lines now" and "Keep the center aisle clear," someone emerged from the stock room with a huge rolling cart piled high with boxes of The Book. The cheer that accompanied that short trip from back to front of the store reminded me of the reception when the football team returned from the Super Bowl victorious.

It was very late when I got home from that, so I only read three chapters before going to sleep. I read most of Saturday and finally finished it Sunday morning. Reading the book was difficult. I wanted to savor it, knowing there would never be another trip to Hogwarts with Harry and friends. But I also wanted to Get To The End! I very much enjoyed the journey. There were a couple of times when I wanted to say, "Get on with it!" But I understand the Dickens philosophy: Make them laugh, make them cry, make them wait.

The ending is extremely satisfying. Everything that I wanted to see happen, happened. Except for that Harry/Hermione thing, but we all knew that wasn't going to be there. All of my questions were answered, and I'm happy with the solutions Ms. Rowling gave me.

Now on to Ms. Rowling herself: She is absolutely brilliant. Every single detail plays a part. Nothing is wasted. She is expert at misdirection - although by Book Seven, I had begun to expect it. Still she fooled me a couple of times.

Two things hit me on Saturday with stunning force. One - I was reading a book that millions of people were reading at the exact same time as me. MILLIONS. That's a pretty amazing realization. Here's the other - the richest person in England is a Writer. A Writer. Think of it. A writer beats out the person who owns all those garish crown jewels and whatnot that have been passed down for a couple of thousand years.

All of this uproar generating billions of dollars, stimulating millions of minds, creating unprecedented media hype - all of this happened because of a writer.

I stand in awe.

Have a great day!

Friday, July 20, 2007

It's Harry Potter Day!

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All right, let's talk about Snape.

First off, it's Alan Rickman. ALAN RICKMAN. The man who single-handedly saved the Robin Hood movie with his brilliant portrayal of The Sheriff of Nottingham. He was great in that. Perhaps a precursor to his position as the creepy potions professor.

But that's just the actor. It's the character who takes center stage today. Sure, I read Book Six. I know what happens in the end. But remember this - Dumbledore trusted him. And we still don't know why, although it's been hinted at over and over. I think Book Seven will reveal that to us. And all of you Snape Haters will have to say "I'm sorry." To me, to Snape and possibly to Alan Rickman.

Except I don't think Snape will survive Book Seven. I think he pretty much has to die to satisfy the literary requirements of an epic tale. And what better way for Snape to prove himself than to die saving Harry? In the very last seconds of Snape's life, Harry will finally realize that Snape has been on his side all along. Then he has to live the rest of his life tortured about that.

It's okay. Hermione will console him.

I know. Even J. K. herself has said there won't be a Harry/Hermione hook up, but until I turn the last page of the last book, I can still hope for it, can't I?

Well, the witching hour draws near. I have my copy reserved. I will be standing in line. I won't be back here until I'm finished reading it. May you all enjoy it. And have a wonderful weekend.

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Thursday, July 19, 2007

Places to Go, People to See

Oh, such a dilemma. The Time-Travel story is going really well. I've got a to-do list of household chores a mile long. I really need to go to the grocery store. There's always some new toy to tweak my MySpace page with. But I really, really, REALLY want to go see the new Harry Potter movie.

I feel this is of utmost importance before I pick up my copy of DEATHLY HALLOWS tomorrow midnight. I looked at Book Five and started re-reading the end, but that whole Ministry of Magic scene confuses me. I can't remember certain characters. I don't get why some people think Neville might be the Chosen One instead of Harry.

It seems that watching that play out on the big screen would make a lot more sense to me. It's important that I see that before I start to read Book Seven. In fact, I would bet it's mandatory.

Truth is, I would probably feel a lot more settled in my mind if I went ahead and made the decision to blow off part of my day and go see the movie. Think how much eaiser my writing will be today if I don't have this problem weighing on my mind.

Okay, rationalization complete. I'm going.

Have a great day!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Whose Diamonds Are These, Anyway?

It's always a thrill to find another review for a book. And this one is for TOUGHER THAN DIAMONDS, which we've already established is my favorite to date - with apologies to Kella and Brianna. First I'll share the money quote:

"Delia Carnell knows how to write a gut-wrenching story of hard choices for two people falling in love."

Oh, yeah. That's a nice one. There's only one problem. Everywhere else in the review - like in the site's index and on the headline of the review page - they show the author of TOUGHER THAN DIAMONDS as Claire Cook.


Yeah, I never heard of her either. I mean, I'm sure she's a nice lady and a fine writer. But she didn't write TOUGHER THAN DIAMONDS. I did.

It's kind of like if you pick up the New York Times Book Review and see a great article about Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by Stephen King.

Okay, it's not exactly like that. But it feels like that in my mind.

At least they have a nice link to the Cerridwen page where you can buy the book. And my name is correct there.

So do me a favor. Go to this review site. Click on the contact link and email them. Tell them you read that book; you loved it. But you're pretty sure it was by that bestselling author, Delia Carnell.

Go ahead. Make my day.

Here's the link to the rest of the review.

Thanks! Have a great day!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Through the Garden Gate

The Wild Rose Press has a writing contest going on that really intrigues me. They've posted a picture of a charming cottage and challenged writers to come up with a story about a woman in 2007 who goes to this cottage to vacation. It's in Bury, Lancashire, England. Once the woman steps through the garden gate, she's whisked back in time to....

Well, that's the intriguing part. There are several time periods to choose from, including the standards for historical romance. But they've also added the irresistible (for me anyway) period they call "Vintage." That's 1955 to 1965. Pretty cool, huh?

I've never written a time travel, never wanted to. But this one won't leave me alone. If a woman met a man in that time period, he would probably still be alive in 2007. They might even know each other. The possibilities excite me.

And what if she does something back then to change her own future? Is that allowed? Don't you always have to be very careful when you're traveling through time? The Butterfly Effect could make everything crazy!

It will be really interesting to see how different authors took one picture and a barely sketched concept and did many different things with it. Meanwhile, I'm back to work on mine. This is really fun! See you anywhen!


Monday, July 16, 2007

Here We Are at Our New Address

Good morning. How many of you found your way to the new URL for the blonde today? I see Steven did, of course. And Mark!. Look, there's Skippy too. That's great. I feel like the Romper Room lady looking through her magic mirror.

Speaking of magic, I've returned from trip number 63 to the Magic place nearby. This time the occasion was the THIRTEENTH anniversary of the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror at Disney's MGM Studios. If you ever get the chance to attend one of these special events, do it. We almost had the park entirely to ourselves Friday night.

The park closed at 10:00 Friday night with the final Fantasmic show at 10:30. My Prince and I arrived around eight o'clock. With most of the park attendees waiting in line for the first Fantasmic show, we headed to Star Tours. Nothing like a hyper-light speed flight with a droid to get you ready for a night of excitement. No line at all. Perfect. We were seated front row center.

After returning to earth, we headed for one of my favorite spots in the Studios, Writers Stop. Staring at the display carousel of paperback novels - many of them romances - I created a new goal for myself: to have my book for sale in Writers Stop. That combines two of my favorite things - Disney and my own books!

We sat for a while on New York Street drinking coffee. I'd never noticed before, but you can actually hear the sounds of the subway trains when you're sitting on the sidewalk bench. No detail overlooked. That's my Disney!

Then we headed for the Tower. I will admit to being Terrorized before we even got inside. I've done this ride dozens of times, but I'm always scared. It's like the Carly Simon song (and the ketchup commercial!) AN-TIC-I-PATION. They know exactly how to scare me. If you've done this, you know that the elevator drops in a random pattern. This was the first time I've been all the way to the top THREE times in one ride. It was, well, terrifying. My Prince has permanent marks in his right arm from my fingers gripping him while I screamed like a little girl.

When we got off, we skidded into Fantasmic just in time for the second show. It was, as always, wonderful. Mickey once again saves the day. Some imagination, huh?

Well, we couldn't leave the special Tower of Terror party without one more ride on the broken elevator. By now the crowd was thinned to the special event people only. The wait time outside the Hollywood Hotel said "13" minutes. See? No detail overlooked. Of course, we had to ride again.

This time I wasn't nearly as scared. There was absolutely no wait, and our car was filled with veterans. The ride was thrilling. Even when we were all the way at the bottom, when usually you start to unbuckle your seatbelt, we were whisked back up to the top for one more spectacular drop.

It was great fun, and I'm glad we were invited to attend. Now, it's back to the real world and facing an altogether different kind of terror - the blank page!!!

Have a wonderful day! Good writing to all.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

We Said Goodbye to Roger....

The memorial service for Roger was held yesterday afternoon. At one point the chaplain encouraged people in attendance to share their special memories of Roger. One lady from his bowling team talked about the Halloween that he dressed as a woman. I have been encouraged by many to post that photo, so here it is:

The service was nice with a kind chaplain saying nice things and lovely music playing that made all of us tearful. But I couldn't help thinking how much fun Roger would have had if he could have been there. He thought of his coworkers as family and truly loved all of us. He would have had a great time laughing with us as we brought up the old memories.

We miss you, Roger.


Remember - the blog address changes tomorrow!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

A Kiss on the Hand May Be Quite Continental...

But Diamonds are still this girl's best friend.

Writers are notorious for googling themselves, and I'm no exception. I've admitted to it before, and I'm not ashamed of it. This time, I found another review for TOUGHER THAN DIAMONDS. What makes this one especially significant to me is that it's not a romance review site; it's a mystery review site.

Christine Speakman of Futures Mystery Anthology Magazine writes:
"Those who know my reviews know I’m not a romance-type fan; however, I must state “Tougher Than Diamonds” is one of the best quick summer reads. It will satisfy those who love romance with their mystery and those who just want a fun fast-flying mystery."

Just like a mother should never say she has a favorite among her children, a writer should not pick a favorite book. But I will say this: Of all the books I've had published to date, TOUGHER THAN DIAMONDS is my favorite. So I'm especially happy with this nice praise from a Mystery Reviewer.

"Ms. Carnell wrote with a clear simplicity that’s refreshing and fast-pacing. There’s never a dull moment, and her characters are not at all boring or duplications of other romance-mystery stereotypes."

It doesn't get much better than that.

Read the whole review - and find more fun stuff - at this website

And remember that on Friday your bookmarks won't work any longer. You'll need to change them to susancody.

Have a great day!


Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Live from the New Office...

Yes, it's true. Despite the ongoing saga of the Tile Guy, the multiple coats of paint, the stuff The Boy left behind, I have finally moved into the new office. Yesterday, I persuaded the young Cable Guy to activate the internet access for me in this room. Then I undertook the daunting chore of moving the computer. Unbelievably, I managed to disconnect every wire and reconnect each one of them correctly. On the first try!

So here I am in the new office with my Snow White Rose colored walls, my not-the-tile-I-picked floor, and my beautiful view out the front window.

Life is full of changes. Having been offered a contract by The Wild Rose Press for "A Lotus-Covered Door," I have decided to begin publishing my work under my real name. No, Delia Carnell does not exist beyond the beautiful covers of my LI and CP books. That name was chosen over a pitcher of sangria and anangrams of Cinderella. It served me well, but I'm eager to launch my real self into the world. From now on, my work will be published under the name Susan Cody. That's who I am. At least that's the name on the title to the T-Bird.

To that end, I'll be making some changes in cyberspace. www.susancody.com already exists, but there isn't much on it just yet. My new MySpace page is myspace.com/susanvcody. I guess somebody already had Susancody. I had to add the V.
And the Blonde in the Red T-Bird will be making a corresponding change the end of the week. So when you click your bookmarks and you can't get anywhere, just change the name. You should be just fine.

Okay, I've got a lot of work still to do. Like figure out where I'm going to put the printer and whether the connecting cable is long enough. Have a wonderful day!


PS - I will probably continue to use the name "Delia" when I place my order at Starbucks.

Monday, July 9, 2007

"We had it all..."

Anyone recognize the song "Key Largo" by Bertie Higgins? I've always had a special fondness for that song. I love the Florida Keys. I love the Bogey/Bacall movies. ("You do know how to whistle, don't you, Steve?") And Bertie lives nearby. I've seen him a couple of times at local music fests.

But this morning, I call up the song by way of sharing with you my review for TOUGHER THAN DIAMONDS in the Grand Dame of all romantic fiction reviews, ROMANTIC TIMES. Here's the quote:

"Carnell's hero and heroine hum with sexual attraction from their first meeting. They are no Bogey and Bacall, but they're a good facsimile."

I can't begin to describe how that pleases me. I did have the old black and white detective movies in mind when I wrote this one. I wanted Jake to have an edge. I wanted Rebecca to be beautiful with an icy veneer. But we know that's only an act to cover the pain in her heart. And only one man can break through.

Thank you very much to Ms. Barb Anderson of Romantic Times for "getting it" and for liking it.

Available now at www.cerridwenpress.com

Have a great day!


Tuesday, July 3, 2007

The Tile and the Grout

Sounds like a great book title, doesn't it? Well, this one is definitely not a romance. To protect his identity, and to keep me from getting sued, I'm going to refer to the Tile Guy as....Tile Guy. Here's our story:

Tile Guy talks to me on the phone, asks a few questions and says he can do the job Monday and Tuesday. Monday morning comes, no Tile Guy. I call him, leave a message, he calls back. "Didn't I say we'd start Tuesday?"

No, you did not. You KNOW you did not say Tuesday. You said MONDAY. So apologies happen and we agree he will start Tuesday. Monday around noon he calls to say he's at the home improvement store, and they don't have the tile I picked. I direct him to the other home improvement store, which is the one where I bought a sample tile.

Monday afternoon at 5:30, he calls from the other home improvement store. (It's about a fifteen minute drive between the two. I don't get it.) He can't find the tile there either. He puts me on the phone with the tile employee at the store. He doesn't understand. I get in my car and drive there with the sample tile in my hand, walk into the store, go directly to the tile I chose and say, "There it is!"

Oh. That's a marble tile. Yeah? So? Well, that's going to cost a lot more.
A. Lot. More. Okay, I'll choose another tile. Everything they have at the home improvement store is ugly. I agree to go to a tile specialty store first thing in the morning to pick a tile.

Tuesday morning, 8:59 am, we're standing on the sidewalk when Tile Girl unlocks the door. I choose a tile. I call Tile Guy on the phone, tell him I've chosen a tile. He says to wait there until his guy gets there so I can lead him to my house.

What? The guy can't read a freakin' map? No, he can't. Okay, we wait. (Well, in the meantime we drop my car off at my mechanic's, but that's another story). Assistant Tile Guy shows up; we drive to my house with ATG following.

ATG and AATG start doing tile. I leave to go to the home decoration store. The cell phone rings. It's Tile Guy. They say they don't have enough tile. The room is bigger than I told him.

Once during this entire process did it ever occur to Tile Guy, the PROFESSIONAL, to come to my house with a tape measure? Look things over? Maybe measure it???

Guess not.

They left to buy more tile. They'll be back tomorrow to finish the job. I'm not giving them any of my hot dogs, baked beans or potato salad. So there!

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Hurts So Good...

After seven straight days of hard physical labor, I took today off. Not that this was a conscious decision. More like, I couldn't move. So the day was completely wrapped up in movies and cross stitch.

Here's one of the movies - In Love and War, starring Sandra Bullock and Chris O'Donnell. He plays Ernest Hemingway in Italy during WWI. She's his nurse. It's really good, but I especially enjoyed it because I feel as if he's an old friend having visited his home in Key West several times. And I think he's a pretty good writer.

I don't see any great return to writing for at least another week. The Tile Guy starts tomorrow, and I have to pressure wash the outside of the house. Wednesday is, of course, the Fourth. There's a trip to Disney on the schedule for later in the week. I guess I'm "on vacation."

Here's one of those silly "What Kind of ____ Are you?" things that makes the rounds of the blog-o-sphere.

Who Should Paint You: Roy Lichtenstein
Larger than life, your personality overshadows everyone in the roomA painter would tend to portray you with a bit of added flair!

Not sure I agree with this. I would have sworn I'm Camille. But I have to admit, the picture really looks a lot like me.

He he.

Have a great day!