Thursday, November 22, 2007

Over the river and through the woods....

To Grandmother's house we go!

Lucky for me, I live with the reigning grandmother in my family so I didn't have to cross any rivers or go through any woods. Not that there are any woods in this major metropolitan area I call home. There is a river. Anyway...

It's Thanksgiviing, in case you've been living in a cave that just this moment became wired for Internet access. It's the time of year when we stop for a minute to think on those things for which we're thankful. After which we consume massive amounts of poultry and refined carbohydrates. Yum!

A couple of years ago, our circle widened to temporarily include a handful of young people who joined us for dinner. My son, who was then twenty-two, was explaining to them our annual ritual. "We stand in a circle and hold hands, then everyone has to say what they're thankful for."

"On, no," one of the young people said. "We won't do that."

"Oh, yes," my Boy insisted. "You HAVE to."

It's always good for a parent to discover that those little rituals we hold sacred actually stuck when we threw them at the younger generation.

So here are a few things for which I'm thankful. I won't list the obvious. Family, health, loved ones. Everybody has those. No, these are the little things that give me pleasure with some regularity:

A local radio station that plays classical music
More books than I'll ever have time to read
Flowers blooming outside my window
A really fast car and (so far) money to gas it up
My driveway to Walt Disney World - one hour
Fresh oranges almost falling in my lap
Every day, whether I have a chance to write or not, the words never stop filling my mind.

I hope everyone takes a moment to think about the little things today.

Happy Thanksgiving


Friday, November 16, 2007

What's in a Title?

A rose by any other name...blah, blah, blah. I know. Shakespeare was never wrong, and if he was, I'd be the last to say so. But TITLES, now that's a different story.

My Time Travel adventure is tentatively titled FROM A CASTLE KEEP. And I like that title. But I don't love it. The hard K sound is very nice. And there's a pretty good rhythm to it. But what does it say about the story? Do we have a clue what's going on there?

THE RUNAWAY HEIRESS is prettty straightforward. BLAME IT ON THE GHOST likewise gives the potential book buyer a clue. But what does FROM A CASTLE KEEP tell you? I'd really like it if I could come up with something that has TIME in the title. Here's my short list of maybes:

Time After Time
From Time to Time
Never Enough Time
So Little Time
No Time Left

I dunno. I'm open to suggestions. Anyone have any? Hey, how about a contest? Leave your title suggestions in the comments section here, and if I choose one of them, I'll give that person a free copy of the book! How's that?

Not much beats a free book!

Have a great day!


Thursday, November 15, 2007

Some things I just can't ignore

I know, usually I blog about writing - my own and writing in general. But two news items have come to my attention today, and I'm powerless to let them go by unnoticed.

First, David Beckham has been awarded a $41 million dollar contract from Armani to model their underwear.

Wait, let me rephrase that:


I'm sorry, I don't follow professional soccer, and I've never seen "Bend It Like Beckham." I do know that he's a good looking man who married a Spice Girl, moved to LA and got a huge bucketful of money to NOT play soccer. There's a really good chance the Beck looks Very Good in his underwear. Even better in Mr. Armani's underwear. But FORTY-ONE MILLION DOLLARS??? How much does a pair of these underpants cost, do you think? Has to be a lot to justify paying for Beck, right?

They probably won't be available at WalMart. Will they?

I'm just sayin'.

Next - and as Dave Barry would say, I'm NOT making this up - a platoon of Santas in Sydney, Australia (like there's another Sydney, right?) have been ordered - ORDERED -to say Ha, Ha, Ha instead of Ho, Ho, Ho.

Know why?

Go ahead. Guess why.

That's right. So they won't offend any woman who might think Santa is calling her a "ho."

And that's from our Give Me A Flippin' Break Department.

Now go have yourselves a nice day. I dare ya.


Wednesday, November 14, 2007

"Time is on my side.."

As Mick would say, "Yes, it is."

I've just received a contract offer for the time travel story, tentatively titled FROM A CASTLE KEEP.

This started as a contest entry at The Wild Rose Press. The only rules were that your heroine had to be in 2007, and she had to travel back in time to one of four designated time periods. I chose the Vintage period and had Star Prescott whisked back to 1962.

While I didn't win the contest, the editors did love the story enough to want to publish it apart from the contest. I had to make a few changes to it and resubmit. So instead of the English cottage that was the original setting for the contest, I moved Star to a spooky old castle in western England.

So what happens to Star when she takes her holiday in the old castle?

Stay tuned. More on that later.

Have a great day!


Tuesday, November 13, 2007

And Here's the Proof!

That's the official 1993 Fabio calendar. And it's autographed to ME! Notice how he signed it "Love?" I can't help it. I just have that effect on men.

And yes, I did put it on eBay. We'll see whether it gets any attention. But I'm here to report the Donny and Marie dolls I showed you last week got us THIRTY-ONE DOLLARS!

Surely Fabio is worth at least that.

Okay, this is a quick one. My internet service has been spotty for a few days now. I do hope that's resolved soon.

Have a great day!

Friday, November 9, 2007

"Let me 'splain you that..."

So,Fabio and George Clooney walk into a restaurant...

No,it's not the beginning of a bad joke. The Cover Model and the King of Cool actually came to blows two days ago when Clooney thought the women with Fabio were taking pictures of him. When actually, they were taking pictures of, you know, Fabio.

The Romance Novel World hasn't been in this much of a tizzy since RWA national conference was held in New Orleans while Kevin Costner was filming JFK. (And speaking of Costner, a rock band???? Come on, dude. You're not twenty-three and living in your mother's basement any more.) Various RomBlogs are posing the question: Who would win in a real fight? The camps are about evenly divided between "Fabio would crush him like a bug" and "Clooney would sneak in a sucker punch or a hairpulling."

To me, it doesn't matter. As one woman said somewhere, when those two start rolling around on the floor, WE are the winners. Yes, ma'am. Pull me up a lawn chair to the edge of the circle and let the games begin!

But I have actually met Fabio. Touched him. Had my picture taken beside him. Received his autograph on his 1993 calendar. Which I am about to post on eBay. (See my recent post about strikes and hot irons). I would upload the picture of me with Fab (as those close to him like to call him) but aside from the fact that I don't have a scanner, it's possibly the worst picture ever taken of me. But really - who's going to look good standing next to Fabio? Maybe Jessica Simpson?

Hmmm....come to think of it....have you ever seen the two of them together???

I'm off to ponder Clooney and Fab in a hairpulling, clothes ripping match.

Have a great day!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

The Lotus Unfolds

Yesterday I received my first review for A LOTUS-COVERED DOOR. Certainly over the years my books have been reviewed by professionals and amateurs alike, but this is my first short story. You never know what's going to happen when you try something different.

Here's part of what the reviewer had to say:

"A Lotus Covered Door is a sweet story. Susan Cody has done a great job creating a real romance in so few pages. I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys short romance."

That's by Dakota Rebel. You can read the entire review here.

So, there you go. At least one person to whom I am not related likes it.

And now I'm off to do some more writing. Rumor has it I do a great job.

Have a great day!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

I Always KNEW I Was Carrie!!

You Are Most Like Carrie!

You're quirky, flirty, and every guy's perfect first date.
But can the guy in question live up to your romantic ideal?
It's tough for you to find the right match - you're more than a little picky.
Never fear... You've got a great group of friends and a
great closet of clothes, no matter what!

Romantic prediction: You'll fall for someone this year...

Totally different from any guy you've dated.

Last year my best friend gave me the COMPLETE Sex and the City for my birthday. It took me a while to get through all six seasons, but having finished it recently, I'm now in withdrawal. I want more!

Thankfully, they're working on a feature-length movie AWS. And of course Chris Noth returns as Mr. Big. Oh, come on. You always knew Carrie would end up with Big when all was said and done, didn't you?

My Sex and the City journey didn't take me exactly where I intended to go. I thought at first I would be watching a smart, funny, sexy story about life in Manhattan for young women. And I got that. But I also got so much more.

If you've never seen the show, or seen only a little bit of it, I'm here to tell you now that this is NOT a show about four women trying to find the loves of their lives. Well, yes it is. But what it's REALLY about is how much these four women love each other.

They have their ups and downs, their petty arguments, their lifestyle differences. But they truly, deeply love each other. As Big says in the second to last episode, "Any man comes in a distant fourth to the other three women."

So think about that next time the show comes on. Watch it with your grilfriend. And remember: I'M CARRIE!!!

Have a great day; I'm going shoe shopping,


Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Maybe It Wasn't That Good, After All

Yesterday, I wrote a longish post about beginning writers putting too much information in the front of their story. Backstory is better served in small bites, I advised, accompanied by the action.

Then at the very end, I hit SOMETHING that caused me to delete the entire thing. And I refuse to rewrite the same thing over again. So I'm guessing it was Meant To Be.

Now on to the fun. Some of you know that my dear friend Jeanette is planning to take off in a motor home at the end of 2008, and has charged me with the awesome responsibility of selling her "stuff." Then my sister got into the act with more "stuff" left over from when she dealt antiques, not to mention her daughters' toys. And that's how I wound up with a lot of old Barbies.

Well, I was in Marketing for a long time, and I understand the principle that has to do with striking and hot irons, so yesterday I put this on eBay:

Oh, come on! You know it's funny!

Fill in your own caption. I'm leaning toward, "I've fallen and I can't get up!" But it also gives new meaning to the phrase, "she's a little bit country; he's a little bit rock and roll."

Yes, I know Donny isn't on "Dancing with the Stars" with her, but it's still funny.

Have a great day!

Friday, November 2, 2007

When You See A Guy.....

"...reach for stars in the sky, you can bet that he's doing it for some Doll!"

There's a reason why GUYS AND DOLLS is my favorite Broadway show, and it's not the great music, the clever lyrics, the New York setting, or the romantic plot. It isn't even that it's about a time when men were guys and women were dolls.

No, it's because it's the ONLY classic musical in which I've actually performed. And while I wasn't Adelaide, or even one of the Hot Box girls, I was on stage and my name was in the cast list. I love everything about this show, including the things listed above. So it was a great treat for me last week when my Florida Orchestra performed the music of Frank Loesser.

He wrote a lot of other things, too, but GUYS AND DOLLS is probably his best known and certainly his best loved. To make it even more special, the orchestra was accompanied by four singers, one of whom was Frank Loesser's real life daughter, Emily. Also singing for us were her husband Donald Stephenson, Ron Raines who plays Alan Spaulding on The Guiding Light and can sing the paint off the Mona Lisa, and Debbie Gravitte, a sultry singer with jazz thumping beneath her Broadway fare.

Lucky for all of us, Ms. Gravitte was selling her CD in the lobby, so I've been "Defying Gravity" all week as I listened to it.

But I would be remiss if I didn't mention another great thing about GUYS AND DOLLS. If you take away all the music, you have an absolutely perfect romance novel. Here's New York City's most dangerous gambler falling in love with the Uber religious Mission Girl. And if that isn't conflict enough for you, his ability to seduce her is the heart of a major bet between him and his cronies.

It's almost too good.

So look for the film version if you can. It stars Frank Sinatra and Marlon Brando. You can't possibly go wrong with those. It will make you wish you had some cheesecake from Lindy's.

Have a great weekend.


Thursday, November 1, 2007

The Jaws of the Plot

There are two sessions left in the Writing Romances class I'm teaching at USF. (Go Bulls!) We've covered all of the basics I can think of except for tonight's topic - PLOT.

Time and time again, I've heard talented writers say they could pen a bestseller if they just knew WHAT to write. Yeah, that can be a problem. Because if you don't have a plot, then you just have a bunch of characters wandering around aimlessly. Kind of like junior high school.

Anyway, one of the things I plan to discuss is how things must fit together, must grow from the setup, must make sense. It's like that age-old expression tells us: If there's a cannon on the stage in act one, you damn well better fire it before the final curtain.

Conversely, if you intend all along to fire a cannon at the finale, you need to have a cannon onstage at some point. You can't have your hero in the middle of a horrible fight and have him at the last minute declare, "Oh, look! There's a cannon we can use!"

In JAWS the movie -and I presume also the book - we early on see compressed air canisters on the boat and are warned to be careful. They're explosive! So when we get to the end with Chief Brody fighting for his life on a sinking ship, we all see the tank and the rifle and scream at him. "Shoot the tank! Shoot the tank!" He does. And lives to tell it.

So when we talk about plotting, the question becomes - which came first? Was the tank already there, so Benchley thought of using it, or did he come up with that in the end and go back to put the tank on the boat early on?

The answer is, it doesn't matter. As long as the sequence of events makes sense and keeps the characters true to themselves, go for it either way.

The point being, if you need it, put it onstage early. And if you put it onstage, use it.

Just don't go swimming after dark.

Have a great day