Tiger Beat Crush of the Week: Colin Ferguson

Okay, so this is more like Tiger Beat Crush of the Six-Month Period, since this is only my second TBCotW post. But I promise, this one is worth waiting for.

Meet Colin Ferguson, who will forever be enshrined in my heart as Jack Carter, the hottest (and funniest) sheriff since…well, ever. Colin was the star of Eureka, a delightful, quirky, funny, fantastic show that ran for five (aka nowhere near enough) seasons. It was a show Mr. Bud and I both loved, and one that ranks among our all-time, hall of fame favorite shows.

If you’ve read this earlier post, you know that Colin was my first and only inspiration for Detective Mike Nielsen, the hero of the hopefully-to-be-published-one-day Always. And it’s not just because I want to meet him when he gets cast in the movie version (although I won’t deny the thought occurred to me).

It’s because he brings it all and can play it all–the funny, the angst, the smoldering, the repression, the longing, the sexy. Everything I needed to be able to channel when writing Mike’s character. The man is AWESOME. I mean, look at the proof of how awesome he is: Continue reading


Real Beauty…Fake Funny

I’m going to spare you one of my wordy posts today (YAY! all six of you who read this blog are shouting).

The following clip has been going around Teh Internets recently, and it made all the Girls of Megacube cry (Yeah, there was much sniffling going on at work that morning. Don’t tell our boss. Of course she’d cry too, I’m guessing). Anyway, it speaks oh, so eloquently about the way we as women see ourselves…and the way we should be seeing ourselves (and, I’m fortunate enough to be able to say, the way Mr. Bud sees me).

This parody response came out just last week, told from the male POV. It’s a riot…and even Mr. Bud admits that there’s more than a grain of truth in it.

I couldn’t find this next one on YouTube, but here’s a link to another version of the parody, with different drawings of the men:

Dove Real Beauty Sketches Parody II

You know, at first I was a little miffed that someone co-opted and parodied such a beautiful message, but the more I thought about it the more I realized that I needed to get a clue (and obviously, a sense of humor). It takes a lot of guts to so thoroughly skewer your gender as these parody videos do.

You go, guys and gals! We all rock, don’t we?

Need help with editing? Have I got a book for you…

Any of my Megacube mates would tell you that in my day job as a marketing writer and editor I’m fearless (and bossy) with a red pen in my hand. However, I’m the first to admit that I can’t diagram a sentence to save my life. Yes, to my shame I suck at the mechanics of grammar. Although I know how to use words, I just can’t tell you why I use them. So I’m always up for articles, classes, etc. on editing, so I can back up my bossiness with hard facts.

"Editor-Proof Your Writing"  by Don McNair

Add some (lean) muscle to your writing library.

In August, 2012 I took a class through WritersOnlineClasses.com (lots of great classes here, btw) called “21 Days to Fog-Free Writing,” taught by Don McNair. As I always do, I checked out Don’s background to be sure I’d actually learn something from him. Well, Don’s edited magazines, produced PR materials, headed his own marketing communications firm, written articles, published non-fiction books, written  novels, and now edits novels for other writers…whew! I figured this was a guy I could definitely learn from, so I took the class.

I learned SO much–not only things I could use in my fiction writing, but in my work writing, too. The class focused on cutting out (quoting from Don here) “foggy writing–writing that’s full of unnecessary, misused, and overused words. Foggy writing drives editors crazy, and it’s the number one reason most manuscripts are rejected on first glance.”

Continue reading

Since I’m part of the fledgling Women’s Fiction Writers Alliance, I wanted to spotlight Orly’s very interesting post. It’s exciting to be part of something from the very beginning!

Writers In The Storm Blog

by Orly Konig-Lopez

When the idea of writing morphed into a dream to get published, I quickly realized I had a lot to learn. I sought out writing organizations that would provide the opportunity to meet other, hopefully like-minded, writers.

What I discovered is that there are a lot of writing organizations. Some niche focused, some general. All had great things to offer. But none were focused on what I needed as an aspiring author of women’s fiction.

Then someone recommended an online chapter under Romance Writers of America that was dedicated to women’s fiction. I couldn’t believe my luck!

In the two years since joining, I’ve met amazing writers—multi-published authors (can we say fan girl squees?), debut authors and aspiring writers, treading water just like me. I met my fabulous critique partners, learned heaps about publishing, and gained the confidence to go after my dream.

As many of our…

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Linda’s Casting Couch, Part II (or, This is Where You Find Out the Identities of the Hot Men on the Storyboard)

So in the last post I discussed my character-casting process (is too a process, albeit a convoluted one). As a reminder, here’s the storyboard I made for the Always characters (and I forgot to say in the last post, I keep this up where I can see it as I write):

The Always Storyboard

Now here’s a list of the actors and actresses who will bring Always to life once a Hollywood producer snaps up the book (ooh, it’s so pretty here in my fantasy world, isn’t it?), and a few notes on the most important characters and why I chose these particular actors/actresses to be their models. Continue reading

Linda’s Casting Couch, Part I (or, How Those Voices End Up In My Head)

Where the magic happens (excuse the mess)

Okay, I know the title sounds icky, but just wash that dirty mind of yours out with soap because the story is that I usually cast the characters in my books while I’m sitting on the living room couch with my laptop. Our super-comfortable leather recliner couch (left) is usually where I do my writing these days (and a big reason why my butt’s so big—it’s so comfortable I hate to get up).

But I digress (as usual). Back to my character “casting” process…I need to hear the characters’ voices and see their appearances in my head when I start to write. The easiest way to do that is to “cast” each character, so I can channel them as I’m writing. So what I do is start looking for actors and actresses who are the same ages as my characters by flipping through IMDB.com, Google images, and YouTube videos until the right person clicks in my head.

Then I create what I call my storyboard, with photos of the actors and actresses I’ve chosen. Yes, technically, it’s not a storyboard, because that has…y’know, a story, but this is my process so suck it up, nitpickers. I label each photo with the character’s name, and add a few scrapbooking embellishments to go with the theme of the story. It doesn’t take all that long, and it’s a lot of fun.

As an example, I thought I’d show you who I “cast” as my characters in Always, the book I recently completed: Continue reading

Inaugural Tiger Beat Crush of the Week: Danny Pino

I’m not sure why, but I’m feeling a little depressed today. So maybe this is a good time to start the promised Tiger Beat Crush of the Week feature*. Because hot men make me happy.

First, a little background: Since I was a little girl madly in love with David Selby, who played Quentin Collins on Dark Shadows (okay, I just dated myself), and writing really awful fanfiction with him as the hero, I’ve appreciated a good-looking guy. My crushes have been many, because I’m a teenybopper at heart and I always will be. BTW, you can expect a Hall of Fame TBCotW post on Mr. Selby someday very soon, because he really WAS my first Tiger Beat crush, TB magazine photos on the wall and all.

My wonderful husband Mr. Bud accepts this about me, because he knows he will always be my firstest and bestest love (and probably because I let him look at boobacious actresses to make up for it). So we’re cool. He just rolls his eyes and goes on about his business when I start my squealing.

The girls I work with (Pam, Cathy, and Angela, the previously-mentioned Girls of Megacube) think my crushes are a riot, and they’ve been after me to start a Tiger Beat Crush of the Week feature for ages. They just don’t understand that it’s all about the art, not about the lust–as you might remember me saying in an earlier post, I often use my crushes as models for the heroes in my writing. So really, I’m not shallow–okay, wait, let me stop giggling. I’m not shal…oh, hell, I can’t keep a straight face. Yes, it’s all about the hotness with me.

So let’s kick off the Tiger Beat Crush of the Week series with the extremely hot guy I picture as the hero of my work in progress: Danny Pino (Danny Pino – IMDB). Continue reading

Sweat, Determination, and…Delusion?

“A dream doesn’t become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination and hard work.”
–Colin Powell

I’ll admit, the hard work that writing actually is was a bit of a surprise to me when I started writing fiction. But it was work I took to immediately–it’s the first “job” (non-paying at the moment, of course) I’ve ever had where I’m happier the harder I work. I’m like a pig in mud, as they say, when it comes to learning more about the craft of writing, which I’ve done through reading, taking classes, joining professional associations, networking with other writers, and going to conferences. It’s a LOT of work, and it takes up a lot of my time (ask poor Mr. Bud, again, the most patient of the patient). And I love every minute of it…

…even though sometimes (okay, lots of times) it seems like I’ll never pay back my investment of all this time and effort. I still despair that my work will never be good enough to be published, because there’s just too much to learn and it’s all so contradictory and confusing.

But once in a while, I’ll read back over a paragraph or section–or even a whole chapter–I’ve written, and I’m shocked by how good it is because I’ve subconsciously applied something I’ve learned in my studies, and I think, “Wow. Maybe I do have a chance of being published one day!” Then I read something I did that absolutely sucks and think, “Or not.” And that’s when I realize–the reward in my writing may very well have to be my own personal one, and even if I never get published, maybe I can at least leave some really, really good manuscripts that my nieces (and nephew, but I don’t think he’s much of a chick book reader) can read and say, “You know what? Aunt Linda was an amazing writer!”

Oh, well, live in hope, die in despair as an obviously cynical friend of mine used to say.

One thing I think (hope) I’ll never be, though is as deluded as this little guy. And if I am, you hereby have permission to smack some sense into me.

Back to (Blog) Life

Wow, I forgot I even had this blog (as you can tell by the five-year gap in posts). But since I need a blog to link to my in-development writer’s site, this one will do just fine.

Lots has happened in the five years since I wrote my last post. I started a new job as a marketing writer, and am now also the managing editor of my division’s client magazine, circulation 36,000 (love, love, LOVE that part of the job–I can set my inner control freak free). The jerk of a downstairs neighbor I referred to in my first post moved out a few months ago, so the world has (to its unending gratitude, I’m sure) been deprived of my rants about how the space he takes up in the universe would be better given to someone who actually has a soul; warnings about how, if Mr. Bud and I turn up dead, to check downstairs first; and my promises that, if said neighbor was sprawled on the side of the road injured and bleeding with vultures pecking his eyes out, I’d wave cheerily and drive on by. Ooh, there, see? You’ve just been caught up on it all in the Cliff Notes version. Less angst for you, residual catharticism (yes, I like to make up words) for me.

Most important (well, to me, anyway), I’ve started writing again. For a few years after my mom became ill, and especially after she passed away in 2006, other than my writing for work I just couldn’t pick up a pen. Er, keyboard.

But in mid-2010 my friend Shelley and I cooked up a scheme to write a fluffy chick lit-type book (she’d plot, I’d write). And we actually finished it! Sent it out to agents and everything! Only to find out that chick lit is supposedly dead! So it didn’t get published! And rightfully so, looking back on it! But hey, I wrote, and–most importantly for the Queen and Almighty Supreme Empress of The Kingdom of Startem and Dropem–completed a freakin’ book! And then wrote and finished a second one! And actually plotted about half of this one myself! And I’m starting to query on it as we speak! And now, I’m working on a third one! That’s a total trash and rewrite of the first one! Which had some great characters, but all the agent feedback we got on it said the story was way too cliched! And it was!

So there will be updates coming on not only the progress of the second book’s queries, but on the third book’s development. And lots more, too. For instance, at the suggestion of my work posse, Pam, Cathy, and Angela (aka The Girls of Megacube–the 2013 calendar will be on sale soon, guys), I want to start a regular feature we’ve dubbed “Linda’s Tiger Beat Crush of the Week,” in which I will channel my inner 50+-year-old teenybopper and highlight my current celebrity crush (I have lots of them, not to mention an EXTREMELY patient and tolerant and wonderful husband, the aforementioned Mr. Bud, who will probably be the subject of future posts, too, heh, heh, heh, thank God he’s not much of an online guy). My celebrity crushes in many cases are the inspiration for the characters in my writing, so when the books are finally published you can already have a picture of them in your mind (and trust me–they’re all hot, because I have REALLY good taste. You’re welcome).

Oh, and I may even include some non-mind-meltingly fluffy posts, for those of you who prefer some substance with your drivel.

So we have lots of fun planned, kids. Make sure you tune in regularly. This time, I promise it won’t be five years till the next post.

Letting Go, Moving On, Not Forgetting

Today I had a garage sale with my best friend Nancy at her house. My main goal (besides getting rid of a bunch of stuff I haven’t used in an embarrassingly long period of time) was to sell our gargantuan George Foreman grill and the over-the-toilet useless shelf thingy, and make $129 so I can buy a more useful bathroom wall cabinet for my house staging.My feet hurt, I’m sunburned, my allergies have kicked up like a house afire and I have a headache. But George went for $15 to a woman whose house interior was pretty much gutted by fire a few months ago (a very nice lady, btw), I talked a guy into taking the bathroom thingy for $7.50 (Half off! Such a deal for a chrome-and-glass beauty), and I made $130. So I’m happy.

And I only brought a couple of things back to the house–the shower curtain and accessories that were in my small bathroom (I’m going to see if someone at work wants it), my round copper clock that will go in my new kitchen in my new house (wherever that may be), a necklace I decided not to sell and a Disney tin I took from Nancy in exchange for a basket. All the other stuff is now en route to Help’s On the Way, the charity we chose, with nary a regret.

The only thing I had a very hard time letting go of wasn’t even in the garage sale. It was two of my Mom’s muu-muus. I’ve had them in a bag in my trunk ever since Carolyn and I cleaned out her closet last June. Of course, she had lots of them. Carolyn and I each took one at the time, and so did some of my brothers and sisters. I meant to donate the two remaining ones but just never did. Whenever I opened up the trunk of my car, winter or summer, I could get just a faint whiff of my mom’s perfume, and I liked it.

But yesterday, in order to be able to put my card tables in the trunk of my car I had to take out what was laying on the trunk floor. The last thing I grabbed was the bag with the muu-muus, and I thought, well, since we’re taking a load of stuff to donate anyway…

But I had to ask Nancy to talk me through it.

When I opened up the bag, the smell of Mom’s perfume was so fresh that it was as if she was standing right next to me, and I started to cry. But as Nancy reminded me, at least with HOTW we know that everything we give to them goes directly to the people who need it, unlike thrift stores that sell to the general public. And she also reminded me that my Mom would have been all about helping women who are going through hard times. So I stuffed the two muu-muus into a box very quickly, sealed it up and let it go.

This morning, I read a People magazine article about the graduation ceremonies at Virginia Tech, and one line will help pre-empt any guilt I might feel for getting rid of the muu-muus (and of course you know I will have some eventually). The university president said in his address, “Please know that moving on is not the same as forgetting. We will not forget.”

So I had a big day yesterday–I let go, hopefully helped a person or two, moved on, and of course, will never, ever forget.