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writing

Goal setting and accountability

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted. I’ve missed you, honey.

Enough of that.

I’ve also missed setting goals and holding myself accountable. (That’s a lie. I don’t miss it. I just haven’t been doing it.) I have a number of books to write this year, however, and the last time I checked they weren’t writing themselves. Two are due in June. There’s also a proposal I’d like to submit sometime in July.

Something else I’ve been neglecting is my running. The excuses for that are semi legit. We have a serious eastern coyote problem in my neighbourhood. (FYI, an eastern coyote is a wolf cross. Some are more aggressive than others.) I’ve seen them up close, and yes, they’re big. The second excuse is the weather. This has been the winter from hell. The cold part. The one where those SoCal girls end up. (I’m looking at you, Robin Bielman and Samanthe Beck…) Frankly, my running shoes aren’t cut out for snow and ice.

I enjoy running. (Writing’s not so bad, either.) Tomorrow, I’m getting back into it. (The running, I mean. I’m deeply immersed in the writing.) I’m starting at an indoor running track and I’ll progress to outdoors as the weather improves. I’m hoping it’s legal to carry bear spray in this province since I can’t convince my husband to run with me. He complained enough about the snowshoeing.

So. Weekly goal setting is on my agenda. Word counts and kilometres should both steadily increase.

Stay tuned.

My Love Affair with Stephen King

First of all, when I say I love Stephen King, I’m talking about his writing. Way back in college, if I’d actually gotten the chance to meet him before getting involved with my husband, things might have been different.  But he’s married, I’m married… You can see the dilemma. Doctor Phil would hardly approve.

Secondly, when I talk about his writing, I’ve never received compensation. I *wish* he cared enough about my opinion to compensate me for it. You can assume that any books and/or authors I mention on my website or blog are all automatic five stars for me, because I can’t be bothered reading them otherwise. I’m certainly not going to waste valuable airtime by talking about something or someone I didn’t enjoy. (Although I’m sure my family, who listen to me complain all day long about any number of people and things, will disagree.)

So. All that out of the way…

The SK affair goes back to before my university days, although it wasn’t until then that I found like-minded fans. 

Pet Sematary is the first and only book to ever give me nightmares.  The Stand was creepy as heck.  I loved The Talisman. Cujo was the first book to make me want to see the movie (and then kind of sorry I did.)Those are off the top of my head.  A neighbor was also a fan. He and I used to swap SK books back and forth. Here’s a testament to SK’s storytelling abilities – I tried to get him to read the Thieves’ World books (another favorite series) but he told me “I don’t read fantasy. I like books that are real.” (Insert raised eyebrow here.)

Seriously?

A good friend of mine, and fellow Stephen King fan, dropped a bombshell shortly before Christmas. She knows where he lives. She sat on that little gem for a really long time, although she swears up and down that she’s told me before. We’ve been friends for thirty years so that may well be true. I’ve been accused more than once of obliviousness.

But never mind. All is forgiven, because I talked her into doing stalker stuff for me. I had to promise never to mention her name. Not to worry, Carolyn S. Your secret’s safe with me.

So here it is, a picture of Stephen King’s house. 

 

Wouldn't you love to live here?

Wouldn’t you love to live here?

 

 

Is this not a fabulous home for a horror writer? (HEEERRRE’S Johnny!!! REDRUM, anyone?)

This, folks, is a true friend.  You don’t want to know what she had to do to get this for me. She walked up to it and took a photo from the sidewalk, like probably a million other people a year do. No CSIS moment here. (Unlike that conversation we had about disposing of bodies. Good thing I never mentioned your name, right, Carolyn S.?)

So any other horror fans out there?

Breaking these resolutions will take some work

It’s that time of year again.

Resolutions.  Yes, I’m going there.

But I thought I’d break from tradition and make a list of all the things I don’t intend to do in 2013. And there are a lot. The purpose is to clear out the head clutter and make room for more important things. Was it Einstein who didn’t bother remembering his home address?

I’m not always clear on my phone number, so already, I’m off to a good start. If my family finds me wandering the neighbourhood, please remind them it’s not Alzheimer’s. I’m decluttering my brain.

Obsessions are number one on my list. Most women obsess. We can’t seem to help it. I will obsess over the dirt in the grooves around my window for three days before I realize that, if I don’t care enough to physically clean out the crap, I shouldn’t expend any more mental effort on it either. Or I could simply clean it and then forget about it.

No obsessing in 2013. Either fix the problem or forget about it. Easy, right?

Diets are next. (I’m thinking I could simply say I’m not going to obsess about anything and it would cover this too, but my list should be both specific and measurable.)

No diets in 2013.

I’m not going to stop drinking in 2013. This is a huge waste of time and energy. It’s like the seasons. Inevitable. And I’m rolling with it. The more I think about it, the more I want it. In 2013, I’m not going to think about not drinking. What will be, will be. Excuse me for a moment while I grab a glass of wine. Things may go downhill from here.

No giving up chocolate. I caved on the salt issue. Chocolate stays.

I’m not staying home all the time. This will be a hardship. I have to confess, I love working from home. Writers are introverts. We’re fairly anti-social. I always thought personal hygiene would be the first thing to go, but turns out, it’s social skills. I’ve got to get out. Right now, if I didn’t have to buy groceries I’d never leave the house.

I’m not working 24-7 either. This is another side effect of working from home and relates to my issues with obsessive behaviour. There are two types of people—those who can’t seem to stay in their home office during working hours, and those who can’t walk away from it at the end of the day. I fall into the second category. When I was working a day job, writing was my escape. Now writing’s my day job and I need to find a new hobby.  Do you think brain surgery’s a stretch?

I’m not going to hate Twitter and Pinterest.  Because right now I hate them. A lot. My Twitter aversion goes back to that whole anti-social issue. It requires interaction. People liken it to a cocktail party and I hate cocktail parties too. (Except for the drinking. That part’s okay.) With Pinterest, the issue is that I’m just not a visual person. There’s not much I can do about that except try to convince my sister to assume my identity and take over my account for me. 

I love you, Kathryn.

So there you have it, a few of the things I’m not going to do in 2013. This will so be my year.

Anyone else have any resolutions they don’t plan to keep?

 

 

What I’m Reading … The Affair by Lee Child

 

 

All writers are readers.

 Perhaps I shouldn’t speak for everyone with that broad, all-encompassing statement, but it seems a logical enough conclusion. The writers I know all read.

I definitely love to read. It’s a lot more fun than writing sometimes. It’s often better than watching a movie, too.

And I’ll tell you why.

I was recently introduced to Lee Child’s Jack Reacher series. This week, The Affair is one of the books I’ve been reading and I’m forming an image of the main character in my head. I’m also beginning to understand what all the hoopla around the casting of Tom Cruise as Reacher is about. Tom doesn’t fit the physical description Child has presented for Reacher. Not by a long shot. And I really don’t care. The image of the character I have in my head doesn’t fit Child’s description either.

I’ve heard other writers talk about how they deliberately paint their main characters with very little physical detail so the reader can create their own image of them, although it doesn’t matter to me if they provide physical description or not. When I read, in my head I create my own story world. It’s based on my personal experiences and observations. If the story characters remind me of someone I’ve seen in real life—or of a character in a movie—then they’ll take on at least a few elements of that image in my mind’s eye.

Sometimes we get lucky and our expectations match up. Katniss in the movie The Hunger Games is exactly how I’d envisioned her from the book, yet I’ve heard others complain that she’s not what they expected at all. I’m not sure it’s possible to pick an actor for a movie and have the choice please everyone who’s read the story it’s based on. How many incarnations of Batman and James Bond have we seen?

So what happens if we see the movie before reading the book?

Because sometimes, I’ll see a movie and it will motivate me to read the story that inspired it. And sometimes, I’ll watch the movie to avoid reading the book. I mean, how many of you have really read Lord of the Rings? If I’m going to put that much effort into something I’m reading, I want a possible A+ as a payoff at the end.

But I really like the Jack Reacher book I’m reading, and I’m sure I’ll read more by Lee Child. The books are in first person, so you really don’t get much of a sense of the character’s appearance. I suspect Mr. Child has made him a large man on paper to lend him some credibility because of the work Reacher does. Apparently, killing people’s hard work and takes a great deal of strength. Since most of the killing in my books lately has been done by demons, I can’t say I’ve had to think about it too much. I don’t think the size of my demons is what stretches any credibility there.

Lee Child gets two thumbs up for his Jack Reacher books.

And if Tom Cruise can pull off killing bad guys like he knows what he’s doing, the movie will undoubtedly get two thumbs up from me too.

Know any other seemingly mismatched characters from movies based on popular books?